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What would I need to build a handheld apparatus capable of spinning and launching moderately sized steel balls? Answered

Preferably one that's not excessively bulky. The balls in question are slightly larger than a golfball.


 How about a rail gun device?  Magnetism.     I saw an instruct able that launched magnetic disks from a hard drive, maybe you can try this, also they sell magnetite balls of different diameters that may work with this technology!


8 years ago

Maybe 3/4" is too small for you, but I shoot steel balls out of my "Christmas cannon" (an instructables project) using a 3/4" barrel.  At 100 PSI I can punch it through thick plywood.

Instrucatbles air cannon link www.instructables.com/id/Christmas_Cannon/

an air cannon would do it, but it would have a massive kick, you wouldnt want to hang on to it when fireing. it would need to be supported by something solid.

Is it possible to get a decent one at a reasonable price? It seems like everything under $1,000 is just one of those plastic Airzookas.

i doubt that you could buy an air cannon. i made mine from parts at the hardware store for less than $50.


9 years ago

At what speed? something like that being launched would create a hell of a kick back. With "hand held" apparatus and that kind of energy your probably going to break something in the wrist area. Anything less than wrist breaking energy and you would be able to throw it further anyway. Not to mention getting the energy stored up and actuating it. Might I suggest an unfolding trebuchet? It would not be hand held, but would suit your aim. There are various calculators online for the specifics of trebuchets. Hope this helps, Drew

Even something at less than wrist breaking force would be fine. I'm doing this primarily for the cool factor, so it doesn't need to meet strict specifications.

I don't think you'll be able to get (for that size) anything like a cool or impressive display, the physic's just don't work for it I'm afraid. Drew

Try a broomstick length pole (like a broomstick, lol) with a long scoop on the end (search "scoop ball") that will give you greater swinging force, and with practice you might be able to get the ball to go farther than if you threw it, I made a similar sort of thing to throw golfballs for my dog, using bent wire tines for the scoop, but you'll need something much stronger for this. Also, don't use it to kill people. that's just messed up.

Haha, no, it's not for killing people. In fact, it's mostly just to prove that it can be done, although I suppose you could really mess up some zombies with it if you got good enough. I was thinking something mechanical, but the scoop ball idea seems interesting. I'll look into it.

A lacrosse stick or stick sling might work.