Season 2 Starts Now!


This is what we need for our class. I hope that I have a good year.

Class Syllabus


Today Mr. Wilton came to our class and presented a powerpoint on what he does and how he got where he is in life. We also saw his website.

Mr. Wilton Observation Form

Today I worked on my website and also on theMr. Wilton Observation Form from yesterday.


Today we worked with Mr. Miller on shop safety. We toured the shop and he explained what everything was.


Today we worked more on the Wednesday Challenge. We are currently working on our prototype bridge.


Today I worked more on my website. I have a part on my website called the Armory where I post by weapon/armor builds.


Today, we had a JPL presentation about the previous challenges and our plans for this year.

Our Presentation


Today I worked on the JPL Invention Challenge. Our group came up with ideas for our mechanism and also reviewed the rules. Also, we worked on a powerpoint to explain the rules to the other people. The objective of the challenge is to create a device that can propel playground balls into designated targets in 60 seconds. Different targets give different point values, and the group with the highest point total wins.


Today we worked with Mr. Miller on our Shop Safety again. We used a 2 by 4, a tape measure, and a square to make 1 inch marks and had them measured.


Today we worked more on the spaghetti bridge Wednesday Challenge. we are now done with our prototype bridge and will move on to the actual bridge next week.


Today we had a substitute so our gruop just worked more on the JPL Invention challenge. We are now very familiar with the rules and such.


Today we had another substitute so we watched Mythbusters. We didn't finish. :(



Today we worked more on the Wednesday Challenge. We started working on the main bridge for the competition.


Today we worked more on the final bridge. We screwed up yesterday because we used too much glue, but we made up the lost time.


Today we worked more on the final bridge as well. Also, I had 2 tests today.


Today we had the competition for the Wednesday Challenge. We came in 2nd place, but we have a chance to advance to 1st place.

Spaghetti Bridge


Today I worked more on the JPL stuff. We are working in small groups to come up with/discuss multiple ideas.I worked on the JPL Invention Challenge. Also, here are the results for the Spaghetti Bridge Wednesday Challenge

Official Final Bridge Scores for P4 Official Final Bridge Scores for P5


Today I worked more on the JPL stuff. We are now working individually to ome up with more ideas, then weeding out less promising ones. We need a presentation and some sort of concept sketch/cad for our ideas.


Today I worked more on the JPL stuff and worked on my website. I am working on my presentation for tomorrow.


Today we gave our presentations for JPL. My idea was a hybrid between a ballista and a slingshot.

My Idea for JPL


Today we finished the JPL presentations and then worked more on our JPL stuff. I worded on my skethup some more.


Today worked more on my sketchup for the JPL Invention Challenge.


Today we had a Wednesday Challenge again. I got to be a judge.

Math vs. Numbers


Today we finished the Wednesday Challenge presentations. Aaron, Arthur, and Nilesh's group won.

Wednesday Challenge Results


Today the JPL group worked on our stuff. Also, I brought my new Google Cardboard to school and it was fun.


Today we worked more on JPL. We had a preliminary vote on what to do and ended up at Kevin's football launcher style device.


Today I went with a couple of others to Mr. Miller in the shop where we worked on the wooden 18 with the candle for the JPL people (me). Our cut for the target was 1.8 inch too short because we didn't take into account the width of the table saw blade.


Today the JPL people argued more on what to do for our device: football launcher or air cannon. After a long argument, we decided to have a group for the air cannon and a group for the football launcher (I'm in the air cannon group).


Today we finalized our presentations for Mr. Wilton. We are going with a triple barreled air powered cannon.


Today Mr. Wilton came to visit us and listen to our presentations. He talked to us about finding a correctly sized barrel for the ball and the talked to us about what had transpired with his invention while he was gone. We are now going to try and find a correctly sized barrel for our cannon to fit the ball.


Today Dr. Neato was sad because a lot of websites weren't live. Also, I made a new section of my website called The Woodshop to complement The Armory. The Armory has all of my weapons/armor builds, while the Woodshop will house all of my woodworking and other projects.


Today Dr. Neato showed us our grades and then showed us examples of good websites. I still havent uploaded the sketchup model of my JPL idea because I still haven't finished.


Today we had a Wednesday Challenge where we split into 2 teams and then tried to make a human/PVC pipe slide for a marble into an ice cream carton thing. We lost and I was sad.

Bridge to Victory


Today I worked A LOT on my website. I focused especially on The Armory and The Woodshop so that I can finally post projects there. You should check it if you are cool.


Today I worked on ideas for how to test our JPL ideas. My idea was to mark out something like a field for shot putt/discus/javelin/etc. and then have targets placed at distances of 15, 20, and 25 feet. This can test both accuracy and precision at the same time without needing anything too expensive.


Today we worked on JPL instead of tour Monday challenge because we already had the previous year's idea. Instead, we worked on our JPL idea.


Today I made a box with a hole for period 4's JPL idea test. I cut a hole with a 12" diameter into a cardboard box and we will use it to test accuracy.


Today I couldn't bring my lego HK416 CQB assault rifle because it shot bricks and not balls and I couldn't modify it. Instead, I helped test period 4's idea of the baseball pitching machine.

Test Results


Today we retested period 4's idea because we didn't follow their directions properly yesterday. This time, we chose a speed that consistently shot a ball into the box. We shot a softball and then a blue jelly ball 20 times and then recorded how many times the ball went in out of 20 times. We repeated this for speeds that were consistent in shooting the softball into the box. The softball hit the target area 90% of the time, while the blue ball hit the target zone only 30% of the time. I concluded that the baseball launcher's results were fairly repeatable, but the sixe and properties of the ball being thrown were a big factor in where the target zone would be in.

Second Test Results


Today we held the compeition for the Wednesday challenge. Our bridge was made from a green spongy material that worked pretty well. We won with a score of 6.2 and the pdf of our design and stuff is on Kevin S' website.

Our (Kevin's) Arch Bridge PDF Arch Bridge Scores


Today we looked at our grades from the last 2 weeks. I had a 10/10 because I was on the winning team for the wednesday chalenge, but because I forgot to filezilla, I got pulled from the JPL team. I am pretty bummed right now :/ In other news, my chainmail hoodie/shirt/something is coming along well, with almost 1400 rings out of over 9000 rings done.


Today I put up links to Kevin's website for the last Wednesday Challenge's powerpoint and the scores, along with the test results for when we tested period 4's JPL idea. I'm doing the PSAT tommorow, and I learned that if I get a score that is higher than the national average or something like that, I can get a scholarship to USC. I hope that I do well, but I seem to have forgotten eberything from last year.


Today I did the PSAT and I ran out of time and ended up not finishing one of the preblems. I think that I did fine otherwise. Also, I was put back onto the JPL team because my website was updated. We played with (read "played with") a tennis ball shooting plunge cannon to see if it would work as our JPL idea.


Today I worked with the JPL group to test a plunge cannon's accuracy and precision. We shot almost 80 times, with 4 different tests: a practice test, a full distance test with full power, a scaled distance test using scaled power, and a scaled distance and power test with bouncing the ball. On the practice test, we made it in 4/10 times (40%) because we were getting used to the cannon's power. On the full range test using full power, we made it in 18/29 times (62%). On the scaled power and distance test, we made it in 20/20 times (100%), and the same for the test with bouncing the ball. I concluded that the cannon is accurate and precise, but re-aiming kickback, and cocking back the plunge arm on the cannon would spoil the aim.

Our Test Results


Today we presented our results and observations from yesterday's tests. Mr. Wilton also came and helped us fix some kinks. We discussed the test results and then talked about our plan for how we would build our device and what it would be made out of. Mr. Miller and Dr. Neat told us that we shouldn't have scaled down the distance, just the target zone size.


Today we informally retested the tennis ball launcher without recording anything so that we could do what Dr. Neato and Mr. Miller said to us. While that was happening, Keilah and I worked on a stand for the launcher that incorporated Nick's tripod using pvc and clamps. It held the launcher, but it had too much freedom so it was somewhat of an epic fail.


Today Keilah and I worked on a stand for the prototype of our competition launcher out of what used to be a football launcher. The launcher was made of aluminum beams of varying sized, and 90 degree and 135 degree connectors that worked like tinker toys or technic legos. We are making a chair-like shape using 2 "h" shaped pieces that were attatched together into an oblong shape using cross braces. We finished the 2 "h" shaped pieces today, and plan on finishing the stand tommorow. I expect the stand to hold launchers that are anywhere from 1 meter and longer, and can be modified to fit specific dimensions.


Today Keilah and I continued to work on the stand for the plunge cannon. We finished the "h" shaped uprights and then started putting them together to get a chair like shape. I expect that this size will be able to accomodate our device and allow us to position it freely, while giving plenty of room for sandbags and attatching the device to the stand itself.


Today Keilah and I continued to work on the stand for our future launcher. We also screwed around (while still working, of course) with Nick. We finished the stand and tested our own body weights on it and it was pretty stable. We put it in a corner for tommorow.


Today the JPL group (me included) presented what we did over the past week to Mr. Wilton, Dr. Neato, and the rest of the class. First, we talked about the sketchup prototype of the plunge cannon that Kevin had made. We discussed the usage of an iron sight, a simple pvc pipe scope, red dot/holo/acog sights, and a traditional telescopic scope to assist in aiming the device at our target. Mr. Wilton told Keilah and me that we should be focusing entirely on the prototype cannon, and save the stand for later whem we are done with the cannon. Dr. Neato then told me to show my crossbow that I had made (in 1 day :D) and asked me if I could make Kevin's sketchup prototype over the weekend. I said that I could, but Kevin didn't give Dr. Neato the sketchup so I couldn't make the prototype. Afterwards, we talked about Kevin's prototype plunge cannon that used cardboard mailing tubes, an ice cream (read carrot) bucket, and a really thick rubber band thing, and demonstrated how it would work to the class using the target that had been made by Mr. Miller's group. It was pretty inaccurate because of the force required to pull the elastic, but was still was a good learning experience on the distance needed to be covered and the accuracy that would be required for the competition.


Today we looked for pieces in preperation to build the prototype of our ball launcher. We didn't seem to have sufficient 4 by 4s to build every piece so we thought that we would have to use two 2 by 4s that were glued/screwed together. Otherwise, we had sufficient PVC piped and 2 by 4s to fit the list of materials that Kevin's Sketchup.


Today we started the construction of the prototype ball launcher. Mr. Miller and COle weren't here so we had to use hand tools such as a hacksaw to cut our lumber. There was a bit of bickering over some spilled oil and such, and a lot of people went home frustrated.


Today Cole and Mr. Miller came back from their trip to Idaho, and we were able to use power tools. I finished the cuts on the 4 by 4 that Keilah and I started using the band saw and table saw. We finished cutting almost all of the parts for the prototype, a dnwill be ready for assembly sometime soon.


Today we finished all of the pieces except for the 1 by 1 cleats to hold the ball steady, and the makeshift 4 by 4 made out of two 2 by 4s. We hole to be done on Monday so that we can start assembly as soon as possible.


Today we worked on the final pieces of the prototype, and I also updated my website for last week's entries. I hope that I don't forget to Filezilla and get in trouble again. We also started drilling holes for the PVC pipe to fit through. I also came in after school to work more on the prototype of the launcher.


Today wasn't much different from yesterday. I salvaged some 3" screws from the scrap pile in the corner of the shop. Also, I finished cutting the two 2 by 4s for the pseudo 4 by 4. I also stayed behind after school today until 4:00 to work more on the device.


Today we finished all of the pieces for the device and are now ready to start assembly. We did a pre assembly without using screws to see of there were any changes that needed to happen, and left it there for tommorow. Tommorow, Mr. Miller won't be here, so we will need to work in the classroom with hand drills to finish the final assembly.


Today we did the final assembly of the ball launcher. We got permission to use hand drills outside of the classroom at the concrete bench. We are planning to shoot the prototype tommorow in front of the class like the previous 2 or 3 weeks. I hope that the device doesn't just flop of explode or something while we are demonstrating.


Today we demonstrated the launcher, christened Hanz, for the first time after adding an extra bungee to the device to give it more power. Since we weren't finished with the 1 by 1s, I used a coffee can and a math book to hold the ball whie Kevin and Keilah cocked and shot the device. Surprisingly, when we tested it just prior to the demonstration, the ball was launched with a lot of force. However, since we didn't have the 1 by 1s, the doemonstration wasn't really valid.


Today, we took off the extra bungee on the device and then just tested the device on the unfinished target 18 at different angles and such.


Today, Keilah found an abandoned tv so we sent it to tv heaven by way of eviceration. Also, After school, I got $40 from Dr. Neat to go and buy new womod for our ball launcher.


Today, we started measuring and cutting pieces out of the wood that I brought to make our second cannon named Franz. This fime, were able to use power tools, and we got a lot more done than last time around.


Today, we tested Hanz in front of the class on the 18. we got 40 points by bouncing the ball into the lower hole of the 8, and then shooting the ball directly through the top hole of the 8.


Today, Kevin worked on a frame for the launcher, but stopped after we realized that the design was impractical. As a result, we decided to just use what we have been using, which is a table and a couple of wooden blocks. Also, we decided that we wouldn't bould Franz and just focus on making Hanz work for the preliminary round competition.


Today, 4th period broke the most important and fragile part of Hanz- the part that holds the ball in place while we shoot- while they were shooting. As a result, we spent most of the period replacing the part. Fortunately, since this was our second time making the part, it went faster than the first time around. Also, Kevin had an idea for using clamps to prevent Hanz from sliding off of the table.


Today we tested a crap ton and worked out a pattern for shooting. Since we only used a maximum of 1 minute out of the given 3 minutes to get Hanz ready, we decuded to use the remaining >2 minutes to aim for the hardest shot: the candle shot. After a long time filled with agony at missing crucuial shots, we finally made the perfect 90 point round, and celebrated by yelling a lot and generally just being really loud.


Today, we tested in front of the class again, but the ball holder was being dumb. After testing in front of the class, we discovered that one of the scred on the ball holder wasn't really doing snything, so we replaced with a longer screw. In order for Hanz to not break while testing and such, Kevin, Cole, and I are the only ones to handle Hanz.


Kevin's POV: Today was the JPL Invention Challenge LA Regionals, as most of you know. If you are not up to speed on what we are doing, we have been working for months on a design for completing this year's challenge, shooting at a large 18. Today was... interesting... and agrivating. Why was it agrivating you ask? Well, it was for many reasons, but we will leave that for the end. If you do not know, we were VERY worried about our device, especially on the front of damage resistance and fragility. We got to the event via parent cars and personal transport, Cole went straight there with his dad. When my ride was about 3/4 of the way to the event, Cole tells me that our device broke. Apparently, Keilah texted Cole that we should be considering what we would do if our cannon broke in transport. Cole misunderstood and replied to Keilah with a "what?", just so that he could be clear what he was saying. But Keilah replied to Cole with one word, "Alvin". Because Keilah said this, Cole started jumping to the worst conclusions because of the key word Alvin, another way of saying, "something has gone wrong, the worst has occured, prepare for the end". So while this was all going on, I was texting Cole about our competitors and, since Keilah and I were in seperate cars, I didn't know what was going on until Cole said, "I heard the device broke". For the last 1/4 of the drive I was freaking out and panicing more than I have ever paniced before. When we got there, all was fine, Cole and I yelled at Keilah for a while, we signed in, and then we waited. We looked at all the designs and none of them looked like ours, which gave us a weird type of confidence. It was sad to see Rosemont because the wednesday before the competition both of their devices broke, badly. When the competion started, we watched Rosemont go, and they didn't do very well, which was sad, but after they went, we realized the balls were totally different sizes. The rules said that the balls would be 7" in diameter + or - 1/10", these balls were more like 7" + or - 1". Also, they gave all the teams only 2 minutes to set up when the rules said that they would give us 3. We discussed this for a while and then we set up our target and began to practice. Period 4 practiced far more than we did because they didn't have to worry about their device destroying itself. We tested a few times, just to get back into the gear of things, and then we stopped. The ground we were practicing on was not the same angle as the competition ground, which just so happened to be the exact same as in our shop. So we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited for hours watching many teams fail and very few get higher than 50 points, which encouraged us. When our teams were called to get ready (we were numbers 41 and 42) we made our way to the pit and waited to be called to the set up area. We happened to get set up area 2, the side we had practiced on in the shop, so we were pumped. This is the point when the all hell breaks lose. When we get into the circle, they made it 6" too big, annoying, but fine. They provided us with balls that were not the right size at all, so they went to blow them up with the "official scale" which was just tape. Then our minute started, we missed the candle shot, so we aimed for the top hole. For some reason in the process of reaimming the cannon it gat pulled way too far back on the table, resulting on the failure of peg 4. We couldn't hold the ball, they wouldn't let us leave so we had to sit in the pit with everyone looking at us for the rest of the time, and Paul kept telling us to rotate our cannon and fire it upsidedown or sideways, unintentionally embaressing us all. After That we went back to where we were chilling before and had our post competition talk like we always do. We talked about what happened, what we did, and what we can do better next time. I was the most angry out of all of us because it was my design (Quick credits: Original design thought: Keilah's Ballista; Final Concepters: Cole, Kevin S; CAD-er: Kevin S; Fab Team: Cole, Keilah, Ian, Alvin, Sam, Nick G, Kevin S, Mr. Miller) and it was my CAD, so I am the one to blame for the key flaw. So, because of this, I proceeded to punch off all the the pegs on our cannon (Yes, it was me) one by one. Everyone else went to the field and found a large tire and proceeded to roll it with someone in it. That calmed all of them but I was still a little livid. Then we went to go and get food from the one food truck at the event, run by 2 people, with only one cooking. Basically, we had to wait about 20 minutes to order our food and then another 45 minutes to get it [Me: It only took me 15 minutes total to order and recieve my food]. It was all a confusing mess but the food was good. After we ate, we sat around and did nothing until the closing ceremony and awards, we watched that, and were told that all teams with 50 points and above are going to the JPL Finals. During the waiting time before this, I went to the cannon and started working on it, messing around with the spare parts we had and seeing what fit. Keilah and Alvin came over just as I had a stroke of genius, using the broken peg plate and the spare broken peg plate, along with 3 pegs, some string, and some screws, to make the cannon hold a ball again. It was really funny to see the cannon even more getto yet still functioning, and that brightened my day. After the ceremonies, we packed up and headed home. That was our day, like I said, an interesting day to say the least.


Today, we talked to the class about what happened at the JPL competition. Afterwards, I started to update my website starting from where I left off: about 1 month ago. Holefully, I can finish it in a few days.


Today, I worked on updating my website, when Dr. Neato called the JPL people out. He wanted us to work on a one pager about our reflections on the JPL competition. I am really looking forward to spectating the JPL finals, where period4's device will be going.


Today, I worked on a list of tools and materials that we would bring to the JPL competition finals. The JPL finals are in 2 days, and I am pumped... or I would have been , if we couldn't go. Due to the San Bernardino shootings, we were unable to bo to the JPL Finals.


Today, I helped period 4 mount a red dot sight to their device. Then, I finished my list of things to bring to JPL. I am sad that most of us can't go to the JPL Finals.

JPL Toolbox List


Today was the day of the JPL Finals at JPL. I wasn't able to go, so I was sad, but I was happy that we almost placed third.


Today we started the finals for this class. We had to cad a suspension bridge that would pass through the 18 that we used to test our JPL inventions, and if the bridge also held up one of the jelly balls that we used, it would gain extra points. I had a good idea for a bridge that was made of 7 parts and used 2 pieces of string. It woul hold span 4'4", and hold the ball while passing through the top hole of the 8. I started the cad, while the rest of my group worked on the powerpoint and more conceptualizing.


Today we worked more on the finals. This is the second out of the three days that we were given to cad the bridge. I made some improvements to the bridge, but still need more time to finish the templated for the bridge.


Today was the last day to cad the bridge for the finals. I made a mistake while cadding the bridge, and accidentally deleted a big piece of it. As a result, I had to rush a lot, and wasn't able to give a full set of plans for the bridge.


Today, we recieved the bridge cad from period 4. Our bridge was made of over $200 of illegal materials, was not made to scale and didn't have any proper dimensions whatsoever, and wasn't able to stand on its own in real life. As a result, after we consulted with a fw other teams with he same problem and with Dr. Neato, we were given some measure of freedom in how our bridge would be constructed.


Today was the second day to fabricate the bridge. We made half of the first pillar for our bridge, and discussed how we would make the actual bridge portion that would carry our payload. We dcided to glue sheets of newspaper together to make a 6 foot long, 10 inch wide thing to put our hopes on.


Today was the last official day to fabricate the suspension bridge. We were able to finish all of the pieces for the bridge, and used over a pint of glue. I don't have high hopes for our bridge...


Today we held the Robotics Finals/Final Wednesday Challenge of the semester. Our bridge somehow was able to stand through the top hole of the 8, but almost immediately collapsed with the ball placed on it. Also, I rewrote my JPL Reflections One Pager.