We are "The Warm Fuzzy Kittens" TEAM PAGE

Home Schoolers
Gaithersburg, MD, USA

Online Contest:
Zip A Zipper
Online Division I - Ages 11 - 14 (Middle School)
Team Leader: Mr Stark, or Mr Randall. We call him both.
Team Members: 3
Invitations: 0

What we're studying:
Math, language arts, science, music, computers, robotics, art, nuclear physics (not yet) and waffle iron design (really, really not really).

Our Team Leader's favorite quote:
This mustard tastes HORRIBLE! Don't ask us why, we have no idea.

Why we think we should win:
We worked really hard on our entry, learned a lot, had mega fun and we smell wonderful (but, that is kind of hard to tell in the video). It's OK if another team wins because we know lots of teams have really great ideas and contraptions.

Suggestion for next year's challenge:
Launch a toy army man/woman with a parachute into the air and have him/her glide to the ground, peel a banana, slide open a cabinet drawer, or twist the cap off a bottle of root beer (we love root beer!).

HI, We are the Warm Fuzzy Kittens! We're not actually kittens, and we're actually not warm or fuzzy either.

Our Step List

1 A team member closes the starting switch and the elevator moves up the suspension cables. It is pulled up on a string connected to a spool on a 6:1 geared electric motor. The string is fed through a 2:1 block and tackle system to slow the elevator movement and also decrease the amount of power needed to raise the elevator. The motor switches off when a small block on the elevator cable reaches the bottom and activates a hand-built switch opening the elevator circuit.
2 The elevator bumps a yellow golf ball off a platform and the ball drops into a curving tube, then slides down and lands on a lever/platform.
3 The lever/platform tilts and pulls a string releasing a red golf ball wrecking ball by pulling a pin holding the wrecking ball's string.
4 When the red wrecking ball is released it swings and hits the long vertical dolly device which is balanced at the top of the inclined planes. When hit, the dolly travels down the suspended inclined planes until it reaches the bottom where it lands on a platform and causes a lever to tilt.
5 The lever tilts from the weight of the dolly and causes the tilting dolly to pull on a second lever which pulls a string connected to a release pin.
6 When pulled the string releases three heavy steel balls that roll down an incline plane/tube and then drop straight down a second tube. The bottom of the vertical tube has a right angle bend which changes the direction of the ball's travel, and causes the three balls to swirl around in the funnel until they drop out of the bottom of the funnel.
7 The balls land in a cup attached to a lever after falling out of the funnel. The weight of the balls in the cup tilts a lever which pulls a string, which causes a pin to be pulled that is holding a dolly in place on a zipline. The string is guided into position by two pulleys.
8 When the pin is pulled it releases a black dolly that slides down the zipline and hits a blue golf ball.
9 After being struck by the dolly the blue golf ball drops down a clear tube and lands on a hand-built switch, and closes the switch by the weight of the ball.
10 The switch being closed electrifies a second electrical circuit starting the motor that pulls the zipper closed. The motor has a 4:1 reduction gearbox built in slowing it down and increasing the motors torque strength. The zipper pulling mechanism also uses two additional belt reducers. The belt reducers are made up of simple wooden pulley wheels that we made and are mounted in series. The belt reducers are connected using large rubber bands for the belts. The total reduction calculated for the zipper puller is 400:1, which makes the zipper pulling relatively slow and smooth, with lots of power. When the zipper is fully closed the string reaches a point where a block attached to the string pulling the zipper closed hits a third hand-built switch and opens the zipper circuit turning off the machine.
Special notes: We also made our machine portable so we could take it to our homeschool co-op and demonstrate it to others, it comes apart in a few minutes and fits in the car trunk. The big plastic pipes we used in the construction are easy to take out of the wood base and make it easy to adjust the alignment of each separate piece.

Our Close-ups: Photos

Our Close-ups: Favorite Step

Our Close-ups: Task Completion

Our Machine Explaination and Walkthrough

Our Machine Run Videos

Machine Run #1
Machine Run #2