Friday, May 20, 2011

Making the real deal

We liked how the prototype turned out, so then we cut out some carbon, laid it out on a prototype mold, and cured the resin. The first batch seemed too "flimsy", so we thickened up the top part by adding another layer of material, (we are using a 3K pre-preg). The base plate was way too thin, so we doubled the thickness of it and it made it much stiffer.

This design really works. We've been able to fling small objects (gummy bears work great) in excess of 70 feet with them. Besides a few small changes when we actually create the produciton tooling, I think we have essentially a finished product here!

Attached are a few pictures of the regular black Fling as well as the "Bling Fling", which is the same thing as the black, only with a red and black Kevlar/carbon weave on the top layer. It looks very cool... I also put in a couple pics of them with a ruler or a dry-erase marker to illustrate the size. Let me know what you think!


Making the Prototype

With the design done, we decided to make a prototype of the Fling to see if the design would work and "felt" right. We had the design printed on a 3D printer, cleaned it up, bolted it together, and snapped a few pictures. I took one with a ruler to show the relative size of the Fling:

Completed Design

Using SolidWorks, we decided to see what this thing would really look like. We assigned it some material properties (carbon fiber), and rendered the image to give us a feel for the true design. Here's a picture of the image:

Designing the Fling

For the past couple of weeks, Dave and I have been working on what we think is a pretty cool idea. We call it the Carbon Fling...

It all started with one of our customers that is interested in getting some projects on Kick Starter, which is a pretty cool website that allows users to create "projects" where they post an idea and request funding to make it happen. That funding can be to purchase tooling, buy materials, or whatever, as long as a "reward" is provided. In essence, people can pre-order a product or service by pledging some money to the project. If the money isn't raised, no money trades hands. If the necessary money is raised, then the project gets funded and there are bunch of pre-orders to get it off the ground. It's a great idea!

After seeing some of the ideas that other people are doing, we decided to create our own little bitof carbon eye candy for a desk that is in the range that a mere mortal can afford. Combining the incredible properties of carbon with an old-school catapult, we developed a simple, but elegant desktop catapult made entirely out of carbon fiber.

Here is a sketch in SolidWorks of the design... It went through a few iterations to get there, but we ended up with a simple design with only two parts to it.