A Smashing Good Time: Trebuchet Contest Winners Announced

On Saturday, April 27, we had our Launch It! Trebuchet contest in Snowden Park. There were three winners in our four categories.

The Sekinger family won the Family category with "Minecraft-A-Pult," which launched a distance of 72 feet.

Scarlett Smith and Isabelle Kauffman from Gayle Middle school won the Middle School category with "Sea You," which launched a distance of 66 feet. Other entries from Gayle Middle School included "Cotton Candy Toss" and "Destroyer"

Glenn LeCourteur participated in the Adult category. A machinist by trade, LeCourteur demonstrated three trebuchets that he has constructed, including two new designs that used 3D printer parts. Glenn was badged on the 3D printer at our Salem Church branch and reserved the equipment to build these pieces after designing them. All of Glenn's trebuchet's exceeded 100 feet. After that, Glenn set up a plaster structure in the middle of the field and proceeded to fine tune his trebuchets' launching capabilities as he aimed and pelted the structure with golf balls.

A trebuchet, for those not familiar with the term, was a popular element in medieval siege warfare. Trebuchets hurled missiles at town walls and castle defenses, with the aim of knocking holes large enough to let the invaders come through. They were often given names, a tradition we carried on in this competition.

Unlike a catapult, a trebuchet uses weight instead of tension on a cord to throw its load. A cord or rope can only stretch so far, but there isn't a practical limit on how heavy weight can be, so trebuchets were usually much more powerful than catapults.

The library has several books about trebuchets, and our MakerLab offered sessions on designing these medieval marvels of martial mechanism.