Monday, January 19, 2015

Build your Own Ping Pong Ball Launcher

This topic really doesn't have anything to do with the actual ping pong table sport but it involves playing with the ping pong balls in an innovative and entertaining means. To be more specific, it is called "ping pong ball launcher".

A ping pong ball launcher is a mechanical device that launches or sends ping pong balls flying up and away at a certain distances. Many individuals actually find it very interesting and challenging especially the building part of the mechanical device. Some passionate and innovative people can even build complicated launchers that has the capability to send multiple sets of balls up on the air.

As a beginner, you should start building simple mechanical-launchers. You have to know that complicated ping pong ball launchers are quite hard to build and it requires some amount of money to be spent.

Here's a simple design and steps that you may want to consider building your own first ping pong ball launcher. But before you proceeded with the construction, you need to prepare these following materials:
Wood screws
Lumbers (2 x 2 inches)
Rubber band or spring
Plastic cup
Nail
Hand drill
Saw
The Steps:

1. Create the base

The base is the floor-support of the launcher. To start, cut four pieces of the 2 x 2 lumbers and create a rectangular frame. Suggested dimension is 25 inches (length) and 10 inches (width). You can actually make the necessary adjustments according to the size of the launcher that you would like to build.


Use wood-screws to tighten the connections between the lumbers. (Wood-screws is preferred over nails because they provide sturdier connections.)

2. Middle Support

Cut another two pieces of lumbers which is to be placed somewhere in the middle of the frame for an extra added support. Refer into the image below for the illustration.


3. First (1st) Bar

You will need to cut two pairs of lumbers with length measurements of exactly 12 inches. Then on the 1st bar, you need to screw them up vertically at the middle. Take note that there should be 2 inches gap in between them.


On the figure above, you will notice short black horizontal line. This means that you need to drill holes into the center of those two ends. Make sure that the holes are good enough for a "long nail" to be inserted "freely" (and can be easily pulled out by hand with less effort).

4. Second (2nd) Bar

Do the same procedure as the step above (3) on the second bar. But this time, the height of the two 2 x 2 lumbers should only be 4 inches.


5. Front Panel

At the front panel, you need to cut one piece of 12 inches length of lumber and attach it in the middle. The tiny black vertical line on top (from the figure below) is a half buried screw.


6. The Launcher Bar

The launcher is also made of one piece of 2 x 2 lumber with a length of 15 inches. On one of its end, connect the plastic cup where the ping pong ball is to be set. When it's done, insert the other end of the launcher in-between the short 4 inches size-wood of the 2nd bar. Use a hand-drill to penetrate a hole then insert one long nail. This will act as the lever portion.

Pull the top end of the launcher until it get inserted in-between the two pairs of wood of the first bar. Do the same drilling procedure and insert the nail which will serve as the trigger. You can activate the trigger of the launcher by simply pulling out this nail.

7. Rubber band or Spring

Embed another screw with just half of its body below the plastic cup of a launcher. When it's done, attach the rubber band or spring into this screw and stretch the other end attaching it onto the other screw which is on the top of the front panel.

ping pong ball launcher

Once everything's complete, you are now ready to test your ping pong ball launcher. All you need to do now is to place the ball into the plastic cup and at the count of three, pull the nail out and watch the ball flying. To send out more than one set of balls, you can actually improvise by adding additional launchers.

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