G-Force was the brainchild of Newton’s Attic founder Bill Cloyd. It uses a bundle of bungee cords stretched by a simple machine attached to a hook on the underside of a rolling car carrying a rider. Upon release of the latching mechanism the bungee cords retract to launch the rider down the rails and up the incline. The cart then slows to stop on the incline and the rider coasts back down to bounce against the bungee cords and go for another ride. Each successive pass sheds more energy until the rider coasts to a stop. Most rides are one launch and two bounces.

It was constructed as a project for pre-engineering students at West Jessamine High School during a semester-long program in 2002. Bill was responsible for the primary design and critical welds. The students participated in the creative design-synthesis phase as well as in fabrication and assembly of various components.

We use G-force to demonstrate the following physics concepts:

  • Potential and Kinetic energy

  • Speed, force and acceleration

  • Gravity and Inclines

  • Simple machines and mechanical advantage


G-force normally resides at the Newton’s Attic facility in Lexington where it enjoys status as our most frequently requested activity for STEM field trips, birthday parties, summer day camps and after school programs.

G-Force Statistics

G-Force Media

  • Dimensions:

    125 feet long, 22 feet tall, 18 inches wide

  • Weight:

    3,500 lbs

  • Bungee Tension:

    up to 500 lbs

  • Materials:

    box steel, custom laser cut metal components, custom designed windlass and industrial roller chain

  • Acceleration:

    up to 3Gs

  • Top Speed:

    up to 20 mph


SPINtron was based on a NASA Multi-Axis trainer used by original Project Mercury astronauts. There was concern that the capsule could begin tumbling during reentry. Astronauts were strapped in the NASA version and had to carry out actions that simulated operation of the controls and switches necessary to stabilize the capsule.

Some interesting facts about SPINtron:

* Your stomach is centered in the axes of rotation to minimize movement. This means most people have no trouble.
* Because it moves in random directions your inner ear stays in balance so you don’t get dizzy.
* There are no motors. The only control is a single manual wheel. Your changing center of mass causes motion on the other axes.

The Ballista aka ” Pumpkin Chunker”

The Ballista is an ancient missile weapon that launched a large projectile at a distant target. It was first developed by the Greeks and then modified, enhanced and widely used by the Romans.  Many say it is akin to a giant crossbow.  This ballista was the brainchild of Robert McGillivray and Michael Halwes when they were pre-engineering students in the MSTC program at Dunbar High School in Lexington.  They found a design they liked in a book and proceeded to build a small replica.  Once the design was proven Bill Cloyd worked with them over a three month period in 2012 to complete the full scale example you see on this page.

Newton’s Attic uses this ballista year round at schools, STEM events, fundraisers, field trips and birthday parties. Finding a happier purpose than war, this ballista is a great tool for teaching physics or just having fun.

  • Dimensions:

    10 feet long, stands 6feet 8 inches high, center box is 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall

  • Weight:

    750 lbs

  • Draw Weight:

    more than 1500 lbs

  • Materials:

    1 inch plywood laminated to 4 inches thick, 1/2 inch thick steel tensioning system, 600 feet of nylon rope, 12,000 pound test cargo strap, 3,200 pound winch

  • Record Launch:

    525 feet with a pumpkin

KUKA Robot 6-axis CNC

In the Spring of 2016 Baptist Health  and Accuray donated the Kuka KR-240 surgical robot that was part of their CyberKnife to Newton’s Attic. When looking around for a way to use this terrific resource in a way that would highlight the fun side of robotics we decided on converting it to a 6-axis CNC machine. While contacting various people to get information on this process and put together a parts list we found out that these conversions are typically priced way outside the realm of possibility for a small non-profit organization.

That is when we found Robotic Solutions in Milwaukee, WI. They specialize in doing these conversions and not only had the information we needed but were able to donate equipment, labor, and solicited donations from other companies to bring the cost of the conversion into our budget. We received our training in October 2016, took delivery in November and have been working through increasingly complex projects.

Fun Facts:

  • Work envelope is approximately 8ft wide by 8ft tall
  • The spindle is a 12HP with automatic tool change
  • Total machine weight is approximately 10,000lb
  • Lifting capacity is over 500lb at the end of the arm
  • It is accurate to less than .3 millimeter

The Pod

The Pod is a giant tennis ball machine gun. It will fire in single shot, 3-round burst or full auto mode. The hopper holds over 1000 tennis balls and they leave the barrel in excess of 100 mph. The firing mechanism is fully computerized. It requires the use of a diesel powered commercial air compressor to handle the air flow.

The entire pod rotates on the base and the barrels are mounted so that the operator can adjust elevation. This lets us shoot at moving targets during robotic competitions.

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