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Tennis Ball Launcher

  1. Oct 30, 2014 #1
    Hey all, I need to build a launcher that is capable of throwing a tennis ball over a 1 meter high wall and hit a target 2 meters away. I realize there are some threads already discussing this, but my question is more based on the type of launcher. Would a trebuchet or a spring powered cannon be more accurate and reliable? We need to build this within a week's time, and the reliability and accuracy of the launcher is more important than the power. The angle also needs to be adjustable, so which of these devices would be easier to adjust the angle on? Thanks for any answers.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    The accuracy and reliability of the designs depend more on your skill and available materials than on anything inherent to the design.
    Similarly with the angle - all the designs can be built to adjust elevation and bearing.
    So it is not possible to answer your question from the information supplied.

    Considering the high lob vs short range, I'd pick something with more of a low-speed indirect fire design. Catapults and sling-shots. You should get together with someone and test several designs in prototype before settling on the one you build for real - if time is an issue, then check out what solutions others have tried.
  4. Oct 30, 2014 #3
    I forgot to mention that the launcher has to be mechanical. This rules out the air cannon, so I am stuck between the spring cannon and the trebuchet. The distance that we set the launcher at is all up to us, so it can travel 20 meters before the wall, or 2 meters before the wall.
  5. Oct 31, 2014 #4


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    Damn! That also eliminates the nuclear option that I was about to suggest... :mad:

    In actual fact, I agree with one of Simon's suggestions. Since this might, I suspect, be a school project, I'm not going to spoon-feed it to you. Think crossbow, bungee straps, slotted PVC pipe... feel free to throw in a Smurf and some whipped cream if that's what turns your crank...
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  6. Nov 6, 2014 #5
    use the two spinning wheels method of auto pitchers. gives you good speed control and accuracy. its a mechanical device

    or go with a helium balloon a fan and some string : suspend the ball below the balloon with a slip knot and a length of string long enough to play out to the target use the fan to push the balloon over the target and pull the slip knot free to drop the ball.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2014
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