Students test 'weapons' in mock attack

Published 4:00pm 21 October 2021

Students test 'weapons' in mock attack
Words by Nick Crockford

USC Moreton Bay Mechanical Design students are about to engage in mock medieval warfare – armed with little more than their wits and lightweight wood – in a quest for top assessment marks.

The Sir Robin and the Knights of the Round Catapult Competition tomorrow (October 22) challenges the students to build a catapult with balsa wood, glue, string and other low-cost materials.

The catapults must throw ‘rocks’ (table-tennis balls) over a 600mm-high wall at targets placed at varying distances. But they must do it without explosives, combustible fuels or pressurised fluids.

Battle plan

Teams will be scored on how their machine performs in battle and on its design, weight, safety, maximum range, quality of construction and ease of operation.

Course Co-ordinator Associate Professor Selvan Pather said the students had come up with some innovative designs so far but were battling to achieve the accuracy needed to score maximum points.

Dr Pather said the biggest challenge was to be able to adjust the catapult to fire varying distances and get consistent results.

Public welcome

Members of the public are welcome to watch the catapults in action at The Rise at USC Moreton Bay from 12.30-1.15pm.

The competition will be followed by a display of students’ work including mechanical automata (non-motorised machines), polyhedral shapes and perspective drawings of buildings.

Mechanical Design is offered as part of USC’s Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) program at the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay campuses.

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