Design                                                                                                     Theory


First I made a 1.5 ft tower with extensive vertical bracing.  Atop the tower I made a platform for the weight.  One edge of the platform needed to extend slightly past the wall of the tower so the weight did not get caught on the way up.


My aim with the tower was to make it as strong as possible.  I didn’t want lifting the weight to tear apart the entire structure. 


The theory behind the platform was that I could make the weight load onto it, and then let if freefall down onto the stomp pad below. 


A touch sensor was placed at the back of the platform so that once the weight was in place, the motors would reverse directions. 


The platform was a good solution to a big problem:  dropping a 1 Kg weight quickly.  I had little trouble making a gear panel that would lift the weight, but once the motor was turned off the gears locked up and the weight would not drop.  My solution to this problem was a strong platform where the weight could rest until the motors had been reversed and the string unwound.  The platform could then be tipped and the weight would freefall. 


The platform was a success!  The weight was drawn up and self loaded onto the platform, and stayed until the platform was tipped forward again. 


The stomp pad was borrowed from a good friend ( thanks Hunter! ).  I had tried a milk jug, but it was too stiff and wouldn’t regain its shape.  The launching apparatus stuck out from the body of the tower which helped in balancing and gaining a better launch angle for the shuttle. 


The actual launching mechanism consisted of a stomp pad, tubes and straws. 


The handy board fit snugly inside the vertical bracing of the tower.  One motor was used to drive the mass lifting gears and another was used for the launch pad and platform tipping gear panel.