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Launching Mechanism

  1. Feb 18, 2014 #1
    Hello folks,

    I have very little robotic experience, so would like to start my knowledge accumulation here at PhysicsForums.

    I am trying to design and build a launching mechanism to launch a 400 gram projectile. I was hoping to get a bit of guidance in what devices I should be looking into; motors, actuators, so forth. How are robotic arms constructed? What drives them? (As I write this, I'm almost preparing for someone to throw me a website of some sort for elementary questions such as this. That's fine.)

    Typical energy stored launching devices such as trebuchets or catapults are something I'm not looking into. In addition, pneumatic and hydraulic systems are also undesirable.

    I want to be able to control the mechanism with an ECU. This is something I have experience in doing, but don't have enough knowledge of mechanical components out there.

    Thanks for the help in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    Please help us get a bit better understanding of what you are trying to do.
    It seems that you are looking for an engine driven launcher, purely mechanical, no hydraulics or pneumatics. no energy storage. So presumably something with an engine and a clutch?
    Not sure what the applicability of an ECU would be, are they not mostly to optimize engine management?
  4. Feb 18, 2014 #3

    Thank you for the response. I'm essentially trying to construct a beverage launcher. I have seen others out-there, but I'm trying to re-invent it a little with my own spin, and keeping it simple.

    Earlier when I was thinking of trebuchets or catapults, I had my horse-blinders on and was thinking the only way to utilize them was through a counterweight; essentially driven by gravity and linkages. I want to retract that statement and say I would be completely open to using either trebuchets or catapults, if I can store energy in an elastic system. So, if I drive the system using a rotary or linear actuator with a sprocket to store energy in a torsional spring - that would work.

    Now my question is are there other methods of obtaining this? An engine and a clutch seems to be an overkill. I had this idea of robotic arms swinging with 2 degrees of freedom. So, was trying to identify what sort of mechanical arrangement would help me achieve that.

    The ECU would enable me to control the launch angle and speed of "said device." So that when I bring into the equation a feedback sensor, it can determine the launch angle and speed autonomously, and deliver the beverage.

    I hope I'm being clear. Sorry. I had written a much longer explanation, but for the sake of rambling and your time, I've shortened it. If I get more pointed questions, I can provide additional information.
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