Thursday, October 15, 2009

Progress Report 1.1

I built the throwing machine and now am working out the kinks. I decided to go with the catapult design for size and weight purposes. Using a small piece of surgical tubing, the catapult easily reaches the ten foot requirement.

During the testing phase the arm on the machine broke because there was too much tension for the strength of the wood. I am going to replace the wooden arm with either metal, for more strength, or plastic, for more pliability. Copper would be preferable because I can then attach the ball holder at the end with solder to ensure a strong hold.

From here I look to design the triggering mechanism. I have some ideas for a wireless control which would be preferable. I have been thinking about using the wireless doorbell or a remote control car to turn a small motor which could then release a latch. There are several factors we must think about when trying to do this type of triggering
1. Power of motor to release latch
2. Friction on latch and arm must be light enough to be moved.
3. A re-latching function for quick reset.
I am sure I'm not thinking of all the problems to be solved but these are some important ones.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Progress Report 1

So far, in our journey to build this machine, we are still in the idea phase. We have a set idea of what the mechanism is going to look like as well as the triggering mechanism (shown below). The next step is to build it. I'm sure we will run into several road blocks but that is why we will build the first prototype as soon as possible. Once we have the main launching system built then we can focus on the triggering mechanism.  The main launcher will consist of a slingshot like action which propels an object more than 10 ft consistently.  This will be built out of either PVC piping or wood.  Considering the "slinging action" will pull on the PVC piping, bending the pliable plastic, we are considering a wood construction.

The one thing we are not sure about yet is the means in which the triggering mechanism will function. It can be electronic or mechanical but I am leaning toward electronic for the ease of the user. After all this is for the Saturday Sidekicks program so the main focus should be kept with the children in mind.