Description as a Tweet:

It's a freakin catapult!

A wide array of sensors coming together in perfect harmony to create a one in a lifetime experience.
Hit the Target and be rewarded by a wonderful light show and one of the most iconic songs the world has ever heard.


After spending countless nights brainstorming about the perfect project and evaluating ideas ranging from genius to insanity, we came up with the perfect synergy between hardware and software, between old and new, between the known and the unknown, it was the modern interpretation of an amazing medieval tool, the catapult.

What it does:

It solves a question that might be millions of years old. Since the creation of mankind, tales were told by the kings and peasants in every part of our planet. Books were written by the most prestigious scholars of all and dragons were slain just to get a little closer to the root of the problem...

How to move an object from one place to another with grace and precision?

This is what our catapult does, obviously!

How we built it:

After analyzing countless different designs of ancient and modern catapults and combining the knowledge and wisdom of our team and Google, we came up with the perfect design which we used to materialize a stunning model in Solidworks. Thereupon it was only a small step for us, but a giant leap for humankind, to create a MakerBot file, which could be used for a quick print upstairs.
Building upon a solid foundation was the restless search for the perfect source of power. It's a matter of common knowledge, that a catapult is bringing an incommensurable amount of force, which is supplied by an electric motor in our unique case. Countless trials were conducted and a variety of vital parameters were tested. The knowledge gained set us up for great success and we were able to choose an astonishing source of energy, the stepper motor, an ideal solution for our ambitious project considering the extensive requirements posed by such a task.
The biggest challenge wasn't even started, let alone conquered, yet. The wild and unforeseeable jungle of electronics and software creation. The intended scope included a vast variety of different parts, e.g. multiple Arduinos and an immense amount of LEDs. One of the special features brought into being by our dedicated project manager was the adjustable throwing range implemented with a so-called ultrasound distance sensor.
After countless hours in the soldering room, we were finally able to make our dreams come true and put together the first working prototype.

Technologies we used:

  • Arduino
  • Microcontrollers
  • Robotics
  • Other Hardware

Challenges we ran into:

Considering the perfect catapult couldn't be built in the last thousand years, the challenges were immense but for experienced inventors and hackers like us, there is no mountain high enough to not climb it.
For example, choosing the perfect motor was easy, taking that motor to the limit of its performance was a daunting task, which could only be solved with blood, sweat, and tears. In the end, it doesn't even matter, but we were able to get the most performance out of it by using an external PSU with 12V and around 1.5A.
The communication between different Arduinos was by far the hardest challenge, which brought our team to the brink of existence and took a considerable amount of time to get right. The communication was just cluttered with bugs and unsolvable problems, which just randomly occurred out of nowhere.

Accomplishments we're proud of:

Short nap, will continue after intermission!

What we've learned:

A lot!

What's next:

Nothing, it's perfect!

Built with:

Sorry, need sleep, will update later.

Prizes we're going for:

  • Best Documentation
  • Funniest Hack

Team Members

Lukas Baur
Michael Derstroff
Cedric Derstroff

Table Number

Table 67