42 Photos - Apr 1, 2014
Photo: Photo: Playing ** THUNDER BALL **

The games will open soon :-)Photo: WILL IT EXPLODE ?!

Okay, this looks like a super-clever move to make sure to catch the ball. But well … jury decided you score -500 points for trying such a nasty trick! :)

Since the THUNDER BALL cannon sometimes ejects part of the charge together with the ball itself, it is a good question what will happen should parts of the hard cardboard hit the rotor at a relatively high rpm. Presumably nothing. But then, do you really know? So someone's gotta find out!

THUNDER BALL is not yet an Olympic discipline. And to tell the truth it's surprisingly difficult! When we first started with this idea – as so often – we all thought this would be a home run and everybody would score dozens and dozens of points. But on the contrary! It is a very rare occasion when you actually manage to pilot and time your helicopter so precisely that it catches a ball shooting high into the skies at lightning speed. Blink and you missed it!

Don't forget that as a pilot your primary concern will be your helicopter. So you'll just have to look at the heli while waiting for the BIG THUNDER. And that's exactly the problem. Because until you've spotted the ball (a mere speck in the sky) and then started to fly after it --- it'll all be long over. So very obviously you have to come up with much more sophisticated strategies to score some precious points.

Now, how does it all work anyway? Sounds a bit confusing … Well, no worries – next post has some very cool pictures along with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look of THUNDER BALL!

#HeliGraphix #ThunderBall #HeliGraphixSPORTS #ClayPigeonShooting #RCstuntsPhoto: THE ULTIMATE HELICOPTER BATTLE !!!Photo: Nice lineup: THUNDER BALL cannon and ammunitionPhoto: Players - get ready!Photo: And here you see how it works. We had developed this cannon already last year. It is capable of shooting softballs to a height of 30+ meters! Depending on the angle of the cannon you can shoot 50+ meters farPhoto: Refill is simple: just push in new balls after rechargingPhoto: Recharging is the only thing that's a bit time consuming. Normal fire crackers are used as propellants, but you have to fiddle the fuses through small holes at the lower end of the cannonPhoto: Manual ignition process by Security Officer :-)Photo: We did lots of testing before actually building the cannon because there are so many factors that influence the performance. Most important are the length of the pipes, the diameter of the balls, how far you push them down and to some degree also the fire crackers of coursePhoto: To make it even more fun we used different balls. Not only does it have a significant impact on how far they shoot up but also the in-flight behaviour changes. Some are more likely to fly some nasty curves :-)Photo: Getting ready for a refill ...Photo: And this is what's left :-)Photo: The #1 question with all action cams: "Hmm, is it recording now?"Photo: Looks simple - but it most definitely isn't. Picture here unfortunately is a sure miss!Photo: Clever move: Waiting at an altitude for the ball to show up. And still - too late! Because by the time you push the heli towards the ball it'll be on its way down already.Photo: Furious attack - and again it'll be a miss. It's very hard to judge spacial depth, especially because you're focussing on the heli most of the time (you have to!). We'll talk about different THUNDER BALL strategies and some cool tricks with the next post!Photo: The THUNDER BALL ARENA ... and lovely weather, too!Photo: Snack anyone?! :-)Photo: Okay, here we go: Ball's shooting up into the sky. Since at this very moment you were looking at your helicopter you will have missed the start and only heard the THUNDER of the cannonPhoto: Yay, sliced ball! :D
However, most of the time the balls only get scratches or - as unblievable as it may sound - simply go through the rotor without even touching the blades. That's what happens most of the time!Photo: THUNDER STRUCK! Manfred is a real great guy - despite lots of bad luck (servo failure in mid flight which of course led to a crash) he was all cheery and supported General Richy who operated the cannon. For his involuntary (and pretty spectacular) crash the jury awarded him some extra pointsPhoto: The man and his machine (a Suzi Janis conversion) ready to rock and roll ...Photo: Looking good, looking good!Photo: YAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
And see? The ball simply went through the rotor, unharmed. Full score of course, but hard to spot it was a hitPhoto: And close again, but a miss this timePhoto: One strategy was to wait near the place where the ball was supposed to come down. However this varied quite a bit and wind had a say in itPhoto: What makes this strategy especially difficult is that you have to look up, spot the ball, look down again and start moving the heli, then look up again and look back down to adjust the course ...Photo: Simple and maybe the hardcore way: ATTACK everything that moves :-)Photo: Trying to get the THUNDER BALLS this way proved to be most spectacular, but nonetheless rather unsuccessful. Many near misses, thoughPhoto: A third strategy is to wait near the cannon and to try and follow the ballPhoto: Fourth way is to wait at an altitude and try to get the ball during its apogeePhoto: Yah, this one of course ... but you score -500 points for such cheat moves :-)Photo: General Richy: "Look, this ball of yours is not in proper condition. You need to remove it."
Manfred: "mmm --- aaahhh"Photo: THE BATTLE BEGINS !

It's a new kind of 3D heli competition. Great 3D skills are not enough; you must be able to also see what's going on around you! And of course, being able to judge spatial depth is key.

Since THUNDER BALLS are powered by explosives, it's a lightning fast game. Blink at the wrong moment and it's over before you even realized it's started!

Superb VIDEO of this fast and unique fun competition is in the works and will be out VERY SOON now!

Stay tuned everyone, see you shortly for some battle action! :-)

#HeliGraphix #ThunderBall #RCHelicopterGame #HelicopterCompetition #3Dcompetition #ClayPigeonShootingPhoto: NOW WHICH BRAND IS THIS ?!

Some swear it's great stuff while others have nothing but bad luck with this brand. How do these seemingly contradictory experiences go together?

Well, to save on cost Hobby King skips the important ageing step before they have their Turnigy cells ohm matched. So this actually takes place at the customers' home. When you're lucky then all cells of a battery pack change the same way during these initial 8 - 12 weeks and you end up with a great battery. If you're unlucky then the cells' internal resistances change differently and you finally have a battery that doesn't perform so well and/or will balloon over time.

In any case, the fire following Manfred's involuntary crash finally killed the pack (and he was pretty happy about that). Reason for the crash most likely was a servo failure. Why the pack started to burn after impact was unclear; to be fair it seems unlikely this had anything to do with the brand.

Next picture will show our Security Officer in action, dealing with the fire :)Photo: That's all that was left ...Photo: Security Officer at work :-)Photo: THUNDER BALL - THE VIDEO

We're still working on final colors but the end of a long journey is in sight now! Check back for some really FUN and cool action tomorrow!

Insanity flies pretty low ;-)Photo: ONBOARD THE MADNESS!

Scoring +100! Sliced that THUNDER BALL ... video coming tonight, packed with some very unique perspectives such as onboard shots. Really nice and so much going on there :)Photo: LOVE THE DIRT :)

It's amazing how far dirt was flying out during THUNDER BALL launches. Could be several meters up into the sky. Strangely enough it varied greatly from shot to shot.

What this tells us is that production of normal fire crackers must have quite a variation. Even crackers from the same package produce noticeably different results - both regarding "power" (which translates to the height a ball will reach) and how they burst/open. We studied this behaviour in greater detail before we even built the THUNDER BALL CANNON but did not come to a satisfying conclusion. Meaning it was not possible to find any useful relationship between "looks"/build and performance of a cracker. Funny thing was that smaller crackers would sometimes give even better results than larger ones (plus less dirt). So maybe larger ones only look larger but have the same amount of explosive in them.

Anyway, THUNDER BALL did work real well and we've used the cannon also at a special kind of softball event. Needless to say this was big fun and people queued up to have a go :-)  So all in all it's definitely something we can recommend!