This is the Team DW Ball Drop page.
Initial Brainstorming Process- What Worked and What Didn't
We brainstormed a variety of ideas before settling on our chosen slingshot method of propulsion. Some other possible ideas we conceived were constructing an airplane/glider structure, employing the noodle as a catapult, building a canon-type structure, and designing a parachute. We decided that a glider constructed out of the paper and sticks (as wings) would be illogical, as gliders require a precise measurements/symmetry that our materials would not allow. We believed that the noodle based catapult and noodle based cannon (pushing the ball with a stick through the hole of the noodle) would provide less propulsion than the slingshot, so we decided to dismiss those ideas. Furthermore, we realized that while a parachute would increase the air time of the ball, it would do nothing, neglecting air/wind, to increase the horizontal distance of the ball. Thus we chose the slingshot as our preferred method of launching our projectile.
Using the flotation noodle as a base, we constructed a triangulated frame from the wooden dowels, to which the rubber band attached. Connections between the wooden dowels and the noodle were made using duct tape. In order to keep the noodle from rolling and to maintain a more consistent 45 degree angle, we also taped the noodle down to the "beware of dog" sign. This allowed us to tape two more dowels from the frame to the sign in order to prevent cracking under the stress of the rubber band. Finally, a small duct tape pouch nestled the ball.
Ball Launch off Hicks
On September 14, 2012, David launched the tennis ball off of Hicks roof using the slingshot we constructed. When he shot the slingshot, he pulled it back at an angle slightly greater than 45 degrees. The tennis ball flew outwards, hit a tree, fell vertically through the branches and bounced off the vegetated ground where it landed near the car path, 22 feet away from the base of Hicks.