R.A.L.PH - Rawhide Article Launch Phacility
For my Dynamics class in the Fall of 1997, we were given the task of designing a device that would launch baseballs into targets 1' in diameter, that would be anywhere from 5 to 30 feet away. The projects lasted the duration of the semester, with the end result being a head to head competition. Teams would go up against eachother, and have 30 seconds to hit 3 targets, placed at different distances away. The distances would not be given until 30 seconds before the actual match, making quick calibration essential. R.A.L.PH. is the design my partner, Aaron Barkema, and I came up with.
The Primary components of R.A.L.PH. are the slotted PVC tube (to guide the ball), the larger size PVC collar (That slides in the slot, and propells the baseball through the inner PVC tube), and the surgical tubing (That when attached to the collar, propells the collar and ball). The distance the ball traveled was controlled by how far the collar was pulled back, which was indicated by a scale on the side of the PVC launch tube. The surgical tubing was attached to the tube with a trusty plumbing collar. The entire assembley was mounted on a wooden frame, complete with seat, that allowed the user to sit comfortably on R.A.L.PH.

Although R.A.L.PH.'s baseball launching days ended following that dynamics class, he lived on for several years enjoying limited use in the food industry, as a magnificent egg and beer can launcher. Tracially RALPH was lost in the Spring of 1999 in the great garage clean-up event.