Spent a few more hours in Jason G's basement yesterday, until the snow got too alarming for me to be out and about. We (well, mostly Jason) came up with a welded double-hook for the draw/catch/release on my device's shuttle. After fighting with some basic hooks I bought at Triangle Supply, Jason got an evil look in his eye and declared that he'd make his own. So he did, out of a bit of steel barstock he had on hand, reaming out an end, tapping it for a 1/4 screw socket, and then bending out two hooks with wrench, hammer, anvil, and cutter. Then he shaped the ends with a metal-grinder and used his welding rig to mate the parts together. Doublehook!
We drove a simple bar-based pull through the side of the device, and test-fired it in the garage, with nothing on the shuttle. That was probably a mistake. The light, store-bought spring was powerful enough to damage itself without any weight on the shuttle to bleed off energy. Jason had talked me into wrapping some rubber around the top axle, which probably kept the spring from shattering entirely, but after one dry-fire, the spring had herniated visibly. We talked about inserting a compression-spring ahead of the pull-spring to absorb some of that recoil shock, and he thought that we could probably just snip off the herniated section & re-bend a new hook to replace the removed section, but by then we had noticed that the weathe had dropped an inch and a half of snow while we had been mucking around with drilling and testing.
Meanwhile, he's still working on his welded-steel monster, and we built the wood frame for the base. He also started in on drilling out the plates for holding his fulcrum axle, but none of his proper drills were large enough to drive the holes needed to hold the 3/4ths inch steel bar he's using for his axle. So he drilled out as big as he could go, and then started setting up the plates on his power lathe with a four-corner chock and a, I don't know what you call it, lathe arm? After a couple minutes of this, he sighed, said it would take hours, and put it aside for when I wasn't there.
So there we are, Jason's device is coming along slowly, and mine got to its first partial-build test fire, and is going back for some re-design. And we got at least three-four inches of heavy snow last night - I haven't been outside yet to see what damage the night left us.