Tweets send your balls flying (on TV)

Members from the London Hackerspace recently got a little on-air time with a ping pong ball launcher. They were invited to build something for the Click show on BBC. The launcher that they built responds to hash tags on Twitter by barraging the audience with balls.

The hardware was built in two parts. The first is a dispenser that responds to incoming Tweets by releasing one ball onto a set of staging ramps. The other portion is the launcher itself. Building it like this makes it a rapid fire device, as the spinning wheels of the launcher make quick work of several dozen balls just waiting to be let loose. Check out some footage from the show after the jump.

We like this one just as much as that remote controlled launcher. We’re glad to have seen these both because we happen to have a surplus of the balls lying around since we built that clock and we’re not about to undertake some of the more dangerous ping pong based projects we’ve seen. Continue reading “Tweets send your balls flying (on TV)”

Candy chucker – weapon, or advanced Halloween delivery system?

Now we know why kids in this neighborhood wear plastic Halloween masks instead of just painting their faces. They’re trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of hard candy spewing out the front of this candy chucking pumpkin.

The mechanism operates very much like a baseball or football throwing device. Now that we think of it, it’s also the same concept as the chicken launcher. There is a feed shoot that drops the projectile into the grips of two spinning chuckers. Those chuckers are built out of a couple of fans, with layers of fabric to account for different sizes and shapes of candy.

The video after the break shows some test firing. We love the sickening ‘whap!’ that the Werther’s Original (or whatever crappy Halloween offering they’re using) makes when it slams into the wall of the room.

This thing’s just begging to be mounted on a parade float, don’t you think?

Continue reading “Candy chucker – weapon, or advanced Halloween delivery system?”

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!

Continue reading “Thumper The T-Shirt Launcher”

Motorcycle turned chicken launcher

Those who frequently work with them will tell you that rubber chickens are actually pretty heavy. You’re not going to do much damage chucking them by hand and that’s why you need your own rubber chicken launcher. This most-excellent magazine-fed foul-flinger was built by artist [Sean Pace] as a senior project while working toward his fine arts degree at UNC Asheville. He reused the rear end of a motorcycle, purposing the spinning wheel to grab the birds out of an in-feed channel and fling them much like a mechanical football launcher would. It kind of makes us wonder if you could do the same thing with a pneumatic football launcher?

[Sean’s] contraption is built on a stationary base, but in the video after the break you can see it firing from a flatbed truck. Seems somewhat like a whimsical warthog if you’re a Halo fan.

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Automatic ball launcher is for the dogs

automatic_ball_launcher

A while back, [Dino] built an automatic ball launcher for his dogs, but he wanted to revise it to make it smaller and a bit more user-friendly. While watching an episode of “Prototype This”, he came across a great idea to improve his launcher, so off to the workshop he went.

He repurposed a power window motor from a car, and mounted it to some wood-reinforced aluminum sheeting in his garage. He added a piece of aluminum tubing to serve as a spring-loaded launch arm, which is drawn back by a small lever attached to the window motor.

When a ball is dropped onto a switch at the bottom of the launcher, the window motor starts turning, which pulls the launch arm back into place. Once the arm reaches the tipping point, the spring snaps it forward, launching the ball across the yard. The lever attached to the window motor eventually makes its way back under the launch arm, and is stopped by a switch that is also attached to the motor.

After the prototype was finished, he added some more wood to protect the mechanism from his dogs and vice versa. A hopper was added to the top of the structure to allow the dogs to load the launcher themselves, after a bit of training.

Now, some of you might wonder what is wrong with [Dino’s] arm. Truth be told, it works just fine. If you are a frequent Hack-a-Day visitor, you know that he spends plenty of time in the workshop, so this is an easy way to let the dogs entertain themselves until their owner is ready to play.

Check out the video embedded below for a demonstration of the launcher, as well as a detailed walkthrough of how the mechanism works.

Continue reading “Automatic ball launcher is for the dogs”

Water-blob launcher

This rifle-shaped water cannon looks great and packs a big punch. We guess you could say that it’s a water balloon launcher, but the balloons are torn off and drop like the wad from a shotgun shell when fired. So we think this launches water blobs, or orbs, or something along those lines.

[Wolf] built it using PVC and some brass fittings that allow for the injection of compressed air. There’s a slick valve system that he developed which we don’t get a great look at in the build pictures. Fortunately, there’s an animated GIF that shows the various stages. Using his valve there’s no need for any electrical system like a lot of other pneumatic launcher systems use.

Just like the water-filled ping-pong gun, you’ve got to be careful with this thing. As you can see in the clip after the break there’s lethal force behind these projectiles. Especially when [Wolf] swaps out the water balloons for big steel darts.

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Building a better water rocket launchpad

School will be starting again in a few weeks but it’s not too late to enjoy a little time with your kids. This water rocket launcher lets you do just that. Built using the frame from an old grill, a soda bottle takes its place on the upturned PVC pipe. There’s a connection for your garden hose that allows you to inject water into the bottle. From there, a compressor connection pressurizes the bottle in preparation for launch. Watch it happen in the video after the break. That bottle could use some fins and a nose cone but there’s no denying the delight the kids are enjoying when they chase after the downed craft.

If you’ve already got a compressor and some empty 2-liter bottles you might also pick up some extra PVC to make this pressurized water cannon.