Friday, August 26, 2016

Trebuchet Rules Clarification

This is a clarification of how trebuchets are measured for classification in the different weight divisions: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. See the official rules for specifications.

The height of the trebuchet is the difference between the top and bottom.

The top is the highest point reached by the arm (including the finger) or the counterweight (CW) during firing. The bottom is the lowest point of the arm or counterweight during firing.

For a King Arthur trebuchet two measurements are made when the trebuchet is at rest; the highest point of the finger and the lowest point of the counterweight. Two measurements are made when the treb is loaded; the highest point of the counterweight and the lowest point of the finger. See figures 1 and 2.

King Arthur trebuchet two measurements are made when the trebuchet is at rest;

King Arthur trebuchet two measurements are made when the trebuchet is loaded

The top is the highest of all four points and the bottom is the lowest of all four points.

See figures 3 and 4 for a floating point trebuchet measurements.

Floating Arm trebuchet two measurements are made when the trebuchet is at rest

Floating Arm trebuchet two measurements are made when the trebuchet is loaded

If you have any questions please contact the event organizer, Dave Jordan.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Trebuchet Summer Round-up

Hi Hurlers,

There are now only 50 days until the 8th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Cuckin' Festival on Sept. 25th, 2016.

Time to get down to business and get your machines dialed in. In the meantime here are some hurling items that caught out eye:

There is an interesting article discussing trebuchets at from Quora. It does have one error when it states:
Trebuchets, because they don’t recoil in the same way as catapults, can be put on wheels. In fact, doing so is advantageous for their accuracy, as I understand it, because of the way it lets the whole machine absorb some of the forces involved. 
A trebuchet on wheels loses distance in its throws. The wheels rob the full transfer of energy from the counter-weight to the throwing arm. A trebuchet should be anchored to the ground to be most efficient. There is no real debate about that. Wheels would probably make it easier to line up a trebuchet, but taking time and adjusting a grounded trebuchet will make it just as accurate, plus it will have more distance, than a wheeled version.

Roman catapult
Roman catapult
What Are the Tactical Advantages of a Trebuchet Over a Catapult --
A trebuchet is a device for attacking fortifications. Roughly speaking, a trebuchet has a few advantages over a catapult. First, it can handle heavier projectiles. A catapult’s maximum weight tops out at about 180 pounds; trebuchets top out at about 350. Second, compared with a torsion engine, it’s a fairly robust machine. Lastly, for a given weight of stone, the trebuchet has a longer range. The big ones there, of course, are the maximum projectile weight and range. When your objective is to smash stone fortifications, being able to throw bigger stones from farther away is certainly a desirable trait...
This Game of Thrones trebuchet looks good, but it has several problems as Scott Manning points out.

Scott Manning / Historian On the Warpath:
3 Problems with This Game of Thrones Trebuchet --
Yes, I’m critiquing the plausibility of this trebuchet while ignoring the dragons.

The “Battle of the Bastards” episode from Game of Thrones introduced a new twist on the trebuchet, utilizing gravity but defying physics and logic.

It was in the background of the siege of Meereen. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Like a trebuchet, the machine utilizes gravity to propel an object toward a target. However, there are some major problems with this machine.

1.) The counterweight just isn’t enough

Instead of a traditional counterweight, there is a mini-rollercoaster that sends the entire arm down before flinging it forward. This is an adoption of a modern design affectionately named Merlin (thanks to Son_of_mogh for pointing this out)...
How about a quick history lesson with some art thrown in (pun intended)?

GroovyHistorian ‏ / Twitter:
#Medieval traction trebuchet (also called a perrier) next to a staff slinger #history amazing !!

traction trebuchet (also called a perrier)

They are getting their big boy treb ready in upstate New York.

Eagle News:
Boris undergoing repairs. The trebuchet at Our Farm needed to have its throwing arm replaced after it cracked.
Boris undergoing repairs. The trebuchet at Our Farm needed to have its throwing arm replaced after it cracked. Courtesy Our Farm.

Boris the trebuchet got a “heart transplant” recently at the Golub family’s Our Farm on Peth Road in Cazenovia/Manlius — and now the 10-year-old pumpkin launching machine is ready to keep on chucking fruit for a long time to come...
See you in September.

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: