2014-06-03 (Tu) Tennis Ball Launcher

So I was thinking. End of joke.

The first picture I post automatically becomes the thumbnail for the blog post. I'm going to try posting a small image at the beginning that is representative of the work done that day. Hopefully this will make the wall of posts look more like a gallery rather than a hodge-podge of steps.

And there you have it

Enough background.

A length of 1 ½” PVC was found on the scrap materials shelf at the hack space. It was drilled at one end to fit the 5/16” bolt installed yesterday, 2014-06-02 (M). The purposes of the pipe were to hold the front braces perpendicular to the bungee PVC pipes and to hold the release mechanism parallel to the bungee pipes. It was trimmed to stop just short of the angle brace on the release mechanism.
 Pipe mounted on front brace

Pipe at the ideal length stopping at the angle brace

The end of the pipe touching the release mechanism was drilled to receive three wood screws in the region that touches the mechanism. One side of the pipe was drilled to make small holes for the screws while the other side of the pipe was drilled large enough to pass a screwdriver through to tighten the screws. The release mechanism was also drilled to accept the wood screws.

Rotational view of the pipe

With the new pipe installed the launcher became ready to load and fire. The first round loaded but the tennis ball fell out and was easily put back into the hammock once the launcher was cocked. The corners of the release mechanism form sharp points and should be smooth out to avoid unnecessary wear on the 1” webbing

A launcher that is ready to fire

The angle brace provides a good trigger and will probably not need a cabled version to pull it. Rather, a handle could be installed behind it and the brace itself could become the trigger and still provide a solid-feeling trigger. A small corner brace was installed behind the trigger with the intent of providing a mounting point for the cable but may become the mounting point for a handle.

 Holes marked on the bottom of the release mechanism

Holes about to be drilled on the release mechanism

The launching was tested several times with success. The hammock may be causing problems at the end of the launch.

Launching a tennis ball. A tape measure would have been smart

The camera was held to the launcher by a tripod similar to a GorillaPod

To do:

  • Buy plastic spray paint
  • Round the corners of the trigger-release
  • Build + mount handle
  • Test
  • Refine
  • Decorate
  • Document

 Journal page 1

Journal page 2