Vacuum Bazooka

Today I spent a few pounds and a couple of hours with my son making a bazooka. Is there a better way to pass a Sunday afternoon?

Our adventures were cut short by rain, but I hope that next week we may be able to find the tweaks that will double the projectile speed to perhaps 30 metres per second.

The project is described in a new book (The Ultimate Book of Saturday Scienceby a colleague from Air Products, Neil Downie. Neil is a man on a mission to get people doing things – preferably things to do with science and engineering. If you like the sound of this but don’t know where to start, this book will give you inspiration, enough information to get started, and a description of the science involved. What it won’t do is tell you exactly what to do. I am sure this is deliberate.

I built this bazooka by copying pretty much what was in the book – copying is just such a great way to learn! But there are so many variables that it is inevitable that everyone who builds one of these projects will have to invent something for themselves as they go along. And it is by doing this that people will take ownership of the projects – and I am sure that would make Neil smile.

Christian and I may have begun by copying, but when we have finished, that bazooka will be ours!

The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science

The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science by Neil Downie. A source of inspiration for science projects that will takeabout an afternoon.

We are still a little way from raw rambo-esque figure of the naked scientist strutting the halls of the Royal Institution!

But just give me a rain-free weekend!

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6 Responses to “Vacuum Bazooka”

  1. bananaboyboom Says:

    I won a Christmas lectures competition at Cardiff Uni with this exact thing! The loose connection was that I could fire carrots to airborne reindeer. I also had a go at slicing the carrots by firing them at a grid, with limited success.

  2. neil a downie Says:

    You can see Neil’s original version of the vacuum bazooka in his book “Vacuum Bazookas, Electric Rainbow Jelly and 27 other saturday science projects” (2001). The version in “Ultimate …” has already been further developed following firing trials at the local street party for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

  3. Princeton University Press Blog » Blog Archive » A YouTube video inspired by The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science Says:

    […] earlier this month. The experiment is described by Michael de Podesta in his blog posting here:  With summer vacations upon us why not get out into your yard for some Downie inspired science […]

  4. Richard Jones, Esq. Says:

    It’s good to see projects that teach science and physics in a fun way. As a child I always enjoyed math and science. Now as a father I’m trying to bring that same joy to my 8 year old.

  5. rachel Says:


    Amazing information on how to create bazooka.

    My son will be really impressed if we so this on weekends. Going ti impliment this for sure.

    Thanks for shaing Nuked scientist.

  6. johon Says:

    So great! I will try it like you. Making a bazooka with my son.

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