USC students design ‘weapons’ for mock attack - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC students design ‘weapons’ for mock attack

19 Oct 2021

USC Mechanical Design students are about to engage in mock medieval warfare – armed with little more than their wits and lightweight wood – in a quest for glory and top assessment marks.

The Sir Robin and the Knights of the Round Catapult Competition at USC’s Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay campuses this week challenges the students to build a catapult with balsa wood, glue, string and other low-cost materials.

The catapults must throw ‘rocks’ (table-tennis balls) over a 600mm-high wall at targets placed at varying distances. But they must do it without explosives, combustible fuels or pressurised fluids.

Teams will be scored on how their machine performs in battle and also on its design, weight, safety, maximum range, quality of construction and ease of operation.

Course Coordinator Associate Professor Selvan Pather said the students had come up with some innovative designs so far but were battling to achieve the accuracy needed to score maximum points.

Dr Pather said the biggest challenge was to be able to adjust the catapult to fire varying distances and get consistent results.

Members of the public are welcome to watch the catapults in action inside the Visualisation Studio at the Sunshine Coast campus from 12.30-2pm on Wednesday 20 October and at USC Moreton Bay from 12.30-1.15pm on Friday 22 October.

The competition will be followed by a display of students’ work including mechanical automata (non-motorised machines), polyhedral shapes and perspective drawings of buildings.

Mechanical Design is offered as part of USC’s Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) program at the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay campuses.

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