The Spider Cannon By Darren Brumberg

This was the first project of the year. I'll admit it took way to long for us to finish it, but I did have fun creating this amazing piece of engineering from a flat piece of plywood and some PVC piping. The project was named BSD Battleship. We were to design a cannon that can be horizontally and vertically shifted easily. We will at the completion of the cannon, fire the projectile at targets positioned at specific points on a field.

We all started the first part which was to design a barrel support for the cannon to keep it leveled. We didn't want to be like everyone else who were creating the support with a single piece of wood. Therefore we created a different model to stand out from the other teams.

This is a picture of what the barrel support should look like. We were going to connect the pieces together with wood glue for a strong connection.

We were planning on using two of these cubes and two bars to support the barrel of the cannon and to keep it from being concave and weakening the strength of the cannon.

After the completion of the barrel support we moved onto the firing system, the Arduino. Now I have a general idea of circuits, but this is too confusing for me. I understand that the purpose of the Arduino is to be able to control the cannon from a distance away and have it completely automated.

In the learning of how the Arduino works we will be completing tasks that will teach us about the layout of the circuit board and what each piece controls and is able to do.

This video is an example of the kind of pieces that we learned about in the process of working up to our creation of the firing mechanism.My team and I are really struggling with the firing system, but hopefully this learning curve won't take too long.

My team and I haven't quite finished the design of the firing system, but we as a class are now moving onto the actual building of the cannon. and I'll will admit, I think that this has been the most fun part of the project so far. I really like the hands-on aspect of the project.

In the picture above we are assembling the cannon which is made of two inch PVC, half inch PVC, some direction changing PVC, and a sprinkler valve. To put together the cannon and make air tight seals we went around the pieces with primer, (the purple colored liquid), then around the piece that is fitting into the other piece, some PVC glue that melted the PVC pieces together to make them one piece.

This is what the pieces looked like when we finished the gluing process. It was a little messy, but it was definitely most fun part of the cannon project, besides the data collection part.

Now that we have finished the physical building of the cannon we are moving on to designing the horizontal and vertical shifting mechanism. To get a better idea of what we wanted to design we went on the internet to look for a cool design to base our idea off of. After a while of looking we came to the perfect piece.

This was exactly what we were looking for. This vertical analog shifting mechanism is perfect there is nothing better than this design.

We all took parts in designing the cannon, but we never anticipated the problems that we ran into throughout the creating of the horizontal and vertical shifting mechanism.

Myreon created this piece. It will be filled with small balls to act as our form of horizontal shifting mechanism. We designed this from the original picture of the telescope. The piece will be printed in our 3D printer, but we as a group already know that this will take a long time for it to fully print the piece.

This is the outcome of the 3D printing. We did run into some problems with the 3D printer, but it wasn't terrible. The final piece looks amazing. I also noticed that we were the only group that decided to use the 3D printer in our design.

These are the pieces that we are designing for our vertical shifting mechanism. We at this point hadn't figured out how to connect out vertical and horizontal shifting pieces.

This piece along with some small supports would stabilize the pieces and hold the vertical pieces on top of the ball bearing. The small supports will also help the cannon from breaking the vertical mechanism and provide some stability if the wind was strong and blow our cannon to the right or left.

After we finished designing the horizontal and vertical shifting mechanism we all turned our attention to the base of the cannon. We were under the assumption that we would be firing these cannons from the fields and we wanted to make stakes that we would be able to push into the ground so there would be no chance of the cannon tipping over from any natural forces.

After some discussion with Mr. Twilley we decided to go with these stakes that interlock. This would bring strength to the whole base and to the stakes vs. them being isolated which wouldn't be as stable of a base and giving the stakes a higher likelihood of breaking.

This is what the finished product should look like

Just before we were about to cut out our board Mr. Twilley brought us some news that would set us back by about two days. Someone, when setting up the shop-bot, managed to get the drill bit stuck. The bit that was stuck in it was the half inch bit. Many of our pieces measured to the thickness of our board which was four tenths of an inch. So we had to go back and change all of the measurements, which wasn't easy but we figured it out.

At the beginning of this portfolio I mentioned that many of the other groups made a similar cannon support. Well when we cut out our cannon's pieces on the shop-bot we noticed that the vertical shifting mechanism wasn't going to fit with our support. So we scrapped that design and moved to two of these supports (picture above) that would fit perfectly into the vertical mechanism.

This is Mr. Twilley helping us set up the shop-bot to cut out our pieces for the cannon

This is the picture of one of my group member Nick and me fitting the barrel support onto the cannon. We almost immediately noticed a problem when we were fitting the piece, the circles were too big. so we had to improvise. Mr. Twilley told me that there were some pieces of clear plastic laying around and that I could create some circles to fill in the difference.

This is the cannon barrel support with the plastic circles

All that was left was to fit our support onto the cannon.

This was the final step before putting the finishing touches onto our creation. We decided that it would be a cool touch if we were to add a small switch to control the firing so we don't hold our hands to the wires.

The final outcome was amazing! I think it looks incredible.

This was our testing of the cannon and we started firing them at 75 PSI. We tested with this pressure at three different angles and three fires at each angle to test the accuracy of each shot and the average distance of our cannon at certain angles.

This was our data

After everyone in the class finished their three angles of testing we moved onto our target. Each group put their cannons to the test by firing at a tub in the middle of our field. There was a tarp surrounding the bucket. The scores were 5 points for hitting the tarp then 10 points for making it into the bucket.

I believe that our project was amazing, yet there are always things that could have been done better, such as: finalizing the design before I was okay with cutting the pieces out on the ShopBot. But overall I'm still proud of what my team and I were able to create. I think the most important part of this project wasn't the build or the testing, but being able to create something from nothing and becoming more of a problem solver than when we started the project.

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