I’m a student and have to create a machine that can launch a small bowling ball to knock over some pins.

I was thinking that I could use elastic potential energy to launch the ball but I’m not sure if I should use springs or elastic bands.

The problem is that I don’t have a lot of space to work with because it can only be 0,5m x 0,5m x 0,5m. And for that reason I am leaning towards springs but I’m not entirely sure.

Thanks in advance, if you need more information about the project just ask.

Edit: For the project I have to launch a ball 12 meters away and knock over 5 bowling pins. I am not allowed to use pneumatics or explosives. The ball has to stay on the ground and the goal is to knock over the pins like in a bowling match so I need a way to aim my system to hit a different pin when I only hit a few of them, but I already have an idea for this. I thought about only using a ramp but when I calculated the speed it would have it would not be enough to consistently knock over bowling pins. Then I thought about adding springs or elastic bands or something like that to give it some extra speed.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Either spring or rubber band can work. However, if we design this for you, you won’t get all the education value out of the assignment. I encourage you to experiment on your own. $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Mar 10, 2020 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ A ramp might work... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 10, 2020 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ look into bungee cords - easier to work with than rubber bands $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2020 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ Also consider pneumatics $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2020 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ A spring with a smooth tangental spline curve ramp? $\endgroup$ Mar 11, 2020 at 7:57


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