Goblies Cannon

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A local woman, Briana Gardell, started a business making throwable paintballs called Goblies while she was a Technical Entrepreneurship student at Lehigh University. Her Goblies are now distributed nationwide through Michael's and Walmart. Our Fab Lab decided that we needed to collaborate on an awesome project to follow up TOBOR, our gigantic robotic dinosaur. Everyone loves launching things - including potatoes and pumpkins - and with the popularity and success of Goblies (plus the ability to collaborate locally) we knew we had found the perfect ammunition!


The Goblies Cannon in its first iteration is mounted on a board of plywood, but is intended to be enhanced by turning it into something along the lines of a Civil War cannon or perhaps a tank. The air system features a small VIAIR compressor and 1 gallon air tank, along with 4 solenoid valves, a pressure sensor, an air cylinder, and a bunch of connections, hoses, and fittings. Everything is controlled by an Arduino, including sound effects during launching!

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An air-powered launcher for throwable paintballs controlled by an Arduino!
Aha! moment: 
Our Fab Lab just acquired a new banner printer, and our very first banner was a huge Goblies logo that we were planning to launch at. After several test fires where the Goblies bounced off the banner but did not splat, we realized we needed to put a piece of wood behind the banner to rectify the situation.
Uh-oh! moment: 
The two biggest problems we've had with the Goblies cannon were that kids were slamming the big red button so hard that it broke during NY Maker Faire, and in launching nearly 2,000 Goblies that weekend we made a HUGE mess!Also we had to convince Maker Faire staff that our Cannon was safe. We made a mess of the lab making a demo video!
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Creation Date: 
Friday, September 21, 2018 - 02:20