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Setting up Medieval Postal Service

The Medieval Postal Service has begun to be set up. Last Friday evening we all went out to Buffalo, and began work Saturday morning on the metal components to the trebuchet. The steel tracks were cut, drilled, slotted, and welded into the finished assemblies. Cutting for the hanger arm components was also begun. That afternoon, we loaded up the tracks and returned to Rochester to load the frame components along with tools and hardware. The following morning we set out for a camp roughly one hour South of Rochester and began setup.

The day was very foggy, particularly in the afternoon, but for the most part was rain-free aside from a little sprinkle for 30 minutes or so. Unfortunately, the a-frames that we had laid out in the basement of the wood shop and drilled all the bolt holes did not align the same, requiring some slight enlarging of the bolt holes. This slowed down assembly considerably, but we were still able to get the bulk of the frame assembled. The outriggers will require another bolt in two of their joints each, but they are in place securely for the time being. The frame was then covered up well with a tarp and we left the camp.

The original plan was to return to Buffalo this weekend to finish metal work and hopefully return to the camp on Sunday to finish setup. However, Matt had to leave town for a family emergency for the weekend, removing one set of hands from the work. However, Chris and Jason are going to finish up the metal work anyway, though it will take longer being short one pair of hands. Nevertheless, they should be able to finish this weekend.

During the coming week, the trough and the remaining other few wood components will be built and stained, and the steel will hopefully be rust-proofed as well in preparation for next weekend. That is when we are planning to spend the entire weekend down at the camp. That Saturday is slated for finishing setup of the machine, with the hope of getting a few low-power shots off before nightfall. That Sunday will then be spent hopefully working our way up in counterweight mass, perhaps until we reach our designed weight. The following weekends will then be spent fine-tuning sling length, pin angle, and such for various projectile weights. We are planning on getting some old bowling balls, 8, 9, and 10 pounds in weight, for our test projectiles, as they should be reusable for several shots.

Barring any major issues (big IF there), we should be mostly ready for Delaware in 5 weeks. Want to see us fire this secret design before its official unveiling in 5 weeks? Contact us at to find out how! Stay tuned for more updates, we will try to keep them more consistent.

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Use "common sense" when operating trebuchets and catapults. Even little ones can be dangerous. Do not place anything you are not willing to lose in the plane of the arm rotation (this includes yourself, body parts, car windshields, cameras, etc). These catapults and trebuchets are capable of throwing just as far backwards as forwards, and the use of a backstop of some sort is recommended, though the use of one does not make the region behind it safe.

Also, just because the throw got away safely downrange does not mean the end of the danger. The arm is likely still swinging wildly along with the counterweight, and there is a sling whipping around. One thing many people fail to take into account is this sling; some people put a metal ring on the slip end of the sling and this ring can HURT when whipping around!

Have fun hurling, but please KEEP IT SAFE!!!