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Almost there!!

Jack-O-Launch was another successful failure-it was a success in that we proved that we could set Inertia II up in the field, with no equipment at hand; and we were able to throw a pumpkin almost 1300 ft.-IN FIRST GEAR! It was a failure in that the final throw twisted our Toyota truck drive axle like a pretzel. With a little time left, we have repaired the axle, but have no time to set it up and test it. We are too busy mating the parts together to transform the gargantuous machine into its own self-made trailer. Transformers have nothing on Inertia II. Watch this!!! It is obvious that the release point of the pumpkin is critical and needs far more advancement than the previous electrical design allowed. Again this will be solved either before the trip or on the field in Delaware.

Inertia II has proven herself worthy and we look forward to easing her into full power on the battlefield in Delaware!!

3rd Time is the Charm!!

Holy cow!!! Inertia II rocks!! On a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, Greg took Inertia II and her 3rd arm for a test spin and they, repeat they, were a raving success! Inertia II spun EXACTLY as she was intended to do. After 2 arm redesigns, we built a 3rd arm using smaller diameter steel pipe and adjusted the total arm weight to the specs of the aluminum arm. This arm is sleek, simple, strong and very graceful. Greg repeatedly tested the arm at increasing speeds, testing the brake. All went VERY well. We then tested the throwing sling, using paper filled with 10lbs. of sand. At idle speed, in 1st gear, it went approximately 250 ft! Think how far it will go at full speed! This was an overwhelmingly successful day, considering all the character building setbacks we have worked through in the last couple of months. The only "downside" was the fact that Greg kinda freaked out when the arm was in 2nd gear and whizzing by his face so fast with that distinctive helicopter sound. We are going to add a security cage and expanded metal shield for him before we crank it up to 5th gear. However, after the successful test, we have no doubt Inertia II will perform perfectly!

Film crew visits again and witnesses bitchin' crash!

With the new design arm in place, Inertia II was slowly raised into place. The new lightweight arm made managing the lift much easier, and the new A-frame design made it much safer. The new arm looked good, and definitely cut through the wind. It had great inline stability and was very structurally sound. Several factors played in the arm coming off. High cross winds, the yellow wind break at the tip of the arm was not perfectly straight, which made gave it a rudder effect, pushing it to the side. Also, the lateral guide wire came loose, but did not break, hinting that it was not correctly tightened. In the video, you can clearly see the lateral wire giving way first, which caused the arm to move to the side, which was clearly not designed to do. We are going back to an all steel arm, smaller tube diameter, simpler design, strengthened by guide wires. The really best part of the day, was the film shoot of Greg for the promos and commercials for the National competition in Delaware. Greg looked awesome and, in my humble opinion, is THE new face of Punkin Chunkin!! We still hope to make Jack O'Launch in Aurora on October 10th. And Delaware, of course we will be there! We will not quit! Thomas Edison tried a thousand ways NOT to make a light bulb. Hopefully we can make a pumpkin launcher in 3 tries. Keep watching the Science Channels for our commercials. TeamTMC rocks!!

New Design Changes

After careful consideration of the Labor Day mishaps, we have come to the conclusion that there is too much mass in the arms, even with the bearings problem fixed and the differential problem fixed I don't think the little motor is enough to move the arm in the time allowed. Also standing it up was a much too difficult task. So we have replaced the 600lb+ throwing arm with a 150lb throwing arm made out of aluminum. The other arm has been cut to 1/3rd the length to become the counter weight for the new arm. Cables were added for strength. The other arm will be used as a fulcrum point to raise the lifting angles for easier raising of the towers. The loss of inertial energy due to the loss of mass from the arms is unfortunate, but arm speed is the key to throwing a mile. We look forward to our next testing day this Saturday.

Labor Day Test

We finally got Inertia II standing up and spinning.  Wow, is this thing big!  While there is still some room for improvement and design modification, it was a super spin!  Inertia II soars over the TMC building and commands the skyline.  We are going to make some major changes to the arm design in order to reduce the weight of the arms and thereby greatly increase the arm speed and throwing distance capabilities.  While taking the machine down, we lost control of the guidelines and she fell over, impaling one of the arms into the asphalt!  You can see this on the video link for the Labor Day test.  The fact that there was only very minor damage to the machine is a testament to Greg's design and the overall strength of the structure.  We are looking forward to the City of Aurora's Jack O'Launch competition the second weekend of October.  Hopefully we have completed the design changes and will be ready to introduce Inertia II to the world!!