# A Basketball Hoop That Never Lets You Brick

With none of the major leagues in any team sport currently meeting, sports fans have a huge void that has to be filled with something. For [Shane Wighton], the machine shop is the place to go when sports let you down, and the result is this basketball backboard that lets you sink every shot every time.

When we first saw this, we thought for sure it would be some overly complicated motorized affair that would move the hoop to catch the basketball, sort of like the dart-catching dartboard we featured some time ago. And while that would be awesome and somebody should totally build that so we can write it up, [Shane]’s hoop dream is a lot simpler mechanically, even if the math needed to determine the proper shape for the backboard was complex. He wrote software to simulate throws from hundreds of positions to determine the shape for the board, which ends up looking like a shallow elliptic paraboloid. The software created a mesh that was translated into CNC tool paths in Fusion 360, and the backboard was carved from blocks of softwood.

The first tests were disappointing; instead of landing every shot, the board seemed to be actively denying them. [Shane] had to puzzle over that for a while before realizing that he didn’t account for the radius of the ball, which means the centroid never actually contacts the backboard. Rather than recalculate and create a new backboard, he just shifted the hoop out from the backboard by a ball radius. With that expedient in place, the setup performed exactly as calculated.

[Shane] may have taken the long road to hoops glory, but we appreciate the effort and the math lesson. And the fact that this ends up being the same shape as some antennas is a plus.

## 25 thoughts on “A Basketball Hoop That Never Lets You Brick”

1. msat says:

This is my only hope of ever being less than horrible at basketball

2. tomás zerolo says:

You mean — hoop hope?

3. You can still miss if your ball won’t go far enough to be anywhere near the hoop. e.g. the match in Big Bang Theory.

4. Hirudinea says:

So it’s a parabolic reflector (satellite dish) for basketballs, neat! Also if he had left the basket where it was when he first built it, so the ball would never go in the basket, he would clean up at a carnival!

1. CityZen says:

You’d have to make a rule to prevent people aiming straight for the hoop.

1. darkspr1te says:

There was a show about the inspectors of these games and how they test the various games for “owner twaeks” that reduce the odds of you winning, like hoops leaning back or to one side, claw machines with smoothed fingers and weak springs so you cant grab that iphone box .
Heres the video, there are more with in-depth interviews. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=facUNB_rdq8

5. Now I need a launcher like those doggie tennis ball returners. I can sink threes all day and never leave my office chair.

6. Steven Clark says:

The This Old Tony style is a nice touch.

1. JMC1029 says:

That guy is awesome Even my kids love his videos.

7. Saabman says:

With my aim I’d be more worried about the window next to it

8. Michael Jozwik says:

You need to patent that, I mean, RIGHT NOW.

9. Derf says:

It’s called Monte Carlo after the gambling capitol of Monaco, Monte Carlo.

10. Armin says:

Can you invent a better device to return the basketball back to the shooter after a make?

1. InverseInductor says:

1. Arminder says:

To clarify, I meant for real basketball. Outdoors on a 10ft rim. 😊

11. sam says:

Erm, of course it doesn’t always go in. Sure, maybe if you throw a free-throw, but not if you throw from, oh, I don’t know, any angle other than straight on.

Maybe he mentions that in the video, I’m not sitting through 20-odd minutes about a curved bit of material. Maybe it should track you, then the title might be more accurate.

1. bestLD says:

The simulation runs for different throwing positions. He does mention that within the first six minutes of the video and again about eleven minutes in. The rest is construction and results. So no, you need not sit through twenty minutes “about a curved bit of material”.

2. sneakypoo says:

You don’t want to watch, but you can’t help but comment, huh? Cool.

1. Ren says:

Youtube is a mixed blessing, we now can see things we had no access to before (e.g. How to replace the timing belt on a 2009 Honda Civic with common tools), but some videos are far longer than necessary in order to have commercials crammed in them, as well as the “Don’t forget to click on the (whatever) to Subscribe” mentioned several times with each video. It can be the video equivalent of clickbait websites (Forty webpages to click through to see the Top 15 Sports Cars).
So, when I click on a Youtube link, it is sort of like playing Russian Roulette, will I get the information I’m looking for in a concise format? Or will it be buried in a bunch of blather?

So, yeah, I’m cool with [sam]’s comment.

12. Dan says:

“realizing that he didn’t account for the radius of the ball”
😭 so sad! So frustrating when you find a simple mistake in something, especially so close to completion!
Well done on finding a simple solution though, and very cool project.

1. Ren says:

And it is not even a Regulation Basketball, or that guy has HUGE hands!

13. CRJEEA says:

The irony of having a software problem that is fixed in hardware.

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.