Take a look at this scooter... It's an Il Bello
Flyscooter worth well over $2500.
Now take a look at this ramp. It has an 15 degree
incline and a 241-foot tension of a bungee cord to shoot stuff onto it.
Now take a look at this wall. It's... high.
Twenty-six feet, to be exact.
Now add the scooter, the ramp, and the wall
together, combined with the force of gravity and the impact of earth... and the
result is not fun. That's where a group of challengers come in. They have 48
hours to build a contraption that will save the scooter from total destruction,
because in two days, the rubber band's going to shoot. But if they catch the
prize... they KEEP it.
We start by introducing the Scooter Shooter, as
it's called, to its team of challengers.
- JAKE RODGICK: Orange County, CA, a metal
fabricator and boat customizer
- SAMSON GHAFFARY: New York; a general contractor and construction foreman
- PETE FREELAND: his shirt says it all.. "Actually, I AM a rocket scientist."
He's an aerospace engineer and test pilot.
The Scooter Shooter is designed to give whatever
comes in contact with it maximum forward and downward acceleration. Add that to
the ground below, and kaboom. As a demonstration, here's what it does to a
Power Wheels. Lost. And gone. Forever. The same could happen to your scooter if
you don't stop the Scooter Shooter in time.
There are some rules to follow though...
1) You must not touch, alter, or mess with Mike's
mechanism of destruction.
2) You can only touch the prize once it is airborne.
3) And the clock on the wall says 48 hours. That's the amount of time that you
have until scooter goes flying. You have to construct something that will save
it from complete destruction.
4) You have one hour to design your machine.
And the time... starts... NOW.
In the design phase, they come up with a
mechanism to catch the scooter mid-flight, then bring it safely down to earth,
but what material can they use that's lightweight enough? They go with a
parachute net bracketed by speed-rail, which has a tensile strength of 20,000
PSI. They call their machine the Flyscooter Net, and they plan to mount it on
But the questions that Mike & Zach come up with
include... is the wall strong enough to withstand the weight of the scooter
The plan: build the net onto the wall. Once the
scooter is launched into the net, a counterweight system will bring it safely to
The next day, though, there's going to be a big
test for the speed-rail that Zach has set up. The issue: speed-rail is not
designed to be a structural component. Another issue: parachute nylon is
designed to disperse air pressure throughout, not necessarily withstand the
momentum of a scooter. It's possible that it will go straight through it.
Now what the challengers don't know is that Mike
is going to build his own solution to this rolling riddle... Will either of them
Little under a day later, and it's time to attach
the net to the wall, but there's still a counterweight to be dialed in.
Top of day 2, and there's a bit of tension
building between Sam & Jake. Jake is ready to drill, baby, drill, but Sam can't
have any of it. At the end, Sam warns that the others are heading two steps
ahead of him, and to not drill a single hole without a proper plan on doing so.
Meanwhile, Sam is working on the counterweights
to connect to the frame.
The guys decide to head to a scooter shop to see
what they're dealing with. We're basically dealing with a 235 pound scooter that
goes up to 55 mph. All this will help determine how much force the net can
stand. They decide to calculate what the forward momentum is on the scooter with
no weight on it by calculating the forward speed at max velocity with two of the
team members on it.
Now a little break with Mike's solution: a
zip-line contraction which will catch the scooter and bring it down 150 feet of
line. A net system will need knowledge of velocity. Mike's solution is far
simpler, in that it does one thing... glide.
It's high noon, and the guys have developed a
weak point in the structure, the pulley point between the net and the
counterweights. Mike decides to rig it against 550 pounds of bowling ball, a
downward force of 7400 pounds. The pulley point... holds its grapple, so the
build can continue on how much counterweight they need to bring the scooter
safely to the ground.
Pistol Pete sets the net up, while Jake and Sam
finally put aside their differences to build a vertical hinge for their pulley
for a stronger hold. Meanwhile, Mike is taking more measurements for his zipline.
The net is ready for its final application, but
will they understand the amount of counterweight they need to bring the scooter
safely to the ground?
And Sam is ready to make himself an enemy. The
original plan was to raise the net to the roofline using the scissor lift. Now
Sam wants to use his truck instead. The plan may work, but he forgot to tell
Jake and Pete. Jake's protesting by clinging himself to the chain. In the end,
they go with the scissor lift, and Sam decides to take a breather.
Sixteen hours left, and they still haven't
mounted the counterweight. Sam is still on the sidelines. Zach brings the team
together. They all want to make this thing succeed, but they need it to be
refit. There also has to be a refit of the guys coming together as a team. The
test that was to be held tonight will be put off until sunrise.
The top of the scooter is taller than the
roofline, and the excessive pulling is putting stress on the speed rail and the
hinge holding the build together. Jake decides to hook up the counterweights
only to raise the rest of the net to the roofline.
Meanwhile, Mike is making progress on his scooter
cargo cage. He calls it foolproof.
The team is at it again. They wanted to set the
net up and set it back down, but now Jake and Pete want to work on the weights.
Samson... is tired and wants to call it a day. Jake thinks that he was just
asking questions. Samson can handle the build, but not the kid.
Five hours left on the morning of day 3, and all
they have to do is hook up the counterweights. And Jake and Samson are still
fighting. One hour later, and it's time for our second test.... a parachute rip
test. Can the tensile strength (650 lbs) hold up against Mike's lawnmower? Yes.
Oven? Close, but yes. Engine block... And it's still going. The parachute will
hold the scooter, but will the rigging hold enough to keep it from crashing into
And it's finally time for the Scooter Shooter to
do its thing. Potential scooter impact force... 15.8 tons. Guesstimation of the
coutnerweight: about 300 pounds. Meanwhile, Mike's build is getting set up. It
basically eliminates all of the variables and only takes into account gravity
With 20 minutes to spare, the guys have set up
their final pulleys. Fifteen minutes later, and the Flyscooter is set up to...
well, fly. The wind, they say, is perfect.
Remember: a win today will be defined as one
scooter that is both mechanically sound and with reasonable cosmetic damage. If
there's so much as a wheel missing... that's a loss.
Let's count it down... five... four... three...
two... one... LAUNCH IT!
And... CATCH! Velocity: 35 miles an hour, impact
force, 589 lbs, and intact.
But what about Mike's solution? The scooter
gondola? The seat comes off and the mirror bends, but other than that, another
win, and everyone's batting 1000.
Next week, come back to see if three more
engineers can save a prize from complete annihilation. If they catch it... they
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