Trebuchet Contest Results

Thanks to all who took part in our Trebuchet Contest! We had perfect weather and all involved had a great time. With nine people competing on six teams, we saw a wide variety of designs and lots of experimentation.

Each team fired three shots, which were analyzed for efficiency and for accuracy. The efficiency score is calculated as the length of the best shot divided by the mass of the counterweight – to discourage anyone from using small cars as counterweight and hurling the projectiles all the way to Dodge Street. The accuracy score is the standard deviation of the three shots. To combine these into a final score, each category was normalized to 5 points for the best team in that area, with proportionally fewer points going to every other team. As a result, the best possible score is ten points, which would only be awarded to a team winning both categories.

Rank Team Efficiency (ft/lb) Accuracy (St Dev) Score
1st Ben 8.5 0.05 9.3
2nd Dave 9.8 2.4 5.1
3rd Eric 8.9 85.2 4.5
4th Kyle and his Dad 7.9 18.3 4.0
5th Kevin 7.6 6.4 3.9
6th Don, Stephanie, and Sarah 6.2 31.2 3.2

Ben, competing with a trebuchet constructed years before and “conveniently” fitting the contest requirements, had the longest throw of the day at 214 feet, but the use of a rather large counterweight dropped his efficiency to mid-pack, though not nearly low enough to offset his astonishing repeatability and accuracy.

Dave, winner of the “Least Effort Possible” award which nobody has bothered to create, gave a spectacular performance, particularly considering that his machine was constructed and tested in under fifteen minutes.

Eric nearly forfeited the contest after some mysterious last-minute bugs, but came back with a very solid 94-foot throw. Unfortunately, with two of his three shots launching backwards, his accuracy score reminded everyone to stand well to one side of a firing trebuchet.

Kyle and his Dad arrived with the only machine too large to be assembled indoors. Installing a competitive amount of counterweight earned them a respectable score, but before and after the contest, their 50-lb maximum capacity gave the neighbors something to think about.

Kevin competed with the only machine requiring three hands to safely load, and was also the only entrant to attempt self-amputation during testing. Despite this, the device proved acceptably reliable and fired many shots without incident.

Don, Stephanie, and Sarah may have earned the lowest score, but they were also the only team to compete with no prior testing. Their trebuchet was not completed until several minutes after the start of check-in and was immediately put to the test with none of the tinkering and tweaking afforded by the other teams.

Once again, a huge thanks to everyone who took part in this contest! We know it was the most difficult challenge we’ve yet conceived, and everyone who took part worked extremely hard to make the firing line yesterday. We promise the next event will carry wider appeal – more on that in the coming weeks.

Congrats to the 2013 Founders’ Prize winners!

 

Founders' Prize 2013Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural 2013 Founders’ Prize:

  • For Opening New Frontiers – Jay Hannah and Dave Knaack
  • For Operational Excellence – Eric Kaplan

As stated at the meeting, the categories for these awards are entirely arbitrary and subject to change in future years;  Also, we estimate that this prize is roughly 1 million times easier to win than a Nobel Prize, and the cash award has been scaled accordingly.

Here’s a bit from Travis about the Opening New Frontiers winners

As for the award for Operational Excellence, this prize is awarded to Eric Kaplan for consistent attention to “things that need done”; He’s involved in everything from staffing booths to designing marketing material and furniture for the space. Furthermore, he successfully facilitated the Makery’s relocation to our new home.

Again, congratulations to all our 2013 winners.

Special Event at OMG – May 28th, 7pm – Paint and Pizza!

I am honored to announce that the website, Instructables.com, has contact Omaha Maker Group and asked us to participate in their inaugural “Instructables Build Nights”!
The idea for Build Nights is that Instructables picks a topic and sends supplies/materials to select Makerspaces for their use in creating an event around that topic.  And just to make it more enjoyable, they kick in some cash for pizza, too!  All we have to do in return (in addition to hosting the event) is produce 3-4 new Instructables to their website.  Our Instructables don’t even have to be about the topic, though that certainly helps.  And as long as we tag/link Omaha Maker Group in our Instructables (more details on how to do that later), we get credit.  If we hit the 3-4 mark, we qualify to participate in future Build Nights.  If we manage 10 Instructables, we could be looking at a new laser cutter, new 3D printer, electronics kit, or more!
The topic for May is conductive paint.  You may have seen the new paint pens at Radio Shack from Bare Conductive.  These pens allow you to “draw” an electronic circuit.  The paint cleans with soapy water, so if you don’t like your circuit, just wash it away and start a new one.
Here’s a link to their website, so you can start getting some ideas: http://www.bareconductive.com/
And here is a link to some Instructables that have already been submitted for Bare Conductive paint, again to give you some ideas:  http://www.instructables.com/group/bareconductive/
Since this is our first Build Night, and the first time we have really talked about Instructables, I will be sure to send out information over the next couple of weeks to give you an introduction to making an Instructable, what constitutes a “quality” Instructable, and how to link your Instructable to OMG. At any time, please email me if you have questions.
The Bare Conductive Build Night will take place at The Makery on May 28th.  Doors will open by 6:00pm, and the event will kick off at 7:00.  We will have pizza from Varisty/Roman Coin, but please BYOB (and any snacks you might want).  Hope to see you there!

Learn about Lockpicking from a Toool.. member

Would you like to learn about lock picking? Come to our meeting Tuesday July 10th @ 7pm.

The meeting will feature a talk from a member of Toool.us (The Open Organization of Lockpickers), Steve Beck.

Steve will cover three topics, two of which are a little more hands on-ish, the first will be a basic lockpicking talk, the second will be a re-keying talk with a demo and the third will be about making your own picks with a demo.

Stick around after the talk for socializing and Makery Shenanigans.

Directions to the Makery

Pizza Potluck and Piezoelectric Presentation – December 13th

At next Tuesday’s meeting (December 13th), we’ll be doing a pizza/potluck dinner. The idea is that everyone throw in a few bucks for pizza and bring whatever else they’d like to share. Food is planned for 6:30, but it’s a pretty casual sort of thing.  If you’re interested, RSVP here.

The presentation for the meeting will be Dave, talking about the piezoelectric effect, and demonstrating how make Rochelle Salt (a piezoelectric material).

The piezoelectric effect is the linkage between an electric charge and the mechanical distortion of a material. It occurs in many materials, from crystals and ceramics to bone and DNA. We use the piezoelectric effect in many ways, but we most commonly encounter it in small speakers, audio pick-ups, and grill starters and lighters. Most commercial piezoelectric materials are engineered compounds that are relatively tough and exhibit a strong piezoelectric behavior, but are difficult to create for oneself. However, one of the earliest piezoelectric materials, Rochelle salt, can easily and safely be made at home, allowing us to explore the piezoelectric effect from the ground up.

Even if you’ve never been down to the Makery, or you’ll be a little late, please come join us!

Nerf Gun Mod Challenge Results!

Last night, the Makery hosted a Nerf Gun Mod contest, previously announced here.  We had 5 total entrants, after a few people had things come up at the last minute, and about twice that many spectators.

Appearance

Only Brandon and Eric made an attempt in this category;  Brandon did a functional “pseudo-steampunk” mod (with an extended brass barrel and integrated laser sight), while Eric gave his Nightfinder a complete color revamp using Sharpie markers (Which did come off on his hands).    Eric won almost unanimously, earning him an extra 10% in the distance competition.

Accuracy

The accuracy contest was run next, in a series of 8 rounds, with a point going to the entrant who could hit a whiteboard (At about 15 feet) closest to the center mark. The entrant with the most points won this category.  The contest itself came down to a shootout between Brandon and Dave, (2.5 points each) with Brandon emerging victorious. Eric (2 pts) and Kevin (1 pt).

Distance

This contest measured total distance to rest, thereby including any beneficial or harmful rolling or tumbling that a dart did. A slight accuracy component was involved, in that if a dart went more than 75 feet or so, it had to clear a 5 foot wide doorway.  The low ceiling also proved challenging to some contestants, as it limited the amount that a dart could be arced.

Distance was scored as “best of 8 darts”, with each entrant shooting all 8 in succession.  Brandon’s was the only dart to clear the doorway, making him the winner.  A few darts bounced off the wall, though.  Eric’s 10% bonus (2.2 paces, very scientific) was enough to propel him into 3rd place over Dave, leaving the results Brandon, Kevin, Eric, Dave, Patrick.

Conclusion

Overall, Brandon was the supreme winner, having taken first place in both categories.  Even with a smaller-than-expected field, everyone involved had a great time.  Thanks to all involved for making last night a success! A few photos from the event are below.