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Trapshooter makes flinging machine

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Feb 7, 2010.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Trapshooter makes flinging machine

    By KENT JACKSON (Staff Writer) - The Standard Speaker - PA

    Dave Barna can shoot clay targets down to earth or up into the sky.

    Last summer, Barna brought down targets as a member of a shooting team at Hazleton Area High School that won a state title.

    This winter in engineering class, he built a machine that launches the targets.

    As one of three members on the school's team for sporting clays, Barna immersed himself in the event that simulates hunting by challenging shooters to aim at targets thrown at different heights and angles.

    Hazleton Area's team won the state title on June 20 and attended a national shoot July 23 and 24 in Sparta, Ill., where they finished third in one category and 13th in another.

    "Last year was a really intense year. Me and my teammates dedicated our whole summer to practicing. We did fairly good in Illinois. That pretty much inspired the kick to make a machine like this," Barna said.

    His trap machine sits on a metal frame and uses an electric motor and a spring to launch targets from a moveable arm.

    "From me shooting so much, I was out in the field with ... traps. I knew how the expensive ones worked and the not-so-expensive ones worked," Barna said.

    For his class project, Barna opted to build one that is not so expensive.

    His trap machine cost about $30.

    Most of the parts came from shop class scraps and a copy machine that the school was throwing out.

    "I didn't have specified measurements. I was taking parts off a copy machine and thinking 'How can I use it?'" Barna said.

    He gave his ideas shape on a computer-aided design terminal.

    "I built my machine once on the computer," he said.

    Making the computer design into a machine took two months and more hours than Barna counted. Just taking apart the copy machine to scrounge for parts took 15 hours spread over 10 school days.

    Not all his ideas worked the first time.

    A garage door motor spun the crankshaft too fast. He swapped in a motor that slowed the spin but boosted the torque to twist the shaft and reset the spring after each launch.

    A bracket that he affixed to the shaft with a set screw kept the arm from moving side to side.

    "But after a couple whacks, the arm would move up and down," he said.

    To fix it, he fabricated a heavier bracket with a sleeve that slid over the shaft, and used a bigger set screw to double the holding power.

    After building the machine, he disassembled it, cleaned the parts with a grinder and spray-painted them.

    He put the machine together again and tested it.

    The clay disk was supposed to spin straight off the arm like a Frisbee, but instead it whirred at an angle.

    "It nose-dived into the ground," Barna said.

    After he made adjustments to the arm, the disks hovered where he could shoot them.

    The cold weather sapped the battery ­- borrowed from his tractor - but he is confident the machine will work when he invites friends on the trap team to try it.

    "Once it gets warmer, we're using it," he said.

    His engineering teacher, Adam Edmondson, compared Barna's machine favorably to trap machines that he has seen in stores that require the operator to reset the arm.

    "This one does its own re-cocking. What he has is a device that's really worth some money ... and I think he's going to improve on it," Edmondson said.

    Barna welded the frame and wired the machine himself, but for chores like machining the shaft he relied on teachers and students familiar with the safe operation of the machines.

    To learn to use more machinery, he is taking classes this semester in the welding and machine shops.

    A senior at Hazleton Area, Barna plans to keep tinkering in college. He intends to study mechanical engineering and said the trap machine gave him a good start.

    "I like building things, putting them together," he said. "If there's a problem to fix, I want to know how."

  2. hdskip

    hdskip Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    As a votech Precision Machining instructor it futher impresses me with the imagination and inguinity of the youth of our nation. These young men are what will help our nation remain on track as a nation of manufacturing. The instructor should be complemented on encourging his studentd to produce something that interests them. Three cheers for this type of education! It works in my class and shop every day.
    Gary Cline
  3. phirel

    phirel TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Gary Cline- Three cheers to you for recognizing excellence accomplished by others. Too many educators are fixed on their way of teaching and rarely look beyond their horizon. When they do, they have difficultly distinguishing between moderate and excellent.

    Pat Ireland
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