A History of the Onager in Pictures - Page 3
Success at Last!
1998 was a very good year. I began to experiment with a pedaling system to crank the winch, which in turn pulled the arm back to cock it. At first I used a bicycle frame from a ten-speed. Here are someplans of the Onager for 1998. I also had a new trailer custom made for the Onager - good thing because we needed it for this long trip. Here we are at the Morton Illinois competition - we earned our first 1st place finish with a throw of 558 feet.
I developed a new and improved system to twist the torsion bundle, making better use of the increased leverage provided by the "Pursuader bar".
At the competition in Raleigh, NC we took first place again with a hurl of 521 feet. By this time I had trashed the ten-speed frame and designed a recumbent style frame for the pedaling system. This worked much better.
We had a blast at Punkin Chunkin 1998 in Delaware. The winch pedaling system was working well, and we cranked out a bunch of shots at a car parked in the firing range as a target. I kept lengthening the sling to get more distance, so we had to dig a hole to allow for it. We again took 2nd place with a toss of 794 feet.
Onager 1999. All new frame - much bigger and stronger. A new arm too - made of tapered ash - very strong. The winch pedaling system was upgraded with a flywheel making it much easier to pedal. I devised a new arm catch mechanism too - using auto springs to absorb the shock of the arm being stopped after it releases the projectile. The axle and wheels were upgraded on the trailer as the weight of the Onager with the new frame grew to 3,500 lbs! With all these changes resulting in increased power we also encountered more problems. The biggest problem was that the sling kept breaking. We finished 3rd in Busti, NY with a throw of 930 feet, but took third in Raleigh with a toss of 690 feet.
Just as devastating at Raleigh was a misfire that put a pumpkin through the windshield of my new Chevy Silverado - Ugh!
At the Delaware contest a new thicker leather sling broke, so we had to be resourceful in the field and ended up using a sling made out of nylon webbing. This enabled us to place 2nd with a chunk of 1,119 feet. Though pleased with this finish, we also were left with a sense that we had not reached our potential, and that we could throw much farther. Oh well, there's always next year!
Here are some scenes of our preparation for the 2001 Punkin Chunkin season.
Bob and Paul crank down the Onager for some test firing at Frank's Farm near Durham. You can see Pumpkin Slayer and Punkin-Air in the background.
A closer look at Onager 2001. Since this picture was taken, we have also replaced the rope bundle with white Polyester rope - much stronger than the yellow Polypropylene we've been using.
One of the biggest innovations is a motor mounted on the flywheel shaft - used for practice shooting only - we're staying in the Human Powered Division for competitions.
Here is the new arm - re-engineered for more strength while keeping weight down. After our breakage in the Delaware contest in 2000, we are in the process of building another one - as a spare!
Also new for 2001 - a new sling. This was custom built by a man we affectionately refer to as "the Sling-Meister" - an Amish guy in Ohio. This sling has been working beautifully!
Onager in action - Andy pulls the release - it's really not as hard as he makes it look!
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