Long-throw projectile, which won 1st place in the 28th Design Competition of the Institute of Design and Production in Precision Engineering

July 12, 2021

Award ceremony for catapult geniuses

Design competitions are a long-standing tradition at the University of Stuttgart. Organized by the Institute of Design and Production in Precision Engineering, this annual design competition invites students from mechanical engineering, automotive engineering and engine construction study programs to rise to the challenge and develop special machines.
[Photo: Michael Weishaupt]

Due to the Corona pandemic, the design competition was held online for the second time in its history, and it was also not possible to hold the competition on Science Day this year. But this did not dampen the excitement that spread online on the day of the awards ceremony, July 6. And it didn't dampen student creativity either. The jury even praised the students' “great work”.

Students develop catapult machines

Animated by the practice of mail delivery at a distance, which took hold during the pandemic, the students had to develop a small, but powerful catapult machine that could deliver objects as far as possible and in a targeted manner. In terms of the throwing action, the machine, weighing just 500 gram and designed to fit into a cube with an edge length of 150mm, must prove its stability. The projectile was a small chocolate ball - with a free choice of flavor.

Unfortunately, working and constructing at the institute was not permitted. The 12 students formed three groups and exciting alternative appointments awaited them. During these alternative appointments, the students were able to practice designing and constructing together online using 3D CAD, and they were also introduced to the software Inventor, which can be used to create simulations. The catapult machines, which had only been developed on paper, were not able to show what they could do in real life, but the simulations were certainly impressive - in some cases they demonstrated a throwing distance of over three meters.

Simulations of a catapult machine, created using the software Inventor.

Everyone was a winner

The jury, comprising the institute's director Prof. Dr. Bernd Gundelsweiler; his deputy, the “old competiion pro” Eberhard Burkard; and Marcel Mittag, who devised the task for the competition. The winning entry was evaluated for the weight of the moving machine parts and, of course, the throw, as well as the manufacturing and material costs, the time required for development and simulation, and finally the composition and the design concept.

There were three groups this year, which meant that everyone was a winner - there was a place on the podium and a prize for everyone. In first place – Niklas Hornung, Michael Weishaupt, Max Hönig and Lucas Ieva – were delighted to receive a book voucher worth EUR 125, while those in second and third place received book vouchers worth EUR 100 and 75 respectively. Second place went to Alexandra Pöhler, Lucas Koch, Marcel Höne and Xutao Zhai. Third place went to Nathalie Du, Svenja Hille, Korin Klein and Michael Klester. All of them also received specialist books as well as various gifts from various sponsors.  

“It was great to see what the students came up with this year”, emphasized Eberhard Burkard, before optimistically inviting everyone to attend the design competition live at Science Day 2022. 

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