This is the Team Suffer Ball Drop page.
- Kathryn Barron
- Ascanio Guarini
- Lindsay Holcomb
- Mac Maguire
- Cappy Pitts
- Laura Rigell
- Max Sacks
- Dionne Wilson
Ball Drop Report
Initial Design Ideas
Team Suffer initially considered a multitude of ideas for the ball drop project, ranging from a wound-up propeller system, to a catapult structure, to a hang-glider to be launched with a slingshot. Some of the features we originally contemplated incorporating into our design included using the rubber band to provide force on the tennis ball, attaching a parachute/wind-catching component to slow the ball's descent, all while allowing the ball to bounce in order to increase the distance traveled.
Realizing that we couldn't include every element that was proposed, we had to decide which components to cut out from the plan. We determined not to add a parachute or wing components since it would detract from the ball's ability to bounce (which we thought would carry it further than such an additional wing structure).
Ultimately we decided to fashion our launcher similar to a modified slingshot; in fact, the layout was closer to a bow-and-arrow construction than a slingshot. To construct the launching mechanism, we cut the rubber band into thirds and attempted to duct-tape it to one end of the foam noodle. Taping the three free ends of rubber band together, we then threaded the long dowel through the noodle and attached it to the taped intersection of the rubber bands. Upon attempting to pull back and release the dowel, the rubber bands repeatedly came out of their taped positions, either from the noodle or their intersection. We then pierced three evenly-spaced holes in the noodle, tying the rubber bands through them and taping around the holes to assure that the foam would not break. We subsequently tied the rubber band ends together and taped over the knot.
When we released the dowel after this alteration, the rubber bands stayed in place. We then cut the shorter dowel in half and taped it onto the other end of the noodle, creating a cradle to support the ball before it is launched. We tied string to the ends of these dowels which were taped to the noodle, to prevent them from sagging.
To help assure that the dowel would actually propel the ball, we enlarged the surface of the end of the dowel that would contact the ball by adding duct tape to it. Upon testing this construction, we realized that the ball traveled farther if the dowel was not launched along with the ball. So, we more thoroughly taped the dowel to the rubber band knot. It seemed that the launcher could now propel the ball several feet.
The tennis ball was projected 4.90 feet. Unfortunately it hit a tree branch during its promising trajectory.