I just moved to Colorado, and being new to the area I was really excited to find out that there is a Denver maker’s meetup. For those of you who don’t know, a makers meetup is where inventors and fans of Make magazine get together and talk about their inventions, ideas, and plans. It is held at a hacker space called Club Workshop on the gritty side of denver. The shop is amazing! I didn’t even get a tour, but I saw a full woodworking room, a metal shop, a multi-lift automotive shop, a small textile area, and their laser cutter. This place looks like the kind of place I could definitely spend some more time.
The meetings are loosely structured, and the point is to bring and show other people what you’ve been working on. This particular meeting was largely filled up by Ron Kessinger. He is an artist/inventor/sculptor/prototyper and even that description doesn’t even begin to properly describe him. He brought a big binder filled with photos and sketches of his previous creations. He had pictures of the giant dome house he built, really cool collimated flow water sculptures, knives, and prototypes for a variety of industries and products.
The project that really took center stage was his ping-pong ball gun. You can think of this as a variation on a potato cannon, however his is built to run on compressed air, and it runs on much tighter tolerances.
It runs off of a compressed air line and a standard wall outlet. After firing a few “dry” rounds, he proceeded to shoot off a few (ok a LOT) of ping pong balls filled with water. These things might not weight a lot, but they are moving FAST. A sheet of drywall was no match for them, and even particle board failed spectacularly when faced by a 1″ sphere of water.
Here’s the basic rundown of how this thing works.
By pushing one of the two trigger buttons (top I believe) you charge the 14 shot magazine that runs on the left side of the barrel and load a round into the cylinder. By pushing the second trigger once you begin to pressurize the gun, and by pushing it a second time you release all of the air through the mass relief valve, and then whatever is in front of the gun disappears!
If you are watching this and absolutely NEED to have one (and want to pony up the bucks for it!) I might be able to get in touch with Ron and see what he says…