Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Update

Today, we finalized our design and decided to change it slightly. We bought PVC pipes, elbows, and Tee pieces to construct our device, which functions like a catapult (tension from Bungee cords). We have the contraption built and put together, we just need a few finishing touches before we finish our first prototype. We need to figure out what we are going to be using for our release mechanism to let go of the pieces in motion (attached to Bungees). We might use a motor with a button connected, or a non-mechanical device that we have not decided on yet. We also need to find a way to attach the tennis ball to the pipe that will be launching it (tba). We will scan a sketch of the device ASAP, and will have another update next week, hopefully with our prototype finished.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First progress report

The beginning of our building process got delayed this week when one of the things we were bidding on E-bay sold before we were able to bid again, and it got too expensive for our liking. We are now going to build our throwing machine almost all by raw materials, most of which we need to go and buy. During the next week, we plan to buy the materials listed below, create the basic structure of our device, and formulate more ideas for the details of our plans. For now, we plan to use wood and PVC pipes for the structure, two small motors to power the "height changer" to control how many balls are being thrown and the other to power the switches used for the buttons. We also plan to use a large, curved PVC pipe (if we can find one) as a chute for tennis ball. If not, we will create a ramp that can be under the spinning wheel that will launch the ball. If possible, we want to have the device planted on a rotating platform, so it can be easily aimed. For the three buttons that will be attached with wires to the platform, we intend to have one button for the actual on/off powering of the machine, one to spin the wheel that will launch the ball clockwise, and the other button to spin the wheel counterclockwise. When the wheel is turning towards the tennis balls, they will be prevented from being launched. We plan to get all of our supplies from Home Depot/Lowe's, Radio Shack, and possibly from a source on the web. Another update will be posted next week.

Items that we need:
  • electrical wires
  • basket to hold balls
  • 2 small motors
  • battery packs
  • PVC pipes for structure and large pipe for ball transfer
  • 3 switches/buttons
  • wood (for structure and support)
  • basket/holding device for the balls waiting to be launched