[Brian] from 24 Hour Engineer has a friend with arthritis who can’t easily play ball with his new puppy — so [Brian] stepped in and built him this awesome tennis ball launcher.
You see, most tennis ball launchers require a solid flick of the wrist, and since just plain old throwing it is out of the question too, [Brian] had to make him something powerful and easy to use. After sketching out some designs he came up with the basic concept that eventually became what is pictured above.
The frame is made of 2″ PVC pipe, which serves two purposes, support, and safety. The bungee cord launching system is actually contained within the pipe, keeping it out of the way, and free from catching on anything during firing. A pair of pulleys mounted at the cord opening ensure the cord doesn’t wear out.
What we really like is the trigger mechanism [Brian] made out of some carefully cut wood, a steel corner brace and a few nuts and bolts. It’s a simple mechanism that provides leverage and an easy way to release the bungee cord.
Now we know what you’re all thinking — how is a guy with arthritis suppose to load this thing? Well, it’s actually foot loaded: stand it up straight, put your foot on the ball harness, and step down until it clicks into the trigger mechanism. It’s similar to loading a crossbow backwards… which you would never do for obvious reasons. Still, we feel the tennis ball has rather low risk associated with it compared to a sharpened steel bolt…
If you want to build your own, [Brian’s] laid out everything you need to know on his site, with plans to turn it into an Instructable at some point — there’s even more info via his build log.
You could also build an electric version if you’re feeling particularly lazy.
17 thoughts on “Tennis Ball Launcher Has Puppies Running The 100m Dash”
That’s pretty awesome. This is the seconds time in a week or two I’ve seen something like this. The last one was a automatic one. It was simple enough that they were able to train the dog to reload it himself/herself and the trigger was large and easily operated so that the dog could play fetch with himself/herself when there wasn’t a human available to play with.
Can you post a link to the full-auto version?
There was the recent one that attaches to a wheelchair, too.
Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PcL6-mjRNk&feature=player_embedded
Oops, that was the auto tennis ball launcher link jcwren was asking about. I responded to the wrong post.
The guy has 9 bazillion yawn inducing build photos and not one single short video showing the contraption working.
PVC =/= safe. At least it isn’t another reckless compressed air PVC build.
PVC also =/= automatically lethal in every project ever, but thanks for the knee jerk response, it helped me confirm I was on HaD.
PVC has a compressional strength of 9600psi at 73F. It should hold up just fine to some bungee cords .http://www.professionalplastics.com/professionalplastics/PVCPipeSpecifications.pdf
Here is a video of the launcher throwing a tennis ball 100ft.
The PVC is the safer option when the alternative is exposed bungee cords and pulleys. This way the fast moving rubber isn’t going to catch things like hair or clothes while firing.
Beautiful ballistic build, Brian! Don’t listen to the naysayers.
Silly question….but what kind of force is needed to pull it back?
When I first read that I heard “Tennis ball launcher, shoots puppies up to 100m”
I’m sure it can do that, too, though PETA may get upset and Pamela Anderson may show up naked at your door to protest your action.
On a second thought, can you hand me that launcher and a puppy, please?
Though this could have been made with wood, metal, anything really. It’s caveman tech.
I want to see the Joerg Sprave version of this….
Hey! Brian, why no shout out to Twin Cities Maker’s Hack Factory where much of the build happened?
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