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Mechanical Artillery 101 with Jeff DelPapa

Yes! You can be a Siege Engineer: Catapults are showing up in the strangest places these days: advertising credit cards and Volkswagens, throwing pianos in rock videos, and “Chunkin” pumpkins on cable TV Thanksgiving Day specials. Sure, they say, “don’t try this at home”, but here is your chance to join the esteemed ranks of Siege Engineers. 60 minutes that covers 2000 years of the history of catapults, along with how to design one for your own amusement.

About the Speaker: Trained as a computer scientist, Jeff Del Papa has 25 years’ experience both building, and managing the building, of a range of software, from low level industrial process control, IC design tools, and network internals to compilers for advanced programming systems, machine learning, robotic research, and expert systems for financial and manufacturing analysis.

He is a life-long Maker, and a recreational machinist, building a wide variety of often-unusual machines. Several recent projects involved large catapults, including one that threw an upright piano and others that have won their class in national competitions. Other contraptions include human powered devices, like the Buscycle (a 15 passenger human powered “bus”), Trondholm (an adult-sized recumbent tandem tricycle that has been clocked at over 50 miles per hour), and Blendy, a pedal powered food blender. He recently won the inaugural “Raising the Bar” building competition, and was Maker in Residence at Parts and Crafts, a Boston kids maker space. He founded “The NERDS”, the first US team to appear on the engineering competition TV series Junkyard Wars (called Scrapheap Challenge outside the US). The team made it to the final round in 2000, and was invited back in 2006 for a special episode commemorating the British engineer I.K. Brunel. For the competition rounds, the team built a two-person submarine, converted a car to coal fired steam power, and built a fire-fighting boat (each build completed in a single day). For the commemorative episode, they turned a ready-mix cement truck into a giant paddleboat.

If you like what you see at TM, he'll ALSO be giving a talk at Solid State Depot, Tuesday, October 15th, on his experience with Junkyard Wars.  Call it Making Maker Television: a 90 minute presentation that sneaks in lessons in project management as well as how to use a welder (both essential to the shows success).  More here:

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