Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spring Fling with the Trebuchet

In the middle ages, in spite of all the nonsense in the romantic novels, most warfare revolved around sieges. Offense and defense evolved in parallel. The castles got thicker walls; and to knock them down the trebuchet was invented. There is a lot of material on the net about trebuchets.

So I got tired of  working on my picture frames and built a model of a trebuchet out of scrap wood.

As you can see, it is a lever pivoted on a stand. A heavy weight is attached to the short end. A sling is attached to the long arm. In the picture the weight is propped up by a stick. A projectile, in my case a vaguely ball-shaped piece of modeling clay, is put in the sling.  When the stick is knocked out, the weight falls, of course, this impels the projectile. So far I can sling the ball a couple meters, but I have been reading up on this and I think I can improve it.

Lots of variables here. Quite a complicated simple-looking device. Medieval trebuchets could throw 100 Kg a distance of 100 meters -- at least, the modern reproductions can do this. One monster I saw on YouTube (made out of steel) can actually fling a  compact car!

Spring is here and I have the garden to do; I think trebuchet tuning will have to wait.