The Vacuum Bazooka

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It's a vacuum. It's a bazooka. It's the vacuum bazooka.

In the spirit of recycling, why buy a brand new bazooka when you can fashion one out of everyday household items?

The Naked Scientist's Kitchen Specialist, Dave Ansell, presents the pinnacle in home security with his custom build vacuum bazooka. Utilising plastic pipes, tubes and foam covered projectiles, the vacuum bazooka really is a weapon fit for modern warfare.

Looking under the hood, this unit boasts 1300W of fully unadulterated Hoover power, a choice of loading mechanisms (from hand fed, to chain fed) and a firing range of over 30 metres.




Dave Ansell
London, UK
Filmed in:
The Lecturer's Corridor

Jonathan Sanderson, Dave Ansell, Rosy Hunt

cc_by-nc-sa License: Creative Commons



The vacuum bazooka is a classic piece of science demonstration kit. But I thought the one shot really wasn't enough. The first thing I did was improve the front. I have an automatically re-closing flap, which means I can drop more than one bullet in in one session.

This didn't really seem enough. So I developed something slightly better. So this is essentially a vacuum revolver. It has six rounds in six chambers, and whenever I pull the string, it moves another chamber in front of the barrel. This should mean that you can get six rounds coming out in quite quick succession.

But as you can see, you still very rapidly run out of ammunition, so I've developed the idea somewhat further. So inspired by the Bren gun, I came up with this.

It's essentially a magazine with 12 rounds in it held up by these sprockets here. So that if we turn the vacuum cleaner on, we get a higher rate of fire.

But, as you can see, it has certain reliability issues, and you occasionally still can run out of ammunition.

So there's one final development. So what we have here is 32 rounds of ammunition each in their own tube. And we have a bolt-feed device here.

So we have two cogs at the back which turn these sprockets in opposite directions to pull each tube through one at a time so it can loose the bullet up the tube nice and cleanly. Which I feel gives a far more rewarding vacuum bazooka experience.

I'm Dave Ansell from the Naked Scientists and the Cambridge Science Centre.