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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, 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.

  • 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

  • Update 10/21/2020

    Paul McCabe3 days ago 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 3 project logs

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Discussions

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

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

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

This is so awesome. 

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

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

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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.

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

Thanks, the sound is fantastic. 

Yes! Excellent idea.

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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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