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Micro Catapult

by LukeTansell, published

Micro Catapult by LukeTansell Sep 10, 2016

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Summary

Inspired by a Stratasys sample print, I decided to re-draw and improve the desktop, micro catapult. It can throw a small bit of paper, chunks of raft, and pretty much anything you can fit inside. Selected ammunition can be thrown around 2 metres, plenty to hit unaware victims at another desk!

It's a Print-In-Place model, without the need for any support material. It also takes advantage of the material properties, meaning that there are no external parts or hardware, it's just the material that allows it to flex and store energy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ABS/PC I printed it in doesn't break or retain a memory from being fired over 100 times.

https://youtu.be/hgZHc_a9KLI

UPDATE 7-01-2017: I've now uploaded 'Micro_Catapult_INC._TOL..stl' which is a file with looser tolerances, for anyone having trouble with the original.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:

Up!

Printer:

Up Plus2

Rafts:

Doesn't Matter

Supports:

No

Resolution:

.25

Infill:

Minimum


Notes:

Support material is not required, but a raft will improve the seating of the axles inside their housings. Printing at .25mm is recommended. It was found that a higher resolution affects the mechanics too much. If you'd like a left-handed version, you can try mirroring it in your slicer (Some may need a '-' integer, such as '-1' in order to mirror)

Cooling while printing the neck of the shooting arm is a must, even with ABS. To give mine a better finish, i printed a small cooling tower alongside. This shouldn't be necessary if you have decent fans on your extruder. You may also want to lower the speed on the bucket.

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It is not, thank you for letting me know. I'm going to investigate

This is one of the first things I printed on my MP Mini v2 (first 3D printer). I used 0.2mm resolution, standard Monoprice PLA filament, 190C Extruder / 50C Bed width 80% infill. It took a little over an hour and works fine so far (I've only used it a couple times so far).

Thanks for this awesome design!

No worries. Fun fact: The promo video for the MP Mini v2 used the catapult!

Printed four with cheap PLA on an inexpensive machine. All four work great. Printing four more as I type this.

i printed one, exactly the size as downloaded, in PLA, 25% infill. works ok, the Torsion bar that powers the spoon doesnt retain shape, so the launch path is only about half of the original (am i making sense here?)

means that the projectile gets tossed high, rather than far!

still, thank you for this neat toy! :)

cheers!
michael

Will try it out in our activities week. The test one worked well. Many thanks. Keep up the good work.

Printed it with super cheap PLA in original size and one in 150% scale. The bigger version broke on the first try (beause of the infill it was not that flexible in 150%size). The originial size was still great fun with the kids.

Thank you!

i think PETG would work amazingly well better than all the other ones . gonna try it out

For those looking for a fast 3D printing demo option, this is the best one I've found so far. When scaled down to 50% size with .35mm layers it only takes 10 minutes to print. Just within the attention span of elementary school age kids.

Oh, how much fun it would be to load it with those "snappers" that you get for the 4th of July.

Would it be possible for you to post a part file for this part because I would like to try customizing it but 3D slash isn't working very well for me and I'd prefer to use NX.

What material are you using for this?

It's best printed in ABS, but a lot of people have had luck with PLA

How much did you scale it down??

I tried to scale it up today - without success ;)

I printed it at 200% of the size and the spring broke at the first try. Was just an experiment ;)

I'd recommend not scaling it. There are some delicate tolerances that may not work if you scale it.

I printed it on PLA with 15% infill and aside of the neck of the "spoon", that came out a bit ugly, it works perfect for me. Had to break it loose and it was ready to launch little paper balls!

Congratulations!!!

P.S.: I will try to print it with a little cooling tower, to see if it comes out better.

what is the the minimum infill

Does not work plastic brakes needs to be re designed

Well re-design it then. Come back when you're done.

You dont respond to criticism well, huh?

If they give a helpful, informed comment then i respond accordingly. I don't take kindly to people who just complain without giving feedback

Correct! otherwise their just wasting time and being crass.

Couldnt agree more, well said Luke Tansell

Hey Luke,

Your Micro Catapult is the item being printed in this Monoprice Select Mini V2 ad on Youtube!!! Woot! Woot!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c43HVaiSF88

sorry to inform you they are actually printing the official monoprice calibration test (I own one of those printers)

That's okay, because it's a Creative Commons license-Attribution-Share Alike they're allowed to share and adapt it.

That's awesome!! Thanks so much for letting me know!!

I use skittles or m&m candies as ammo. Works great!

What about tictac? will they work also?

my first attempt at printing this, printing two to give it time to cool, the extruder is catching on the neck, broke it loose from the bottom so that its bending each time it tries to go back to it and making a big mess, carrying extra junk back to the other one that was otherwise printing well. Going to see if I print just the spoons and weld them together to salvage the print

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2107869 I designed Ammo to be used for this. Super simple and comes with a few varieties, and they are fast to print.

Projectiles for Micro Catapult - 12mm

What size should I make for ammo?

EDIT: 12-14mm balls work really well

Used Inland clear PETG and it works great! Awesome design!

Can this launch a 90kg projectile over 300 meters? This is barely a siege engine for ants!

If it can't launch a 90kg projectile over 300 meters it's not even with the PLA.

You launch ants from it? That seems cruel.

More like "The Derek Zoolander Catapult For Ants Who Can't Seige Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too"

Hence the prefix 'Micro'..?

Will it work if i print this in PLA?

Results will of course vary but I was able to print a working version in PLA. Just had to make sure the two pivot points were actually rotating and it worked fine.

Nope, PLA bends, yet has little "spring memory". Choose a model where the throwing arm uses rubber bands or a weighted throwing arm like a trebuchet.

This was my experience. The PLA bent and threw an object, but it didn't spring back to its original shape. I think it will be good for only a few throws.

I have tried with PLA, loader was braked up instantly on first try.

Ok. I printed this in ABS and it broke too, unfortunately

Has anyone printed this if flex yet?

I have. It DOES NOT WORK. Do not waste your filament. Print it in ABS with 100% infill

I did and the arm broke off when I tried to flex it. not sure the issue. print looked great too.

Ryan, would you mind posting a make of one in flex? I'm really intrigued to see how it looks!

It messed up a little in the neck, but it printed. Didn't work Tho. Printed in lulzbot taulman PCTPE

Sure! I'll do it as soon as possible

i tried the original version first, works nice but i'm gonna print the second version later...
my kid broke the neck where it clamps after 5 tries... any way in s3d to make infill 100% from certain layer?

Comments deleted.

Best way to improve cooling when printing the neck... make more than one.

ummm..... are you supposed to print this sideways?

It prints in the same orientation as the photos. Thingiverse flipped my updated STL for some reason

I printed this with a new matter mod-t 3d printer and none of the pieces were moving and i ended up breaking it.

Same here. non moving parts :/ what degree are you guys printing with? I am using Vertex 8400, 210 degrees, 0.2mm layer height, 20% infill

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

Printed the new file with increased tolerances, still had brim and some sticking at the trigger and catapult arm pivots - easily freed with an exacto knife from the frame. Seems pretty stout as long as those pivots are free to move as Luke's design intended. Neat design.

What slicer are you using? You may have to reduce your extrusion multiplier, or adjust XY offsets somehow

Perfect print. Simplify3d, ABS, .20mm. they shoot a glass marble about 3-4 feet. My kids love it.

Comments deleted.

Mine worked...Had to clean up the bottom part of latch and spoon with blade.
settings in Notes:
http://www.thingiverse.com/make:279348

Micro Catapult
by FazPat

it broke straight away ! but at least i have a spoon ! lol

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

If you put up a make with some photos and info we might be able to help out!

Broke for me as well. Spoon now in drawer. PLA 215C bed 50. Broke on spoon base. No parts were movable after print. Maybe just me. Infill might need to be added to base of spoon. Latch release also does not move Broke latch trying to move it. Maybe I need to try just ABS for this print. https://s24.postimg.org/ahegmiplh/20161221_220343.jpg

What slicer were you using? Different slicers interpret tolerances differently; frustrating, but it's how it goes i guess! I've heard that reducing your extrusion multiplier can help, unless you can change your X/Y tolerance offsets somehow.

Was just using Cura 15.04.02 on the mono price mini select. I really think it was the PLA vs ABS.Not mad just giving input.

Ahk, does the Mini Select do ABS? If so, that usually works better. I think you can lower the extrusion multiplier in Cura as well.

Mini select does ABS just need to get on the learning curve for it. Have a A8 printer coming soon so might try on that. Not the first print i have broke. Might need to adjust infill for the jobs. Extrusion multiplier scares me due to not extruding at all. No problems with layers at all. Issue i think with this print was just PLA and structure support. Thanks for staying up a commenting. I am just 2 months in and still dealing with fails. Its a fun hobby just need practice. If I get it working I will post an update.

Ahk, one of the makes here was done on an A8 I think, so there's someone that can give you some pointers! Did you have support structures on? If so, that'd fill the gaps with structure which stop it from working. If so, switch them off and have another go. All good, it's mid-afternoon here for me!

Mini select does ABS just need to get on the learning curve for it. Have a A8 printer coming soon so might try on that. Not the first print i have broke. Might need to adjust infill for the jobs. Extrusion multiplier scares me due to not extruding at all. No problems with layers at all. Issue i think with this print was just PLA and structure support. Thanks for staying up a commenting. I am just 2 months in and still dealing with fails. Its a fun hobby just need practice. If I get it working I will post an update.

Broke for me as well. Spoon now in drawer. PLA 215C bed 50. Broke on spoon base. No parts were movable after print. Maybe just me. Infill might need to be added to base of spoon. Latch release also does not move Broke latch trying to move it. Maybe I need to try just ABS for this print. https://s24.postimg.org/ahegmiplh/20161221_220343.jpg

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

I will surely do tomorrow! I think the material I have is too brittle!

Comments deleted.

I've made this thing like 4 times all with limited success. First off, infill needs to be higher! The first 3 I printed with 20% infill had the arms all snap off right away the first time I pulled them back. Secondly, you really need to have you printer resolution tuned in to a high setting to get the proper separation of the torsion arm and the lever. Once I finally got those to things down, the arm doesn't snap right off and the lever and torsion arm move freely ...not the lever won't lock the arm into the firing position. This project helped me to learn about how to manually adjust my printer resolution but at 4 attempts and still no properly working catapult I think I'm moving on.

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

Sorry to hear that, were you printing in PLA? ABS is best, and sometime the nozzle offsets for a 3D printer may not be the same as the ones that have worked. In this case, you may have to adjust them for the parts to stop sticking to each other. Can i get some details about your 3D printer? We might be able to help out.

Got one printed with 1.75mm Prusa supplied PLA at 0.20mm normal detail. No fusing. I think the trick is to slightly twist the horizontal tension bar along it's length with a pair of pliers first - just to introduce a bit of give - before cranking the arm back. This is what I did since suspected it would snap if I'd just tried to pull the arm straight back, would have needed more force than it could stand.

Nice model. My kids like it.

Comments deleted.

Awesome to hear! I've heard that PETG is pretty good in general. Sorry to hear the scaled version didn't work, I haven't tried scaling it myself.

On the note of 'Game features' I'm currently working on a mechanically aiming catapult using the same principal which should be repeatable and will have a basket for ammo and whatnot!

I got mine to work with PLA but I forgot the settings, I tried to make another one but it snapped on the first shot (wrong settings I guess)

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

That's excellent! If you happen to find the settings, please comment them in. A few people are having trouble with PLA, and need some help getting it to work.

Tried printing with ABS on a Taz 4 and the movable parts were all fused, even using a knife and pliers couldn't break them free without destroying it.

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

Would you be able to provide some more detail about what went wrong? It's worked for lots of people, so we may be able to help with settings and whatnot.

The wrench can not be adjusted. Removeable parts are frozen in place. Tried different settings suggested by others with no change

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

Do you have an open source printer? If so, I think your nozzle offsets may not be very accurate. You should be able to adjust them in the firmware for your printer. Do you have a heated bed? The Micro Catapult is recommended to print better in ABS. I hope this helps!

I've found if you have Simplify 3d, make a process with low infill (15%) up to about 16mm and another from 16mm to the top (70mm?) at a higher infill ie 75%, this will strengthen the arm while leaving the base part nice and flexible. don't know if this is possible with other slicers?
Using ABS.

it dosnt work with pal & abs

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

Would you be able to provide some more detail about what went wrong? It's worked for lots of people, so we may be able to help with settings and whatnot.

Would this be best printed with something like NinjaTek's Cheetah filament? Am assuming standard PLA just cracks.

I'm not familiar with NinjaTek filaments, but I don't think it'd work. I'd stick with ABS as a primary, and PLA as a backup if you can't do ABS

Daughter and I are having a blast with these. Look forward to printing them larger to see the power increase!

That's awesome! Good luck printing them larger, I think most people find that the power reduces in proportion to the size.

Got it to work with blue translucent PLA. Had to slow the print speed right down so the arm can be stronger with better layer adhesion. The first one I printed was a fail because of overheating. (photo in Made One section) :)

Great design btw!

This looks very cool! I always use HATCHBOX Pla, but today I just got some HATCHBOX Petg, and it appears to be pretty flexible. I'm printing it out now, so I will tell you the results when it finishes.

Excellent! I've never tried PETG before, but how'd it go?

Printed with PLA at 20%, it works but you reeeeeally can't over-draw the arm. It fired a few times fine, but I over-drew the arm and it cracked. It definitely doesn't feel smooth. It's a very neat design though.

Cheers! It's best printed in ABS, but a couple of people have had it working well in PLA. You shouldn't be able to over-draw it, once it's under the hook it should latch and be ready, hopefully! If it doesn't feel smooth then you might need to adjust the XY offsets, is it an open source machine?

Just printed this with ABS with an Infill of 15% and Outer Perimeter and Top/Bottom of 3 on Simplify3D. DO NOT PUSH IT DOWN AT THE BUCKET or it will break at the neck where it narrows. You need to push it down at the wide portion of the neck to lock it down. I broke mine the first time I tried to load it but acetone bonded the broken piece back onto the neck and now it works great! It's amazing how much the ABS can flex and how much energy it releases -- it easily shot a wad of paper 7 ft. away :)... Printing a second one right now.

Well....ABS was a failure...I suggest making the arm and locking piece separate and printed flat so torque is perpindicular to the grain of the print and therefore much stronger. Cool project though!

I'm going to try printing one in standard ABS, what settings did you use? One of the makes was done in ABS and seemed to work, maybe flick them a message and see what settings they used :)

PETG works great for these things, give that a try if you have a spool.

Ha, I think we must have seen the same sample part. I just posted my simplified design up and then saw yours in the same category after posting. I think yours looks way better.

Does it work with PLA?

well people says that it dowsnt work witgh pla, byut today you can buy much stronger pla that can flex realy good, Im printing 4 of them now in PLA, updating tomorrow if success (Using reinforced PLA that can take som beating and bending)

Hi Zorco, how'd your prints go? Hoping they worked out well!

Hi :) I did print 4x in 3dprima select PLA and 4x in zortrax ABS.

The ones in reinforced PLA is much better than the ones in abs. Abs shoots like 1-2meters, and the PLA ones shoot about 5meters. Two abs have gor broken arms, but the PLA ones still going strong :)

Comments deleted.

I tried PLA - snapped like a twig when I tried to pull it back...

I've just uploaded a new file with increased tolerances, that should work better for you :)

yup same here :(. unfortunately I don't have printer that can print abs.

I don't use PLA, but Dingfangle seems to have gotten it to work with no infill and a .15mm resolution. I used an ABS/PC compostie, but ABS I think would work well too

I got it to work with pla. no infill and .15 res

it dosnt work with with pla

Looking at the picture of it pulled back it looks twisted quite a bit. I doubt pla would stand up to that much stress. I am about half way done printing one in petg.

Petg works well, posting my make now.

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