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We Went to Delaware...

Long time, no update. We did in fact pack up Medieval Postal Service and head down to compete at the 2008 World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin'. We did not get the chance to launch any 8+ pound projectiles before heading down, and so had to wing it for the competition. Despite a few design flaws that reared their head (some of which we already knew about), we managed to place 7th, shooting a solid 686.79 feet on the second day of competition. Oh, and what type of trebuchet was this mystery machine? The most efficient style developed to date, a Floating Arm King Arthur. Our longest shot was with only 400 pounds of counterweight, and we designed for 600 pounds. Once we get the design flaws worked out this winter and spring, we are going to try to break 1200 feet next year. Originally we were trying for 1000, but based on what we have seen from this machine so far, 1200 is also very possible, and perhaps even more.

Trying to get MPS Finished...

So much for more consistency in the updates. It has been an aggravating last several weeks. The weekend of October 4th, originally slated for getting our first shots off with Medieval Postal Service, did not go as planned. We did get the frame set-up finished, and it looks terrific. Finishing that took up most of Saturday. Sunday did not go as smoothly. The main axle hole in the arm was barely large enough, but slightly misaligned to the bearing holes, and so while we were able to get it together with the axle, the axle was totally incapable of rotating. Track mounting went slow, though we did eventually get them up. Jason also had to make a trip to Buffalo Friday the 3rd to fix some other holes that we had found to be too small (and a couple just weren't drilled, they got missed somehow the week before). Things took time, and the next thing we knew, it was time to pack up for the weekend and tarp M.P.S.

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.

Building the new Machine

Long time, no news. Well, construction is well underway on our new trebuchet for the World Championships this fall. Our application has been accepted, so we will in fact have a spot this year and fully intend to be there competing. Details of exactly what we are doing are being withheld until October 31, when the competition begins. We are not intending to enter just to enter, we intend to be very competitive among all those not aiming for 2000 feet (currently Yankee Siege, Pumpkin Hammer, and Merlin, perhaps some unknown will show up as well to make it interesting).

Floatbox Updated, New Treb News

Updated Floatbox again, up to version 2.44. There are some issues with the display of the image galleries with Firefox 3 apparently, those will hopefully be resolved with the next version.

Floatbox Updated

Updated image gallery software (Floatbox) used for the pop-up image viewing. This update went from version 2.21 to 2.40, there were 6-8 updates skipped in between. The new version should work better, and has an image resize button for images that don't fit your screen directly. Check the upper left corner for the little "-" sign to accomplish this. Perhaps an About this Site page is in order...Later. Heavy designing for Delaware going on.

2007 Punkin' Chunkin' Pictures

The long-awaited (perhaps) pictures from the 2007 World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin' are now available for viewing. They are somewhat grainy and the dark areas are very dark due to them being scans of photos (no digital camera at the time), but there are still some good shots there. These are only maybe 1/3 of the pictures taken, but they are a good sampling of what was down there, and shows most of the trebuchets and torsion machines. A bunch of the Magic of Merlin, the latest and greatest from Chris Gerow, the inventor of the King Arthur trebuchet. Check them out and enjoy!

Jeckyl Hyde Video

The log from last Sunday's launch with Jeckyl and Hyde is now available, along with a brief video of all the shots we took that day. The bottom line is that while we have fixed the issues with the secondary trigger, we have not fixed some other design flaws, pertaining to the fact that the in riggers are too close to the hanger arms, and a couple of other issues. For these reasons, we are not going to release the Jeckyl and Hyde plans, despite the fact that they are 90% finished for public usage. The machine has just too many issues to make it safe enough for others to be using, even if just using the frame to support a standard trebuchet. Sorry to all those who were waiting for those plans the last couple months, perhaps someday when we build a new King Arthur those will be released, as we now have a good handle on what needs to be done for a good King Arthur.

Site Maintenance

Major site maintenance was desperately needed, and it has now been done. With a switch in HTML editor to Microsoft® Expression Web (got it free through an educational program), updating the templates no longer needs the use of some slightly invalid HTML code and a very rough-coded updater written a year ago and never really finished. In short, updating is now MUCH easier. The dozens of pop-up pages for all of the images and descriptions in the image galleries are also gone, replaced by an image gallery script (Floatbox). It still needs some tweaking, but it works.

Jeckyl Hyde Launch

Today was our first launch of the year. We loaded up the newly-repaired Jeckyl and Hyde into a couple of cars and drove off to the same field nearby that we have been using for about a year and a half now.

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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!!!