greenspun.com : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

From the office I work in in Baltimore, MD I get to see the myriad of ships loading and unloading cargo from the docks throughout the city. My idea for a challenge is this, Have each group construct a mechanism (hoist, lever, winch, catapult, whatever) for the unloading of a ship's cargo. Give each team a small, flat topped barge with an identical number of evenly sized boxes (probably 20 to 30 would work). Make sure they are NOT on a pallet. Each barge would be pulled next to the dock but the cargo could not be passed from ship to shore by hand (the land cargo area could be elevated or something.) At the word "Go!" each team begins unloading the ship of its boxes and must re-compile the boxes in a specified location. Points off for dropped or broken cargo. First one finished, or the most completed under a certain time limit wins!

I see that it is a simple task, lots of math involved, that can be solved in a myriad of ways, has a head-to-head competition hook, doesn't necessarily involve a motor (but could) and has a lot of potential for the hosts to interact with pirate and seaman characters. Love to hear your thoughts.

-- Jeff Patterson (jmp01@bellatlantic.net), February 05, 2001

Thats an excellent challenge! It would be interesting to see what the teams would build.

-- Ben Goslin (logging87ben@yahoo.com), February 05, 2001.

I like this too, esp if the barges were loaded so as to make it important how the load was removed so that the barge would not capsize. Another intresting twist would be to have the teams machines on the opposite side of the water. Load the barges to where there is more than enough cargo total to sink one barge. Then have each team unload their barge onto the other team's barge. The first barge to sink would be the loser of the contest. This could be a cliff hanger, as well as allowing interaction between the two machines with bumping into each other, possible breakdowns, dropping cargo, a lot of shouting and gesturing ect.

-- Waddy Thompson (cthomp3851@aol.com), February 05, 2001.

Great show,my kind of stuff. The freight loader is an excellent idea. I have been thinking along those lines. Or perhaps an earthmover tractor type thingy would be cool.

-- Robert Ervin (robalan@hotmail.com), February 08, 2001.