Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Big One

The world was very supportive of our awesome 1 yd high trebuchet that we made a couple months ago. Nonetheless, it was clear that our fans wanted to see a much bigger display of medieval power. Well, fear not folks, for we have delivered. For 9 days, Matt, Adam Bee, and Mark Andreas, and I worked on the coolest/nerdiest thing any of us has every done. We received loads of support and suggestions from the eager members of Mark's family, which has more random crap than you could possibly imagine. (Incidentally, Mark's dad (Incidentally, Mark's dad took Mark's mom's last name.) just bought a 1923 car with wooden spokes.) We had a $400 budget, and if it weren't for all the stuff at Mark's place and some great deals at a place called Resource 2000, we wouldn't have been able to stay under budget (by $80!). Our axle is 10' off the ground (that was the only thing we had agreed upon going in) and the arm is 25' off the ground when it's vertical. The counterweight is water in 55 gallon drums, weighing more than 800 lbs when full. We had some minor setbacks, but really, everything went almost exactly as planned.

Well, none of you really care about these details. What you want to see are the videos. Here's a good one:

We took lots of other great videos and we'll let you know when we get them posted. Here are a few photos of the construction.

Adam digs a hole for the vertical supports and Mark does surgery on the ground.

Matt and I fill in around the vertical post that we've just raised while Adam and Mark's cousin Brendon make sure it's plumb.

At the end of a rainy day of construction, the vertical supports and buttresses are in place with the axle holding a temporary spot.

Mark and Adam work on the trough that guides the projectile before it leaves the ground. You can see that we've added outriggers and guy wires for lateral stability.

Here, we have the arm vertical and are raising it slowly to the height of the axle. In case you didn't notice, (the western half of) Colorado is beautiful.

The arm has been attached to the axle. The counterweight barrels have been strapped on and we're getting ready for the first launch. Mark's brother Darian is doing some work and Mark proves that he has a bum.

After 5 days of work, we're finally ready to fire. The trebuchet is cocked and loaded and mountains are relentlessly brilliant.

Once we got a lot of water in the barrels, it became impossible for just a couple of people to pull down the arm and cock the thing. So, with a lot of help from Darian, we set up an elaborate winch system which worked, but took a long time.

Our intrepid heroes, triumphant. (Nice thigh, Adam.)

Unrelatedly, here's a great photo of a hummingbird that Matt snapped.


1 comment:

Carrie said...

Wow. Excellent photos guys. I think it's super cute that Matt, Adam, and Mark all wore matching Earlham shirts (on different days of course, except for Matt who apparently wore the shirt every day except when you all wore matching white shirts). Are you going to coordinate similarly for Wisconsin?

I can't wait to see the other videos.