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Date Of Project: Fall 1993
I actually built this in 1993, so I don't know why I didn't include it in my projects section when I first began building my Web site. I guess I just didn't think of it. Or maybe because the site was on the school server at that time. Oh well. Better late than never...
Anyway, I found out about spudguns one year at Scout camp. A leader had brought one to play around with. Naturally, there was quite a crowd around him when he began using the thing. After a while, when the crowd had dissipated, I went over to check the spudgun out. I thought it would be great to make one, so I made sure to remember how it was built.
When I got home, I started building my version a week later. It took about 4 days total to make, mostly because I had trouble finding a BBQ igniter for a good price. Actually building the spudgun only took about 3 hours. The first thing I did was assemble the pipes. This was rather simple, as it only involved gluing a bunch of BAS pipe together in the proper configuration. After that, I had to let the glue dry. While it was drying, I went around and searched for a BBQ igniter. I was hoping to find one in a junked BBQ, but I ended up buying one instead. After I had found the BBQ ingniter, I installed it and shot my first spud. It worked great.
Now, it worked great for a while, but after about a year I started having problems. It got very hard to fire the gun, and when it did fire the spuds wern't flying as far as they used to. Cleaning the BBQ igniter's electrodes helped, but it got to the point where the gun would not work at all. I figured out that the problem was the BBQ igniter electrodes. They wern't designed to take the stress of the explosions and were slowly getting destroyed. I fixed the problem by installing a spark plug in their place.
The spudgun worked for about another year. This time, the problem was with the BBQ igniter itself, not the electrodes. I had worn out the igniter from overuse, which is really easy to do with a spudgun. I decided to use a high voltage power supply instead of the BBQ igniter. The circuit I used is on my circuits page under High Voltage Generator/Solid State Tesla Coil. I substituted smaller transistors for those specified in the schematic, and replaced the power supply section with a 12V battery pack. When I tried out the gun, it worked better then new! The high voltage supply was a great improvement. The power supply is incased in the black box at the side of the gun. It has an "Arm" switch and then a jack for a remote trigger. The battery is mounted above (silver box).
If you think all this is really cool and might want to try it out for yourself, check out my spudgun page. If you would like to discuss spudguns and related information with others, check out The Spudgun Forum.
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