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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next year the vendors may specifically ask NOT to be behind this machine.
Note: I'm naming this machine from memory. I'm not sure I got it right.
Contact: Team Tormentum|
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|Last Modified: 05/10/09|