Saturday, June 28, 2008

Test Fire - Day One

Day one of testing the Bouquet Trebuchet:

The goal was to launch a small water balloon from Matt's patio, across Prestonwood Road, and into the parking lot of an office building. However, we ran into a bit of a problem early on. The ammunition kept falling into friendly territory. "Incoming!"
We spent several hour tinkering with lines, adjusting the launch pouch and adding to the counterweight. Yet it kept releasing too early. Finally we used a small wooden ball and it launched correctly.
Apparently water balloons are not ideal for trebuchet ammunition...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Origins of Wedding Traditions

With Wedding, Wedding, Wedding stuff on the brain I was not surprised to stumble across an article on Mental Floss about the Origins of Wedding Traditions. This part about the Best Man caught my eye.

The original duty of a "Best Man" was to serve as armed backup for the groom in case he had to resort to kidnapping his intended bride away from disapproving parents. The "best" part of that title refers to his skill with a sword, should the need arise. (You wouldn't want to take the "just okay" member of your weapon-wielding posse with you to steal yourself a wife, would you?)

The best man stands guard next to the groom right up through the exchange of vows (and later, outside the newlyweds' bedroom door), just in case anyone should attack or if a non-acquiescent bride should try to make a run for it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 11

Here I have attached the trolley block to the end of some twine which has the other end wrapped around the winch axle. The line goes down and traverses the length of the trebuchet underneath where the trough will be.

Here is the trigger system. The closest dowel has a loop of twine tied to it. The further dowel has a lever with a pin on it. When the arm is down, the twine will go over it and hook onto the pin on the other side. To fire, the latch gets pulled, the pin goes up, and the twine loop is released, which releases the arm.

It is completed! The sling is now hanging from the end of the arm. The trough is now lying along the centerline. I'll try firing it tomorrow after the firing mechanism has had plenty of time to dry. I bought about 500 water balloons for four bucks. By the way, the winching system isn't really necessary for the operation of this small size trebuchet. This is just table size, so it's small enough that it's easy to just pull the arm down. But it's great to see how the arm was pulled down on full size versions back in the day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 10

I stayed up later than I probably should have working on the trebuchet. But I got a lot done on it. Prepare for a long post.

Here are the smaller dowel pieces I cut from the very long ones. These will be used as tread dowels to combine the two sides of the winch wheels.

Here I have a few in place. I'm just using glue for now. That's why the rubberbands are there. I'll take those off after a day or so after the glue has fully dried. Eventually, I may use some twine to lash the dowels to the wheels. It would help a lot structurally, but it would mostly just look really cool. But the glue should do fine for now.

All the dowels are on the first winch wheel. You may notice the edges of the dowels are a little rough. That's because they came from a much, much longer rod. After measuring the length I needed, I scored it a bit and snapped it off. On the dowels used other places I sanded the ends after doing that. But there's just too many to do that here. Besides, maybe it makes it look more authentic? If I need to, I can always sand down the ends quickly with a dremel. Depends on how it looks once it's all together.

Both winch wheels assembled and sitting in their approximate final place.

A few of the axle holes needed to be reamed out a bit. These axles will be involved with the pulley system, so they need to spin freely. Note to self: when using a manual round file to make an existing hole a bit bigger, be careful where placing the bracing hand. When the file suddenly released on the other side, it grazed the top of my knuckle a bit. Just a scrape, but I figured I better band-aid it up. I'm guessing it wouldn't be good to get sawdust in a wound.

Good news on the A-frame width! While reaming the holes through the A-frames and holding the sub-frame, I accidentally loosened the glued connection there. And with a little more wiggle and prying, I was able to separate it. Then I sanded down the tops of those outrigger supports that were pushing in too hard. This time when I glued it all in, I used a level. Success!

Additions to the subframe to hold the winch wheels. That longer horizontal dowel is the axle where the winch wheels will attach. It will move with the wheels, but spin easily within the A-frames.

Both winch wheels attached. There are axle struts on the frame to solidify the stability of the wheels.

The trolley block. The twine from the winch axle will eventually lead to here. This will go on the trolley line on the arm.

I forgot to put a trolley line on the arm! So I redid the lashing near the arm axle and left a loop on it. I then just tied a line between that loop and the bit of loop I left when lashing on the release pin at the end of the arm. In this picture you can see that line hanging there. And the arm/counterweight box sits on the axle between the A-frames just fine now. I think this is going to work!

Lots of the pieces together, and it looks like a trebuchet! Just a bit more for completion. The main thing left is the trigger. Once the arm has been winched down, it will be held down by some more twine going across the top of it. Then the winch line can be released. That way, when it's fired, there won't be the drag of the winch unwinding. After the trigger, I think all that will be left is the sling and the trough. Seems like I'm missing something, though. The winch wheel axle is held in place with spacers which are glued onto the axle. But the rear and front dowels have nothing like that. As it is now, they can slide out of the holes. I could put some kind of stop on the dowel inside the frame. Just need to figure out what to use.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Mi deziras ludi sonojn en la paĝo. Do, mi recordis kanton, alŝutis la dosieron, kaj lernis la kodon ludi ĝin en la paĝo. Mi pensas... Kaj mi bedaŭras pri mia voĉo. Mi konas, ke mi bezonas praktikadon. Sed por nun...

En kanjono, ĉe la mino
Esti povas iu ajn.
Labor-mastro estis patro
De l' filino Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Elefante ŝi gracias,
Pezas kvazaŭ longa trajn'.
Pakaĵ-kesto – taŭga vesto
Por pied' de Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Anasidojn al rivero
Kondukante, laŭ verŝajn',
Falis glite, kaj subite
Subakviĝis Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Savi emis l'amatinon.
Riska tamen – tiu gajn'!
Mi kuraĝis, sed ne naĝis,
Tiel dronis Klementine.

Ho, mia kara, mia kara,
mia kara Klementine.
Malaperis por ĉiame,
Bedaŭrinde, Klementine.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dancing Around the World

Everyone loves dancing! All around the world. By the way, that is a different Matt in the video. It's not me. But many of those places look mighty cool to visit. And I do dance kinda like that...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 09

Well, after putting slight stress on the A-frames, they did separate a bit. But shortly after removing the separating blocks they started leaning in again. I went ahead and attached the axle guides and the gusset underneath to help support them. I have placed the arm behind the axle guides here to show the width variance. The bottom part is non trimmed. The top half has been trimmed. So, if there ends up being too much friction to allow the arm to swing well, I can just dremel off some of the bottom pieces.

Here are the rim parts to make one half of one of the winching wheels.

And the same parts for all the rest of the wheels before my knife, round file, and sand paper get to them.

Ah, much better. That's something I can work with!

And work with it I did. These are the winch wheels. They attach together in pairs with dowels separating them. Then an axle runs through the middle that is part of the winching system. In full scale ones, people would get inside and climb up the wall like a hamster in a wheel. This would provide slow, but powerful winching strength to draw down the swing arm. But more on that as that part gets built. One of the harder parts of building this will be to lash the dowels to the wheels. There are 26 notches in each wheel, so two sets will be 52 dowels. Each dowel connects to two wheels, so that's 104 miniature lash weaves. I may just go with glue for that part.

A Guide to Cat Ownership

Sometimes YouTube can be a scary place. Sometimes owning two cats can be a scary thing. With both you never know what might be lurking around the corner.
Today I ventured in to YouTube and found this little jewel.
An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 08

I attached the counterweight bucket to the arm.

But then a bad thing happened. I was lining up the fit for the gussets and tracks which help support the axle and keep the arm from wobbling. I realized there wasn't enough room between them for the arm to swing. I thought maybe there was a problem with them, so I started grinding them down. But then after more measuring I found the true problem. The space between the A-frames at the bottom was 4 inches, but only 3.5 at the top! Apparently when I was putting on the diagonal braces, they created too much inward pressure. If I had known that, I could have put a 4 inch block or something in there to stabilize it in the correct position until the glue dried. But all is not lost yet. I've wedged some blocks in between the frames to spread it to about 4.5 inches. I'll leave it like that for a day, and see if that helps out. If not, I can go back to grinding axle holders. But it's not the most elegant solution.

Trebuchet: Part 07

Here is the arm. This is the main swinging part that flings stones, horses, or bouquets. The large hole is where the main axle is going to be. There's a smaller hole near the left end where the uprights from the counterweight box will attach.

Here's a closer picture of the end pin lashed to the arm. It's not exactly round. But it's pretty close considering I sanded it down from being square. And it's smooth for a cleaner release of the sling.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 06

Today I completed the counterweight bucket. As you can see, each side is made up of three slats. Each slat has a tenon on the end which goes into the mortises on the end caps. The bottom is a solid piece which has two tenons on each end. The uprights are held in place with ¼" dowels. They are braced to help lessen tension caused as it swings around. Between the uprights is a partition. With this in place, the two chambers are roughly square. Items can be put in to serve as a counterweight and be relatively jostle-free. The holes in the top of the uprights are where the box will attach to the arm.

Each half of the box should hold nine stacks of pennies, forty pennies high. This is about four and a half pounds. That is a quite a load. The model is 1/20th scale. So, if it were full scale, it would multiply by 20 in each of three dimensions. So 4.5 pounds x 20 x 20 x 20 = (pulling up the handy Windows Calculator) 36000 pounds! That's 18 tons of scaled counterweight! Not sure if we'll need that much, but it's good to know the power is available.

Here's the counterweight box with the frame completed so far. I checked the width, and the box does fit between the uprights. There's a little bit of wiggle room, but not much. When the arm goes onto the frame, I'll have to make sure it swings back and forth, but not side to side.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beautiful Morning

I stepped outside this morning to take out the trash and was greeted by a beautiful sight. Two blooming day lilies! These come from my Grandmother's garden and every time my Mom comes over she tells me I'm not watering enough. So hooray, I have found some hardy little guys that can survive apartment living.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trebuchet: Part 05

It's been too long since I've worked on the trebuchet. But with all the wedding planning and trying to figure out timing of moving and getting everything planned, it's a bit hectic. But I got more done today. I hope I can finish it and test it before the wedding.

I cut the dowels and put them in to reinforce the security of the bottom crossbeams. I then attached the upright A-frame assembly to the bottom Sub-Frame along with some side bracing.

Here we see some rubberbands bracing the assembly while the glue dries.

This shows a bit more detail. You can see that I used short pencils with the rubberbands to be the anchor that pulls up on that center beam of the sub-frame. With those side angled braces pushing up at the top of the A-frame, it was wanting to separate from where it's being mounted to the sub-frame. Thus the need for these rubberbands to help keep it connected. In this shot you can also see the mini dowel pegs I used on the A-frame cross beams.

The Rings Have Arrived

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Whistle while you work...

I realized today that I haven't posted anything on the blog in a while. I guess I've just been a busy little bee doing my boring day-to-day thing. Home to work, work to home.
As we get closer to the wedding I'm starting to panic! No, not over the whole lifetime commitment thing. No, it's the one thing that strikes fear into every women...moving! Why must the packing of ones things be such drama? I'm starting to wish I could have a Disney moment. Just clap my hands together and inspire all the little birdies to pack my belongings while I sing a two minute song...

"When there's too much to do
Don't let it bother you, forget your troubles,
Try to be just like a cheerful chick-a-dee"

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ordered the Rings

Well, I never heard from the local guy yesterday, so I bought the rings online today from Titanium Era.
DiorThis is Maegan's, except the stone will be a Ruby. The inscription inside will say Proverbs 31.
MatrixThis is mine. The inscription inside will say Psalm 128.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Looking at Rings

Maegan and I went to look at rings last night. We got our current exact measurements and looked at the widths we would each prefer. It was a good time to do it because during that time of the day, when it's hot and muggy, is when the fingers are most swollen. That way we were able to choose something tight enough that it will not fall off when we're cold, but not so tight that it cuts circulation when hot.

We're wanting Titanium rings for our wedding rings. The guy at the shop didn't have many in stock right then. His supplier was closed by this time. We got there just barely before his store closed. So he's supposed to call me back this morning with availability, prices, and delivery eta. He hasn't called back yet.

After I dropped Maegan off and I got home, we got on the IMs and started looking online. We found the perfect rings for us that we both REALLY love. They don't "match" eachother as far as design. But we figure if each of us has to wear them forever, let's get what we like. So we looked and looked at various options. After selecting what each of us wanted on each of our rings, I put them in the "shopping cart" ready for checkout. I didn't checkout completely because I'm waiting for the local guy to call back with pricing options. But I think the online place is where we're going to go. They're very nice rings for a very good price.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Tux has Arrived

My tux came in today. It's pretty awesome. I got a good deal on it, too. Combo came with the Jacket, Pants, Shirt, Bow tie, & Cummerbund. The pants are unfinished at the bottom, so I need to get those tailored. The jacket needs a bit, too. It's just an inch or so long in the sleeves. But it's pretty close. Especially considering I bought it online.