It looks like we will be running Boom Div B at the Centerville Ohio Invitational on January 12th. I'd think this will be possibly the single largest Invitational in the country this year, with 60 teams competing in both B and C Div... Ya... 120 teams in total!
We will be using (1) SDU (Sand Dispensing Unit
) with 1 as a back-up in case of catastrophic failure of the first one (It is older than any Div C Competitors!). Although each team is allotted 6 minutes to test, the reality is that many will fail within 3 minutes. There are 10 slots per time period, 6 time periods, so that works out to an allowance of 5 minutes per team, including slack time between tests to weigh the loads, and explain the process to the next group... super tight, but "doable."
In past competitions we have offered teams the option of hand loading if they so choose, and roughly 10% choose to do so. Due to the extremely tight schedule at Centerville, we will only be testing with a loader to keep things on schedule so no one misses their next event.. I hope you guys understand.
Regarding the loader, a couple things to consider:
Start slow to settle the bucket, the gradually increase to WIDE OPEN over a period of 10 to 20 seconds. A structure like this will likely only carry the load for a finite amount of time. Best to get as much in as you can!
The loader we use comes equipped with a supervisor shut-off, so when the structure breaks, the supervisor can pull the release and the gate valve snaps shut. Their reaction time is probably pretty consistent, so theoretically, running it wide open will get a slight bit more sand in the hopper than if you were running it half speed.
Hang the buck high enough to not touch the floor if the bucket tips a little, but not so high that it touches the dispensing tube
The bucket tipping a bit DOES NOT create an imbalanced load... unless you are using more than one point of connection (i.e. 2 chains from opposite sides of the bucket.)
Using the stabilization sticks to push the bucket back and forth in an effort to disperse the sand evenly within the bucket DOES CREATE an imbalanced load. Don't do this!
Try to keep the load as static as you can. Do this by keeping the chain perfectly vertical. The more the bucket moves,the more dynamic the load becomes.
ALWAYS check the chain before you start loading to make sure there are no kinks in the links. If there are, they are likely to pull out when you start loading. This will cause the load to suddenly drop the length of chain link and in all likelihood cause the boom to go... well... you know... BOOM!
ALWAYS look at your boom from the distal end before you start loading, and check to see if your mounting is centered, your boom is vertical, your loading block is horizontal, and centered on your compression beams. Once you start loading you can no longer adjust it!
If one of you is going to stabilize the bucket, I highly recommend to SIT cross legged in front of the bucket, not kneeling or sitting on one cheek (you know what I mean!) This is the most comfortable for the long haul. In any other position you will likely need to shift around, pushing the bucket to one side or the other.
Keep in mind that when you are using the loader, and you choose to dispense very slowly, there is no catch-up. The loader, run wide open, will dispense 15 KG of sand in about 3 minutes. I've seen a number of kids realize too late that they misjudged their time, and with 30 seconds to go, open it wide open, but still run out of time without getting all the sand in the bucket. Far better to get all the sand dispensed in half the time, than half the sand in all the time.
Finally, if you do not understand the process or what is about to happen, please ask! We are here to help, and truly do want to see each and every team succeed. Sometimes we can tell by that look that you have a question, or don't understand, but some of you guys are really good at hiding your total confusion! If you ever are unsure, please ask for a clarification. We will be glad to take whatever time is needed.