Have you ever known anyone who was actually good at paddle ball? You know–the wooden paddle with a rubber ball attached to it by a string? It’s a toy that no child I’ve ever known (myself included) has mastered but grandfathers the world over prove themselves paddleball champs. Maybe it just takes years to acquire the necessary skill or possibly we’ve all just needed a little extra help. Who would have thought that little, added finesse would be provided by 3D printing and Arduino?
Apparently, maker and 3D printing expert Mike Rigsby wasn’t much good at paddle ball either. He also seems not to have been willing to accept defeat, so he designed a 3D printed, Arduino-enhanced paddle ball rig that actually doesn’t make you want to fling the toy, throw up your hands, and vow never to attempt such folly again.
Rigsby, who is a frequent contributor to Instructables and goes by “MikeTheMaker” on the site, provided instructions, .stl files, and, most importantly, positive reinforcement for all of you would-be paddle ball champions (I’ve long since given up hope).
This project requires a servo motor, an Arduino Uno, four AA batteries, some hardware, a bit of glue, a soldering iron, a few 3D printed parts, and, of course, a paddle ball set-up. You begin by printing the base of the enhanced paddleball game. The base slides onto the end of a table, so it’s held in place when the fun begins. You’ll print the two other 3D printed parts, a rod and the bracket for the servo motor.
Assembling the various parts is pretty easy. First mount the motor to the bracket and then mount them to the base. Rigsby, who has published a book, A Beginners Guide to 3D Printing: 14 Simple Toy Designs to Get You Started, shared a helpful technique for joining 3D printed parts: He “welded” the PLA pieces using a low-wattage soldering iron, which basically melts them together. Be sure you’re working in a well-ventilated room if you do this.
Next, Rigsby affixed the rod to the servo motor horn using magnet wire, although he suggests that fishing line would be just as effective. Glue the paddle to the rod assembly using super glue (he used the gel form).
Rigsby has also written an app, “How to Make a Science Fair Project,” and has written a number of articles on electronics, DIY, and 3D printing, so it’s clear he has plenty of experience using electronics, including Arduino. He used pin 7 of his Arduino Uno as the control pin for the servo motor and installed the sketch “servo.ino” to make it run. The servo itself is powered by the four AA batteries, with the negative from the batteries tied to the negative on the Arudino. He powered the Arduino with a 9 volt battery.
And that’s basically it, aside from sliding the device onto a glass table and turning it on. As far as the whole skill issue is concerned, Rigsby remarked, “If you don’t expect to hit the ball, you won’t be disappointed.” That’s encouraging advice. In its own way.
What do you think about this kind of Arduino-based project? Would it make you feel better about your skills with paddle ball? Let us know in the 3D Printing, Arduino, and Paddle Ball forum thread over at 3DPB.com. Check out a video of the results below.
You May Also Like
Using Ultrasonic Waves to Analyze Residual Stress in 3D Printed Metal Parts
Researchers from the Czech Republic and Brazil have come together to highlight ultrasonic testing for stress analysis in ‘Residual stress analysis of additive manufacturing of metallic parts using ultrasonic waves:...
Velo3D Secures Further $12M in Funding for Metal 3D Printing
After already securing $28 million in a series-D round of investment just this April, Velo3D has announced an additional $12 million in funding for the series. This brings the total...
3D Systems Streamlines Software for Reverse Engineering
3D Systems has announced the latest versions of its Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Wrap software, this time claiming “first-to-market capabilities” for streamlining workflows and improving design precision. New features...
3D Printing News Briefs: May 12, 2020 Nanofabrica, Voxeljet, Elementum, AMPOWER
We’re all business today in 3D Printing News Briefs – Nanofabrica has raised $4 million in funding, and voxeljet is expanding its presence in India. Elementum 3D has achieved an...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.