The UCCS Historical Engineering Society (HES), an official UCCS student-driven organization with faculty advisers, endeavors to build a 20-percent scale model “Conrad Kyeser Trebuchet” as a demonstration project to inform the public on the engineering feats of the medieval world. A trebuchet is a medieval siege weapon, similar to a catapult, which uses a counterweight to launch projectiles to destroy castle walls and fortifications. Trebuchets were the “super” weapons of the Middle Ages, especially from the 12th through 15th centuries. During this time period, trebuchets were developed via cultural exchange between Christian European kingdoms and Islamic caliphates in the Mediterranean world.
The goals of “The Trebuchet Challenge” project are to promote and enhance students’ historical research, design, engineering, and leadership skills. In the interest of fulfilling these goals, and others, we hope to complete construction of the trebuchet by September 2012. Now in the process of completing a five-stage research-to-demonstration work process, the HES has already completed its historical research, developed detailed computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, and evaluated the safety of the design using a design review panel composed of three UCCS engineering professors.
However, in order to construct and demonstrate the trebuchet (Stages 4 and 5 of the project) we require approximately $3,745 in financial and material donations. Over 50 percent of our budget is dedicated to purchasing an expensive oak beam that will serve as the machine’s 12-foot throwing arm. For historic, strength, and safety reasons, it is absolutely essential that a hardwood such as oak be employed for the throwing arm.
The HES seeks funding from private, small business, and corporate donors in the Colorado Springs region. Funders are encouraged to contribute at varying sponsorship levels ranging from $25 to $1,000. The sponsorship levels are tied to medieval social and political stations, i.e. king, prince, duke, knight, and squire sponsorships. Those businesses that choose to donate will receive recognition at every event at which the trebuchet is present. Forms of recognition include, but are not limited to, donor name on display at every event, donor name on flyers advertising upcoming events, and donor name on display beside the trebuchet at the UCCS Heller Center for the Humanities, where the trebuchet will be kept when not in use. The two future stages of the project can only be made possible by generous donations from our community and without their help the realization of our goals and efforts will be impossible.