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GPS Targeted Pneumatic Launcher

Post questions and info about pneumatic (compressed gas) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about valves, pipe types, compressors, alternate gas setups, and anything else relevant.
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GPS Targeted Pneumatic Launcher

Unread postAuthor: charred_cookie » Thu May 22, 2008 4:58 pm

Ok so this is a really long story about a science fair project I built my senior year in highschool that is pretty much a glorified spud gun. I ended up getting first place in my local, regional, and state science fairs. I got quite a bit of money, job offers and a free trip to IFES the worlds largest pre-college Science fair. I will do my best to describe what I did, and maybe later I can include some pics, and my essays on the project. (If I can learn how to use this forum) lol

So what I did was build a pneumatic cannon that can fire my home made projectiles accurately out to 600 Meters. I then incorporated an Elecrtonic pressure sensor, and two electric valves (one for filling the cannon, and one for firing it). I then created a computer program that would calculate all of the ballistics equations that were needed for a targeting system. The program was designed to be user friendly and easy to operate.

Ok so what the end result is, is a cannon that can be fired, at any target, using my computer via a network cable. The computer will ask the user to input the GPS coordinates of the cannon, and the GPS cordinants of the target (as well as other things) and it will automatically calculate what amount of pressure to fill the gun to and will do so and fire.

I have over a hundred pages worth of testing and results. If you have questions Please ask.
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Unread postAuthor: King_TaTer » Thu May 22, 2008 5:11 pm

Sounds pretty beastly man, I've never heard of GPS being incorporated into a spud gun. Yeah but pics would be awsome man, hope you can get them on here.
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Re: GPS Targeted Pneumatic Launcher

Unread postAuthor: MaxuS the 2nd » Thu May 22, 2008 5:11 pm

charred_cookie wrote:So what I did was build a pneumatic cannon that can fire my home made projectiles accurately out to 600 Meters. I then incorporated an Elecrtonic pressure sensor, and two electric valves (one for filling the cannon, and one for firing it). I then created a computer program that would calculate all of the ballistics equations that were needed for a targeting system. The program was designed to be user friendly and easy to operate.

Ok so what the end result is, is a cannon that can be fired, at any target, using my computer via a network cable. The computer will ask the user to input the GPS coordinates of the cannon, and the GPS cordinants of the target (as well as other things) and it will automatically calculate what amount of pressure to fill the gun to and will do so and fire.

I have over a hundred pages worth of testing and results. If you have questions Please ask.


Sounds interesting, I'd very much like to know more please.
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Unread postAuthor: daberno123 » Thu May 22, 2008 5:19 pm

What sort of projectile was used and how big was the traget?

Sounds impressive, could you post some pics?
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Thu May 22, 2008 5:26 pm

That sounds incredible, automated targeting to a 600m range.

Pictures/video/data please to confirm :)
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Unread postAuthor: POLAND_SPUD » Thu May 22, 2008 5:34 pm

heh good thing for terrorists.... be careful they might steal it form you... :D
post some pics otherwise it sounds too good to be true

I suppose that one can use worldwind to get a nice targeting system ?
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Unread postAuthor: knappengineering » Thu May 22, 2008 5:40 pm

Sounds very interesting, maybe incorporate panning and tilting servos? I'm making a robot w/ a small cannon that pans and tilts and it will use a CMU camera to automatically track and shoot down its targets :D
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Unread postAuthor: STHORNE » Thu May 22, 2008 5:40 pm

wow man, this "cannon" you speak of sounds incredible. I never would have thought of something like that, let alone, build it. It sounds amazing, but you definitely need to post some pictures and maybe a video or two?... :D

Lol, you would kick ass if you worked for the military, designing future weaponry :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: charred_cookie » Thu May 22, 2008 6:24 pm

ok, I will work on posting some pics a videos when I get the time.

Let me clear one thing up though, the cannon does not have servose and it does not automaticly aim itself. (I did not have enough time nor money to do so) but the computer does calculate, and tell you what azmith to set the launcher at.

The computer program calculates all aspects of the launch, but only actually "controls" the range. It does so through its control over the pressure in the cannon.
I promise I will add more info when I get the time.
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Thu May 22, 2008 6:43 pm

Oddly enough, I actually have heard of this concept before, but it never ceases to be interesting.

How does the cannon interface with the computer? Parallel port?

Can it sense wind?
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Unread postAuthor: TwitchTheAussie » Thu May 22, 2008 7:22 pm

Show me the Beasty :twisted:
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Thu May 22, 2008 7:38 pm

I have over a hundred pages worth of testing and results.


Thats what I'm interested in. Looking forward to seeing more from you.

Welcome to Spudfiles.
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Thu May 22, 2008 7:59 pm

STHORNE wrote:Lol, you would kick ass if you worked for the military, designing future weaponry :wink:


This sort of thing is already standard fare for many military applications. Even before GPS, gun aiming calculators (mechanical computers) have used stereo optics, then radar and later, laser ranging to automatically aim and fire large guns for over 100 years.

The cool factor is that it has been adapted to the spudding world. Several of us are anxious to see your work charred_cookie.
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Last edited by starman on Fri May 23, 2008 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postAuthor: D_Hall » Thu May 22, 2008 8:28 pm

Not to take away anything from charred_cookie, but didn't somebody on the old forum do this? OK, not to 600 m, but I very distinctly remember somebody doing this with tennis balls (or at least the discussion of it as the thread mainly concerned the easiest and most robust design methodologies for such).
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Unread postAuthor: clide » Thu May 22, 2008 9:27 pm

I remember that too D_Hall, I was just about to ask if he posted this idea on the Spudtech forums before he made it because it seems very familiar.

Any plans for adding servos and a computer connection in the future? Because that would turn it into a really cool gun.

Edit: When you get around to posting more info I would like some info about the pressure sensors you used and how they are interfaced with the computer.
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