Take the Medieval Trebuchet Punkin Chunkin!

We need your help to take our Medieval Trebuchet to Punkin Chunkin!

Hi, I’m Daniel Bertrand, historical researcher and medieval siege engineer.  I am the founder and captain of the Cache Valley Medieval Trebuchet Team.

Our trebuchet is 33 feet tall and has hurled a 16lb bowling ball 300 yards!

We want to take the trebuchet Punkin Chunkin in Colorado this September 21st-22nd! We need your help to make this happen.  This is a chance for this trebuchet to compete at the national level.  The funding sought here covers trip transportation and the cost to rebuild the machine.  We need to make sure it is in great shape for the competition!


Rebuilding the machine and competing with it at the national level will be the culmination of almost a thousand hours of trebuchet experience, and five years of research, design, construction, and testing on a series of more powerful machines.  This would give me a second, nay, third, chance at demonstrating this trebuchet’s true potential.  This model has gone through two complete design iterations, but each has had problems and setbacks.  Most recently, an experiment with throwing fireballs resulted in an accidental dry fire which destroyed the machine.


Although these setbacks have been disheartening, redesigns are part of the engineering process.  Each year, as the machine is rebuilt, problems and weak points are addressed, and each version has improved substantially.  The construction of Mark III, in the summer of 2019, has a chance to finally perfect the design, allowing this trebuchet to show its true potential.  The Mark III should be able to hurl a pumpkin 300 meters, fulfilling its destiny and forever demonstrating the awesome power of the superior siege engine. 


What sets this machine apart?  You could say that it’s the largest historically accurate trebuchet in the Western United States.  I examined medieval sources and technical drawings while designing this machine – it’s only half-scale to some medieval originals!  It is built, assembled, and operated with medieval techniques, including mortice and tenon wood joints and a man-powered loading windlass.  The throwing arm is lifted into position with shear legs, a proven method of hoisting used in the Middle Ages.  Most of all, the machine uses wooden axles.  It is my understanding that this will be the truest “medieval” trebuchet yet to compete in the American sport of Punkin Chunkin.


Budget:

Our team has acquired a new, larger tree to replace the currently broken throwing arm.  We have hand-picked hardwood billets which will be turned into our new wooden axles.  Work on this rebuild is well underway.  But we need your support!  The project simply cannot reach its goals without a new source of funds.

Below, a budget for a top-notch, built-to-last rebuild and travel expenses:
Trailer rental – 900
Gas and towing-expenses – 600
Lumber – 650
Ropes, pulleys, and rigging tools – 500
Hardware (bolts, chains, anchors) – 250
Tools (drill bits, chisels, wrenches, hammers) – 200
Axle Wood and Wood-Turning (we are outsourcing this to a professional woodturner) – 200
Misc. project supplies (glue, grease, wood stain) – 200
= 3,500


What’s in it for you?

Upon a successful rebuild, we will again be launching the trebuchet for the public in Cache Valley!  

https://www.hjnews.com/news/education/experimental-history-usu-student-demonstrates-trebuchet-built-with-medieval-methods/article_9c05cfb7-2203-5645-9c2c-5d777d55412a.html 
Article about our Demonstration in October 2018.

As we test the machine, come see it in action!  Stay tuned for free public demonstration events this fall.  The first of these will be on Saturday, September 7th, 2019, with more details to follow.

As additional perks, Donors of...

$10 or more will get their name painted on the side of the counterweight box.

$25 or more will get a chance to turn the windlass during a reloading of the machine.

$50 or more will get a chance to pull the release cord on a launch.

If you cannot attend demonstration events, don’t worry!  I am also publishing videos on YouTube.

Additionally, I am working on getting a paper published in an academic journal about my research and these experiments.  Funding of a rebuild will allow more experiments to be conducted to collect better data for this publication.

Stretch Goals:

If the project is well funded, we may be able to construct an analog castle wall to smash at the demonstration event.  If the machine is rebuilt it is also likely that it will be at the North Logan Pumpkin Toss again.  And if the project is well received, we may be able to again attempt to launch fireballs over the winter.  But, well, do a better job this time.  Perhaps the highest of donors will get a chance to pull the release cord on a fireball launch…

Of course, all of these are subject to change and reliant on the campaign meeting its goals^


Thank you for donating!  Please share this campaign with your friends and family and help the medieval trebuchet become part of a tradition in Cache Valley.

If you would like to join the team and help with the construction, (and for other inquiries), please email me at DBertrand21@gmail.com.

Donations (0)

  • Frances Titchener 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Tammy Proctor 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • James Sanders 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 4 mos
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Organizer

Daniel Bertrand 
Organizer
Logan, UT
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