Let's Make Robots!

Supersonic Golf Ball

Well, good news everybody! I have managed to get a team of people together that are willing to pool resources together for construction of a high energy supersonic Golf Ball cannon, complete with remote electrical control and operation. The Cannon will feature complete autonomous reloading of the barrel. I will have to create large quantites of gun cotton, otherwise known as nitrocellulose. Nitrocellulose has been used as a propellant and explosive for many years. The gun will also feature a passive recoil system consisting of the barrel mounted to a triangle plate with a system of springs to dampen the enormous recoil encountered by the barrel upon firing. Once fired, the compression springs will return the barrel to normal firing position, and will prevent dangerous whiplash. On the end of the barrel, a flash supressor will help reduce the enormous fireball that will be created when fired.




A .50 caliber bullet fired from a Browning M2 machine gun travels from the gun at 887.1 m/s, and the round weighing approximately 45g (or .045kg) will have an approximate Kinetic energy of 17706.294J. The golfball, weighing close to a .50 cal bullet at .0459 fired at mach 2 (about 700m/s) will have a kinetic energy of 11,245.5J of kinetic Energy. That means that this golf ball will have the power close to a .50 cal bullet.

Table of comparisons to Golfball

Supersonic Golfball (Mach 2) = 11,245.5J
.50 Caliber Bullet = 17,706.294J
.44 Caliber Bullet (Magnum) = 1904.4J
9mm bullet (Typical Handgun) = 640J

As you can see, this golfball will have a LETHAL amount of force behind it.


(These are rough calculations, taking the velocity of the bullet and mass into consideration only)

cannon.jpg25.81 KB

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
patrickmccabe's picture
Sounds like a perfect thing for teeing off on a par 50.
200g of Nitrocellulose = a lot of cotton balls. Like 3 bags. Im thinking about using nitrostarch, since it is a powder.
TeleFox's picture
I'm no explosives expert, but I'd imagine that all the air trapped in the fibrous structure of the nitrified cotton would dampen the bang quite noticeably - that powered stuff sounds like a much better alternative, is it still as easy to manufacture?
I found an old explosives manual online, detailing the construction of Nitrostarch mixtures and preparation. Nitrostarch is produced the same way, but uses corn starch instead of cotton balls. My current thoughts are to create a sort of playdough like substance, using nitrostarch instead.

Send emails telling me all about how this is bad and evil etc, and delete pointless posts. It only clutters the blog.

 AND, we always do a project that could possibly shorten our lifespan every summer. Hydrochloric acid bombs are a pretty common project for us, especially launched out of potato guns.

Ian_K's picture
Well why post this potentially dangerous project if you didn't want concerns or encouragement?
I don't like listening to people complain, certainly not constructive criticism.
Benbo231's picture
Just, please, whatever you do, don't aim it my way...

ATF states "We have previously examined that certain muzzle loading devices known as "potato guns." These potato guns are constructed from PVC plastic tubing. They use hair spray or a similar aerosol substance for a propellant, and have some type of spark ignitor. We have determined that these devices, as described, are not firearms provided that they are used solely for launching potatoes for recreational purposes. However, any such devices which are used as weapons or used to launch other forms of projectiles may be firearms and destructive devices as defined." I live in a very rural area, and firearms are legal to fire.

It is safe and legal since we are using the device not as a weapon and as a recreational device. A "modified" spud gun that may accidentally fire a golfball. Please direct any more whining via email.

And by definition of the explosives act of 1970 in michigan, wet nitrocellulose containing 20% moisture is not considered an explosive, and we may accidentally let the moisture level drop too low.

Why I am doing this? Because I want to.
Cost? Few hundred, I have about 8 people contributing, so the cost will be low.
Illegal? Look up.
Playing with guns? Recreational device that launches potatos
Am I sure? Yes.

Iplan on having a large ice bath to prepare the nitrocellulose in, and sodium bicarbonate solution nearby just in case.

Ian_K's picture
I'm not whining at all. I live in the desserts of Arizona so we fire our fair share of various weapons. It is a lot of fun....