ACtion Magazine - March 2014 - (Page 8)

Men not at work By Jacques Gordon A lmost every Wednesday night over the past four summers, six friends have gathered to work on a rather uncommon machine. One is a retired welder. Even though he earned his rest after a full career in a dirty and often difficult job, he jumped at the chance to do all of the welding. Another is an industrial mechanic who works at night. He used his night off to work along with the welder, helping to keep the lines straight, the corners square and all the right tools close at hand. There is also a carpenter, a construction worker and an engineer, each contributing the same labor and talents they use everyday at work. My special contribution is the organizational skills that I use every day on my regular job, but I get to work with tools too, so I think I'm having more fun than the others. The machine we're working on is a trebuchet, one of the oldest machines in history. Originally developed as a siege weapon, a trebuchet was typically used to batter fortress walls with rocks and to throw dead animals over them, an early form of germ warfare. People often call it a catapult, but that's not correct; a catapult uses some kind of spring to generate power, and it might have a throwing arm or it might look more like a sling shot or crossbow. A trebuchet is a gravity-powered throwing arm. There are several different configurations, but the principal is always the same: a falling weight causes the arm to move, and a sling at the end of the arm releases a projectile to fly through the air. Like many other modern trebuchets, ours is used to throw pumpkins. This was our team's fourth year at the annual World Championship Punkin' Chunkin' Association's event in Bridgeville, Delaware. There are other chunks in other parts of the country, but thanks to a few years of coverage by the Science Channel, this one is probably the biggest. This year there were 115 teams in 15 different classes, and over one thousand chunkers, and we had great weather too. There are class winners but only one first-place trophy (4,694 feet this year, a new record). Other than getting bigger, Punkin Chunkin hasn't really changed over the years: this isn't a competition, it's week-long party. What could be more fun than five days of camping in a cornfield in November with a thousand likeminded people and 50,000 spectators, working with a machine that demands all your normal work-day skills and creativity just to throw pumpkins? When our throwing arm broke, we broke out the tools and bought some materials at the local home supply store and worked deep into the night to build a new one, and we threw pumpkins the next day. I can't use the language here to describe how that would have felt if it had all happened at work, but we weren't at work. That's why it felt like our finest hour. ❆ photo: J.Gordon You can reach Jacques at 8 Reader Reply ACTION * March 2014 A very uncommon machine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - March 2014

Coolant pump replacement
Computer controls for Air conditioning replacement
Freeze Frame
Leonard's Law
Virtual View
Service Port
Last Watch
By the Numbers
Cooling Corner
Industry News
Association News
New Products

ACtion Magazine - March 2014