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Mechanical Engineering Technology catapult winning teamApril 9, 2010

Seven students from Camosun’s Mechanical Engineering Technology travelled to UBC on March 26 for the fourth annual Wood Catapult Competition. Hosted by Wood WORKS! BC, the competition attracted more than a dozen teams from BC universities and colleges.

The enthusiastic Camosun team walked away with top honours for Best Design and Best Presentation, plus $1,000 in cash!

The competition challenged student teams to design and build an all-wood Siege Engine capable of hurling two-pound projectiles across UBC’s football field. Before the physical trials, each team also had to present their design and justify every design decision to a panel of experts.

Down to the wire with 23 seconds to go!

When it came time to fling the projectiles at the targets, each team had 20 minutes to hit three targets set at 20, 30 and 45 meters away. The Camosun team wasted no time in hitting the first two targets but the third target proved to be a challenge. When the one-minute warning whistle blew, the team had to battle back the panic. Knowing it takes about 30 seconds to set up the catapult, they were down to their last chance. With 23 seconds to go, the projectile finally found its mark!

“These students demonstrated amazing creativity, dedication and methodical approach,” says Will Spaulding, mechanical engineering instructor. “All the way through, it was each member working as part of a closely knit team that made it all work.”

Camosun tech students rock – and they’re still only in first year!

Camosun’s team included Hayden Trattner, Rich Burman, Christie Hagen, Jason Brown, Lisa Mooney, James Williams and Julie Atherton, all first-year mechanical engineering technology students. They worked on the design and manufacture of their machine for several months, using scale models, computer visualization, CAD drawings and plywood frames cut with Camosun’s new water-jet cutter. When they finally reached the testing stage in early March, the Camosun Siege Engine did not disappoint – it hurled those two-pound projectiles much further than the length of a football field, and threatened to do some serious damage along the way.

“I was the retriever in this contest, and I can tell you, I was paying very close attention,” says Neil Porter, instructional assistant with the mechanical engineering technology program. “When you’ve got two-pound projectiles coming your way at that speed, you don’t want your head getting in the way!”

Last updated: April 6, 2011 11:07 am

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