Android controlled t-shirt cannon

Every year, Qualcomm hosts the “Battle of the Schools.” This year the goal was to build homemade contraptions that would be judged on how cool they are. [Doug DeCarme], [Shaver Deyerle], and [Zach Rattner] – three Qualcomm employees at Virginia Tech – built an Android controlled t-shirt cannon for this event and ended up tying with Michigan State for first place.

The cannon is built around an Arduino Uno and a BlueSMiRF Bluetooth modem. [Doug DeCarme], the Android developer of the group, put together an app that would fire each barrel independently. The valves for the cannon are just 150 PSI inline sprinkler valves, bought from the local Home Depot. From the project breakdown, the team spent less than $150 on entire project.

From the video, we see that they’re getting some pretty good distance firing t-shirts at 160 PSI. Although we question the wisdom of using PVC as a pressure vessel holding 160 PSI, changing the PVC to a proper air reservoir wouldn’t be that hard.

Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher

Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher

[joe] and [ryan] built Thumper for their high school FIRST robotics team. The cannon itself is a solenoid-fired compressed air launcher that gets its juice from three large PVC tanks stored in the box below the turret, and the cannon is able to be fired nine times between visits to the air compressor. It was intentionally designed to resemble an M2 Browning 50 Caliber heavy machine gun, with the two vertical handles and boxy body.  They finished construction in about a week with a budget of only $300. When they saw that a lot of their friends had also built cannons, they scrounged for parts from their garages to re-use to build the mobile platform simply for one-upmanship sake. The motor and drive-train propelling this behemoth came out of a 1980s-era mobile X-Ray machine that had been discarded by a local hospital. The rear wheels were specially modified to fit the drivetrain, and the front end is a chopped, hacked, and welded axle and steering mechanism from an old lawn tractor. Sections of unistrut form the rest of the frame.

[joe] and [ryan] were even asked to bring Thumper to their high school prom as a unique way to hand out T-Shirts for the evening. Unfortunately, there’s no website for this build.

See video of Thumper in action with a Nerf Football after the break. Hack A Day even got to take it for a spin around the Power Wheels Racing Series track at Maker Faire KC!

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Beer shooting dorm fridge

blunt force traumomatic

When we first heard the parts list for this project, we weren’t too impressed. It has an iPhone connecting to an IObridge etc… But then we heard the next, and most important part, an air cannon and an assortment of beer. We were sold.  As you can see in the video after the break, a fancy iPhone interface lets you select your beer, then dispense it into the cannon for delivery. The next step is to aim using a web cam mounted at the cannon and let ‘er rip! The beer is fired across the room and into your hands. We suspect that the amount of cranial injury, holes in the drywall, and shattered glass will greatly increase in frequency as the night goes on. Awesome.

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Build a confetti cannon for your next party

[Scott] built a confetti canon to spice up the party. It’s pneumatic and re-purposes a fire extinguisher as the air tank. He had a refillable extinguisher that used water instead of chemical retardant. After emptying the water and ensuring all of the pressure had been release he swapped the hose and nozzle for a sprinkler solenoid valve. Securing the extinguisher’s actuator lever with a pipe clamp holds the internal valve open, leaving the solenoid to control the pressure release. This way the canon can be fired electronically, or manually.

This type of solenoid valve is a popular choice with pneumatic canons. We suppose you could even adapt this for use as a T-shirt cannon.

[Thanks BoBeR182]

We knew we were doomed when the T-shirt cannon bots showed up

The newest addition to the Skynet armada is this 10-barrel t-shirt cannon. It’s capable of storming the battlements at over twelve feet per second with a firing rate of three T-shirts per second (ooh, is that cotton?).

The members of Team 254, which is hosted by Bellarmine College Preparatory School, built the robot over the summer. This involved a full production cycle; planning, 3D modelling, acquiring the materials, and finishing the build. All of this is well documented in their build blog and for video, check out their media page.

We already know how to customize the T-shirts for use as ammo, now what this needs is some tank treads.

Hackaday links: August 22, 2010

EL back-lit keyboard

A couple bucks worth of EL wire gives a nice green glow to [Mark Shasha's] T400 Elite. Hopefully [Jeri Ellsworth] has some time to pull those how-to videos together so that we can make our own EL wire to replicate this hack.

Mini kaboom

This tiny cannon is right out of Night at the Museum. It works just like its much bigger brothers would; fill with powder, insert cannon ball, and light with a fuse. Both the introduction and the follow-up videos document the destruction of various objects using the diminutive weapon. [Thanks Thorsten]

Don’t close that browser

We use Google Chrome quite a bit because it tends to be more responsive when opening massive numbers of tabs while researching featured hacks. But there’s some things we don’t like about it. Lack of built-in PDF support under Ubuntu comes to mind, but a smaller thorn in our side is that closing the last tab will also close the browser window. [Ted Schaefer] got tired of the same thing so he wrote an extension called Last Tab Standing to trap that last browser tab, opening the default window instead of closing the browser.

Amiga demo winner

This 4K demo for the Amiga AGA is the top ranked submission from Breakpoint 2010. [Osgeld] tipped us off about this and made the point that although it’s four times the size of those 1K JavaScript demos, the Amiga code doesn’t get to take advantage a pre-existing framework like Java does enjoy the benefits of running inside of a browser . Is this doing more with less?

Transformers balloon sculptures

If you’re having trouble finding that art piece to fill up your dining room you should consider building transformers out of balloons. The sculpture above is a free-standing Optimus Prime but the artist has also turned out Megatron, Grimlock, and others. [Thanks W01F]

Arm mounted light cannon; villains beware

In a hack worthy of the flick Kick Ass, [Chein] built this arm-mounted light weapon. The lamp in the palm of your hand has a ring of LEDs for a nice glowing effect, but the real story is the xenon bulb at its center. The flash capacitor and charge circuit from a disposable camera are used to step up the battery voltage to 330V for an intense and slightly blinding discharge. The charging is started when you press a button on the back of the hand harness, with the flash coming when one of your fingers touches a conveniently positioned trigger. Check it out after the break.

This non-lethal weapon makes for a nice alternative to the dangers involve in playing with fire.

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