Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mid May 2008

Yankee Siege Goes Commercial!

Yankee Siege is now for hire.
We are available for rent for a day or we can travel to your site.

We have recently been contacted by Medieval Fantasies Company to shoot a commercial for a company that sells electronic monitors for power companies.

The shoot was in early April. Weather was cold and rainy the first day with lots of mud. The following day was bright and sunny but windy. Crushed gravel and stone had to be hauled in to control the mud. We threw 44 pound monitors which smashed into the field about 500 feet down range. We also crushed monitors with our ten thousand pound steel mace ball dropped about 20 feet high from a crane. And, did I mention, we also hit our crane (twice) with a 35 pound rock which spit out backwards from the treb and another 35 pound rock that went straight up and came down directly on the roof of the 1950 NorthWest model six crane, almost creating a new skylight! Oh well, I guess we need more practice in throwing objects other than pumpkins.

We ended up, removing 5000 pounds from the counter weight, and finally had the machine tuned to throw 40 pound objects. The second day went very well, with approximately 20 shots, with no mishaps, and very predictable throws.

The good thing about the shoot, is that it forced us to set up the machine early in the season, instead of waiting until September. The only thing bad about setting up early is the ice and mud. Ice had to be melted off the steel with a blow torch to get parts to mate. We can usually assemble the machine in four hours with a crew of six. It took us three times as long because we had to fight the weather.

We also had trouble getting the old NorthWest crane going (it hadn't been started in over a year). Something internal had froze (ice or rust) and the fuel pump wasn't working. Thanks to Chuck and Ken (two master mechanics) they finally were able to fire up the 1950 six cylinder Murphy diesel engine and get the job done.

The Museum of Science will be visiting our test site on June 30. The museum has a traveling group of teachers that visits sites of interest. They are planing a treb exhibit at the museum. They would like to learn more about trebs and to see a life-sized treb in action. I guess I will have to "bone up" on my physics!

Finally technical drawings of the new steel/carbon fiber throwing arm are completed. Nim-Cor of Nashua has fabbed the nine foot carbon fiber extension. End fittings (aluminum) will have to be fabbed and glued on with epoxy.

Copies of the final drawings of the new arm will be posted next month. These are fairly crude drawings (I'm not an engineer). I hope everyone can decipher them. I will scan them in so that everyone may see exactly what Yankee Siege is doing. And yes, these are the real drawings! We don't believe in playing poker. Yankee Siege believes in total transparency. We believe in sharing knowledge, information and insights. And yes, it's o.k. to criticize the design.

Next month I will be posting a more technical paper on the design process and the rationale for the new throwing arm.

P.S. Hope to see all the Pumkin Chunkin teams in Leesburg, Virginia, on June 7 for the grand premiere of Costa Mantis', "Flying Pumpkins the Movie".

Steve Seigars, YS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i thought that you might be interested in placeing a link to the pumpkin flying movie.

Since 1986 on the first weekend after Halloween, men and women, girls and boys have flocked to a field in Sussex County, Delaware to launch pumpkins in a friendly competition that has become a legend around the world.

FLYING PUMPKINS, THE LEGEND OF PUNKIN CHUNKIN is the feature documentary from director Costa Mantis that lives with 20 teams for one year as they build their dream machines for the annual “chunk.” Meet the folks who started it all and the varied and passionate people of all ages, shapes and sizes who follow in their footsteps to make the pumpkin pilgrimage every November.

Meet Dr. Steve Siegars. He's a dentist from New Hampshire. With a lot of help from family and friends, he has built Yankee Siege, a trebuchet of welded scrap steel that stands over six stories tall. Meet Bruce Bradford. He's an ironworker from Michigan. He and his family and friends have built an air cannon with a barrel 150' long and holds the world distance record with a throw of over 4,400'. Meet the town councilman, the naturalist and the microbiologist from New Jersey who built a ferocious catapult. Meet BJ and Stephanie, an all womens team from Delaware. Meet the Orthodox high schoolers from the Bronx. Meet the Boy Scouts, the software engineers, the IT guys, the shrink, the little girls from Vermont – and all the good old boys and girls who started it all.

If you're looking for fun, look no further. If you like to laugh, you've come to the right place. If you didn't think pumpkins could fly, you need to think again. Feeling down? Concerned about the economy? Frustrated with the war? Confused about the election? You might just need to spice up your day with a shot of some good old-fashioned down-home punkin pie. With any luck, you might even get a new attitude. Good luck. Just watch out for FLYING PUMPKINS!

Running time: 88 minutes
Format: HDV
Shot on location: Mulitple Canon XH-A1's; PhantomHD; 1080i/24F
Writer/Producer/Director: Costa Mantis