This is Vera. She is my very favorite trebuchet. She stands about 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide, and can hurl a marshmallow about 70 yards.
Sara was my first catapult, and she introduced me to a whole new world. I’ll always be grateful for that! Vera, however, is all mine. I designed her from the ground up, researching various designs online, and using mostly scrap I had laying around. I used a simple gate latch for her trigger, and short lengths of pipe for the axles for both the main pivot and the counterweight basket. The trough at the bottom can pivot to fine-tune the aim, but so far that hasn’t had a noticable effect on her accuracy. Like most of the things I make, she’s a work in progress. I just did a little bit of facing work on her basket to make her look a more period and to reinforce the corners. I’d like to put some wooden wheels on, as I’ve read that could add about 30% to her throwing range. Maybe later I’ll find a good dark stain that will make all her parts look a bit more uniform and help her last longer. Like Sara, Vera also has a home at the renfest, teaching kids about medieval science and plaguing nearby shops and performers with soft, sugary hail.
Next, I think I need a balista, and maybe a battering ram.
This is Sara. Sara is my Roman Onager style torsion powered catapult. She’s about 5 feet long, 2 1/2 feet wide, has a 5 foot throwing arm and can hurl a marshmallow about 30 yards.
Sara was originally a yard sale find, a high school science project that no longer had a purpose in her old home. She came to me indirectly, needing some love and attention. While technically functional, I was able to make some improvements on the winching ratchet gear and the firing trigger, and gave her a new life working with me at the renfaire shooting marshmallows at kids. She loved it, and they loved her.
Sadly, Sara’s original body had some structural defects, and ultimately wasn’t up to the stress of 3 shows a day on the weekends. So I rebuilt her. I salvaged most of the metal parts, but used all new wood and redesigned her to be a bit tougher and a bit more historically accurate. (not 100%, of course… just more so than she was) And now she’s a true performer once again, teaching kids about physics and medieval warfare, and just how downright cool it is to use science to pelt unsuspecting passers-by with jet-puffed confection!
You never forget your first seige engine. Though I’ve since built Vera the Trebuchet, I always make time for Sara.
Sometimes, the problem solving parts of my brain just don’t turn off. There was a member of my RenFaire group who was born with only one leg, yet excelled at swordfighting (and all the history that went with it). To help facilitate his character, I tried to make him a set of historically accurate (but still fully functional) crutches. He liked them so much, he tried to take them fence hopping… which was not a level of abuse I had prepared them for, sadly. Still, a fun challenge!
Ask me why I hate Daylight Savings Time. Ask anybody who’s ever made a sundial, actually. This is one I constructed for my RenFaire group, the Yeomen BodyGuard, at the Kansas City Renaissance Faire. I designed it with the idea of having it be both a town clock, and a billboard for our showtimes (with movable yellow pegs to indicate when our next show was) Explaining the “Equation of Time” to the people who glanced at it for 5 seconds and said “heh. it’s wrong” ended up being more frustrating than it was worth