Saturday, September 29, 2018

SYCAMORE Semi-auto launcher

Sorry, already falling behind. I mean to get another guide post up but I've wanted to design the perfect launcher to go with the guide. So for today I'm going over another silly bit of my history.

If I haven't already mentioned it, I was a bit of a pistol guy. Even after the sidearm craze ended, I still liked making smaller builds because my pieces were limited and I enjoyed the challenge of cramming as much functionality as I could into little designs. One such design was the SYCAMORE:

Forgive me, I never did get my own picture, of this. "Travw" kindly got some for me on Instructables. Bonus, I dug up one of my old videos for it. It'd be embarrassing if it wasn't also slightly amusing to look back on. I guess for a little backstory, this is worthy of its own post, so perhaps I'll make one, but the concept of a semi-automatic launcher is inherently challenging because in order to fire shots in succession, you need to store potential energy for each shot, which is hard to do with K'nex. Basically, it was a challenge that I viewed separating good builders from not-so-good builders, and I had yet to build one until then. My method involved using the flex in the pieces and torque to have a mechanical advantage. I noticed that if you try to snap off a blue connector from a rod, it would actually fly a good distance. So I simply set a row up on a rod, added a spring to make a magazine, and then made the trigger unclip them one at a time. Boom, semi-auto. It was beautifully simple, and I was pleased, though it was otherwise such an unimpressive design.

I've thought about rebuilding it, improving the design, make it not require a spring, and then posting instructions. We'll see.

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