Engineering contest with a bit of a twist

The winning contestants with their designs at last years engineering competition.

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Aspiring engineers are being sought for the annual engineering competition which takes place next weekend.

The competition, which is open to schoolchildren across Arran as well as adults, will take place at Lamlash Church Hall on Saturday May 19 hosted by retired engineer Rory Cowan. Vying for cash prizes, competitors have to plan, design and build a contraption which is then put to the test by the judges.

This year the competition is simple as always, but with a bit of a twist. Using stored energy only the contestants will have to move four ping pong balls, one at a time, from the floor and into a dustbin where the opening of the bin is a metre above the floor.

The ball has to start from the floor and the machine must lift it from the floor and put it into the bin. The only human interaction with the machine is to set it going at the start of each shot. The clock will start when the first attempt is initiated and will stop when the final ball has landed in the dustbin. The machine may be reset after each shot and the next shot initiated. The machine may be as large as you like, but no part of it may exceed 300mm in height. So the ball will have to be ‘fired’ accurately and will have to ‘fly’ into the bin.

If you would like to enter the competition, entry forms for adults and children are available from Rory Cowan who can be contacted on 01770 820603 or by email at