Department - Author 1

Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Mechanical Engineering



Primary Advisor

James Widmann, Kevin Taylor


The Friday Club is a joint venture between the Cal Poly Kinesiology Department and the San Luis Obispo Special Olympics that offers people with varying degrees of disability the opportunity to meet weekly and learn various sports and games. At Friday Club, athletes in wheelchairs with limited arm strength use devices built by Cal Poly mechanical engineering students in order to participate in various sports. Many devices are designed to attach to the Universal Play Frame (UPF), a wheel-chair attachment. The purpose of this project was to design and build a UPF device that will launch a basketball, so that an athlete can participate in a game of “Horse.”

The project was worked on over the course of the 2013-2014 school year. To begin, the team developed a list of objectives for the device to meet and researched existing solutions for various facets of our design. The next step was to generate concepts of our device, and using Pugh matrices, proof of concept testing, and debate to narrow down to a single concept. Next, this concept was transformed into a fully-fledged design backed by engineering analysis. After design approval, all necessary parts and materials were ordered and a prototype was built over a 10 week period. The final prototype was tested with the Friday Club and displayed at the Senior Project Expo on May 31, 2014.

The final device that our team designed is a slingshot that launches the ball by releasing stretched elastic bands. Our design attaches to the UPF at two points, and can be aimed to shoot a basket from anywhere between 5 and 15 feet away. The athlete has the ability to control the direction, power, and release of each shot. The device can be set up in under five minutes by a single person and takes only 30 seconds to reset between shots.

Of all customer requirements that the device was to meet, it only failed to meet one of them. The first was that it should be able to shoot a three-pointer. Unfortunately, our device either did not have strong enough elastic, or did not have enough space to pull back the ball and carriage sufficiently. Therefore, our device can shoot a basket from a maximum of only 15 feet away, or a free throw. Other future recommendations are to strengthen some parts that take high impacts and to reduce the weight of some unnecessarily bulky parts.

Our budget for this project was $1,500 but over the course of this project our team spent a little over $1,750. After analyzing our spending, we found that over $300 was spent because of manufacturing mistakes and mid-construction design changes. If we were to build another device with the exact same design as our final prototype, and with no mistakes, the device would cost about $1,400.

In this report, our team’s entire design process is cataloged in detail. Also enclosed are detailed part drawings for each manufactured part of our final device, as well as a safety and operation manual.