In late 2021, Kanyana Engineering took on its craziest project ever! We teamed up with Innovaero to assist with a unique project for their client, Aussie Youtube icons How Ridiculous. The team at Kanyana was thrilled to play a role in bringing their newest experiment to life.
Putting our aluminium welding skills to the ultimate test, we worked on a revolutionary piece of equipment for Innovaero’s project:
If you haven’t come across the How Ridiculous crew before, you are missing out! This Perth-based trio runs a YouTube channel that boasts over eight million subscribers. Their videos include incredible trick shots, challenges, science experiments, and all-around ridiculous ideas.
Their most recent and wildest idea yet was the batcopter. In conjunction with the aeronautic experts at Innovaero, the Kanyana team helped bring this innovative idea to life. Keep reading to find out what exactly a batcopter is, how we made it, and what on earth they used it for.
What is The Batcopter?
The batcopter is a bizarre and unique invention conceived by the How Ridiculous team. Essentially, it is a bat helicopter – which means a helicopter with a baseball-style bat as its propeller. Crazy, we know!
The goal for this project was to see how far this bat propelled helicopter could hit a baseball. For this to work, the team at Kanyana helped fabricate an aluminium metal bat that would become the ‘propeller’ for the helicopter and, subsequently, the tool that would hit the baseball out of the park.
Our technicians also had to fabricate the mount to secure the bat to the helicopter, and it all needed to withstand the propeller’s extreme speeds. The bat also needed to be reinforced where the ball was aiming to hit, according to the specifications given by the Innovaero team.
Once our fabrication and metalwork were complete, the Innovaero team handled the mechanics of the batcopter. This included designing and implementing the precisely timed air compressor system that would propel the baseball into the path of the bat propeller.
The Innovaero team was responsible for taking into account and applying:
- Aerodynamic forces
- System power requirements
- Drivetrain elements
- Ball-bat impact forces
An experiment like this required plenty of design and planning expertise to pull off – are you keen to see the results? Take a look at the How Ridiculous video below:
Building the Batcopter: Kanyana Engineering’s Role
In our 25 year history, we have never been involved in a project like this. But we were up to the challenge! We were confident our skilled fabrication team could put their welding expertise to the test and take on this intriguing task.
Kanyana’s technicians had three key duties to contribute to the batcopter:
- Help fabricate the bat propeller and reinforce the areas of impact
- Fabricate the mounting brackets
- Weld and attach the brackets to secure the bat to the batcopter
Step one saw our fabrication technicians internally weld the supporting discs at and around the hitting zone of the bat. We also had to cap the ends of the bat. This was important to ensure that the bat could withstand the power and force of the ball while moving at such high speeds.
Next, we fabricated and secured the mounting brackets to the bat propeller. We had to ensure the brackets and channels were secure enough to withstand the force expected from this experiment. We welded all the critical fixing points to a level that could exceed the propeller’s power. Our team used TIG welding techniques to guarantee the best results.
The Aluminium Welding Procedure
Our qualified and coded welders, who have over 15 years of experience in the industry, performed the aluminium welding procedures for this project. To ensure the best results for this project, we used TIG welding.
TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas and is a flexible welding technique that heats metal with non-consumable tungsten electrodes. Professional welders can use TIG welding to join small, thin metal components. It is often a slower welding procedure with longer lead times; however, it has the following advantages over other types of welding:
- Greater welding control
- Strong and precise results
- Visually pleasing welds
TIG welding is widely utilised in the aerospace sector and more minor metal fabrication and repair jobs. TIG welding is best for thin stainless steel sheets and non-ferrous metals, including copper alloys, magnesium, and aluminium.
The Bending Procedure
The Bystronic Xpert Pro Press Brake was used for all the metal bending processes required in this project. This machine has the best bending technology for the highest demands on process speed and flexibility and was our top choice.
Bending aluminium with a computer-controlled press brake allows us to achieve:
- Superior precision
- Bends thin and delicate parts without damage
- Bending small flanges on heavier metal components
- Flexibility and durability of finished parts
- High-speed repetition accuracy
Kanyana Engineering’s sophisticated CNC bending technology allows us to achieve extremely precise results, which is exactly what was required on such a unique project.
The Results: How Far Can A Helicopter Hit A Baseball?
With the combined work from our team and the experts at Innovaero complete, the exciting batcopter experiment was able to go ahead as scheduled. With the batcopter ready for action, the How Ridiculous team set out to answer ‘How Far Can A Helicopter Hit A Baseball?’
Well, here are the results:
At 100 RPM = 79 Metres
At 150 RPM = 130 Metres
At 200 RPM = 151 Metres
At 250 RPM = 214 Metres
At 300 RPM = 240 Metres
At 400 RPM = 252 Metres!
With a combination of aeronautics, engineering and expert metal fabrication, the batcopter was able to hit a baseball 252 metres with a propeller/bat speed of 44 RPM. How crazy is that!
Batcopter Vs Random Objects
Just a few weeks after their baseball experiment, How Ridiculous put the batcopter to work again, this time testing how far it can hit random objects. In a video titled ‘250kph Baseball Helicopter V Watermelon’, the Youtubers use the batcopter to launch an assortment of random objects across a field.
The Batcopter was pitched against a basketball, rubber duck, sack of potatoes and even a watermelon! Check out what happened in the video below:
Here’s how it went:
Basketball – 140 Metres
Soccer ball – 167 Metres
Rubber Duck – 29 Metres
Sack of Potatoes – 24 Metres
Skittles – 38 Metres
Lego – 30 Metres
T Rex – 34 Metres
Golf Ball – 335 Metres
Watermelon – 67 Metres
The entire team at Kanyana is stoked with the outcome of this project. This adventurous idea has allowed our team to use their skills in a new and unique way. We are more confident than ever in our capabilities to work on various unique projects.
In addition, the Kanyana team is proud to be a part of a project that highlights the importance and strength of welding. The welding and fabrication of parts for the batcopter were vital to its overall success.
We want to say a huge thank you to the team at Innovaero and the How Ridiculous trio for involving us in this project. We can’t wait to take on more unique projects like this in the future!
Graham Dawe is the Managing Director and Works Manager of Kanyana Engineering. With decades of experience in the metal fabrication industry, he is dedicated to keeping Kanyana at the forefront of the sector’s technological growth. Looking beyond the process itself to holistic, integrated CAD, CAM and MRP solutions, Graham believes Australian manufacturing has an enduring place on the global stage. In Kanyana Engineering’s state-of-the-art workshop in Mandurah, WA, Graham delivers an exceptional standard of work for commercial, industrial and government clients alike.