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A Day in the Life > Retro Ballistics Road Trip (First Annual!!!!!)

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message 1: by John (last edited May 03, 2008 10:33PM) (new)

John (jilsao) To much jumping back and forth between threads. So, show of hands, who's up for riding motorcycles up the west coast to help Nick build a trebuchet in Frickkin' Alaska!

Also, who all here rides, and what bikes?

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I will be talking to the misses in a little bit, and get confirmation for the whole project. I think I will push for a week just in case, you never know, once we have successfully launched one car we may not be able to stop.

message 3: by John (last edited May 03, 2008 10:54PM) (new)

John (jilsao) Absolutly need a week! Speaking for myself, I'm self suficient on a bike, so no worries.

I am however thinking that if I get a whole crew together (VickiJean, Varmint, others...) It may be a bit late to plan it for this summer, should probably shoot for June '09. But who knows? We may be able to get some bikes at your driveway by August of this year...;-D

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
August would be a bit late in the year (for Alaska)... '09 would be good; plenty of time to make a few prototypes, and Charissa can fly up or drive up and take the ferry.

message 5: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Or we could talk her into a side car... That would need to be arranged, one more thing that would take some time...

'09 sounds good, I could certainly do that. I did the Alaska run in '94, '96', and '98. Haven't been up since. I guess I could also use the time to re-acclimate my ass to trips of that magnitude...

message 6: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
I wonder if a street bike would be any easier on my back. Last time I rode on a bike it was on a really bumpy road on a Honda 150, pretty small bike.

Of course, I could just follow ya'll in my Matrix... carry gear and blast some tunes.

August is a good month for road trips. I take a road trip up the west coast every august, me and my dog. sleep in rest stops and camp grounds. Fucking love the oregon coast in August.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I didn't know you had a dog. What kind.

message 8: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Hell, a BMW R1100 is a Faaaaar cry better than a honda 150, I'm sure Varmint will atest to this...

However, if it's to be '09, I'll probably try to roll the team's track bus-sleeps eight, holds four bikes, you'd be welcome to ride with our captain...I'll have to see what part of the country the cafe boys are in that time next summer...

message 9: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
I have a Golden Retriever, his name is Chester.

Mmmmm... BMW....

message 10: by John (new)

John (jilsao) OK, last shot before I call it a night.
How much counter weight would be required and how long a fulcrum to heave a 3000 pound box truck? I'll have to do some math, be ready to check my work Nick. 'Night all.

message 11: by Lori (new)

Lori Um, why does Nick want to build a seige engine? Is he invading Canada?

message 12: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
shhhh... don't tell the Cannnuks! They'll never see him coming!

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
Haven't you ever just wanted to have something cool, Lori? Well I personally think a trebuchet IS pretty fucking kewl. And so will my Neighbor when a 3000 lb. Toyota is sitting in his bedroom.

message 14: by Servius Heiner (last edited May 04, 2008 02:24AM) (new)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
After some brief touching up, ( ) I think the biggest problem will be scaling up the Sling to withstand the tension of 3000 lb. None the less I think about 22ooo lb. should give us enough force for a successful launch. Again, what I am worried about is the whip or arm snapping. I don't think a back firing trebuchet would be a good thing.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I think I am actually going to build a series of them working my way up to the Big Bertha. Big Bertha can be the queen of next summer.

message 16: by Servius Heiner (last edited May 04, 2008 02:05AM) (new)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
Ok, I think I messed something up... That doesn't seems like an awful lot of counter balance, Time to re-work.

message 17: by Servius Heiner (last edited May 04, 2008 02:23AM) (new)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
Trebuchets don't "scale up" like I knew it wouldn’t, they should damn it.
Parameters (weight of the counterweight, arm lengths, sling lengths, mass of projectile, I think I now have a project of math all night for the rest of my work week... The math is not trivial for this system several coupled differential equations. I am so out of practice. All well, I have a year of trial and error right; let’s just hope I don’t kill my self messing about with this childish dream of smashing box trucks.

About the only thing I think I got right on my initial calculations was that the height of the “tower” would need to be around 50 feet. But after crunching the numbers I think I was a little too ambitious. We would need a counter weight closer to 27800lb to launch 3000 lb 300 meters. I don’t think I need to point out that, this is a lot of weight flying around on a structure built by armatures… Truth be told I think Flinging a projectile with a mass off 1000lb might be beyond my capabilities. Fear not I am not giving in, just seriously re-thinking my strategy. As I said, I am going to start this summer on smaller more manageable scale and see where I end up.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod : Ok after further research and some more math, I now know that throwing the Bx van is beyond my capabilities, even by next summer. Heavy heart. So I think scaling back our projectiles to 300 lb we should be able to achieve a couple hundred meters no problem. The trick is maintaining structure integrity, and maintaining 600 fps for at lest 2 seconds after launch. This will be a lot harder then it sounds.

Found this in a discussion group about the physics of trebuchets:

I think it would be most beneficial for unmanned operations to use the ballista idea, or a giant electromagnetic crossbow. If we built a 20km track that could accelerate a shuttle at say 5G's, we are looking ab mach 4.1 at the end of the track. 40km track and we get mach 5.8. Even if it is only 17% of earth's escape velocity, it is a dramatic improvement over what we are looking at now.

Just out of curiosity's sake, what would happen if we could accelerate that load at 8G's? The 20km track would hit mach 5.1, and the 40km track would hit mach 7.5. Now we are looking at 23% of escape velocity, and if we had the track at an angle, we could be looking at even more. 40 miles, or 63.3km, would hit mach 9.4, or 29% of escape velocity. This is all assuming the vehicle has no propulsion of its own. If we give the vehicle it's own propulsion, we might not even need to get it going that fast. Just fast enough so that it can get out of the atmosphere under it's own power.

I just don't think a trebuchet is the right idea for a job like this. First off, getting the energy direction correct would be quite difficult. Second, where the heck are you going to find a counterweight big enough to hurl a 50-ton (if not more) vehicle into space?? The record I've seen for trebuchets is a 50,000 lb. counterweight that launched an old Buick over a quarter of a mile. Unless you totally redesigned the trebuchet and gave it a much longer counterweight arm, you wouldn't be able to get what you need to launch this massive thing into space.

Not completely relevant but useful information.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I can't access youtube from my work computer. I'll check it out when I get home... 4 days woot!

message 21: by Servius Heiner (last edited May 04, 2008 03:38AM) (new)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I have discovered this evening that trebuchets, are not vary practical for ridding one self of an old car or pesky neighbor. The size of the equipment is just too large in relation to the size of the projectile. What did I expect from technology from 400 B.C.? I am still going to build many of them, and have some real plans in place for "Big Bertha" in the summer of ’09.

I will start small and work my way up to a size that can safely launch no less then a 300lb object at lest 300 meters. This should be manageable. Large, scary looking to my neighbors, and really fun to play with.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I will close my back to back postings with this. My brain is completely fried now, after 3 intensive hours being submerged in physics and math that I have not seriously used in years. I think I pulled something, I don’t feel right. I need to go back to work, and do some mindless menial task for a couple of days. Remind me on wed, not to over do this again when I get home and can unleash my full intellect and resources against this problem of physics.

Johnny I will require your feedback from time to time, so you may want to conduct some small scale building of your own… this project has a lot of potential of inflicting serious injury should any mistake/accident occur.

message 23: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony I'm road tripping in August, not sure where, either DC, South Dakota, or Canada, believe it or not. I'm fighting for the Mountie side. Bring it on.

message 24: by John (last edited May 04, 2008 08:27AM) (new)

John (jilsao) Steve, come on over...We'll figure out the '09 dates, and I could probably spare a bike if you wanted to save on shipping. How bout a '78 Triumph?

Nick, I'm tracking a lot of material this weekend, and getting ready for our Beltane festival next weekend, but I'll join you on math and prototypes soon. As far as controlled dangerous activities...Have you taken a good look at my pic? Spinning poi is all about risk assessment.

Anthony, DCs a frickin hole, although the smithsonian makes it worth the trip. On a bike I'd say South Dakota and Canada are about a tie, but it depends on where in Canada...By car, well, I try not to think about such things, so just throw some burritos out the window to Varmint, Steve, VickiJean and I as we pass you... We'll need our sustenance ;-)

message 25: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
when my daughter was five she used to say to me that when she turned sixteen she wanted us to both get tattooed (I already did), get our belly buttons pierced, get motorcycles and learn how to ride them together. Ha ha ha ha! Funny little bean, wasn't she? She just turned sixteen this week. It would be so funny to have a pack of boys on bikes roar into our town to spirit me away for a ride up the coast... (to build a trebuchet no less)... the world works in mysterious ways...

message 26: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Charissa and Steve,
We shall see, we shall see...;-P

message 27: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Don't you's leave me out! But, I wanna be in the car, no bikes. I'm a helluva co-pilot by the way...

message 28: by John (new)

John (jilsao) No bikes? Aww come on...Now you hurtin' feelin's...

Fair enough though, we'll give ya a head start;-)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I think a more fitting title to this thread would be retro ballisitcs... just a thought...

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
After working differential equations for most of the night I think A good manageable starting point for me will be a 16’’ lever with a 5’’ pivot point, and a 11.5’’ sling length. I think a series of 10’’X6” beams should be able to withstand a 750lb counter weight… but to be on the safe side I will start at 450 and work my way up to 500. Anything over 500 with the plans I have now would (in my opinion) tear the trebuchet apart. The ammo will start at 15lb. I know it is a far cry from 3000lb, but I need to start somewhere.

As best I can tell this is the most efficient I can make it on crunching numbers alone. So I will build this at minimal cost and see what happens.

Now does anyone know where I can get bowling balls cheap, and in bulk?

message 31: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (lorenalilian) Where would the trip star/finish? I used to have an Indian 250 and at one point I had a Ninja 250 (I'm a little gal, so I have to stick to small bikes).

message 32: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Sorry Johnny, I don't do bikes. You know that bit where you turn a bend and you lean in toward the pavement? Well, I REFUSE to do that...I want to lean AWAY from the pavement, and nothing you say is going to persuade me otherwise. So, it's best not to have me on a bike...ever!

message 33: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (lorenalilian) Amelia, a drive with the top down and a good weather is just as good!

message 34: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Well, if Steve's going to have a car...why can't I go in that? Steve? That Morgan whatchamacallit looked pretty fast! I could be in charge of navigation, music and refreshments! :)

message 35: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Ummm, not a lot of space in the boot of the Morgan Whatchamacallit I don't think. It's not really a "supply" type vehicle.

message 36: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
Amy, I think you and me together in a car on a road trip would be stellar... dangerous maybe.... but stellar. Thelma? Where'd you put the gun, baby?

message 37: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Okay, but after I do Brad Pitt...lets NOT drive off a cliff, alright?

My brother wouldn't let me drive across country without a gun I don't think...cops are a little paranoid!

message 38: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
oh alright... no cliffs. We'll just have to live and continue to torment the boys all the way to Alaska.

I don't have a brother and my mommy told me not to play with guns. But I never listen to her anyway.

message 39: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) I don't want to drive...I hate to drive!

So, if there is no need for music, does that mean I have to ride in the boot?

message 40: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Mmmmm, Black is better!

message 41: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Hmmm, where to begin...Lorena, if Steve comes across the pond, the trip will begin officially in Europe, and end in Alaska where we will fling the largest projectiles possible from anchient field artillery at Nicks neighbors house. Hopefully, enough cool heads will join us on the trip to talk us into a safer target.

As far as route goes, assuming Steve comes out, he could meet Spartacus on the east coast then me in the midwest (KC, St. Louis, Memphis etc his choice). Then I spank his Aero8 all the way to California (just talkin' trash Steve...;-) where we meet up with Varmint and Charissa. From there it's up to the great Northwest where we pick up VickiJean in Washington and Amelia in Oregon, before proceeding through Canada (taking no prisoners...)and on into Alaska to meet one of my new favorite people Nick (no one else has ever let me test home built primitive weapons at their homes...Yay nick!)

At any point along the way a short canyon run could be arranged, if say Vicki Jean or Varmint can't make Alaska (work,family, what have you) we could do a town for a day or so on the way just to put rubber on road and names with faces. Oh, I seem to remember a Donna that was interested, but I don't remember what thread that was in...

OK, Lorena's question covered (I hope).

Nick, I'm looking into an alternative fulcrum design from some guys in Australia that while giving a lower launch speed (and therefore less range) would heave a heavier projectile with a shorter arm and slightly less counter weight. I'm also thinking torsion ballista (if I get a design working it could roll up in my trailer behind the chase truck) As far as bowling balls go, a cheaper and more ajustable (weight-wise) alternative could be filling round molds (fish bowl?) with redimix concrete. I'm letting a few cure now, I'll let you know what they weigh for a givin size, and bear in mind that a void could be left in them, or lead shot,
to change the weight.

Amelia, fine fine, ride with Charissa or Steve, no offense taken, bikes aren't for everyone... By any mode of travel the trip should be fun.

Alright, now for my question. Obviously Nick and I are fairly serious about really doing this. Who else is? I have no problem putting together a support team and routing. Obviously it would be less of a big deal for some than for others. Notably Nick, who has to explain the presence of several over-caffinated but well-read lunatics on his doorstep, and Steve, who's participation would involve a passport.

I guess first off, Nick, are you really cool with a bunch of friends from the internet rolling up to your place? If so, get me coordinates and what you think would be an appropriate window date-wise (summer '09) and I'll start pushing up the plans to convert my diesel to run on used fry grease so we have an economical support truck/trailer.

Varmint, Vicki Jean, Spartacus? You guys got your "Iron-Butt"badges yet? How many miles a day do you like to average?
On shorter one or two day trips I like 350, but long journey with new people it should probably be scaled down some, maybe 200, or 250.

Lorena, if you want to hang for the trip, or some part thereof, do you need a more highway freindly (yet still compact) scoot? I could see about loaning you something in a KLR or a MZ Baghira. They can both be set fairly low and are pretty light.

Amelia, if Charissa pulls up in front of your place with a bunch of crazed bikers, are you gonna load up the I-Pod and climb in?

I only have one answer to a question like:
"Wanna go to Alaska and fling an early model compact from a homemade seige engine?"

That answer is:"Dude...TOTALLY!"

I'm getting to the point where it would take serious prescription drugs to make me not do something like this. Nick might have started all this semi-kidding, but I have a nasty habit of rolling with this kind of idea.

For those of you who think, "They aren't serious, no one is really gonna go to frickin' Alaska..."
I only say this: Fall of 2009, at work, a coworker asks what you did over the summer. Can you honestly say you don't want to look him/her in the eye and say, "I rode hundreds of miles with a bunch of lunatics from all over the western hemisphere to lay seige to some guys neighbor in the frickin tundra using homemade artillery!"

For those of you who share my passion for putting way to much effort into doing ridiculous things in far away places with groups of total strangers, welcome aboard!

Almost forgot, I understand why some folks don't want address and such on the internet, can't be to carefull. If you are in, give a shout out and a land mark you would meet at rather than your house. Hell for now the city you would meet us in would do.

As for me, I'm already thinking Axis Mundi annual siege road trip. Picture it: 2010, we roll up to Spartucus' place and lob home made cruise missles into NY Harbor!
OK, maybe not...

I really need to be stopped...

message 42: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Nick, I compromised on the new title...;-)

Talk at y'all tommorow.

message 43: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
pssst... Johnny... Spartacus IS Donna... you missed a few convo threads today... it's been... a little confusing... to say the least.

and seeing as I've done way crazier shit in my life, but not lately, I'm totally in.

message 44: by John (last edited May 05, 2008 05:33PM) (new)

John (jilsao) Ooops, sorry Donna, I'm kinda rushed today. And with my sporadic web presence will probably miss things frequently. I'll make it up to you.
Buy you a beer in Oregon,
or just promise not to lob cruise missles into the harbor from anywhere near your house. Your choice...;-)

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I will admit my wife has been a little less enthusiastic about this then myself… However, once we have a solid head count I will be able to better play my case. Worst case scenario, we have to take another road trip to a near by public land for a massive base camp site with a couple power generators for all the equipment, power tools and whatnot… I know of a good spot if we can keep it under (20) vehicles. There is even a river for clean water and river rock. Which can be used for both counterweights and projectiles? This clears up some of the logistics burdens. The counter weight will be a massive thorn in the side if it needs to be moved all the time.

I am totally committed to this project, and look forward to seeing witty bastards in Alaska… I am a little worried, I am not sure how the universe is going to respond to so much mental capacity in this region of the planet… this is a simple place, with blue tarps and duct tape used for structure repairs. :D

message 46: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Johnny, if Char pulled up in front of my place with whoever she liked...I'd hop in, no doubt! Let the games begin!

Duct tape is a fabulous thing Nick...

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
Yes I know duct tape is fabulous.. just not for home structure re-pair.

message 48: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (lorenalilian) Duct tape, hmmm, ... anyway back to the trip, I doubt that I can drive from Suwanee, GA all the way to Alaska (that would be a little overwhelming, even for me LOL), I will have to flight somewhere and meet up with you guys. I could rent a car/bike and then go from there.

I guess once you guys have all your stops figured out I will make further arrengements (sp?). I'm really excited, to meet you all, to go to Alaska, to build a contraption, its all sounds like a great adventure you guys!!!

message 49: by Varmint (new)

Varmint random comments...

an alaska trip is a vague ambition for 09. the last time i had three months off to properly explore. i imagine anything less to be sort of disappointing.

i expect i might just go as far as portland and take the ferry up. it was nice to go the distance the first time, just for bragging rights. but the al can is exhausting. and expensive. and dangerous, i've still got a dent in the oil cooler from where i hit the tire carcass.

i've heard good things about the ferry system. you run slowly up the inside passage. watching killer whales swim by. some save money by sleeping on the deck. sounds like a good plan.

having a support vehicle is an excellent idea. my parents take the RV to alaska every other year. i was able to crash on their couch at least once a week. so nice to get a real meal and a shower. living in a tent and cleaning salmon for food every day got kind of gross after a while.

the step dad also had a bunch of tools. my bike, a victory V92C held up fine, but it would have been real expensive and time consuming to have to go to a dealership if anything went wrong.

another essential is a guide book called milepost.

a motorcycle is really the way of the future, as gas prices will drive the RVs off the road. we can have the state to ourselves soon.

wifi is in all sorts of unexpected places.

a few other impressions, yes, alaska is a beautiful and majestic. the people are nice, everyone is armed. the women situation isn't as bad as they say. and the general quality is good. the wild life are huge and disturbingly unafraid of people.

other ambitions involve a side car rig, a gun, and a dog for company. and enough money to buy that house in hope.

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
For those of you that don't like camping.

I live on the out skirts of Fairbanks, there are a lot of bed and breakfast’s, the surrounding towns are Fox, Circle, North Pole, Nanana, Ester. Pending on the amount of people that commit to it, I may just go set up a base camp at 45.7 mile Chena Hot Springs RD (that is really close to the Chena hotsprings resort) it is a public lands location with water access and lots of space. But if your not into the camping thing then yeah, plenty of places to stay. I think I can fit 4 people at my place, before my wife starts getting upset ;)

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