[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”
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.
Continue reading “Motorcycle turned chicken 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”
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.
Continue reading “Water-blob launcher”
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.
[Carmine] let us know about his team’s Automated Football Launcher. Their goal was to combine a football launcher with motion tracking, to allow a player to practice running and catching with the perfect throw. Unfortunately, and we’re not quite sure when, they ended up changing out the Jugs machine for an air cannon, which resulted in the use of foam footballs and the loss of throwing factors such as spiral. Somewhat defeating the purpose but we’ll let it slide; only because we know its going to be shooting potatoes eventually.
The project comes together by using two cameras giving distance and color tracking, combined with a rotating platform (and the best use of garden hose ever), an accurate set-top for their launcher. As seen in the video after the jump, it works out quite nicely. Continue reading “Perfect spiral, every time”
If you get in the line of fire this golf ball launcher is gonna leave a mark, or worse. It’s based on the same premise as the sausage gun, but now everything is automated and no meat products are used.
A hopper stores a row of golf balls. When it comes time to load, a ball falls into the chamber, starter fuel is sprayed into the combustion area with the aid of a fan, and after both chambers are sealed the propellant is ignited.
We’ve embedded two videos below for your amusement. It looks like [Chrille] and his friends are being careful with their creation. We’re glad for that because this is about as dangerous as the high-velocity ping-pong ball launcher. Continue reading “Fully-automated golf ball gun”