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Halloween Candy Mortar

Candy in a 35mm film container is launched towards a trick-or-treater when they step on a foot pedal 50 feet away from the launcher.

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Candy in a 35mm film container is launched towards a trick-or-treater when they step on a foot pedal 50 feet away from the launcher. A Paper Air Rocket launcher built several years ago was repurposed. It uses PVC pipe, a cheap electric sprinkler valve and two 9 Volt batteries in series connected to a push button switch and a foot pedal switch. Both the push button hand switch, held by the operator, and the pedal switch, used by the trick-or-treater, must be pushed together to launch the candy. The air chamber is made of 2" PVC. A small electric air compressor set to 27.5 PSI charges the PVC tank. The launch tube is 1.5" inside diameter PVC pipe which is a perfect fit for the film containers. Two containers, each containing a small chocolate bar and a glow stick, can be launched at once a distance of about 45'. The intent is to have the candy land on the grass in front of the trick-or-treater. The canisters are fairly light and do not hit the ground very hard.

As the operator holds down the push button switch near the launcher the trick-or-treater, in the orange shirt, steps on the foot pedal. The system will only launch when both the operator switch and the foot pedal are pushed. Two film canisters, each with a 3Musketeers bar, travel about 45'. The red flags mark the 30, 40 and 50 feet points.

Launch_Sign_Code.ino

ESP32 LAUNCH Sign Code: ESP32 Web Server. Connect to the Private IP it is assigned from your Wi-Fi network and push the button to turn the LEDs on and off. Code is based on this tutorial with some minor changes. https://randomnerdtutorials.com/esp32-web-server-arduino-ide/

ino - 6.50 kB - 10/26/2020 at 01:00

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  • 1 × 2" PVC Pipe - 10" Air Tank
  • 1 × 2" End Cap
  • 2 × 3/4″ male threaded x 3/4″ female slip PVC adapter
  • 1 × 2" PVC Tee
  • 1 × Threaded 2" PVC reducer cap

View all 20 components

  • Last Update

    Paul McCabe6 days ago 0 comments

    Well it worked well on Halloween. We only had a few groups come by but they all seemed to enjoy it. 

    Several did it multiple times and since we had plenty of candy it wasn't a problem.

    We left a small bucket for everyone to drop the 35mm film canisters into and that worked out well. No one seemed to mind returning them.

    A couple of trick or treaters encouraged us to shoot out more then 2 at a time. 5 at a time still worked great. 6 was a bust. 

  • Update 10/25/20

    Paul McCabe10/26/2020 at 00:57 0 comments

    Web page controlled Launch Sign: Used an ESP32, 6 LEDs, and a usb battery for the circuit. Code is from Random Nerd Tutorials (ESP32 Web Sever). Built  a simple sign from a polycarbonate sheet and some pieces of wood. Hot glued the LEDs under the sign. Scratched the word LAUNCH into the polycarbonate sheet with a Dremel. Idea is to place this on a stand next to the foot pedal and activate it when we are ready for them to step on the foot pedal. 

  • Update 10/21/2020

    Paul McCabe10/22/2020 at 00:09 0 comments

    Bought a bunch of 2" glow sticks and added them to the film canisters along with the candy.

    Difficult to film the effect when launched but they work well and when they land it makes them easy to find in the grass. The green glow stick is much brighter than the purple glow stick. The added weight does not seem to limit the distance much. See the video. 

    Also made a parachute from tissue paper and kite string that was taped to the outside of the canister lid. Taped a paper sleeve around the canister and slid it up about an inch then tucked the parachute into it. Did not work well. Parachute either deployed too early or too late. No pics of this.

  • Update

    Paul McCabe10/13/2020 at 12:24 0 comments

    10/13/20

    Posted a video of some launches

    10/12/20

    Began working on an ESP32 controlled LED sign that tells the next trick-or-treater when they can  move forward to use the launcher. Picture something like two  EXIT signs stacked on top of each other, one saying LAUNCH and the other saying WAIT. Controlled by an phone app.

    Circuit is built, need to work on the app and then then the actual box to hold it.

  • Experimentation Log

    Paul McCabe10/05/2020 at 03:39 0 comments

    10/5/20:

    Run 1: 

    Pressure: 27.5 PSI , Launcher Angle: 70 degrees, Payload: 2 canisters with candy Weight: 52 grams

    Horizontal Distance: ~45'

    Vertical Distance ~45'' estimated.

    Conclusion: Good

    Run 2: 

    Pressure: 27.5 PSI , Launcher Angle: 60 degrees, Payload: 2 canisters with candy Weight: 52 grams

    Horizontal Distance: ~45'

    Vertical Distance ~45'' estimated.

    Conclusion: Very similar to Run 1 at 70 degree.

    10/4/20: 

    Ruled out shooting candy without some kind of a container. Considered using plastic Easter eggs since several were available. However, no PVC tube is made with 1.75" inside diameter. Only 1.5" and 2.0" are available. 35mm film canisters were also available and fit nicely into a 1.5" PVC pipe.

    Purchased the PVC parts to convert the 3/4" Female thread on the sprinkler valve to 1.5" PVC tube that would fit the film canisters.

    Assembled the systems and ran several tests

    Run 1: 

    Pressure: 40 PSI , Launcher Angle: 80 degrees, Payload: 1 canister with candy Weight: 26 grams

    Horizontal Distance: ~47'

    Vertical Distance ~60' estimated, possibly higher.

    Conclusion: Way too high

    Run 2: 

    Pressure: 40 PSI , Launcher Angle: 80 degrees, Payload: 2 canisters with candy Weight: 52 grams

    Horizontal Distance: ~40'

    Vertical Distance ~60' estimated, possibly higher.

    Conclusion: Way too high

    Run 3: 

    Pressure: 35 PSI , Launcher Angle: 75 degrees, Payload: 2 canisters with candy Weight: 52 grams

    Horizontal Distance: ~60'

    Vertical Distance ~60' estimated, possibly higher.

    Conclusion: Way too high

    Also tested:

    Plastic streamer taped to the canister to slow decent. Worked well but reduced distance to ~35'. 

    Parachute from a napkin also taped to canister. Worked well but reduced height and distance. Only traveled 13'. Opened on the way up.

View all 5 project logs

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Discussions

Scott Clandinin wrote 6 days ago point

Ballistic candy delivery. This is fantastic.

  Are you sure? yes | no

pharpe wrote 10/29/2020 at 16:56 point

My Sprinkler valve is leaking air.  I know these aren't made for compressed air so wondering if it's normal or if I should get a different one.  I have it set to 40 psi right now.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul McCabe wrote 10/29/2020 at 21:03 point

It shouldn't leak at 40 PSI, I run mine at about 27 but have gone up to 40 with no problem. Maybe some Teflon tape around the threads if that's where it's coming from. If the valve itself is leaking, yeah maybe replace it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ken Yap wrote 10/15/2020 at 03:49 point

Those canisters are probably more valuable than the candy; if only the kids knew. 😊

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ben Hencke wrote 10/14/2020 at 22:33 point

This is so awesome. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

svieth wrote 10/14/2020 at 16:19 point

"REDLEG! REDLEG! CHECK YOUR FIRE!  WE'VE GOT FRIENDLY GHOSTS AT THAT GRID COORDINATE!  OVER."

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike Szczys wrote 10/12/2020 at 19:53 point

The sound out of that thing is excellent!

Also, I want to work on a parachute design for this. Candy slowly raining down sounds like so much fun.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul McCabe wrote 10/13/2020 at 01:04 point

Thanks, the sound is fantastic. 

Yes! Excellent idea.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Paul McCabe wrote 10/05/2020 at 23:53 point

Yeah, and we had to dial down from 40 PSI. It went sky high and about 60 feet at that setting. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 10/05/2020 at 21:06 point

Now that's some social distancing!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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