Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chili Cook Off and Junk Yard Wars

Question: What do you get when you combine 25 guys in a gym with the task of consuming 10 pots of chili and building flying contraptions out of a pile of junk?
Answer: A lot of fun, a big mess, and not as much gas as you would think

Last Saturday night a group of guys from our church got together for the 5th annual chili cook off and junkyard wars.

The first task of the evening was consuming the chili that everyone brought. I didn’t count them but there were 10 to 12 large pots of chili that ranged from burn your face off smoking hot to mild and very flavorful. I used the strategy of filling my bowl with multiple chili samples strategically placed in different section of the bowl. In order to sample all of the chilies I ended up having 3 bowls of chili. The mark of a good chili cook off is the level of gut ache you’ve got when it’s over. This years offering didn’t disappoint as I had a world class gut ache when it was all said and done.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

The next phase of the night was the junk yard wars. This year’s assignment was to build a flying device with a wing span between 5 and 8 feet wide. The other part of the assignment was that this flying device couldn’t be launched by hand but rather some type of launching device. This was all to be built from a pile of junk. To be fair the junk pile included pieces of foam, wood, bungee cords, saran wrap, and PVC pipe.

We were then divided into 3 groups. My group consisted of 2 engineers, 2 mechanics, a CAD specialist, a planner, and an FBI agent. Our group ended up developing an airplane that that looked a lot like a kiddie airplane. We decided to launch it with a giant rubber band using a long table as the launching pad. We were able to build our offering fairly quick and to everyone’s surprise it actually flew. After some fine tuning it flew the length of the entire gym with no problem.

My Teams Flying Machine

This thing actually flew

Can It Get Any More Complex Than This?

The other teams built completely different styles of planes from ours. One was very complex with an air foil type wing wrapped with saran wrap. The other plane looked a lot like something the Wright Brothers would have developed.

Test Flight Gone Bad

After over a little more than an hour everyone was finished with their amazing flying machines so we were ready for the fly off. Since we built the planes too good we had to move from the gym to the parking lot so the gym wouldn’t be damaged. Each team got 3 launches and it turned out that they all flew the same distance. Of course our plane broke twice upon landing but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed with some magical duct tape.

After all was said and done it was a great event. When the night was over my stomach was killing me from the chili and my stomach muscles were sore from laughing so hard. I’d say it was a perfect combination. It was hilarious to see giant planes being launched by some type of rubber band off of a table or stack of tables.

I’m actually looking forward to next year’s competition. I’m just hoping it doesn’t include explosives.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I love those "build something" contests. When I was in college we used to watch battlebots on comedy central and considered petitioning the engineering department to enter a robot.

We already had the "Genesis" solar car, so it seemed reasonable to have a "Revelation" fighting robot.