Ping Pong Ball Barrage

What should you do with your down time between sophomore and junior year at MIT? You better build something awesome. [Christian Reed] didn’t disappoint with his newest creation. He calls it the Ping Pong Mauler and we think that’s an appropriate name. It doesn’t just lunch a ball, it belches forth a relentless barrage.

He certainly has no shortage of ammo. A few garbage bags full of the white orbs number at least 3000 strong, and the plastic drum he’s using as a hopper has room for them all. Jamming is an issue and in the image above you can see him working the agitator with his right hand to prevent a clog. The system is mobile, but the shop vacuum used to propel the balls needs AC power. This means there is a tether that keeps it from roaming too far from home. [Christian] included an air tank in the design but apparently the pressurized air doesn’t do much to help with launch speed. That’s good because pressurized ball guns can be scary.

Check out the video after the break to see the ping pongs fly. We bet they’ll be mowing over some strays out in the yard for at least the rest of this summer.

[Thanks Nela]

21 thoughts on “Ping Pong Ball Barrage

  1. Possible improvement – mount an air or electric motor with an auger inside to better stir up the feed so the operator can concentrate on actually operating the unit.

    1. Of course, he’s launching ping pong balls which weigh next to nothing… Replace the ping pong balls with golf balls and more air pressure and I’m sure it’d be much more accurate and shoot MUCH farther.

      1. Why of course?

        Yes ping-pong balls are light and would be heavily affected by wind, but wind conditions don’t change in split seconds, from one ball to the next as they appear in the video. I don’t think that’s the real problem.

        I think the problem is either the barrel size (not tight enough), or more likely variance in payload. Because it’s continuous blowing air, and balls are sucked in at “random” intervals, when a ball is in the barrel already and another gets pulled in, the pressure on the 1st ball is gonna be impacted if it’s still in the barrel. If you made sure only 1 ball enters the barrel at once I think it would be more consistent.

  2. I’ve seen DIY airsoft machine guns that operate on a similar principle, but they agitate the ammo chamber using the driving air pressure, so you don’t need any mechanism to keep the ammo from jamming.

  3. warning: off-topic

    Dear HaD, if you don’t like my habit of browsing several articles and commenting on those I wish to say something about in one session then please don’t simply nullify all my entries after I press submit suddenly for an hour (or whatever it is) without telling me why. That is rude and annoying and it’s how you turn a site to shit because you get normal people to leave and are left with the infamous ‘sheeple’ who just accept anything but also are not very enthralling commenters.

    Examples of this happening include

    1. no idea what you’re talking about whatnot. Sounds like a programming issue. Might want to take that up with wordpress. Or is it possibly a session timeout issue.

      We have nothing in place to “nullify all your entries” when you browse multiple articles in one instance.

  4. Add a gas engine to run the vacuum mechanically. The vibration from a small single cyl motor will vibrate that drum perfect and feed the balls. I install vibrating motors in industrial hoppers now and then. They work well.

    Also, look at “hop up” adjustments on airsoft guns. Get a little spin on those ping pong balls and they’ll fly the same all the time. I suspect they’re spinning in random directions. A grippy part on the barrel along one edge or something.

  5. Why do I suspect Mike Szczys begins his hackaday workday by putting ping pong balls in every available search engine? Seems like Mike is the one from hackaday posting the most ping pong ball hacks.

      1. @steve

        You just make me choke on my red bull. lol. I guess he’s trying to get around the censors. As such, I don’t think he would be revising his design to exclude the “juggle/agitate the balls” level. lol

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