Community Engagement Archive ME Archive Student Competitions Archive

Pumpkin Launch

Have you ever had a gourd and wanted it over there, but in a way that would inspire the masses? The Mechanical Engineering Department sure has, and has tasked our team with creating their submission to our ASME-hosted annual pumpkin launch.

Alexander Morgenthaler, Max Friedman, Nicholas Pomianek, and Henri Pretorius

When tasked with building a pumpkin launcher for our department to enter into the annual pumpkin launch competition, we immediately opted for novelty designs. Settling on a pitching machine style, we now set our sights on the problems of variability and cost. This is the basis for our sled interface and using OEM axels on budget-friendly wheels and tires. The power transmission system proved to be the next most challenging issue, where a reduction was required to achieve the required launch velocities. This reduction requirement also increased the torque required to run the system, which proved to be a fatal flaw. The design hinged on the bike driving a pulley through friction with the help of a trainer, but the bike would slip due to not enough friction, causing a discontinuity within our power transmission path. Fortunately, with some edits to the drive train, we have achieved launch speeds under bike power.

Pumpkin Launcher Design