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Paddy adds artillery to Shed arsenal!

Early May 2024 saw the first test shots from Wendover Shed member Paddy McGuire's trebuchet. This is a smaller version of a medieval siege weapon that hurled huge rocks against walled fortifications. In Paddy's case, he is launching more modest bags of sand that burst on impact with the ground, hopefully harmlessly!

Lester Bailey's video sequence of the test shots.

Paddy has been building his trebuchet at the Shed over the past few weeks. "I've always wanted one, and this was a good opportunity to do it," he said. He's made it mainly from offcuts of wood, with a few metal parts, plus a selection of bricks. Although much smaller than the medieval originals, it's heavy enough to need four Shedders to lift it and move it into position.

This is a counterweight trebuchet, where the basket containing the bricks provides the weight that gives leverage, and so launching power, to the other end of the long swing arm, to which is attached a sling that throws the sandbags. In operation the arm is pulled down to ground level and held in place by a peg attached to a string, which acts as the stop and the trigger. The projectile-to-be is loaded into the sling, which is attached to the end of the arm. To fire the trebuchet, the peg is pulled out, allowing the basket of bricks to fall under gravity, and swinging the long arm round and up. At the top of the arc, one of the sling's strings detaches and the projectile flies up and forward at the target.

Paddy with his trebuchet.

That's the theory, anyway. Paddy got most of the measurements and instructions from the internet, including the maths for the correct weights and the length of arm and sling and the position of the pivot. A bit of trial and error was still needed, but on the third attempt an impressive throw was managed, right across the field outside the shed. Shedders had prudently parked their cars well away from the target area!


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