Cannon Project Julia simmons

The objective of this cannon project was to design and build a cannon to shoot a ball at varying angles and heights. The cannon had to include some kind of support mechanism for the barrels of the cannon and be able to turn, and shoot at different angles. These first few pictures are of the group the first day we were in the shop. We had to cut several pieces of PVC for the barrels of the cannon. In the photos we were using the saws to cut the the 4”, 3”, and 1.5” pieces.
After cutting the PVC the next step was to prime and cement the PVC pieces, caps, couplers, and bushings together. The first image is of us preparing the cement. The next photo is an example of us priming the inside of a barrel. Before applying the cement primer had to be placed and spread around the inside of every piece that was having another component inserted in it. The last photo is what the end result of the priming and cementing.
The first photo was the second to last set of pieces we cemented. When we connected the barrel to the corner piece to the sprinkler valve we did not push it in far enough. Due to this, the two barrels ended up being inverted and were not parallel. This made it harder for the barrel supports to work properly because the further back you pushed the supports, the more inverted the barrels became. We also did not get the opportunity to make our supports out of the thicker wood. This later caused both of the supports to break. Luckily, we were able to salvage the last support and fixed it with wood glue.
Throughout the course of the building process and project my group created several concept drawings. The first image is a rough outline of how we initially wanted to place all the pieces on our final piece of wood. The second image is of some sketches we made to help clarify how our design would function. The layout depicted in the first picture is not what we ended up using because we decided to enlarge our pieces.
These pictures show our final design. The first one was of our circle base. The long slits towards the front of the base are where we put our ladder pieces. The smaller slits next to where the ladders are are where we put the ladder supports. At first we had ladder supports on both sides of the ladder, but we decided not to go forward with it because it would’ve gotten in the way of the barrels of the cannon. The two longer slits in the back of the base are for the bottom barrel clamps. The smaller holes on the side are where the top clamps fit in. The hole in the center of the base was where we put a large screw to hold all of the bases together. The second image is of our square base. This was placed under the circle base because the circle base was the piece that was going to turn and rotate. The five holes on this base was where additional screws were placed.
To secure the cannon in place while adjusting the height we designed two clamps. The piece on the left is the top clamp, while the one on the right is the bottom one. The bottom clamp rested under the 1” PVC while the the top one was inserted through the circle base over the PVC. When we cut out our clamps on the final pieces of wood we realized that the clamps were made the wrong size. We accidentally made.
Our group created two ladders for the cannon. These were to be placed on the outside of the barrels and would control the height at which the cannon was shooting. The circular holes in the ladder are where a pipe was to be inserted. The cannon barrels would rest on the pipe so that it could change height. The rectangular hole at the bottom of the ladder is where the triangular ladder supports would be inserted. The picture in the middle is of the triangular ladder supports. The tab on the top left side is what is inserted in the ladder. The tab on the bottom was inserted into circular base to hold it in place. The purpose of this piece was to provide vertical support for the ladders so that they would stand up straighter. The last picture is of Emily cutting the pipe that would be inserted into the holes of the ladder.
These pictures here are of the group getting ready to cut our final design out on wood. In the first image, Circe and Alyssa are measuring where to place screws in the wood that would hold the wood in place while the ShopBot was working. In the middle image, the ShopBot is in the process of cutting out the design. The last picture is of what the computer screen looked like as we were preparing to cut. Using the ShopBot was kind of similar to using the laser. The ShopBot is a bit more complicated.
After our pieces were cut we moved on to assembling our cannon. We started by glueing a washer that we had cut out onto the back of our circular base. We made the washer so that the base would be able to turn with more ease when on top of the square base. The second image is what our pieces looked like when they were assembled. The third one is what the cannon looked like when everything was assembled. All of our pieces fit well, but we added sawdust in some of the slots so that the pieces wouldn’t move around too much.
The picture on the far left is of us glueing the clamps to the cannon. We decided to do this because when we tried to elevate the cannon the clamps would not stay in their slots. Adding glue secured them and the cannon in place. The last two images are of us adding angles to the bases. The lines marked different angle measurements. Each increment was of 5°. These lines would be allow us to be able to tell how many degrees to the left and right the cannon was turned. We initially wanted to use increments of only 15°, but we decided that it would not be precise enough. These were the last steps we took in making our cannon.
The steps taken to test the cannon included pressurizing and loading. We used a long pipe to push the tennis ball that we were shooting into the back of the pipe. After that we pressurized the valve. We used a gage to check the pressure to make sure that it was not too high or low. The last step, then, was to use the battery to shoot the ball.
We were only able to go outside to test two times because of bad weather. There were numerous days where is was just too windy or cold to go outside. We got to fire the cannon at three different angles, but they were all at the same pressure of 75 PSI. Looking at the data collected it is hard to tell which angle worked the best, but 67° definitely performed the worst. The 19° angle was relatively consistent in distance, but there was great variance with the 84° angle.

Reflection

Looking back at how testing went and the feedback we got on our project, there are many aspects of our cannon that I would change and improve. First of all, I wish when we were connecting the barrels to the valve that we would've been more careful. It was a stupid mistake of not pushing the barrel in far enough that led to it slanted and inverted. If we had just taken more time to think about what we were doing, perhaps that mistake could've been avoided. Additionally, I wish we would've made a stronger barrel support. I don't think we necessarily needed to think of a whole new design, but I think we should've used the same wood that the rest of our cannon pieces were made out of. Since we used a thin wood, the supports broke almost instantly. By the time we were conducting our second round of testing, both of our supports had broken.

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