East Campus "Courtyard Wars"

To attract incoming students to their dorm, the inhabitants of MIT's East Campus dorm, (in addtion to the usual parties) did their own, small scale version of Scrapheap.

They located themselves in the courtyard between the two buildings that make up the dormitory, hence the name of the event.


The handmade Courtyard Wars sign, with 3 participants
The organizer, and head of the ham radio club went to a local industrial surplus (junk) dealer called "Einsteins Toolbox" and returned with a (donated) 9 cubic meters of "stuff". Lots of motors, solar supplies, wheels, wire, etc.  (and some strange things like 2 cycle engines).

Here is Crash, with the organizer, Simon.

Crash and Simon the organizer, plus cruft
Cruft was heaped in large piles, the event was listed in the campus newspaper.  "build stuff" "get your hands covered with machine oil" Two students behind a table full of cruft
A fair crowd was busily picking out parts, to build motorized carts.  They even had programmable controllers available, so the machines could be made autonomous. 3 students, examining motors
Crash and I were there for the early stages, where we passed on sage advice, like "Test early, test often".  Here two people are about to get their motor to spin. Two, about to spin up a motor with wheels
While their tool supply was fairly light on the metal re-arranging side. (hacksaws, avaition shears, and a drill press), the electronics gear was impressive. An oscilliscope, wire, soldering tools, etc.
They didn't really have "teams", people tended to work in spontaneous groups. Several students working on a part
I stopped by at the end (to scavenge from the leftovers and see the results).  Since "BattleBots" is just starting to show here, some of the contraptions sported weaponry.  Here is one with a chainsaw. finished cart, with chainsaw attachment.
And this is another, that appears to be suffering from a poorly supported axle. A partially finished project, possibly abandoned.