Introduction: Arduino Controlled Ping Pong Balls Launcher

About: Hi, My name is Francisco Dias and I'm a student from Lisbon, Portugal. Have a look at my website:

Hi everyone!

This is a ping pong balls launcher designed to be controlled by an arduino.

It uses a servo to dispense the balls and two motors with wheels to give speed and shoot them.

All the pieces can be printed using an 3D printed and the base can be done using a CNC or a laser cutter. You can find all the files attached or on its Thingiverse page:

My parts and everything I needed to make this project were provided by Artica. Thanks guys!

Here you can see it mounted on a Magabot and shooting a Farrusco, being controlled through Skype using an hacked steering wheel:

On this second video you can see it being controlled using a kinect at the Let's Make Robots! table on Campus Party Europe in Berlin:

PS: I got inspired by this project:
Have a look!

Step 1: Gather the Pieces

I will divide the necessary parts in two groups: the ones that are 3D printed or cut and the othrs you have to buy.

Fabricated parts:
  • Main Body
  • Servo Support
  • Two wheels
  • Two motor supports
  • PVC Base
Other parts:
  • Servo
  • Two motors
  • Two o-rings 
  • Bolts
  • Arduino and motor controller
  • Ping Pong Balls!

If you want to have a look and/or modify the model, you can have a look at the 123D project:

Step 2: Mount the Servo Support

Just use the two bolts to attach it to the main body.

Step 3: Add the Servo

Attach the servo to the support using two screws. If you want, a zip tie will reinforce it.

To dispense the balls correctly you may need to cut your servo horn as you can see on the picture.

Step 4: Attach the Motor Supports to the Base

Just screw them to the base and insert the motors on their place.

Tip: To keep your wires tide you can use a drill to twist them.

Step 5: Mount the Wheels

Simply place the o-rings on the two wheels.

Step 6: Mount the Main Body on the Base and Attach the Wheels to the Motors

Force the wheels onto the motors' shafts and make sure they are well placed.

Use the four screws to mount the main body on the base.

Step 7: Add an PVC Pipe to Be Able to Store More Balls

If you want to be able to shoot more than two balls at a time you can add a PVC pipe on its top.

Step 8: Second Part - Tilt Control

This second part is kind of optional but I recommend you to do it.
It lets you control the tilt of the cannon.

Gather the parts. As previously, I will divide the necessary parts in two groups again.

Fabricated parts:
  • Two Servo Supports
  • Servo extender
  • PVC Base
Other parts:
  • Servo
  • Two hinges
  • Bolts and spacers

Step 9: Add the Hinges and Supports

Just put them on its place ;)

Step 10: Add the Servo

Use the screws to attach the supports and then mount the servo there.

In order to let the servo lift more the launcher you may use an extender as the one you can see on the photo.

Step 11: Attach It to the Rest of the Launcher

Use nuts and bolts to attach the launcher to the two hinges.

Step 12: Connect It to an Arduino

To control this device using an arduino you need two digital ports for the servos and other two for the motors.

You can use 4 ports, 2 for each motor, but how it is only needed to have the motors spining in one direction I decided to simply connect the other two to ground.

On the picture you can see the schematics and the arduino code is attached, use any motor driver you want.

Step 13: Have Fun!

These are just two examples of want you can do with this. Open your imagination!

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