RogerBW's Blog

Hyperdog 4-ball launcher 08 September 2015

I recently bought a tennis-ball catapult, for the benefit of a visiting dog. It's not as good as I'd hoped.

This is the Hyper-Pet Hyperdog 4-ball launcher. It's a decently strong (and quite heavy) slingshot with a wrist brace, sized for tennis balls.

image via Amazon

That frame containing balls isn't any sort of automatic feeder; you take the ball out of it, move it to the sling, pull back and release. (Hyper-Pet balls are slightly smaller than standard, though standard ones will work with a bit more force.) Which is all fine, though it does mean that your off-hand gets covered with dog slobber.

The problem is, this is competing with a conventional ball-flinger at around one-sixth the price:

image via Amazon

and that doesn't require you to touch the ball each time; it's also longer, so you don't have to reach down as far to pick the thing up. (Though it doesn't have storage for spare balls.)

But those are minor concerns. What about the range? "Up to 220 feet", they say. Well, I'm a reasonably large person, and I can draw the sling back to touch my head. But the rubber simply isn't elastic enough; the draw is too easy, and the resulting lob frankly pathetic. I haven't measured the actual range, but I can get around half as far again with the standard flinger. This could be fixed with better elastic, or possibly by doubling or tripling up on the existing stuff.

It's still great fun to use, but the actual results are distinctly disappointing.

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  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 03:05pm on 08 September 2015

    Hmm, yeah simple is best and slobber is a factor that should have come into their calculations.

    Are you now planning your own solution to the ball flinging problem? Involving compressed air? Steam power? Launching it from your pet drone?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:07pm on 08 September 2015

    It seems likely that a stoichiometric butane/air cannon would be classed as a firearm, unless I restricted it to lower speeds than I get with the flinger. But if it's an "air gun" it should avoid that particular rule, so that's one option; also the mark 2 trebuchet.

  3. Posted by Michael Cule at 05:35pm on 08 September 2015

    It would avoid slobber problems if your Fiendish Device had a hopper for retrieved balls and you could train the hound to drop what he's just brought back into the hopper.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 05:47pm on 08 September 2015

    True but hard work. I'd be nearly as happy picking up the ball with a flinger and dropping it into the hopper that way. Certainly I don't want to have to load by hand.

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