Our dogs love to chase after balls and can do it for several hours a day. Unfortunately, our human arms aren’t quite up to the task of throwing the ball over and over, nor do we always have the time. Automatic ball launchers are a great solution, but the ones sold in stores are often expensive and don’t always work well. If you happen to be handy and enjoy DIY projects, we’ve created a list of projects you can try to build an automatic ball thrower, often at a fraction of the price. For each listing, we’ve included an image, a short description of the plan, and the items required so you can see if it’s something you would like to try out.
Our Favorite 11 DIY Dog Ball Launcher Plans Are:
1. Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher
The Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher may look complicated, but it only requires a few components and patience. The total parts list costs about $50 and mostly consists of PVC plumbing pipe that you can find at most hardware stores. You can purchase the switch, solenoid, and other electronic components from any online electronics surplus store. A drill and some glue are the only other tools required.
2. Dog Ball Launcher Your Dog Wants To Try
The Dog Ball Launcher Your Dog Wants To Try is a moderately difficult project that is well worth your time. The video is easy to follow, and you can have the entire project finished in a day or two. It only requires a few tools, and it makes excellent use of plywood and an automobile wiper motor to throw the ball. It not only works well, but it’s also fun to show off to your friends.
3. Automatic Dog Launcher Is For The Dogs
The Automatic Dog Launcher Is For The Dogs project is another ingenious project that uses a power window motor from an automobile. You can usually find these online or even at a local junkyard for a discount. This project uses tension to get a good ball launch that will send your dog chasing after it. The step-by-step video tutorial is easy to understand and follow along.
4. DIY Automatic Dog Ball Launcher
The DIY Automatic Dog Ball Launcher is perfect for smaller dogs as it fires ping-pong size balls, but you can also scale it up to fire larger balls if you want to. It only requires a few materials, like formed plastic, wood, copper tape, glue, electric motor, and some wire. The author completes most of the work with a small Dremel-style drill in only a few hours. The result is an effective small ball launcher that will have your pet running around your home.
5. Fetch-O-Matic Dog Ball Launcher
The Fetch-O-Matic is an interesting design that automatically resets after each use, so it is always ready to go. There are only three moving parts, so it’s extremely durable and will provide your dog with years of entertainment. A windshield wiper motor will do most of the throwing work, and you will also need some wood and a micro-switch. The instructions are easy to follow by watching the included video.
6. The Tennis Ball Ogre Catapult
The Tennis Ball Ogre Catapult does not require any electronic components and works entirely on mechanical energy. This project is also a lot of fun to build and only takes a few hours. You will need several pieces of wood, a hammer, a screwdriver, and a rope. There are several ways to modify it so you can get the performance you want. We found that it throws the ball well but will require you to set it up for each launch.
7. Compressed Air Tennis Ball Mortar
The Compressed Air Tennis Ball Mortar is a design that can potentially fire the ball extremely far, so you will need to exercise caution if you build it. It’s mostly PVC tubing, and you can use a bike tire pump to create the air pressure, but an air compressor will work better. A valve releases the pressure to fire the ball, so it’s not difficult to reset after each use. You will need a drill, hacksaw, and some glue to complete the project.
8. The Cotton Ball Launcher
The Cotton Ball Launcher is perfect for indoor play with smaller dogs, and you can even use it with your cat. It’s one of the easiest projects on this list to build, and you will likely find most of the materials in your home. Toilet paper rolls, rubber bands, and duct tape make up the majority of the materials list, and most people can complete the project in a few hours.
9. Ping Pong Ball Launcher
The Ping Pong Ball Launcher is another project intended for indoor play with smaller dogs. It uses easy-to-find materials, like masking tape, toilet paper tubes, balloons, paint sticks, plastic spoons, and more. It’s easy to build, but there are many steps to keep your children busy before it keeps your dog occupied. It’s highly customizable, and we had ours working in just a few hours.
10. Wyvern Catapult
The Wyvern Catapult is another catapult-style launcher that is suitable for tennis balls. It does not require electricity so you can use it anywhere without worrying about power. Its primary materials are rope and lumber, and you will only need a hammer, drill, and screwdriver to complete the project. Some users have reported getting more than a 50-foot distance from it when playing with their dog. You can also finish it in several ways to personalize the appearance.
11. Tennis Ball Machine Ball Launcher
The Tennis Ball Machine is likely the most powerful thrower on this list and only for outdoor use. It uses two motors to generate high-speed throws, much like you would find at a professional court. The included two-part video will help get you on track to completing this impressive machine. We recommend using this machine with adult supervision to avoid injury.
Conclusion: DIY Dog Ball Launchers
As you can see, there are several projects that you can follow to build a dog ball launcher without resorting to the expensive commercial ones in the store. Most of these will work fine, but the Tennis Ball Machine is our favorite launcher for outdoor play with large dogs. It can easily fire the ball more than 20 feet with very little effort on your part, and the ball moves quickly, so it gets the dog’s attention and encourages play. The Cotton Ball Launcher and Ping Pong Ball Launcher are perfect for dogs stuck in the house. You’ll need to make sure there are no breakables around, but these launchers can provide hours of fun and will help your dog get the activity it needs to stay fit.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list, and it has given you some ideas to try out. If you intend to build one of these projects, please share these 11 DIY Dog Ball Launchers on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: 825545, Pixabay