A History of the Onager in Pictures - Page 2
The first full scale Onager was built into the back of a full-sized Chevy Blazer
I had gone through quite a few arms to find one that didn't break or bend - I settled on a tapered 6x6 pine board about 7 feet long.
The sling was made from a reinforced diaper - best thing I could find after experimenting with denim, nylon, and other cotton material.
A come-a-long was used to cock the arm back. The release mechanism was very sophisticated - I used my trusty pocket knife to cut the rope holding the arm back!
The First Competition
I competed with this in Deep Creek,MD - getting 2nd place with a toss of 147 feet, 2 weeks later in Delaware we threw 246 ft, landing a 4th place finish. The year was 1995.
The First of Many Upgrades
The next year I bought a used home made trailer and mounted the Onager on it. I also made a new arm-catch mechanism, and I made the frame a bit wider. I found that I needed to use a winch to cock the arm back.
I made my own release mechanism based on a design which is a cross between a release shown in Ralph Payne Gallwey's "The Book of the Crossbow" and a gate latch. It worked just fine. The sling was made out of thick leather and attached with nylon rope.
Here we are at Punkin Chunkin 1996. This time we finished third with a respectable chunk of 398 feet.
In 1997 I turned the trailer around so the tongue of the trailer is no longer in our way. I also made the torsion spring longer by adding "extensions" on each side of the frame. The winch was mounted out to one side of the machine instead of underneath the arm - much safer. Of course you will also notice the custom made wheel covers - a nice touch.
We began to experiment with a better way to twist the torsion spring - we used a long I-beam, nicknamed "the Pursuader Bar" to give us greater leverage. These changes resulted in a 2nd place finish and a distance of 581 feet.
Back to Previous Page Go to the Next Page