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Janus, Imagine RIT Videos Available

Some videos of Janus firing are now available. Check them out and enjoy, one is actually a compilation of many of the shots we took at Imagine RIT with both Janus and Melon Felon.

Janus Pictures Available

Some pictures of Janus are now available, go and check them out! More will be made available soon, along with some videos, stay tuned.

Imagine RIT a Huge Success

Imagine RIT was a giant success for Team Urban Siege! We brought both the Melon Felon and Janus to demonstrate to the thousands of people coming to this event to see what students are up to at RIT. In fact, the official total was 32,000 people for this one-day event, and we saw many hundreds, probably well over a thousand, at our location alone, which was well away from the other exhibits (for reasons that should be obvious). All three members of Team Urban Siege are attending RIT currently, and while in past years we discussed doing it without really pursuing it, this year we went for it, especially since two of us graduate in two weeks.

Imagine RIT in 4 Days!

With Imagine RIT looming this Saturday, we are pretty much ready to exhibit some of our most popular works (aside from MPS due to time and space issues). We've gotten Melon Felon out, and started popping sling lines and shooting 50% further than ever before, an encouraging sign. We have ordered some 1/8" Amsteel Blue (actually orange this time in a hope that it shows up on video) for both Melon Felon and Janus, the two machines we are bringing. We also have a large, growing collection of roughly 1 pound ice balls in the freezer which we will be launching with Janus, potentially over 1000 feet! If you are in the Rochester area, come and check it out! Saturday, May 1, 2010, from 10AM - 5PM. We plan to shoot all day, as long as nothing breaks.

Janus Fires, Outshoots 850-Foot Range

It's a week old now, but here's what has happened recently. Last Saturday (3-27) we took Janus out to a new field. Since analysis with Working Model and our videos from the previous week, we knew that using only 50 pounds of counterweight was a recipe for disaster with a 20-pound arm, the arm is just way too heavy and will over swing and hit the hanger at anything less than 100 pounds. So we upped to 100 pounds. We also made a pair of 1 pound projectiles, they were tennis balls slit open some with a few small (3/8 ounce) chunks of lead and lots of steel BB's thrown in. With the outside wrapped up with a few layers of duct tape, they weighed in at 1 pound, 3/8 ounce each, and were full (no room for more BB's!).

Janus Fires for the First Time!

So Janus has been completed. Well, mostly, the details of triggering the FAKA mode have yet to be fully ironed out, but the FEW mode is ready to go. In fact, Chris and Matt went to our old launch field on Saturday (3-20-10) to test the new machine. The purpose wasn't so much to launch great distances, but to verify that our winching and triggering systems would work. We had to reconfigure the winching system, and there are still some bugs to work out there, but after a quick reconfiguration of the triggering system, we were able to attempt 2 shots. On a side note, the complete set-up only took just over 1 hour, as was planned for when we have the full 3-person team present! This is good news.

Janus Construction is Complete

We have finished building Janus, the Floating Axle King Arthur/ Floating Everything Whipper (FAKA/FEW) Hybrid. The frame, which was finished several weeks ago, got stained similarly to Medieval Postal Service, and we got the steel and aluminum ordered. Last weekend (March 13-14) was spent in Buffalo machining and welding. Thanks again to Great Lakes Pressed Steel for helping us out with getting materials and for shop space to work. We were not able to make the arm at this time since the aluminum for that had not come in yet, but Jason took care of that later in the week and brought everything to Rochester Friday evening. Chris and Matt took the trebuchet out yesterday for initial testing and verification of a few systems, more on that will follow in a day or two.

Recent Site Downtime

Recently this website has experienced some intermittent downtime. We apologize for this, but there was some server maintenance that occurred the first week of this month that required some brief spurts of downtime. Furthermore, the internet feed to the server went down this morning. All appears to be back online now. The downtime was not an indication of the site going offline! We will be updating very soon on our progress with Janus, as that project has been progressing nicely. Again, apologies for any inconvenience the downtime caused.

Frame Construction to Janus Done

We have completed construction of the frame for our new trebuchet, Janus. Unfortunately we don't have any pictures yet as the lighting in the workshop is still being installed, but we are moving forward. In a few weeks we hope to have the metals we need in, and we will go make those parts and then prepare for testing as soon as the weather breaks, which should be sometime in mid-to-late March. We are looking for some terrific distances, perhaps we can even launch a 2-pound projectile 1000 feet! It's not likely, but you never know...700+ feet should certainly happen.

Code Name: Janus

Team Urban Siege has a new winter project. It seems that we cannot go too long without building a new machine, and this winter is no exception. The design? A Floating Axle King Arthur/Floating Axel Whipper trebuchet. That's right, we are finally going to try out a whipper design. But this trebuchet is also intended to help us try some small changes we are considering making to Medieval Postal Service, hence the King Arthur mode. Actually, there are a number of critical points that this new machine is intended to address:

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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!!!