Red Bull Creation: Giant Cannons Shooting Salt

Hackaday took a trip to Detroit last weekend for the Red Bull Creation Contest. It was a blast, we had a lot of fun, and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse at seven teams hacking, grinding, sawing, and soldering their way through the 72 hour buildoff.

Team Detroitus started their build with the idea of building a giant air cannon. The theme of the build was ‘reinventing the wheel’, but they apparently didn’t let that get in the way of building a giant double barrel air cannon, filling it with candy and stuffed animals, and shooting it, point blank, at children. I was wanged by a lemon Starburst, but that’s my favorite flavor anyway.

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The Face-Tracking Confectionery Cannon!

top500

A team of mechanical and electrical engineering students at Olin College came up with a very fun semester project — a pneumatic powered marshmallow cannon that can track faces, and aim for the mouth!

The device — dubbed the Confectionery Canon — is an impressive mechanical build which required many of Olin College’s manufacturing resources such as the laser cutter, the mill, and the lathe. The majority of the device was made out of acrylic, which was chosen for easy laser cutting, and affordability. Specific aluminum pieces provide strength and were made using mostly scrap found in the shop.

Four servos, a webcam, a solenoid and an Arduino Uno make up the electrical system, which uses Python and OpenCV to track faces (GitHub). A PVC tank is used as the pneumatic reservoir, charged with a safety release valve at 30PSI. To fire the cannon, a sprinkler valve is controlled by a beefy solenoid. It currently only has a magazine capacity of 4 large marshmallows, but the team is planning on upgrading soon.

They have put together a great website with tons of information on the project, and following the break is a fun promo video they made for the project — they even got the VP of  the college to try it!

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A sublime PVC cannon

PVC

Not to be outdone with hair spray powered PVC cannons, [William] created an even cooler device: a cannon powered by dry ice.

Once dry ice is loaded into the pressure vessel, a burst disk is placed in the breech and the barrel is screwed on. The trigger isn’t very precise – the entire gun is powered by dry ice turning from a solid into a gas – but the resulting cloudy booms more than make up for any imperfections.

Despite building a cannon and using PVC as a pressure vessel, [Bill]‘s project is actually quite safe. The ‘trigger’ is a burst valve made out of a disc of aluminum foil held between two sections of PVC. When the pressure rises, the aluminum foil inevitably tears, shooting whatever is in the barrel out and hopefully not into an eye. The ‘safety’ on the gun is a ball valve connected directly to the pressure vessel, and with a pressure gauge and a release valve. We’re more than confident in saying this is pretty darn safe as far as PVC cannons are concerned.

ShuttAVR can snap a pic or serve as an intervalometer

shuttAVR-intervalometer-hack

This project started as a simple microcontroller replacement on this IR camera remote control PCB. But the soldering job went rather badly for [Balthamos] so he changed things up and designed his own simple AVR remote shutter release and intervalometer.

The DIP chip seen with most of its legs bent backwards is the ATtiny25 which makes the system work. It’s patched into the traces for the battery connections, button (on the other side of the board) and the IR LED he’s pinching with his left hand. Point it at a Cannon camera and push the button to snap a photo. But as you can see in the clip after the break it also serves as an intervalometer; letting him take several pictures with a user-defined pause between each. That mode is selected by first pressing and holding the button. Once released the chip waits for a second button press to register the delay. The new circuit still fits in the original case after just a bit of alteration to it.

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Mexican law enforcement seizes a hacked together Weed Cannon

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Here’s an interesting hack. It’s a small pick-up truck with a Dope Cannon attached to it. Sure, it looks more like something you’d see in Syria, but this item was actually seized in Mexico where it was being used to fire 30 pound slugs of Marijuana over the border fence with the US. Usually when you fire artillery there isn’t someone on the target range trying to recover the projectile!

The device uses a PVC barrel to guide the pot-pellet as it’s propelled by compressed air. Hey, swap out the drugs for an energy drink and that sounds pretty familiar. Our qualifying entry for the 2012 Red Bull Creation Contest was an energy drink cannon which  used the same setup with a slightly smaller caliber. It makes us wonder if the drug cartel uses little parachutes like we did?

Doesn’t it arouse suspicion to drive something like this around town? You’d think they’d use a box truck or something similar to hide the giant gun.

[Photo Credit: AP via NY Daily News]

[via Reddit]

Building a pirate cannon for fun and plunder

pirate-cannon-build

Our days by the pool are behind us for the year. But playing pirate ship with a 2-year-old does sound like quite a bit of fun. That’s why [The Stone Donkey] built this pirate cannon prop complete with firing sounds.

The simplicity of the design is pretty brilliant. Three segments of PVC and five fittings make for a realistic looking barrel that won’t throw your back out when you pull this one out for playtime. After some cutting and gluing the entire thing was sprayed with matte black paint. The bit of rope wrapped around the barrel is a nice touch. The base was made with some scrap pine, but it’s that little wooden box on top that makes it really special. It is the fuse box, and a tap of the finger gives a burning fuse sound and video followed by an earth-shattering kaboom. [The Stone Donkey] used his old Droid X Android phone and wrote an app for it that puts on the sound and light show. Take a look in the clip after the break.

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How to build a foam machine for your next party

Your neighbors are going to love you if you start filling up the back yard with foam at your next party. It’s an easy enough build, but depending on your ability to source the major components it could cost a pretty penny to use it at your next rager.

[Species287] used a big fan and water pump which he already had on hand. All together that saved him about $200 (he’s pricing in Australian Dollars but they’re almost even right now with USD). The soap solution is super cheap, just a bottle of dish washing liquid mixed to the correct proportions with water, but you’ll need a way to apply it to the fan. Some irrigation supplies connected to the fan grate with zip ties did the trick. The pump is submerged in the bubble liquid, causing it to spray from the nozzles near the fan. But this won’t actually create bubbles. The last piece is a bag-shaped hunk of shade cloth from the garden store. Each pore of the cloth acts as a bubble ring. The cloth gets sprayed with soap by the sprinklers and the air from the fan then blows the bubbles.

There’s no video of this project so if you want to see it in action this other diy foam cannon will have to do.

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