Third Annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ Competition!

We are pleased to announce the second annual Eugene Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition! The competition is put together by Eugene Maker Space and hosted by The Science Factory. Check out the video below to get an idea of what you might see at the event.

Where and When?

Where: The Science Factory front yard
Date: Sunday – November 1, 2015
Time: 12:00PM to whenever it ends!

Launch Zone
You can see the launch zone in the below picture. Contestants will launch from the blue firing line aiming down range to the east. The first red box is the primary launch zone. “The Great Beyond” is further down range and will remain clear in case any contestants are capable of building launchers that can actually chunk that far. Last year we had several launches that successfully reached The Great Beyond!

Launch Zone


How to Enter

You do not need to be a member of Eugene Maker Space in order to compete. Everyone is free to enter the competition. If you would like to sign up to compete, please email with your team name and the names of your team members. Also include which class you intend to compete in. It is also highly encouraged (but not required) that you email the EMS Discussion list and announce your intention to enter the competition! The deadline for entry is September 26, 2015. Make sure you send in your entry information by the end of the day on September 12, 2015.

The Rules

This year we will have two classes of chunker. The first class is the “Pumpkin class”. The second class is the “Apple class”. This class is specifically for smaller machines that will throw apples instead of pumpkins. The intent with the Apple class is to lower the barrier to entry and allow people to particpate while building smaller, less expensive, and less dangerous machines.


  1. No compressed air/compressed gas devices.
  2. No explosives.
  3. Teams must release all energy from their launchers until it is their turn.

Contest Rules

  1. You may sign up as an individual or as a team.
  2. Machines must not cross the firing line.
  3. Machines must be ready to fire within 5 minutes.
  4. Each team will get three launches.
  5. If a team loses a projectile after launch they may get an one extra try if the team has a backup projectile ready to go.
  6. Teams provide their own pumpkins.
  7. Projectiles must remain intact until they hit the ground.
  8. Projectiles cannot be modified (except for painting or laser etching).
  9. Teams may paint their projectiles for decoration.
  10. Teams may enter the exact same chunker from a previous competition if they so desire.
  11. Team members may be a part of multiple teams if those teams are OK with it.

Pumpkin Class Specific Rules

  1. Pumpkins must weigh between 1lbs and 5lbs.

Apple Class Specific Rules

  1. You can use any apples you like.

How to win
To win the competition you just need to chunk your punkin’ farther than the other teams. That’s it! There will be three heats. Whichever team gets the furthest launched pumpkin out of all three heats will be declared the champions.

Shop Cleanup Day

The shop

It’s been a long time since we had a shop cleanup day, and we needed it pretty badly. We had around eight people show up today to help clean, organize, and otherwise improve EMS. While there is still more that can be done, we made a lot of great progress and made some pretty big changes to the shop layout. Ultimately we are hoping that these changes will lead to better use of our limited space, and also make it easier to access and use the tools we have. Here are some of the highlights from today.

One of the biggest changes you will notice at EMS is that the big workbench with the peg board has been moved to the west wall next to the other work bench. This freed up space to move the vacuum forming machine next to the 220V outlet. This is much more efficient since it was always necessary to awkwardly wheel the vacuum former over to the corner every time someone wanted to use it. Now it’s right where it needs to be and will therefore be so much easier to use as needed. This also freed up a bit of extra space on the south wall for us to put the large format printer and vinyl cutter. This gave us more room to move around and work over near the bay door.

AV cart becomes a laser table

Also, we finally did something with that giant AV cart. We’ve had that thing forever but really it took up too much space and was an awkward shape to be useful in our space. We removed the wheels and removed the top portion of the cart and turned it into a small table. This table was the perfect size for our laser cutter. We were able to kill two birds with one stone by saving space from the old AV cart and building a laser cutter table all at once!


We also spent a lot of time combing through the pick-a-part area and organizing it. I don’t know how many cardboard boxes were recycled, but it sure was a lot. I’ve been told there’s even some level of organization going on up there now, so be sure that you don’t just haphazardly toss things up there in the future. Try to find the spot that makes the most sense.

We plan to hold these clean up days every other month to help keep the shop tidy and efficient. If you didn’t make it down this time, you should come down next time! It’s not all sweeping and running to the dump. If you come down to the clean up days you also get to have a say in how the shop is organized in order to be more efficient for our members. We make these decisions together so as to make the space more usable for everyone. We also inevitably start working on “shop improvement projects” such as the laser cutter table, or building a custom mount for the IP camera. We easily come up with a big list of things to do, so you need not worry about having no idea what you can do to help.


New Tools Update #1

EMS received a generous donation at the end of 2014. The board decided we should spend that money on some new tools for our members. After a discussion in the EMS Discuss mailing list, we opted to spend some money on two things.

  1. CNC milling machine
  2. Laser cutter

Those things seemed pretty high up on the list for many members, and as it happens some members were already working on these things. This decision will allow us to fund the projects and hopefully expedite them.

CNC Milling Machine

Several members have been working hard to repair a recently-donated CNC milling machine. You may have seen it on the large desk inside EMS. The most recent problem has been with the motor driver circuit boards. The driver chips keep burning out. They’ve already been replaced once, but the problem has repeated itself. The team has decided to purchase new controller boards instead of trying to continue debugging the old ones. We are going to use EMS funds to help the team purchase the parts they need to get the machine up and running. We’ll also spend a few hundred dollars on proper tooling for the machine when it’s ready to go. This way we’ll have everything we need to make use of the machine.

Laser Cutter

Bob has been building his 40 Watt laser cutter for over two years now. The current status is that it’s almost ready for use by other members. He’s still working on some of the software but he’s got a plan formulated for that. Also, you may have noticed a hole cut in the rear wall of the EMS shop over the last week or so. This hole was approved by the landlord and installed to provide adequate ventilation for the laser cutter once it’s up and running. An exhaust fan was already installed as well. Bob also needs to build a custom table to hold the laser cutter up at an appropriate height, while also leaving storage space for cutting materials. He’s going to be a bit busy working on his Eugene Maker Faire project in the coming months though, so if anyone would like to lend a hand with this project please reach out on the Discuss list.