If you throw a snowball, you might be able to hit something 30 feet away. But if you use a pole mounted snowball launcher, you could hit targets up to 60 feet away. In this project I am going to show you how to make a simple pole snowball launcher that can send snowballs flying great distances.
Step 1: Materials
Materials for a single snowball launcher:
Long Wooden Pole (such as a broom handle)
1/4" Bolt, 1 1/2" long
Two 1/4" Washers
Cup or Bowl (anything that can hold a snowball)
Drill and Bit Set
Step 2: Drill a Mounting Hole in the End of the Pole
Using a 1/4 inch drill bit, drill a hole through the center of the pole near the end. This is where we will mount the cup that will hold the snowball. It may be helpful to first drill the hole with one or more smaller bits before using the 1/4" bit. By gradually increasing the size of the hole, you reduce the chance that the wood might split.
Step 3: Cut a Small Hole in the Bottom of Your Cup
We need to mount a small cup at the end of the pole to hold the snowball. This can be anything that is able to hold a snowball. It can be a plastic bowl or a plastic cup. It can be a ball that has been cut in half. Just for fun, I decided to use half of a coconut. Whatever object you choose to use needs to have a hole cut in the bottom so that it can be attached to the pole with a 1/4 inch bolt.
The best way to make the hole depends on material that the cup is made of. For thin soft plastics, you can simply cut a hole with a sharp knife. For harder plastics or wood, you will probably want to use a drill. With a coconut, you may be able to just push a 1/4 inch bolt through one of the eyes. The exact method does not matter as long as you can fit a 1/4 inch bolt through the bottom of the cup.
Step 4: Attach the Cup to the Pole With the Bolt, Nut, and Washers
First put a 1/4 inch washer onto your bolt. Then insert the bolt through the hole in the bottom of your cup. Then put another washer onto the bolt. This will sandwich the bottom of the cup between two washers. Now insert the bolt through the pole and tighten a nut on the other side. Your snowball launcher should now be ready to use.
Step 5: Launch Snow Balls!
Now you are ready to try out your snowball launcher. Make a snowball and place it in the cup. Pick up the pole and catapult the snowball through the air.
When the weather conditions are just right, you don't even need to make the snowballs by hand. You can just reach down with the pole , scoop up a chunk of snow and sling it.
Step 6: Additional Tips for Better Performance
Here are a few additional tips for improving the performance of your snowball launcher.
1. Your snowball launcher can only be as good as the snowball that you put in it. Here is an article on how to make better snowballs. http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/11/30/how-to-make-the-perfect-snowball/
2. Snowballs (and any other projectile) travel the farthest when they are fired at a 45 degree angle from the ground. So try to launch your snowball so that it is released at a 45 degree angle.
3. The snowball should be a little smaller than the cup. This will help to ensure that it stays together when it is launched.
If you can think of any other good tips, leave a comment and I will add them here.