Troubleshooting Guide: Catapults, Flywheels, and Flickers

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As you may know, in this year’s challenge, Velocity Vortex, shooting the particles into the center  vortex will be a very important part of the game. There are many different ways to shoot the particles, but we decided to narrow them down to a list of three possible shooters so that you guys can compare which one would be the best fit for your team.

The first type of launching device we have the flywheel shooters. There are two main type of flywheel shooters, the single wheel flywheel shooter and the double wheel flywheel shooter. The single wheel flywheel shooter uses a large fast wheel that has an arc-shaped wall that goes around it. This wall keeps the ball close to the flywheel so it can transfer enough energy where at the part where the arc cuts off it will go flying. The other flywheel shooter has two wheels spinning in opposite directions and the they push the ball forward in between them. The advantages of a flywheel design is that it can shoot balls faster and you can change the distance by changing power. The disadvantages of a flywheel design is that it loses accuracy as the battery power fluctuates, it is hard to implement something to change angle, and it takes up lots of space.

The next type of shooter is the catapult design shooter. This shooter uses springs or various other things like rubber bands or surgical tubing on a long arm that shoots the particle ball. Some cons to this shooter are that it also needs a setting and loading system to function, which means it is space-consuming. It is also slower than a flywheel, as you need to reset and reload it, which can eat away at the valuable time you have during the matches. The good things about this design is that it is very accurate and that the spring will remain fairly constant for a long time.

The final design we considered is the polycarbonate flicker design. This design uses the tension in a piece of polycarbonate when it is bent back to launch ball. The polycarbonate hits a point where it needs to bend and when it is bent enough to get past it it will hit the ball. This shooter design’s cons are that the polycarbonate flex will vary over usage so it will be inaccurate and that you need to be able to place the ball in the right spot for it to work. The pros of this design are that it takes minimal space and that it is easy to make.