Thursday, June 2, 2016

Have trebuchet, will travel?

Please contact Eileen Cody, if you have a trebuchet and can help her out on August 15th in Dannemora, NY, which is 15 miles (21 minutes) west of Plattsburg, NY. Thanks.

Dear Dave,

I have an unusual request.  I am looking for someone who has a catapult or trebuchet that would be willing to come to our final summer reading session and demonstrate for the kids.  I think this would be hugely popular and wonderful for the kids to see. Please let me know if you can help.  The date would be August 15, 2016 at 11:30 am.  I appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks again,

Eileen Cody, Director Dannemora Free Library, 40 Emmons St., Dannemora, NY 12929, tel: 518-492-7005, email:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Duct Tape Trebuchet – MythBusters Final Season, Final Fling

The MythBusters made a duct tape trebuchet for their final episode that aired March 6, 2016 on the Science Channel. The Science Channel will now be the new home for all their reruns.  The myth was confirmed: the massive duct tape trebuchet did hold together and work without the use of any nuts, bolts, pins, screws, or any fasteners other than the "miracle material" duct tape.

They made a very large trebuchet. It was the largest duct tape build in the show's 14 year history. They used 2,600 lbs. of pine board, 78 rolls of duct tape, and had a 750 lb. engine block as their counterweight. The first test fire of a watermelon went 171 feet. They then used their weapon of war to destroy an inflatable shark waterslide with a flaming Molotov cocktail. And with this final fling the MythBusters signed off.

Duct tape was the focus of 25 stories, including five with duct tape boats. In all duct tape myths were confirmed 21 times during the show's long run. They ended up using over 5000 rolls of duct tape (about 83 miles). This final build should certainly give all builders some ideas about the versatility of duct tape.

MythBusters adjust their duct tape trebuchet

Duct tape trebuchet

Adam Savage makes small model of trebuchet
MythBusters - Duct Tape Trebuchet
MythBusters Episode 248: Duct Tape: The Return --
Premier Date: March 6, 2016

This was the last new episode of MythBusters to ever air. It premiered one day after the Grande Finale to promote the Science Channel as the future home of MythBusters reruns.

It is possible to build a fully-functional trebuchet held together only by duct tape.


Adam built a small-scale model trebuchet using wooden beams and duct tape and fine-tuned its design. Jamie developed construction methods designed to withstand the significant forces involved and incorporated them into his own model.

At a large field, they began assembly; the full-scale trebuchet used 78 rolls of tape, 2,600 pounds (1,200 kg) of construction lumber, and a 750-pound (340-kg) automobile engine block as the counterweight. A test shot with a watermelon as the projectile achieved a range of 171 feet (52 m) and the structure remained intact. To simulate using their trebuchet in combat, they launched a Molotov cocktail to a distance of over 100 feet (30 m), and then launched another to ignite a giant inflatable shark set up at that same distance.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkins Fly at the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

Linda Fasteson (@LindaFasteson) put together a very nice article and pictorial of the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Pumpkins flew at today's Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival --
Crowds gathered today and spectators came from as far away as England’s Isle of Wight for the seventh annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival and Chili Cook-off...
Pumpkins fly at the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival --

2015 Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Jr. Middleweight Division Champs

Homeschoolers from Manchester, NH participated as team Chuck Fillet and won the Junior Middleweight Division at the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Some pictures of team Chuck Fillet designing their trebuchet:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Results


Hi all,

Here are the corrected results, sorry about the confusion.

The 7th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin festival is over and here are the results of the trebuchet and chili contests.  We had a record 26 teams in the trebuchet contest and 4 in the chili cookoff.  The distances for the lightweight and middleweight divisions are scaled up to what they would throw if they were 10 feet tall.  Trophies awards to the top three in each division.  Winner of each division get $50 prize.  The winners of each division compete directly against each other for grand best overall design prize and gets an extra $50.

An observation on this year’s chuckin winner; this is the 1st time a Heavyweight won the overall contest since the Middleweight Open category was created.  This proves that it is possible to win with a big machine, even thought it requires a lot more effort.

Another observation, this is the first time we’ve seen a Merlin type trebuchet. The merlin is unique in that it has 5 links creating a cam which the weight pulls a wire around.  This allows it to be much more efficient in using nearly all of the available energy stored in the counterweight into throwing the projectile.  It also has a very clever way of throwing where the arm is tilted way back beyond vertical and the pumpkin is actually sitting on the arm before it fires and it loops thru the frame without the pumpkin hitting the ground, giving the machine an extremely long (almost 320 degree) throwing motion.  This reduces the stress on the arm and frame, allowing more weight to be devoted to the counterweight.

And lastly, a two brand-new clever tripod trebuchets appeared in the Middleweight Open and Lightweight Divisions; a father daughter combo I believe. The daughter dominated the Lightweight Division, winning by almost 200 feet and almost beating dad.  I tried to see a similar trebuchet on the internet and couldn’t find anything. Great invention!

  • Grand prize winner, Overall Best Design: Hammer of the Gourds
  • Winner of Heavyweight Division: Hammer of the Gourds
  • Winner of Middleweight Open Division: Queen Christine 2.5
  • Winner of Middleweight Junior Division: Chuck Fillet
  • Winner of Lightweight Division: Montana Christmas

Lightweight Division: age limit 10 and under, trebuchet limited to 20 pounds and 41 inches, pumpkin (projectile must weight at least 3 ounces)

Distances adjusted up by 2.92 (120/41)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Montana Christmas, Captain Emerson Stapleton, adjusted distance 441.54 feet
  • 2nd place: Dante’s Little Torch, Captain Kenneth Brown, adjusted distance 266.63 feet
  • 3rd place: TPS Chuckers, Captain Theresa Tipper, adjusted distance 153.86 feet
  • 4th place: TPS Chuckers Two, Captain Theresa Tipper, adjusted distance 129.07 feet

Middleweight Junior Division: age limit 17 and under, trebuchet limited to 100 pounds and 70 inches, pumpkin must weight at least 1 pound

Distances adjusted up by 1.71 (120/70)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Chuck Fillet, Captain Jacob, adjusted distance 355.53 feet
  • 2nd place: Phoenix Rising Two, Captain Keegan McNamara, adjusted distance 201.42
  • 3rd place: Team Hogan, Captain Nolan Hogan, adjusted distance 134.56
  • 4th place:Webelos Whippers, Captain Fisher Irwin, adjusted distance 124 feet
  • 5th place: Scouts Mayhem, Captain Max Low, adjusted distance 93 feet

Middleweight Open Division: no age limit, trebuchet limited to 100 pounds and 70 inches, pumpkin must weight at least 1 pound

Distances adjusted up by 1.71 (120/70)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Queen Christine 2.5, Captain Ray Chamberlin, adjusted distance 501.07
  • 2nd place: Controlled Chaos, Captain Jonathan Stapleton, adjusted distance 496.26 feet
  • 3rd place:Red Neck Wreckers, Captain Ryan Brown, adjusted distance 439.18 feet
  • 4th place: Team Jordan, Captain Don Jordan, adjusted distance 427.52 feet
  • 5th place: Mooselauke Hurlers, Ed Chamberlin, adjusted distance 425.07 feet
  • 6th place: Green Monster, Captain Emmitt McGuire, adjusted distance 418.44 feet
  • 7th place: Rolling Thunder, Captain Ray Chamberlin, adjusted distance 410.35 feet
  • 8th place: Rotary Two, Captain Bill Kernan, adjusted distance 332.93 feet
  • 9th place: Merlin, Captain Bob Olesen, adjusted distance 311.3 feet
  • 10th place: Dead Weight, Captain Brad Gustafson, adjusted distance 219.93 feet
  • 11th place: One Sheet of Plywood and a 2x4, Captain Justin Blackman, adjusted distance 214.99 feet
  • 12th place: FAKA Crazy, Captain John Raffensberger, adjusted distance 71.14 feet

Heavyweight Division: no age limit, trebuchet limited to 500 pounds and 10 feet, pumpkin must weight at least 5 pounds

No distance adjustment since the trebuchets are already 10 feet tall
  • 1st place and best overall design award: $100 prize, Hammer of the Gourds, Captain Chris McGrody, distance 520.7 feet
  • 2nd place: Weapons of Medieval Destruction, Captain Nick Helms, distance 474.36
  • 3rd place: Unconventional Farmers, Captain Robert Hoopes, distance 194.0 feet
  • 4th place: Team Edge, Captain Kyle Lamell, distance 76 feet
  • 5th place: Bad Boomer, Captain Dave Jordan, distance 0 feet

Chili Cookoff:
  • 1st prize and $100 cash, Edelweiss Country Store
  • 2nd prize and $50 cash, Edna and Ken Elwood
  • 3rd prize and $25 cash, Brian Roberts

Dave Jordan
Festival organizer
161 Henway Road
Morrisville, VT 05661

Kings of New England Compete

Pumpkins have been flying today at the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival at Stoweflake Mountain Resort. Good job out of you all you pumpkin hurlers, you lords and ladies of the gourd, you Princes and Princesses of Vermont, you Kings and Queens of New England....