Catapult Challenge Winners Announced


By Sara Cody

College of Engineering Kenneth R. Lutchen presented the top finishers in the inaugural Tinker Catapult Challenge with their prizes at a recent event in the Binoy K. Singh Imagineering Laboratory. Fifteen teams of undergraduate students participated in the contest.

Fifteen teams competed in the first annual Tinker Catapult Challenge. Photo by Calvin Earp (ME’17)

The challenge took place over two days. The contest was open to the BU community, with the stipulation that there had to be at least one ENG student on a team. On Build Day, teams met up in the Binoy K. Singh Imagineering Laboratory — known as the “Tinker Lab” among students — where they had one day to fulfill their objective to design and build a catapult that incorporated a pull-string quick release using only materials provided by the lab. Launch Day took place the following evening at Nickerson Field. Catapults were judged on the furthest distance out of three attempts.

The winners are:


First place: 184.75 feet
Eugene Au (ME’18)

“My catapult can be described as a first class lever and the collective spring tension was so strong that when fired, the catapult had enough power to bend the 1/2″ steel rod that acted as its pivot point,” said Au. “It was interesting to see all the creative designs the teams came up with. Anyone that likes working with their hands would have a lot of fun competing.”


Second place: 169.92 feet
Torben Umeda (ME’17)

Video by Calvin Earp (ME’17)

“My catapult was the least conventional design, it was more of a deadlift slingshot,” said Umeda. “I loved pursuing the non-conventional design because I found it to be simpler and more fun to operate!”


Third place: 161.75 feet
Daniel Lorden (Questrom’20) and Cass Leach (BME’20)

Photo by Calvin Earp (ME’17)

“Our catapult was named ‘Deliciously MacGuyver’ and harkened to traditional trebuchet designs by using a sling, though it used elastic instead of weights to pull the arm down,” said Leach. “The entire weekend was exhilarating, a mad dash for materials and to get something, anything, done.”

Tinker Catapult Challenge
Dean Kenneth Lutchen, Catapult Challenge organizer Calvin Earp (ME’17), Eugene Au (ME’18), Torben Umeda (ME’17), Cass Leach (BME’20), Daniel Lorden (Questrom’20), Program Coordinator Joe Precopio and Associate Dean of Finance Administration Rich Lally.