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Expanding Our Roots

2009 Wood WORKS! BC/Canadian Wood Council Host Wood Catapult Competition
Catapult CompetitionSubmitted by Linda Shauer (Wood WORKS! BC)

Nine post-secondary teams arrived early Saturday morning, March 28th, at the Whit-Matthews sports field (UBC) for the launching of the third annual Wood Catapult Competition hosted by Wood WORKS! BC, an initiative of the Canadian Wood Council.  The teams were from UBC, BCIT, North Island College and Okanagan College. Each team had their machine weighed in and evaluated before setting up on the field, and this year no teams were penalized for exceeding the weight limit (70 kilograms).

Though the weather was damp and cold, the teams were not deterred from giving very thorough and individualized presentations to their attentive audience composed of competing teams, WW staff and three judges from the prize sponsoring associations (ASTTBC, APEG and AIBC).  The 15 minute presentations were the teams’ opportunity to share what they had learned throughout the designing and building process of their siege engine, giving particular emphasis to the properties of wood.  They also explained how they adhered to the strict guidelines of the competition, with respect to making their propulsion materials all wood and only using the limited amount of non-wood products. 

After lunch the performance trials started- the real highlight of the Wood Catapult Competition.  Many spectators arrived, braving the weather, to cheer on their favorite team.  The performance trials are the true test of whether teams designed their machine with an understanding of the properties of wood. Due to rainy conditions, many teams learned first-hand how moisture can damage wood.  Unexpected swelling of wood components resulted in teams frantically sanding down precision made parts so they would slide or turn as designed.  Other failures, such as dissolving glue and stressed weight axels or level arms, took their toll as the day progressed.  What worked in theory was soon found not to work in practice, as the teams struggled to zero in on hitting the 20, 30 and 45 meter targets before using the remainder of their 30 minute time to accumulate as many points as possible. After the half hour, teams were also given the chance to vie for the prestigious longest shot of the day.

The winners of the 2009 Wood Catapult Competition were:
Best Report:
Best Presentation:
Team Spirit:
Longest Distance:
Third Place Overall:
Second Place Overall:
First Place Overall:
Hurlinballs- Okanagan College
P.A.N.I.C. – North Island College
Knotty Engineers- BCIT
P.A.N.I.C. – North Island College
Knotty Engineers- BCIT
Blind Walruses- UBC
Hurlinballs- Okanagan College 

85 meters
537.6 points
565.4 points
1809 points

Special thanks goes to the Brad Walton (ASTTBC), Omar Ishkintana (APEG) and Scott Kemp (AIBC) who represented their respective associations by judging this all day event and by awarding the prize money of $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three teams.

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