Gas station without pumps

2017 November 11

Cat-toy ball track

Filed under: Robotics — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:39

Earlier today, I posted Bending PVC failed, in which I gave up on bending 1 ½” PVC pipe into a tight circle.  Even if I had been able to make the pipe bend that tightly, I probably would not have been able to cut the pipe in half afterward to make a spiral trough—the circle is a much bigger diameter than I could fit on my bandsaw and I’m not sure my hands are steady enough to cut that long a cut neatly enough with a hacksaw.  I had given up on this way of storing my ammunition, when my wife came up with a suggestion that I had not thought of: cat toys!

It turns out that a currently popular cat toy is a ball in a circular track that the cat can push around with its paws.  I looked at a few on line, and decided that there was a chance that I could modify such a toy into a useful helical track. I went over to PetSmart and bought a couple of different models, including the Cat Cyclone for $15, which has a 10″ diameter.

I disassembled the Cat Cyclone, cut from the edge to the center with my bandsaw, and tried bending it into a helix using warm water.  I think that the results are usable:

The ping-pong ball in the ramp is a bit smaller than the ball that the Cat Cyclone comes with.

The track takes up more space than I had planned on, so I’ll have to rethink some of my space allocation. Before I go any further with the ball track (cutting out the central disk, designing supports to hold the helical shape, cutting slots for a single-ball feeder, cutting away excess track to provide room for launcher, … ), I need to figure out how I’m going to do the two ball-delivery mechanisms.

But not tonight—I need to get back to work on my book.

1 Comment »

  1. […] don’t have a complete design for the robot, and I’ve built nothing so far except the cat-toy ball track, which is not complete yet—I need to know how much of it to cut away for the ball launcher(s), […]

    Pingback by Progress report on mechatronics | Gas station without pumps — 2017 November 15 @ 19:27 | Reply

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