Week 7: Decision Time

At the beginning of this project, we were really excited to begin the process of making this mock Spiderman web shooter. However, when we really saw all that this project required us to do, our excitement level dropped slightly. This project involved understanding how to do things that were more complicated than they looked (like circuitry) and it intimidated us. After getting through the easy stuff like gathering the materials and putting together the simple things, our project came to a stand still when we had to try to understand the circuits. It was actually kind of depressing. So, after careful consideration, we decided to move on to a different project. We came up with a new idea that we are really excited about and requires little to no circuitry. This new project seems much more possible to complete and thoroughly understand than these web shooters. We are sad to leave, but we both think it’d be best to move on to something we will really be able to grasp the concept of and understand the physics to. So goodbye to the Spiderman web shooters and hello to water vortexes! Check out our new website for our blogs!

https://thevortexnado.wordpress.com

Week Five and Six: Gettin’ to the Hard Stuff

Week five began with us going to the store to purchase a laser for our project. The laser is going to be placed right next to the end of the tube for aiming purposes. To acquire this laser, we simply ventured to the cat toy isle and bought one of those small mouse lasers. We then took it apart to get the single laser out of it. It was quite difficult to take apart. We had to peel apart the plastic with screwdrivers and then saw off the end of one side of the plastic with a saw so the contraption was smaller.


Next, we had to move on to working on the capacitors and understanding all of the circuitry. We found a more in depth video of how to construct the correct circuit, but some areas were still a little hard to understand.

We began working on the circuit by taking off the unnecessary parts like the video instructed, and soldering together the three capacitors. To do this, we picked up a soldering iron and some solder (a coil of metal with a very low melting point) to join the three capacitors together and two wires. At first, we were trying to connect the wires in one way, but realized it would cut short the circuit, so we adjusted the way we were soldering them together. So instead of putting the capacitors all in one small, connected circle, we had to only connect them together in one straight line without the other two wires touching. We would let the metal drip down on to the ends of the capacitors and then further melt it so it would settle and securely connect the wires. img_0057

Then we moved on to week six. Week six was basically just full of us working on updating blogs so we could show all of you lovely people exactly what we’ve been doing for the past many weeks.

Week Three: Rehabilitation

We began week three by disassembling the three disposable cameras we had previously purchased on Friday. The plastic cameras ended up being much harder to take apart than we had originally anticipated, so by the end, they were completely destroyed. Next, we carefully extracted the circuit board from the rest of the camera.

When we started examining it, we were very entertained. We realized circuit boards are pretty confusing to figure out. It didn’t help either that the cameras we bought had different circuit boards. Two of them had smaller capacitors than the other one, and we’re still slightly worried that that factor might affect something.

Deciding to leave the capacitors and circuit board technology for later, we just began to gather the other materials that the video instructed us to use.

The small metal tube was the first thing we found which we ended up just sawing off of an old bunsen burner because we couldn’t find anything else to use. This tube was 6 cm long. We then took coated copper wire and coiled it around the tube multiple times. After each row of wire, we hot glued it down so it would stay in place. Eventually, we ended with coating the last layer of wire with hot glue to insulate it.

The next thing we moved on to was working on the circuit board. First, we took off the capacitors which was actually pretty amusing. We did this by soldering where the capacitor was connected to the board. Because of the charge still built up in the capacitors, they would pop randomly, giving us a slight scare.  Another thing we took off of the boards was the flash box. We didn’t need it anymore, so we decided to just get it out of our way.


This is what our circuit board looked like at the end of week 3, without the capacitor and flash box.

Work in Progress (Week 4)

At this point we needed to make two holes in the metal for the pipe to fit into, to stable it. What we didn’t realize is how hard that would actually be. The metal was malleable.

First we thought it was a good idea to uses a screwdriver and a hammer. If we placed the screwdriver over the area we wanted the hole and hammered the top of it, we could make a dent. However, it ended up just bending the metal each time we hit it. Which wasn’t helping.


 Our next idea was to use the drill, to drill it into the metal. After a long time, we finally made somewhat of a hole. After we made the small hole, it was easier to go back through with the drill to perfect the hole.

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We soon realized we would have the honor of doing the process all over again because both sides needed a hole! From the end to the first hole it was three centimeters, so we measured the other side and did the same steps.

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Once we had our perfect hole, we had to make sure the pipe (with the copper now wrapped around it) fit into both sides and into both holes. Which luckily, it did fit!

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Week One/Two: A Failure

During this week, we searched the internet to figure out ways to accomplish creating our web shooters. We found a video about making a simple DIY coil gun, and decided to try to begin with that.

We gathered the materials that the process required, and we copied the video as best we could.

We used a pen for the small tube, and we used insulated wire for the coil the first time we attempted to assemble everything. At first, we thought it might work because the battery we were using as a homemade capacitor was conducting heat, but it didn’t end up doing anything. When that attempt failed, we sought out where we went wrong.

Thinking our error was in the insulated coil, we re-coiled the tube with uninsulated wire. This time, we thought we’d be able to get it to successfully shoot, so we loaded the barrel (the plastic pen tube) with a staple, hoping it would work. Through electromagnetism passing through the coil, the staple should have been shot out of the barrel, knocking over the small standing piece of paper.

It never worked..

Then we searched through the comments for more clarification of what was exactly happening in the video, and we realized that the video was completely fake judging by the negative feedback everyone was commenting. So basically, we just wasted an entire week and a half on a project that wouldn’t work.

Halfway through the second week, we searched for another video to follow.

This time, we made sure to check the comments to see if it was a reliable source. They turned out to be positive, so we went through and began gathering the materials that were required.

We went to Walmart on Friday and we bought 3 disposable cameras to take apart for the use of the capacitors.