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MPS Plans for 2009

We had a successful 2008 World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin', despite not meeting any of our goals for 2008: finish 4th and break 1000 feet. Really, these were hand-in-hand, as 1000 feet would have easily taken 4th place, as we figured. We failed, not due to the trebuchet not being as powerful as imagined, but due top a lack of testing. We actually think we have more power than initially imagined. We had originally thought that setting up the trebuchet for the first time in September would only take one to two weekends, but it ended up being more like 4-5 due to machining errors (some design-induced) and other little things that added up time-wise. Still, we lucked out in Delaware and got off 2 solid low-power competition shots. Now to get up to the full power level: 600 pounds of counterweight, which is what we designed for nearly one year ago. With the full counterweight, the arm should now stall correctly thanks to a more favorable mass ratio. In turn, we will be able to use a longer sling, and capture much more of the energy available into the throw.

Summer-Fall 2008

Most of the Summer and Fall of 2008 was spent building Medieval Postal Service. After the frame design was completed in late June, the first pieces, the bases naturally, were cut in early July. Throughout the course of the next month we would purchase wood (picking carefully through the pile at Home Depot, getting roughly 20 boards at a time), and cut more pieces. Come early August, most of the wood frame pieces were cut and the sub-assemblies built. However, the arm, hanger, tracks, carriages, and other assorted components were still being designed. And that process was stalled even further when in mid-August Matt left town for close to three weeks due to the impending death of a family member. Jason was also gone on vacation for close to two weeks during this time, and so not much got accomplished on Medieval Postal Service during the month of August.

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.

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.

Plans Underway

We've started to work some more on the plans over break at the beginning of the month, but other more pressing projects got in the way, and they still aren't finished. And classes have now started, and time is even more limited. We are still trying to get them out, but it will be a bit yet. Contact us if you really need them, we'll see what we can do to help you out on short notice. The plans for our Punkin Chunkin treb have naturally taken priority. They were almost done, then a redesign was done, and we are starting over on them.

2008 Punkin' Chunkin' Preview

Matt went down to Delaware for the World Championships of Punkin Chunkin this year. Our future plans for entering in this big event have been accelerated. utilized. Plans are now being worked on for the machine we will enter. We have no realistic shot at winning probably even third place, due to limited resources, space, and transportation considerations (unless someone wants to help us out there :D). To win next year in the trebuchet division will need a 2000-plus foot shot, as in all likelihood anywhere from 1-3 trebuchets will break this mark. The top contenders at the moment are:

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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!!!