In recent years, Halloween time has brought a new competition to light. Rather than carving pumpkins, these traditional squashes are being used for a new sporting competition. Catapults, or trebuchets, have been devised to throw pumpkins far distances. These pumpkin chunkin' catapults are constructed by multiple teams to determine the farthest throwing machine. Each team creates their own strategy for constructing the best functioning catapult. However, building a successful catapult requires some knowledge regarding physics and levers.
- 2-by-4 wood lumber
- 10 foot tall wood lumber posts
- Power drill
- Wood dowel
Connect four 2-by-4 wood lumber pieces together, in a square formation, using nails and a hammer.
Attach a tall lumber post to one side of the square using nails and a hammer. Repeat the same installation on the opposite side of the square.
Connect four to six 2-by-4 wood lumber pieces from the square formation to one of the protruding posts, creating multiple triangle shapes. Repeat this installation for the opposite post. The triangles form a supportive structure for the posts.
Drill a hole into each post, about six inches below the top, with a power drill.
Drill a hole into another tall wood lumber post, positioned near the end of wood, with a power drill. The drilled hole should be far off center to create the catapult's fulcrum.
Line up the lumber post's drilled hole with the holes on the installed posts. Insert a wood dowel through the installed posts' holes and the loose lumber post, creating a pivot point.
Attach a heavy weight, such as stacked weightlifting plates, to the short end of the post hanging between the protruding posts, using glue or straps. Make sure the weight is significantly greater than the intended pumpkin for throwing.
Connect a bucket on the opposite end of the hanging wood post using nails and a hammer. Verify that the bucket will fit the intended pumpkin.
Test the catapult by adding the pumpkin to the bucket. Push the weighted side upward and allow it to release downward, effectively tossing the pumpkin.
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