Harold (fiddlingfrog) wrote in junkyard_wars,

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Laundry Launchers

Does anybody remember the Nova program a few years back where they build a couple models of medieval trebuchet? I know the washing machines don't even compare, but what was the weight on those stone balls they were tossing?
I'm watching the re-broadcast of the Laundry Launchers, and i'm sure the trebuchet is the best way to go, but it'll be much much larger than the team expects.
Or, I might be entirely off, we'll see.
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The PBS show was a Nova special, Secrets of Lost Empires. According to Nova Builds a Trebuchet the stone balls were 250 pounds. Obviously, the Nova teams had a lot more weight as a counter-ballence for their trebuchets than the High Flyers, so they were able to shoot much further.

I really would have loved to have seen the catapult work. I wonder if after the competition is over and something fails as miserably as the catapult, that they allow both teams to try and get it to work properly.
I too was with the trebuchet all along. I believe (and I could be wrong) that each time a trebuchet has been attempted on junkyard wars (3-4 times??) it has resulted in a win. I also question how a team could ever get the rope twisted tight enough to work. Just my .02.

See: Series 1 Siege, Car Flinger, etc.

- T
Frankly I wasn't too surprised at the dramatic failure of the catapult this time around. (As opposed to the Car Trebuchet from the last UK season ;D) Ropes can stretch, compress, and twist. Wire cable, on the other hand, generally doesn't unless you REALLY put some heavy effort into it, and two guys twisting on each side doesn't exactly qualify as a lot of effort compared to, say, a V6 turning it.

I think if they'd used rope, it MIGHT have worked. Maybe if they had some sort of geared turning system to turn the ropes running off an engine (or even bicycles) I could see a launch... but the wires to me seem like that was the machine's Achilles' Heel.

Of course, there's other options. Could you cook up a variant on the catapult design that removes the rope/wire twists that provide power and instead have a spring-powered design (a spring attached to front of arm, winch the arm down, release pin, spring pulls arm forward) or a "Wile E. Coyote", where there's a flexible throwing arm itself that is winched down and released? I mean, anything has to beat the crossbow. (Too flat a trajectory for that weight, unless you REALLY get a lot of power behind it, whereas if you get the right hook and power on the trebuchet, at least you can adjust your throwing arc.)