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Archive for August 19th, 2008

Mass Time Velocity Squared Plus Beer Equals “Oops”

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

What would you do if you found twelve pieces of twelve foot long steel I-Beam sitting next to a metal recycle bin? Me, I’m interested in the late feudal eras of Northern Europe so I did the only thing I could think of. I built a trebuchet.

For those of you who do not know what a trebuchet is, it is a fourteen foot tall counter-levered catapult capable if flinging large object tremendous distances with great accuracy.

In other words, it’s fun!

So there I was, I-Beams and a plan. But how to do this? Well our local vehicle maintenance shop just happens to have not only a welding machine, but an acetylene torch as well. It took me two weeks of leave and a lot of secrecy, but what I emerged with was a twelve foot tall 16,400 pound steel and lead contraption that I was proud of. I even attached a tow hitch and wheels to make it transportable.

My first day back to work I towed it along. During my lunch break I wanted to test fire it, but had no ammunition to fire. Again providence provided and I found a fridge full of nearly expired beer. So I grabbed a six pack, unhitched and set up the trebuchet and had it loaded and ready when one of my co-workers returned from lunch.

He saw me with a rope in hand, a full unbroken six pack upon the launch platform and a huge grin on my face. Unfortunately he was just a hair slow in telling me not to pull the rope.


The six-pack launched about two-hundred feet into the air and sailed completely over the parade grounds I was aiming at. About mid-flight the plastic rings gave out and I suddenly had a cluster shot instead of a single projectile. As it flew I realized my mistake as the beer also flew over the parking lot on the far side of the parade ground and began to pelt the side of the base headquarters. If you’ve never seen an entire six-pack explode in rapid succession I’d recommend using this particular method.

Just don’t hit the side of the headquarters building.

Especially right out side of the base commander’s window.

And doubly especially with the base commander’s own beer.