Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Trebuchet Paintball

A mechanical engineering school rivalry
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Engineering schools have various contests to give their students an outlet for their energy and display their learning. There are the submarine races, egg drop contests, naked bridge building and concrete canoe races. As we are heading into Halloween season and Halloween makes engineering students think of great and frightening things of the middle ages, their hearts turn with almost genetic fondness to that great engineering toy the trebuchet. I almost wonder if the fondness for making things fly through the air with a great splat isn’t actually a genetic propensity caused by kings of yore giving successful medieval engineers harems of virgins to impregnate. Then again young women might just long for men that can make things fly for a long time with an explosive climax. But I digress.

In this contest, teams of engineering students design and build a trebuchet meeting certain requirements. For instance no part can be longer than ten feet and all parts must be capable of being passed through a one inch thick, one foot diameter iron ring. The trebuchet must be capable of being put together, after passing through the ring by the team, within 15 minutes. The assembled trebuchet must also be able to be dissembled and passed through the ring within 10 minutes.

The contest would consist of the teams moving a trailer containing their parts to opposite ends of a field of honor, like an American football field. At a signal the team would pass all the parts through the ring and assemble the trebuchet. They would then load their trebuchet with volleyball sized paint balls and lob them at the opposing team, reloading and firing until they hit the opposing teams trebuchet. They would then dissemble their trebuchet, passing the parts through the ring and removing the parts from the field. Scoring would be an additive sum of points with the highest sum winning. The teams would be given one point for every 10 seconds remaining on the assembly clock. Assembly would be considered finished after the first lob. 10 points would be deducted for every marching band member hit by a miss, 20 points would be given for the first direct hit. Every direct hit after that would gain 5 points with a maximum firing time of twenty minutes after the beginning of assembly. Disassembly could not begin until at least one volley was fired. Three points would be awarded for every 10 seconds remaining on the disassembly clock. The dissembled parts would have to be on the trailer and the clock would stop when the trailer was past some point.

Corporations can sponsor professional teams for display at professional American football games. And the half bakery could sponsor an exhibition team. The team would use shrunken sunken pumpkins (see link) that have had frightening faces carved into them. Of course to insure the shrunken sunken pumpkin flew frightening face first a ribbon would be screwed into the back, said ribbon designed to whip the air given off the freaking sound of a banshee. To add to the effect the freaking flying frightening faced shrunken sunken pumpkin would be infused with ethanol and set on fire. The half baked team would be known as the Champion Drunken Freaking Flying Frightening Faced Fiery Shrunken Sunken Pumpkin Chunking Bumpkins.

cjacks, Oct 15 2006

Medieval Paintball Medieval_20Paintball
An older take on ye olde time and paintball [DesertFox, Oct 16 2006]

Shrunken Sunken Pumpkin Pumpkin_20compressi...0conveyor_20belt_2e
Read the annotations [cjacks, Oct 16 2006]

The Gun Race on YouTube http://www.youtube....watch?v=32s4qCCFnmk
Apparently the last one, I didn't know it'd finished! [Skrewloose, Dec 04 2008]


       If only something went boom. Bun anyway.
augusta, Oct 15 2006

       //kings of yore giving successful medieval engineers harems// Don't bet on that... but have a bun anyway for the banshee pumpkins. [+]
pertinax, Oct 16 2006

       The contest should simply be to build an item capable of hurling paint balloons. Trebuchets are tricky. Sometimes tricky is good, but more important is getting the paint on the other team.
bungston, Oct 16 2006

       [one foot diameter iron ring]   

       ID or OD ?
normzone, Oct 16 2006

       SHIIIT YEAH lets build one, only, lets not use paint, lets use greek fire, or napalm, or cannonballs that look like paintballs, and you can borrow my boss for target practise, but everyone must make a direct hit 4 out of 5 times to qualify for the team.
Stork, Nov 03 2006

       NAKED BRIDGE BUILDING?? i wouldnt want to see most structural engineers nekkid, but a co-op college might work, lol.   

       also, why the 12 inch ring? so you can unload it through a boat window? or transportation rings in D&D?
Arcanus, Nov 24 2008

       [marked-for Scrapheap-Challenge]
Loris, Nov 25 2008

       This looks like fun, but your rules and specs are more complex than Cricket. The object is to hit the target, so let them engineer anything they want to accomplish that goal (LIke the Robot Wars that MIT stages).   

       While channel-surfing, I passed a competion for pumpkin hurling for distance. The bumpkins were using various trebuchets. Now instead of hurling for distance, pit them at each other and lump some pumpkin humping bumpkins.
MauiChuck, Dec 03 2008

       Baked multiple times on Scrapheap Challenge, and in various forms involving odd shaped or fragile projectiles in many places. Also sounds like the 'Gun Race' held at the Edinburgh Tatoo (see link).   

       Sounds fun though - water balloon siege warfare... how about a cardboard castle that would slowly be destroyed by the impact/water?
Skrewloose, Dec 04 2008


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