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Punkin Chunkin Colorado (Jack-o-Launch)

Come See Us this Saturday, October 8th at Punkin Chunkin Colorado at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, we should be throwing a few times that day. It will be a fun event for all to come out and enjoy.

The Quest for 2011

It's been a long deserved break since Punkin Chunkin 2010! Although we didn't finish as well as we would have liked, we are very excited about this coming year's competition. The good news is the machine held together very well in November! No broken axles, bent arms or shredded slings. Unfortunately, we didn't have time before or during competition to dial in the complex variables involved in this "one-of-a-kind" machine. Right now, rather than spend every weekend now til November in the shop building, we will be on our motorcycle or in our RV enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains!! We do, however, need to construct a backstop to ensure our ability to test and practice on the field without the use of a dump truck protecting the crowd. We will also add a chain guard and precise RPM gauge.

We have been invited to a county fair in the pan handle of Oklahoma in mid September, and look forward to 3 days of fine tuning Inertia II's ability to show the world what we are capable of. All of our fans are welcome to come to this event. Details will follow regarding dates, times and location. Delaware is always a fun event to look forward to, but right now our focus is on Oklahoma. We will know then if the well-coveted mile is within our reach.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments that you may have. Until then, have a great summer and see you in the fall!!

Almost There!

After a month of testing in Merino, CO and at Jack-O-Launch in Aurora, we still have yet to get a toss worthy of a world record. Every time we set it up, we are successful failures. We have fixed it and broken it and fixed it... Our brand new throwing arm (hopefully the 4th time is the charm)is the strongest one yet and we think it will work great! With one week to go before leaving for Delaware, we still need to rebuild the gear reduction mounts and we are going from #50 single chain to #50 double chain. So that means, yes, we have to mount the extra sprocket on the tower and the transmission. Never fear, we have been in this position before (uh, like last year), and we are confident that we will prevail. The shredded sling has been replaced with a heavy duty, stronger one. After reviewing the footage from Jack-O-Launch, we determined our sling problem was really a problem with the arm tip that releases the sling for the throw. A new mechanical release has to be constructed. There is no time now for a set up and test. We just have to make sure that everything fits, pack it up and head for Delaware. The fine people at Tipper's (our engineering department) have scheduled a fund raiser for us. It is Friday, October 29, at 5:00p.m. 6050 W. 55th Place, Arvada. There will be drink specials, and door prizes, not to mention items available for raffle. PR2 will be parked out front and we invite all of our friends and supporters to sign the machine. Hope to see everyone there for a good time and to wish us good luck! We are still very confident that we can hit the mile! As with every good invention, there is a constant amount of tinkering and adjusting! Inertia II rules!!

Labor Day Systems Test

Labor Day was the 1st test for the new Inertia II system and the completely revamped Pumpkin Rover 2 (PR2). The awesome crew from Science Channel was there to film the whole thing! Have to say that their professionalism made the whole process almost painless! Amelia, Tim, Ryan and Chris rock!! If it wasn't for the extremely high winds (been there, did that last year) blowing a fertilizer/mulch mix all over us and everything, it would have been better. Wonder how dirty our faces will look on HD TV??

First, Inertia II will certainly be able to take on the competition this year. Hitting the mile should be well within our reach! We have fixed the hydraulic issues and PR2 easily moves up and down slopes and the boom and hoist are working super well. Previously, we still had to "help" PR2 up slopes, and the winch was not pulling well enough. Greg fixed that by tweaking the controls.

Second, the chain issue that was a problem on Monday has been worked out. Moving the chain tensioner closer to the lower gear on the gear speed reduction box drastically reduced the chain flap, due primarily to a new, unstretched chain. The choice between a pre-stretched chain and a new unstretched one was strictly financial. We got it worked out, by moving the tensioner and reinforcing the very heavy gear reduction mechanism to avoid the movement of the box to make the chain jump off the gears.

This year, we are going to use a much stronger guy wire support system for the towers, along with a spring system to both support the towers to reduce sway, and secondly allow the natural swing back motion that is inherent to the launching movement.

All in all, the tests went very well. We made some MAJOR changes to PR2 this year, the power system for Inertia. We changed out the engine to a Chevy 454, added an alternative power unit to run the auxiliary systems when not actually launching, a hydraulic system so we can use PR2 to move and setup the components, and many changes to the electrical system. Greg draws up the most complex electrical schematics!! PR2 is an extremely complex system, with electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic and mechanical systems all working together to throw a pumpkin a mile! Takes a lot of testing and tweaking. She works very well.

Looking forward, we are planning a field test around the 25th of September in a location TBD. If you are interesting in viewing this event, please email us at teamtmc@intertia2.com, with the subject line, "Test Launch Viewing" and we will get back to you. A little difficult to find an area to test a mile launch without taking out buildings, vehicles, and local livestock. Also, we need to consider how to do this without violating local air space!!

The local event, Jack-O-Launch in Aurora is coming up the weekend of October 9th. This will be the last test of field set-up and limited launch testing. Then it is time for our departure for Delaware on Halloween! Look out Delaware, Team TMC and Inertia II is coming your way!

On Track and Rolling

It's now mid-July and we are still on track for a late August test. We don't want to pull the same thing as last year, pulling 80 hr weeks up until the drive to Delaware. It's hot, really hot. It's tiring. It's a lot of work. Did I mention it's hot 101 degrees! Still, passion and faith persevere! PRII has almost all of the major components in place now. Hydraulics and electrical systems are soon to follow. There is, however, one complex mechanical manipulation yet to be accomplished. The stakes in the ground are going to be cool. No more of the "merry-go-round" installation. The boys complained too much about the "forehead to baseball bat" game type of maneuver to drive the stakes into the ground last year. This year the hydraulic motor that drives the wench will double as a power auger. Nice!

Contact us for information on when and where the test launch will occur. Please include "Test Launch Viewing" in the subject line of an email to teamtmc@inertia2.com for more information.

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