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Melon Felon Launch

Melon Felon was taken out today for a good workout. This was actually the first time that we ever fired with the full designed counterweight of 300 pounds, since the last time we had something heavy to launch was last Spring, when we had 6 Olympic weights, which take up more room than the standards. But we got 6 more standards back in March, bringing our total up to 12 plates, each weighing 25 pounds, for a total counterweight of 300 pounds. We also got a 4 pound medicine ball to launch with, as the Melon Felon was initially designed to launch watermelons weighing between 3 and 5 pounds.

Jeckyl Hyde Launch

Jeckyl and Hyde has now fired for real. We got a total of 6 shots off, before time, light, and some design flaws came into play. It seems that Jeckyl and Hyde's base was not made wide enough to fire stably as a King Arthur-style trebuchet. And so, the machine rocked on every single shot. Not too big a deal at first, but it became one.

ASME Watermelon Launch

Today was the day for the Melon Felon's public debut. The Second Annual Watermelon Launch at RIT, sponsored by the RIT ASME chapter was the place. Due to the short time line in which to make a machine and get ready to compete, we got very little testing done.

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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!!!