Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Auto Fly Swatter

Watch the contraption pick off flys in mid-air
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The invention uses of a small steam plant (copper boiler, brass engine etc.) generating electricity to power power the aiming mechanism and steam pressure for the cannon.

The aiming mechanism constist of three directional microphones, mounted around the cannon and each angled a few degees away from parallel to it. With software listening for the particular 'fly buzz' frequency, the cannon and microphones are rotated and inclined by servo motors until all the microphones are recieveing the buzz equally and with sufficient intensity. The software now recognises that the cannon is on target and the fly is within range.

At this time, the cannon is aligned to the fly and fires (using steam pressure) the projectile.

The projectile is a ring about 3" diameter, with a row of fine parallel wires and carries at it's centre a capacitor. (effectively a miniature version of the hand held electric swatter)

The projectile is constrained by about a metre of fishing line which passes down the cannon barrel and is used to automatically retrieve the projectile for re-charging and re-use.

The whole is sized to occupy a 9" diameter wood plinth, with a glass bell-jar to cover the mechanism when not in use.

Steam power is essential to the spirit of mechanical overkill, suggestions of a simplified version will be treated with the contempt they deserve.

Twizz, Aug 11 2009

wimshurst machine http://en.wikipedia...i/Wimshurst_machine
Wonderful ..... yet more brass and mahogany. [8th of 7, Aug 11 2009]

[link]






       The audio electronics must employ thermionic valves, and the capacitor should be charged by a Wimshurst machine <link>.   

       No software; target discrimination performed by analog filters.   

       Polished brass, copper, varnished Mahogany, and Ebony should be the constructional materials of preference. Details of manufacturer, model number and date of commissioning are on a brass plate screwed to the base.   

       A Watts Governor should surmount the engine. The device should toot its whistle every time it shoots at a fly.   

       On the De-Luxe version, a valve on the boiler allows water to be withdrawn for tea-making.   

       [+]   

       (Optionally, a tiny android in greasy overalls is supplied, which dedicates its existance to stoking, filling the boiler, polishing, oiling etc.)
8th of 7, Aug 11 2009
  

       What happens if the fly is on the other side of some fragile object?
RayfordSteele, Aug 11 2009
  

       If the projectile is retrievable then the cannon could be housed in something giant chameleon shaped. Eye sockets for 2 of the microphones. They could move too. Searchingly. [+]
shudderprose, Aug 11 2009
  

       [Ray] The object would be broken. Fragile objects have no place around steam engines.
miasere, Aug 11 2009
  

       I find myself among kindred spirits, especially 8th. The brass plate should also be engraved with the signature of the individual who built the device.   

       Whilst I am not averse to using 'hidden' technology, such as a microprocessor, I like the idea of at least a couple of highly visible thermionic valves. Perhaps also a Jacob's ladder to illustrate the potential of the charging device.   

       A Whimshurst machine would be an attractive addition, but at that size would probably not generate the potential required.   

       A tiny anderoid would take half the fun out of it. What's the point of mechanical overkill if it doesn't require more effort to operate the machine than it would to carry out the task manually?
Twizz, Aug 11 2009
  

       Preferably you'd have a coal furnace along with miniture shovel and spend hours flinging coal on to the fire while a foot activates a tredel (spl?) hooked up to an oil pump for the various important, and probably not so important, moving parts.
SPTwizz, Sep 18 2009
  
      
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