The Candy Cannon is a fully automatic candy delivery system. A response to the need for a Covid-19 safe option for Trick or Treating: when the green button is pressed; lights flash, fog blows, a piece of candy is pneumatically loaded into the tube and a burst of air launches the candy down the pipe and delivering it into a bucket.
From blue sky to installation the project took 8 days. This project tested my ability to develop an idea from start to finish on a rapid timeline. Over the course of 8 days, 80 hours were put in to make sure that the Candy Cannon was installed by mid-October.
Nearby a donation box that benefits the Boston Resiliency Fund collected funds for those affected by Covid-19. "The Boston Resiliency Fund is the City of Boston’s effort to help coordinate fundraising and philanthropic efforts to provide essential services to Boston residents whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic."
The pneumatic candy system is based off pneumatic tube systems that are used at banks and hospitals to quickly transfer physical objects. However, instead of using suction, the Candy System uses forced air to move the candy down the shoot. What seems like a simple task to load a piece of candy into a tube and turn on a vacuum, turns out to be rather complex to make it completely automatic.
This project could not have been more well received by the community. Since the day it was unveiled, we had a steady stream of kids (and adults) coming by to check out the machine. It quickly became a hit online as it was featured on CBS Boston, NBC10, WHDH, The Boston Globe, Boston.com, Kiss 108, Two viral videos with over 3 million views, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
It is my hope that the Candy Cannon inspires others make the best of tough situations through creativity. In just over two weeks, we raised over $650 for the Boston Resiliency Fund, and look forward to theming the machine for Christmas.
Following a successful 2020 the Candy Cannon was due for some updates. Last year we were limited one specific sized candy and only one piece of candy per run. In 2021, I completely redesigned the candy dispensing mechanism. Instead of having to precisely load the candy into magazine-like holders, the candy can now just be poured into the hopper and the rollers will take care of the rest. Thanks to access to professional grade SLA 3D printers, a laser cutter, and new CAD software I was able to engineer a system that was durable and reliable.
When the button is pressed the rollers slowly rotate, dropping a handful of candy into the 2nd stage of the hopper. The candy that falls through, funnels into a reservoir that connects the vacuum blow port to the clear tubing. A pneumatic cylinder extends, pushing a piece of acrylic through the body of the funnel creating a seal for the air. Finally, the vacuum turns on and launches the candy down the tube and into the bucket at the edge of the yard. See the below photos and videos for the updated Candy Cannon.