Origami Launcher

Friendly design and folding competitions.

Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Baltorigamist » December 31st, 2017, 9:16 pm

Howel wrote:Thank you guys for reaching out :)
Baltorigamist wrote:If I might ask, why do you need a working origami cannon?

NeverCeaseToCrease wrote:And I'm as curious as Balto, why do you need a cannon, especially one that fires on its own?

of course! this is a question that I have to answer. But I'm not good at origami!
the question is: "Folded paper structures such as the Miura-ori origami can be programmed to exhibit a wide range of elastic properties depending on their crease and defect patterns. Design and build an origami cannon to vertically launch a standard Ping-Pong ball using only a single uncut sheet of A4 paper (80g/m²)."

Baltorigamist wrote: The Miura-Ori corrugation /might/ work for that, but you'd need to come up with some kind of a launch mechanism and probably wetfold it.

Can you help me? Or do you know anyone who can?


First, let me clarify: I was confusing the Miura-Ori with the Magic Ball tessellation, though it's possible that either could work.
The technique I have in mind involves folding the corrugation on one side of the paper and leaving plain pleats on the other side. Then you could bend the corrugated part back on itself (kind of like a black hole shape) with the regular pleats outlining a cavity on the inside. You could lock the pleats together and place the ball in the middle, then pull the pleats down and release them to launch the ball.

(I know it's hard to picture, so maybe I can come up with an example to show you.)
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby origami_8 » December 31st, 2017, 9:45 pm

What about a "Spring into Action"?
Otherwise I guess folding the paper in half lengthwise a few times and then folding this thicker sheet zig-zag into a spring should work too.
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Gerardo » January 2nd, 2018, 3:32 am

Howel, how high must the ping pong ball reach? I did a test, with an idea of mine, and I was able to reach around 30 (11 13/16 in) to 50 cm (19 11/16 in) using a 75 g/m2 letter size copy paper; it's easier for me to find than A4 size. Is that high enough?

It's a pity we can't use other sizes nor other materials, I'm sure I could make something a lot more interesting without those restrains :).
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Howel » January 2nd, 2018, 11:15 am

NeverCeaseToCrease wrote:I think that the Mira Ori tessellation is not the right
One. Mira Ori is stretchy but only in one direction. The magic ball tessellation, the same one used in the fUgu, can pobobalby be used like a trampoline if the tessellation is not rolled up into a balloon. Would this count for your project?

Baltorigamist wrote:First, let me clarify: I was confusing the Miura-Ori with the Magic Ball tessellation, though it's possible that either could work.
The technique I have in mind involves folding the corrugation on one side of the paper and leaving plain pleats on the other side. Then you could bend the corrugated part back on itself (kind of like a black hole shape) with the regular pleats outlining a cavity on the inside. You could lock the pleats together and place the ball in the middle, then pull the pleats down and release them to launch the ball.

origami_8 wrote:What about a "Spring into Action"?
Otherwise I guess folding the paper in half lengthwise a few times and then folding this thicker sheet zig-zag into a spring should work too.


I've tried to fold it like this. Did you mean that?
I know it's not good but I'm trying to improve it.
Spring into action seems very interesting. Thank you :)

Gerardo wrote:Howel, how high must the ping pong ball reach?.

The more, the better :D
Gerardo wrote:I did a test, with an idea of mine, and I was able to reach around 30 (11 13/16 in) to 50 cm (19 11/16 in) using a 75 g/m2 letter size copy paper; it's easier for me to find than A4 size. Is that high enough?.

Really? Can you show it? :D
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Gerardo » January 9th, 2018, 6:15 pm

No one else fed this thread afterwards?! I was really hoping to see different ideas on video :(.

Anyway, I made a couple of videos and took some pictures. I tried out two ideas, one only shot the Ping Pong ball around 10 cm (3 15/16 in) high while the other shot it around 1 m (39 3/8 in). I measured the distance for the videos. Let me remind you I used letter size copy paper (75 g/m2) since I can't easily find A4 size.

I'll organize, upload everything, and share the links here tonight. Howel, have you tried any other idea? How high have you been able to shoot the Ping Pong ball? And PLEASE tell us what EXACTLY is this for? I really wanna know.
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Gerardo » January 10th, 2018, 5:17 am

Launcher A: I made a "spring" folding water bomb bases. I don't know if this type of folded structures have a name. Jo Nakashima uses it to fold the neck of some of his humanoid models. The ball only jumped around 10 cm (3 15/16 in) high with this launcher.
Video: https://www.facebook.com/neorigami2/vid ... =3&theater

Launcher B:
It uses the same principle of certain catapults, flexing a relatively hard but also elastic material. The ball jumped around 1 m (39 3/8 in) high with this launcher.
Video: https://www.facebook.com/neorigami2/vid ... =3&theater
Steps to fold launcher B: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i07-Bg ... sp=sharing Make every fold tightly in order to add strength to the launcher. You should know: it's easy to accidentally tear the paper with the last step.

You must get the hang of launcher B in order to shoot the ball properly. Sometimes the ball followed a slanted trayectory and sometimes it didn't jump high enough. Use both hands to press the ball softly just halfway down and simply let go immediately.
Last edited by Gerardo on January 10th, 2018, 6:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » January 10th, 2018, 5:58 am

I recall now that when I was a kid, I would sometimes go to school events or such where I would get a nametag sticker. Almost everytime I got bored, I would fold the little 2x3 inch (pardon my American measurements) waxy paper that comes with the sticker into a small pull-back catapult from a bird base. It could launch a pea-sized crumpled paper about 5 inches up and 10 inches forward, approximately. These were my two observations:

First of all, thicker paper makes a significant difference. I suppose that this is because thicker paper is stiffer and requires more energy to pull back, therefore releasing more potential energy when released. This is shown in Gerardo's models too, where launcher B is obviously much thicker and launches higher.

Secondly, launchers lose some strength/elasticity after each launch. I found that I could only do about 7-8 launches before the small catapult stopped working. After a while, the arm of my catapult would be "used to" being bent back. In the case of Gerardo's launchers, I'm sure the paper will eventually become "used to" being compressed, and will require less potential energy to pull back. Of course, my paper was tiny and thin, so a thick model made from A4 paper should last longer than 7-8 launches.

I can post a picture/video of my old design of those catapults if needed, but I don't think it will be very helpful because it can't launch vertically.

Howel, is this for an engineering class or something? Do you still need to use a tessellation? And if it is an assignment, when is the due date?
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby firstfold » January 10th, 2018, 8:55 pm

Here are some things I have done in the past –

















Here are other unusual approaches:
1. A drop lever – using a beam construction like “ slip and stick” make a beam that has extra paper folded over at one end to give more weight at that end. Hold the beam horizontally above the edge of a table. Place the ball at the light end. Drop the beam and ball together so it will strike the table about 2/3 over the table with the ball and small end of the beam over the table and the other weighted end off the table. The ball will be flipped into the air. Experiment with a ruler and a pingpong ball to see what I mean. Whop
2. A drop bellows. Construct a bellows out of paper such that a small opening is at the top and air is pushed (and pulled) from the bottom. Place the ball over the hole and drop the ball and bellows together. Poof

3. Air compression tubes – Make two tubes with one tube that slides inside the other. The outer tube should be sealed (folded tight) at the end. Slide together part way, insert the ball ad slide together to expel ball – Pop

4. Gravity Sling – Make two long paper beams. Connect the beams at one end with a paper hinge. At the other ends connect the beam with a long rectangle of paper so the beams and paper form a 90, 45, 45 triangle. Place the ball in the middle of the paper and draw the ball inward so the beams are more parallel and perpendicular to the floor (bottom of both Beams on the floor). Hold one beam static and release the top of the other beam. The paper will open with the weight of the beam propelling the ball. SPLAT
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Gerardo » January 11th, 2018, 5:20 am

It's really cool that your participating in this thread firstfold! Remember that the launcher has to be folded from a single A4 copy paper sheet. It seemed to me some of your ideas needed more than one sheet.

Will you try and show us a video? I hope so!
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby firstfold » January 21st, 2018, 10:28 pm



I have been working on several ways to approach this problem - this is perhaps my most successful method that meets the rules for this challenge.

I have also been exploring my "serendipitous spring" design ans a single sheet shooter. See the "Wicked Twist" design on Flickr. It makes for an interesting design, but is substantially less successful in accurately projecting a ping-pong ball than the "Thrown for a loop" design shown here.
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Re: Origami Launcher

Postby Gerardo » January 22nd, 2018, 6:06 pm

Awesome firstfold! I new you would come up with an interesting idea. Good thing you used the vice grips. Any way you can really measure the height when shooting using the vice grip?

Also, I REALLY hope to see "Wicked Twist" shooting a Ping Pong ball! Any way we can get a video? How high did it jump with that launcher?
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