# Launch a Ping Pong Ball with a Planar Bistable Mechanism: Step-by-Step Guide

• Jps
In summary, the group is working on designing a planar bistable mechanism to launch a ping pong ball. The mechanism must have two positions with an unstable equilibrium in between. The goal is to make the ball travel horizontally as far as possible. The group is trying to determine the dimensions and type of spring to use, and they are looking for background information and equations related to energy storage and spring mechanics. One member suggests using Mohr's circle for orientation of the spring, and another suggests using the energy version of Hooke's law. They also mention using a rat trap ballista as a potential energy source.
Jps
Hello all,

Basically we need to come up with a planar bistable mechanism that will launch a ping pong ball. Here's a quick image I made: http://freewebsite.0nyx.com/images/mech.html

The club link is supposed to hit the ping pong ball and the goal is to make it go as horizontally far as possible.

By bistable it means that the mechanism must have two positions with unstable equilibrium position of max. energy storage somewhere in between. The mechanism is triggered with a slight push to the club link.

So how do I approach this problem. Say I know that the length between two pivots is 2 inch. And I'm supposed to figure out the dimensions of the links and what type of spring to use. If someone can throw some background info to this mechanism or some equations for energy storage of spring etc. will be helpful.

Thank you.

For my project I used a rat trap ballista (so called catapult) To get the energy Iwas suposed to use Mohr's circle because of the orientation of the spring. But you should be able to use the energy version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooke%27s_law" law.
The way I cheated my lecturer was to set the device up vertically and I proved the potential energy by the change in static height maintained by the spring for different weights hung off it. Hope this helps.

Last edited by a moderator:

## 1. How do you launch a ping pong ball?

To launch a ping pong ball, you can use your hand or a paddle to hit the ball, or you can use a ping pong ball launcher or cannon for a more powerful launch.

## 2. What is the best technique for launching a ping pong ball?

The best technique for launching a ping pong ball is to use a smooth and consistent motion, keeping your paddle or hand at a slight angle to create spin on the ball. This will help control the direction and speed of the ball.

## 3. How far can a ping pong ball be launched?

The distance a ping pong ball can be launched depends on the force and angle of the launch, as well as any obstacles in its path. On average, a ping pong ball can travel anywhere from 3-6 feet with a strong launch.

## 4. What are some tips for improving my ping pong ball launching skills?

Some tips for improving your ping pong ball launching skills include practicing your aim and spin control, adjusting your grip on the paddle, and incorporating footwork into your technique for more power and accuracy.

## 5. Can launching a ping pong ball cause any injuries?

If done correctly, launching a ping pong ball should not cause any injuries. However, if the ball is launched too close to someone's face or if the launcher is used incorrectly, it could potentially cause harm. It is important to always use caution and follow proper safety guidelines when launching a ping pong ball.

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