Bigger is always better, but you can make anything even awesomer with the addition of fire. That’s what Kevin Kohler, the Backyard Scientist, did with one of those vortex air cannon toys. He not only built one ten times larger, he also uses it to blast rings of propane gas towards an open flame to create spectacular…
Let’s say you’re bored. Let’s say you’ve always dreamed of firing a cannon. Let’s say you like blowing things up. Let’s say you spend a free night building this kick ass vortex cannon that can blast the air silly. Let’s say it’d be totally worth it just to see these giant smoke ring explosions in real life.
In high school, I once tried to build a smoke-ring-generating vortex cannon out of a five-gallon paint bucket, a t-shirt, and some dry ice. My contraption was a letdown. It produced weak, wispy rings, and did so inconsistently. This video shows how to build a DIY vortex cannon that actually works.
Here you see the good folks on QI shooting smoke rings across the room. Why does a donut-shaped cloud come out of a circular opening? Why are smokers able to blow smoke rings, even when they're not Gandalf? It's all about the physics of vortex cannons!
This is what happens when you build an extremely powerful vortex cannon, loaded with "one of the most dangerous gas mixes in the world," to fire it against houses made of straw, sticks, and bricks, like the big bad wolf.