The satisfying "pop" of a cork on a string shooting out of the end of a toy gun is a sound of many people's childhoods. Finding a cork gun (also known as a "popgun") in a modern toy store, though, can be a challenge. With only a few simple parts and no electronics, they don't fit within today's toy fashions. Thankfully, the simplicity of a cork gun means that it's easy to bridge the generation gap by building your own. With a few dollar's worth of materials and a little time, a functional cork gun is easy to assemble.
Things You'll Need
- Electrical tape
- 1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe, 12 inches
- 1/2 inch diameter wooden dowel, 16-18 inches
- Foam meat packaging tray
- 1-inch drywall screw
Cut the wooden dowel to between 16 and 18 inches in length and cut the PVC piping to 12 inches (if necessary). You can make both these cuts with a hacksaw.
Wrap electrical tape around the end of one blade on a pair of scissors, then insert that blade into the end of the PVC pipe. Press the sharp edge of the blade into the edge of the pipe at an angle and turn it around the inside diameter of the PVC. This will remove material from the inside wall along the pipe end, giving it an inward-sloping bevel that will make a better seal when the cork is inserted.
Press the beveled end of the pipe into a foam tray (such as the kind used to package meat). Then twist it to cut out a circle of foam that fits neatly inside the pipe. Repeat until you have three foam disks. These will be the seals that hold air in the pipe when you press the plunger.
Wrap one end of the dowel in electrical tape; add as much tape as you can without preventing the dowel from fitting into the PVC pipe. This will help seal the air in the pipe and will hold the end of the dowel together when a screw is driven into it.
Poke a drywall screw through the centers of the three foam disks. Then screw it into the taped end of the wooden dowel with a screwdriver. Tighten the screw until the center of the outside foam disk begins to show a visible dimple.
Slide the dowel into the beveled end of the PVC pipe, untaped end first. Push the dowel in until the bare wooden end pops out the unbevelled end. Pull on the exposed end of the dowel until all but 3 inches are protruding from the unbevelled end of the PVC.
Tape a piece of string to the dowel at a point an inch or two from the bare end. Pull the string tight and tape the other end to the PVC pipe. This will prevent the dowel from being pulled back far enough to fall out the back of the popgun.
Fit a cork into the beveled end of the PVC pipe. You may need to shave the cork down slightly with a knife for it to fit. Once it is tightly in place, push on the bare end of the dowel. This will push the foam-tipped end up the tube, pressurize the air inside and fire the cork.