Objective: To construct a catapult that not only launches a ball, but will also light up and make sounds. We plan to make our catatupult out of pvc pipe. We also want Jasline to easily be able to launch the ball with touch of a button (or something like that).
Progress Report 1: We have a pretty good idea of what are catapult will look like and how it will work. For the framework, we will use PVC pipe to construct the catapult. It will be able to make sound, light up, and throw a ball by the use of a sensor. The sensor will set off a relay, which will trigger those things to happen. We have come up with two different options for the release method. One, we could use magnets to hold the catapult down, and when we want to release the catapult, we would demagnetize one of the magnets. Another option is we could use a fence latch to hold the catapult, and when we want to release it, we would use a switch that we would open the latch. For the interface, we want to use a big button, so it is easy for Jasline to press. We also know that Jasline likes One Direction, so we might use part of their song for the sound. We are also considering of having a “rocket launch” sound, where it would countdown from five, and then throw the ball. For the lights, we will use flashing LEDs. We have gotten some of the pieces for our catapult.
Progress Report 2:
We have done a lot more since our last progress report. We built an actual working model and were able to launch a tennis ball manually. However, a pvc pipe fitting broke when we used it, so we need to come up with a soluiton, so that does not happen again. We also have worked on the electrical portion of the catapult. We took a laptop charger, spliced the end of it, and connected it to a speaker. The laptop charger will also be connected to a noise maker and lights that we recently ordered. Another thing we did is we took apart a light that we made into a big push button. When the button is pushed, it will trigger a solenoid that will open a latch that will allow the tennis ball to be launched. Pushing the button will also cause the lights and sound to go off. Basically, what we still need to do is get more pvc pipe for the catapult, hook up the electrical part of the catapult, and then test it.
Progress Report 3:
The catapult is now capable of launcing a tennis ball with the press of a button. We tested and it works great. Jasline used it, and it worked every time she pressed the button. Before the presentation, we glued the pipes together, making the catapult very sturdy. We ordered a solenoid off the internet, but it was way too small and was not powerful enough. Luckily, Will was able to get his hands on an industrial solenoid, which worked great. We also ordered a noisemaker that could make different sounds by pressing different buttons. Unfortunately, the soundboard was fried in the process of trying to solder it. We had lights that we were going to put on the catapult, but they were the wrong voltage. However, the main thing was is that we got the catapult working. When the switch is pressed, the solenoid pulls a string that opens the latch. This releases the throwing arm and launches a ball. For the most part, our catapult turned out like we planned. We spent a lot of time and money, and in the end, we were successful in building our catapult.