July 14, 2008

The Story and Build of... THE RATAPAULT

This is somewhat a guide of making the Ratapault, and a little backstory behind it. This might be a little long, so I'll destroy it later to make it less chaotic and a little more readable.

The Ratapault came from a science project to make something that could fling a marshmallow the furthest distance. A lot of ideas that we came up with involved rockets, fire and a very large sling shot. Then we saw a mouse trap and thought it would be fun to try it. It worked, very well, but it only went 5 metres or so. So it was either duct taping 2 mouse traps together or trying out a rat trap.
So we tried the rat trap on its own, but it wouldn't go anywheres because the rat trap has so much torque and so little weight it would flip itself in mid swing. The giant step assembly was the way to counteract the flipping, and from there we got a good 17 metres. But, it sat and the springs/ whole rat trap started to decay. I didn't see this when I went to launch it for the last time today, so the result of the video at the end was quite a shock to me.

Building or making or whatever you wanna call it:
You get a beer cap, undented and in half decent condition, and some duct tape. My duct tape is a nice shade of yellow so that if the beer cap flys off I can find it (and yes the beer cap can fly off if there isn't enough tape on it). Step 1

Next is just showing the Ratatpault in all of it's final glory, with the backwards pikes and the massive wood step design. Step 2

The beer cap MUST be taped on securely or it WILL fly off. I've been hit a few times, and they all hurt. Make sure the tape overlaps the inside of the beer cap, it makes for better setup angles and such.Step 3

This is the whole thing pulled back, ready for a dry fire. Rat traps can break multiple fingers and thumbs with ease, so use caution or it might fire. Also this is a good time to make sure that you did a good taping job. Step 4

Loaded, ready to fire the bright spraypainted marshmallow into oblivion. Use something long and make sure no pets or people are in the way of the ammo, I've been told it hurts. Step 5

And now, the firing and death of the original Ratapault.

And the loud tang right before the 2nd text screen? That was one of the staples that held the springs down. I thought it hit me somewheres, which would be funny but very difficult to explain at the hospital.

Well that's all I've got for now, I think it's time for some TV, a shower and a drink.

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