Posts Tagged ‘catapult’

So, I’ve been thinking about the catapult project in my Digital Fabrication class. I wrote the other day about my tweaks of the process and shared the image that I was using for my inspiration.

Here’s how my personal catapult is going. First I designed a new arm. I wanted to have just circles and lines and get rid of the bucket as the ping-pong ball (our projectile of choice) holder. Therefore, I made the arm from a series of circles that were the size that would hold let the ping-pong ball sit on them without falling through. Initially, I imagined that the lines/bars would have some function. However, it turned out I didn’t need them, so I broke them off, mostly. You can see the last bits of the bars as diameters in the circles, but the next version does not have them at all. The base incorporates the brick pattern and the circle. The first version flings the ping-pong ball just fine.

First I designed a new arm. I wanted to have just circles and lines and get rid of the bucket as the ping-pong ball (our projectile of choice) holder. Therefore, I made the arm from a series of circles that were the size that would hold let the ping-pong ball sit on them without falling through. Initially, I imagined that the lines/bars would have some function. However, it turned out I didn’t need them, so I broke them off, mostly. You can see the last bits of the bars as diameters in the circles, but the next version does not have them at all.

The base incorporates the brick pattern and the circle. It’s abstracted a little bit. Since the last row has an open portion, I can use that to hook up my rubber band as well. I can also put more tension on the rubber band by wrapping around a few rows, if need be. So handy.

The first version flings the ping-pong ball just fine.

When I looked at the catapult from the front, I noticed that the circle of the base and the first circle of the arm could line up better and maybe look like concentric circles if the arm circle is bigger. Turns out, I can get close, but because the arm is always on a bit of an angle, the circles of the base and the arm are never quite in the same plane. Still, I think it’s a design improvement.

Now what?

Since the catapult flings the ping-pong ball fine, at this point it’s all about improving my design. Maybe some of the “brick” pattern that is in the base should go between or across the two middle circles in the arm? The final circle has to be hollow for the ball to sit there. Hmmm.

So I’ve been thinking about the catapult project in my Digital Fabrication class. This is the first project in the course and the goal is for the students to gain some familiarity with the iterative design process and the 3D design software that we use.

However, this class lives in the STEAM department. The amount of art in the project was virtually nill. Earlier in the year, I already mentioned my newfound appreciation for cardboard as a makerspace material. And, I have incorporated the cardboard step in my new process here as well. However, it was too focussed on function. Although it can take people too long, in my opinion, to complete the catapult, more of that is about my management than the use or not of particular materials. Anyway, back to the Art. I vowed this go round to be more intentional about the design aspect of the project.

Here is the new process:

  • Some basic work with Tinkercad (skills based, not related to this design challenge)
  • Informal assessment of some key Tinkercad skills
  • Design walk
  • Drawings of catapult ideas
  • Cardboard
  • 3D print models, review, redesign, etc

The new steps here include the basic Tinkercad work, now unconnected to the final project (which at first seemed like a step back from an integrated approach), informal assessment, and the design walk.

CCO public domain image by Pily63 on Pixabay.

I am using this image as inspiration for my new catapult design. CCO public domain image by Pily63 on Pixabay.

The design walk was something I tried to do more informally last semester. I tried sending folks out around the campus to notice design elements in our buildings several of which have interesting and thoughtful design elements. It turns out that students going on independent design walks at the beginning of the course are not my best idea. So, this semester we went to two specific locations as a group. We went to our former library space and our newly built library space. Even though there are no longer shelves or books in the old space, the students remember what it looked like since the new space has been open for under a year. We talked about the functions that both spaces fulfill in addition to the more subtle message that each space conveyed to visitors about how to exist in the space and what it means to study and acquire knowledge.

I also suggested about thinking about their catapult as art pieces and asked them to consider in what type of museum or exhibit it would belong–to take inspiration from that discipline/time period/aesthetic in their design. I am also designing a new catapult.

 

Let the designing begin!