Project Battleship Portfolio BY: Elizabeth Ries

In this project we created an air cannon ,with a base, so we could play a game of human battleship (shooting a cannon at various angles to reach various targets). The requirements were to design a cannon that had an arduino firing system (LED light warning, a relay system and a countdown sound system) and be capable of having full range of motion.

This is where the project began, with a rough sketch that was thoroughly discussed. It included a shelf to hold the cannon vertical and a socket base that would move our cannon at all angles.

Our cannon turned out completely different than this sketch, but we were still gained the knowledge of what can and can't be made based on our resources.

The photo on the left is from a online program that lets you test circuits before making them. The photo on the right is my team's functioning Arduino.

After brainstorming our projects for a week we moved onto our Arduino circuit board which will be able to control our air cannon by simply pushing a button. This will trigger a countdown lighting system. When the lights turn green the Arduino will open the relay and shoot the cannon.

Using primer and glue to aftach the pipes together

After finishing the Arduino portion of the project we moved onto making our PVC cannon. This was the one part of the project we got perfect

Our 2nd Design

Our second design is where the idea of using gears in the project originated. In this design we were going to use a gear pulley system to move the canon vertically. And gears attached to a crank that will rotate the canon horizontally. We scrapped the gear pulley system because the contraption would've been difficult to design and also a waste of materials.

Assembling the box support

We made the cutouts for this box support three different times. The generator for the cutout was trying to correct our dimensions to accommodate for the laser. In order for us to fix this we had to make our dimensions bigger so when they were cut smaller the pieces would fit together.

Different hole sizes for the barrel support

Final Design. We used gears to rotate the cannon side to side, we added pulley supports to help moving the canon vertically easier, and cuffs to hold the canon in place.

In these two pictures we plotted out all our pieces on a four by four square to see how much material each piece used and how we should position them when cutting them out of wood.

The Finished Product


  • A "pulley" system to move the cannon vertically
  • A gear sytem to move the cannon horizontally
  • A cleat to tie the string from the pulley system into place
  • Two support beams to help the pulley stay up straight and not bend from the weight of the cannon
Data from shooting the cannon

While we are ere shooting we found that our cannon was very consistent in accuracy, but preparing the cannon for shooting was a very tedious process and took longer than expected.

Based on the data we deduced that if we kept the canon at a discrete angle (33 degrees) all we had to do to change where our ball fell was adjust the air pressure.



  • Our project had full range of motion
  • Our cannon was also very consistent during our testing process
  • The canon was sturdy and stable


  • Base was not as sturdy as the cannon
  • Pulley system wasn't truly a pulley. It only helped with elevation and not distributing the weight to make the cannon lighter.
  • Gears turned out to be useless because they couldn't sustain the weight of the base and cannon.


I feel I was able to contribute to my team effectively by being a team player and adding my ideas when needed and listening and integrating others ideas as well. During this project I found that I was well versed in Onshape and my teammates would often refer me to help with Onshape. Where I fell short was helping with the Arduino, I had a hard time figuring out the coding process and often leaned on Charles to help me through those parts.

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