Steampunk confetti gun

You may well have seen some of this already on Youtube, but I thought I’d do a brief post about my new ‘toy’ – a steampunk confetti gun:

I made this with help from my good friend Graham over a couple of weekends and it was remarkably straightforward.

The barrel and mechanism housing are made from some old vacuum-cleaner tubing and a large washer, the stock is from an old air-rifle and the mountings were all hand made from bits of copper roofing strip that I bent into shape and attached with nuts and bolts, plus some old metal decorative plates I picked up in a junk shop.

The working mechanism is fairly simple, it is an electrical circuit powered from a glow-stick power source that runs through a switch (that makes the trigger) and into a glow-plug  normally used for starting model aircraft engines. The earth return runs out through the bolt that attaches the mechanism housing and trigger-guard to the stock.

The attachment between the working section housing and the barrel is simply a push-fitting, which makes the canon a partial breach-loader, allowing the flash cotton charge that propels the confetti to  be loaded in a way that means it will be ignited by the glow-plug. When the cotton catches it burns incredibly quickly, creating a rapid expansion in the base of the barrel, forcing out the wadding and confetti (see video below).

Now I should say that for the purposes of the video I also used flash tissue, which is slower to ignite than the cotton, meaning that it doesn’t flare up until just after it leaves the gun, giving a spectacular flash of orange fire (or green fire if I use my specially treated paper).

I hope to take the gun along to White Mischief at the weekend, so I may need to swap the flash tissue for tinfoil to avoid setting anyone’s hair on fire, but the burst of confetti will hopefully be enough to celebrate Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in style!