Mechanical Engineering

Freshman Tennis Ball Launcher

The freshman tennis ball launcher project is required for all freshmen taking ENGR101. The students are all given the same pneumatic piston and air compressor with a specified power and capacity. After given this equipment, it is up to each small team to design and fabricate a working tennis ball launcher. Examples of possible designs include catapults, slingshots, or trebuchets.

Students are given limits on the size and cost of the launcher – constraints which must be considered in its design. The most challenging part of this project is designing a trigger mechanism that works consistently with the pneumatic power.

The goal of the project is to have the most accurate and most efficient working launcher. At the end of the semester, there is a competition that includes all the freshmen mechanical engineering students. Each team is graded on their design, efficiency, and accuracy.