Creating anything from scratch is always a challenge. However, having a committed team that is willing to step outside their own comfort zone to get things done is the key to success. Through a long, five month journey we managed to create a working air cannon with its own specialized features. Our task was to plan, design, test, and build a working platform that could perform a series of tasks. The platform had to hold the air cannon which we also built. It had to have its own fire control system controlled by Arduino, adjustable pressure, Z-axis rotation, and elevation. We were to use the Shopbot to cut out the parts we had designed and build our creation. The completed air cannon with a base would then compete in a game of battleship, shooting tennis balls as far as possible and with accuracy. We had a relatively loose design perimeters of our project. The rubric that we followed is here.
We started working with the program Arduino. This would help us give fire control functions such as opening and closing the sprinkler valve, creating a status light, launch countdown, and other functions. All controlled automatically with Arduino. The first step was understanding the Arduino program. I created a journal with all of this information. Then we had to learn the individual circuits and how they worked. We went through the guide books to complete the circuits as recommended. This part was much more of a challenge. I don't know how to code so figuring this out on my own was difficult. I also had to create each individual circuit. For some of the coding the basics were already there just minor details had to be changed in order to get the circuit to perform its tasks in different ways. I also created a journal with each one of these completed circuit simulations. Then we began to create some of the actual codes we would need to use on our cannon. We had a lot of trouble with this part. Creating code from scratch is difficult. My partner Samaje was much better as figuring this step out then me. We managed some of the basics but didn't complete this step till later.