We began the project with an assortment of PVC Pipes, Fittings, and Valves. We were given a design for the cannon. All the pieces were cut down to spec and fittings glued together.
We used a bike valve for the intake air valve and another valve that would open and close to release the air.
After assembling the rest of the cannon we pressure tested it to make sure it was air tight and functional
The next step was to design a base and rotational system. At first we were going to design something out of plywood but then we began to think about alternative solution. Our team decided to use recycled bike parts to construct our frame. The bike already had two angles of rotation with the wheel and head tube. All we had to figure out was how to make it into a stable base, mount the cannon, and restrict and measure the movement.
We disassembled the bike and designed braces to connect the cannon too the wheel and maintain stability in the barrels.
Then we took a couple weeks of class to learn how too use Arduinos. We learned how to program various commands into the Arduino that could be used to create a countdown clock and firing system. This was very interesting and was something that I had no previous experience with. At first it was challenging and confusing but by the end I had a good understanding. In the end we did not use our arduinos to launch the cannon but I gained some valuable knowledge.
After we were done paying with arduinos we resumed the air cannon project. The next step was to weld our base. We designed a tripod type base the would position the head tube in the middle vertical. The district welder then came to class to help us construct the frame. Since we were using aluminum we needed a special gas and welder. The district welder was very helpful and taught us all how to weld. Our welds were not super clean and pretty but they will definitely hold our base together. I think welding is a valuable skill that I hope to use in the future.