Building a Catapult!

steve Uncategorized 0 Comments

This year I’m starting work on my progressive degree program, where I’m getting  my Masters in Medical Device and Diagnostic Engineering, graduating after just one extra year (this is my senior year).

The first class I’m taking towards that degree is called Engineering Project Management, because I wanted to get some good business skills and improve my resume. The stuff I’m learning in this class will be applicable at basically any job I get, and will really help open the door for me to move into project management positions.

For our semester-long project, we are, of course, managing an engineering project. Specifically, we’re building a catapult that has to shoot a ball of silly putty 15 feet over a 5 foot wall and hit a target. Designing the catapult is not the focus of the class, we’re supposed to spend more of our time tracking our budgets and schedules, but the catapult is definitely fun!

Last weekend I had an adventure at home depot trying to apply my zero knowledge of construction to pick out materials. I did some good improvisation, and today I actually got to build the catapult!

Join me on this adventure as I pretend I know how to use tools and work on my balcony instead of in a real shop.

Thankfully I have used drills before

But I wisely passed on attempting to use this saw, because I sorta like my fingers

I purchased an assortment of wood. Randomly selecting poplar. Turned out it was a pretty lucky purchase. It was annoying to cut with a hand saw though

I sacrificed a measuring cup to serve as the loading mechanism. I guess I’ll always just use more than a quarter cup of things from now on. Also, can you say rubber band trigger?

I wasn’t sure about how far the silly putty will fly, so I made the catapult adjustable. Innovation, or laziness in testing?

I probably won’t be winning any safety awards with this bad boy.

Only one injury during construction though! I survived.

I did make a small mess in the living room though

The final, beautiful catapult! Can’t wait to test it!

Anyway, it’s a good thing I’m a biomedical engineer, not a mechanical engineer, and that this class is about project management, not construction. Still though, I think I did a pretty solid job for basically making this up as I went along!

Want to learn more? Here's the best place to ask: