Siege Punkin Chunk 2003: Other Catapults

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Punkin Chunk 2003: Other Catapults      
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There were 75 machines at this years chunk, and lots of nifty catapults were there to impress. We were pretty busy trying to get Mista Ballista to work right, so we don't have many pictures of cannons.

Unlimited Catapult

The champion in the Unlimited Catapult division was Fibonacci. Surprising everyone this year with their improved performance over previous years, they took down last years champion and set a new world record for a catapult punkin' chunk of 1752.81 feet.

I've known they were from Massachusetts (Team Tormentum's home state) and we finally got to chat with them and learn a little about their machine. The throwing principle is similar to many other spring powered catapults which mimic trebuchets. There is an arm that spins 180 degrees, and a sling. That's about it for commonalities though. The small orange canisters near the base of the tower are hydraulic accumulators. They are filled with nitrogen in a bladder. Once filled with hydraulic fluid, they are under intense pressure. A hydraulic cylinder then has a massive push on a small lever arm on the throwing arm. Since the cylinder can push with multiple tons of force, and the total throw is so sort, the resultant acceleration is what brings them to the top of the heap.

Coming in second with a shot of 1752.81 feet is the ACME Catapult Co. You may wonder how they managed to come in second after shooting the exact same distance as Fibonacci. Once this dilemma was discovered, there was a shoot off. The longest fourth shot was the winner. I don't know what those distances were, but apparently ACME was not far enough.

This spring powered machine has lost of nifty hydraulic knobs that operate and trigger the machine. They've also had a long running competition against this years third place winner.

Picture by Stephen Whittam.

Hypertension captured third place with a still respectable 1586.00, only 11 feet in front of Feats. He apparently needed to rebuild parts of his fulcrum and throwing arm to handle a new batch of springs. He had high hopes going in, but the beastie failed to operate as expected.

Those looking back to previous years may remember his machine used to be orange. A recent move to a more suburban neighborhood had the locals up in arms when they discovered a huge orange lawn ornament appearing next door. Fortunately, the by-laws only forbid boat trailers, campers, car trailers, and utility trailers. A Championship catapult just didn't fit the bill. To be nice, however, he painted it green, and attempted to hide it in the back yard.

Adult Trebuchet

King Arthur returned and became the new World Record holder in the Trebuchet division (again.) with an amazing chunk of 1150.34feet. He was the first to break the 1000ft mark in the trebuchet division, exceeding his best throw from last year of 927.17 feet. From the message board I gathered that this was done with "more weight." It's a good thing too, as there was stiff competition from Pumpkin Hammer.

It is unfortunate, but neither an image of this machine at idle, or primed to throw can come close to explaining what's going on. Take a trebuchet with a swinging counterweight, and prop it up so that the weight beam is in line with the throwing beam. Now devise a double trigger so the weight can swing around 90 degrees before triggering the rotation of the throwing arm. Confused yet? Get a video of the event and watch it in slow-mo to understand.

Pumpkin Hammer arrived in a huge truck, and was put together in short order. This is a well organized team. To get their second place chunk of 1024.78 they used over 4000 lbs of counter weight in a traditional hanging weight trebuchet. They have a long tale of their own online at their website.

Fear the locals! Regulator returned for third place with a throw of 894.84. Unlike King Arthur's carefully cast lead blocks, or Pumpkin Hammers carefully measured lead sheets, these guys will weld, tie, and duct-tape on anything that looks heavy. For what they lack in engineering premeditation they make up for in enthusiasm and style. After all, what's a year without sending a few pumpkins into the crowd and taking out at least one vendor booth?

Next year the vendors may specifically ask NOT to be behind this machine.

Human Powered Division

Will his reign of terror never end? Gene's Machine captured first again this year in the Human Powered division. He chunked 1730.61 feet on a mere 2 minutes of human pedal power. He was within 25 feet of capturing the Unlimited Catapult longest throw as well. Perhaps it was the shiny new paint that was added this year.

Splat Cat returned, and chunked 692.56 feet. That's a ways off from being competitive with Gene, but still mighty respectable for 2 minutes of human input.

Punkin Up Chunkin returned, and threw 470.37 feet to capture third place. He uses a trailer winch and a hood release latch trigger to manage this spring powered trebuchet.

Note: I'm naming this machine from memory. I'm not sure I got it right.

Additional Pages for Punkin Chunk 2003
Punkin Chunk 2003 The 2003 World Championship Punkin Chunk was a great year for Team Tormentum, and Mista Ballista, our competition Pumpkin throwing machine. After last year's tragic defeat at the hands equipment failure, our goals were simple, Shoot a pumpkin intact, and forward. In this, we succeeded, and the machine exceeded our expectations.
Punkin Chunk 2003: Mista Ballista's Story Operating Mista Ballista this year was exciting beyond our expectations. Some things worked great. Some things broke, and pumpkins flew!
Punkin Chunk 2003: The Torsion Machines The torsion division is still small, with four machines entering. Everyone had something new to share.
Punkin Chunk 2003: Other Catapults There were 75 machines at this years chunk, and lots of nifty catapults were there to impress. We were pretty busy trying to get Mista Ballista to work right, so we don't have many pictures of cannons.

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