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Flipper Mechanics

Nathan SavoyComment

Woah, we worked through some tough problems on Wednesday with regards to flipper mechanics for our pin-ball machine. The group begun the afternoon by splitting up to finishing working on two very different prototypes. One team constructed a flipper that pivoted while the other tackled the mechanics of a button activated design.      

Maddie drills a hole to bolt down the flipper

Maddie drills a hole to bolt down the flipper

Henry and Sunny determine placement for the flipper to be controlled by pushing on a piece of PVC.

Henry and Sunny determine placement for the flipper to be controlled by pushing on a piece of PVC.

The simplicity of lever team's design allowed for time to consider how to control returning the flipper to a resting state. Using a spring was a unanimous decision. Nic brought out a box of springs he had seen on a shelf in the shop. The variety of springs to choose from was overwhelming but in the end we chose to add a tension-styled spring that could be easily be attached without the need to construct an encasement for the compression-styled spring.    

Nic and Lukas take a construction break to take in a lesson on the difference between a compression and tension springs.

Nic and Lukas take a construction break to take in a lesson on the difference between a compression and tension springs.

Working together to install a tension spring to the base of the lever arm. 

Working together to install a tension spring to the base of the lever arm. 

Success! When the lever arm is released after being pulled toward the player the springs tension returns the lever to a resting position. 

Success! When the lever arm is released after being pulled toward the player the springs tension returns the lever to a resting position. 

About half way through the afternoon we regrouped to update each other on our afternoon's progress and challenges. Both designs still needed more work so we all decided to commit to one design and tackle it together. The button activated design reminded the group of a real pinball machine so with everyone on board we discussed ways to prevent the lever from making complete rotations. We tried adding a adding an object to the playing field to stop the flipper when it reached the desired height but the the flipper needed to be reset each time. Then we decided that a tension styled spring could hold the flipper down. When our box of springs didn't have the right tool for the job we decided to make our own out of rubber bands. This was great because it allowed us to control the amount of tension on the flipper. 

The button activated flipper team decided to add some washers to the base of flipper bolt to improve contact between the circular piece of PVC and the flipper. 

The button activated flipper team decided to add some washers to the base of flipper bolt to improve contact between the circular piece of PVC and the flipper. 

Lucas shares with the rest of the group the placement and way to attach a tension styled spring to the flipper

Lucas shares with the rest of the group the placement and way to attach a tension styled spring to the flipper

Even with the spring in palace we are still running into some alignment issues.

Even with the spring in palace we are still running into some alignment issues.

Not all the work that goes into building in construction, there is a lot of thinking too! The entire group showed great focus trying to solve some really complicated mechanics. By the end of the day these Tinkers brains were tuckered out but everyone left excited knowing we are so close to having a design that works!

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