Engineering students take first place in the Trebuchet Egg Throw Competition


Brandon Tolle

Pictured is Weisbeck and Dahm, in the early stages of building their final catapult design.

Odin McDonald, Photo Manager

Anton Dahm and Peyton Weisbeck, juniors at PVHS, took first place in the 2019 Trebuchet Egg Throw Competition on Apr. 18.

Through the Engineering Problems course offered at the high school, Dahm and Weisbeck designed, built and tested their own trebuchet, a type of catapult which uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile.

Dahm and Weisbeck had never worked together prior to the event, so they decided to team up together under the team name “The Crusaders.” “We are both engineer-minded,” Dahm said. “We enjoy math, physics, and design.”

Once at competition, competitors’ contraptions were tested on their range and accuracy. Each catapult had to hit a target at ranges of 75, 100 and 125 feet, and ending with a long throw, where the maximum of the catapult range was recorded. Judges based scores off of hit accuracy and a presentation the students gave during which they explained original designs and building processes.

Each competing team was allowed four eggs per target, with eight points awarded for hitting the board and ten for a bullseye. The Crusaders consistently scored eight to fourteen points per target. Originally, Weisbeck and Dahm thought the scores they received were low until they realized the event was designed to prevent perfect scores.

The students’ design set them apart from other contestants due to their advanced ideas. Features such as their variable release pin, a stop marker that dictates where the sling will release, allowed them to adjust arc and launch distances easily.

A more eye-catching trait of their trebuchet was its color scheme and artistic detailing. The Crusaders stayed true to their team name with a red and white paint job accompanied by white crosses, as seen in ancient history. Additionally, the swing arm on the catapult was treated with a Lichtenberg device, which allowed the two to burn lightning bolt-like prints across the arm.

Anton Dahm
The final build of The Crusaders’ catapult.

Unfortunately, Weisbeck nor Dahm will be participating in next year’s competition. “While being in the class is not a requirement for the competition, the time and resources in class were critical to success,” Dahm said.

Regardless, both students spoke of the wonderful experience the course and event provided for them. “There were so many things to take into consideration. It seemed like everyday we ran into a new challenge we had to overcome,” Weisbeck explained.

The Crusaders won’t be putting the first-place apparatus into storage just yet. They ask for any suggestions for items to launch or hit with the catapult for some summer time entertainment.