Obstacle races like the “Muddy Buddy” and “Foam Fest” have become fun entertainment for many people wanting a different type of athletic challenge. Indeed, if you’ve seen them, heard about them, or participated in them, they offer some amazing challenges that require both physical and mental strength. Wiki has a great piece about them if you want more detail.
This photo shows an obstacle that Synthesis designed and built for one company that hosts these events. While it is not as shocking as some challenges, that top bar is still 14 feet up. It takes a fair bit of metal determination to throw yourself over the top to climb down the other side. That’s especially true when you’re already tired, muddy or wet.
This photo is the first time experience for the obstacle — in the circle in front of the owners house. The neighbors already know we’re crazy (so that’s no surprise), but this brought them all out to look and gasp. And we couldn’t get any of them to try it out with us. Oh well.
Certainly, the most fun part of our job is “testing” the prototypes and fun products. We can’t send them on without testing, you know. Well yeah, someone has to do it — and really, this is part of the practical side of engineering. We believe getting your fingers dirty in building and testing teaches experience in ways that theory cannot.
Have You Ever Done An Obstacle Race?
What goes into designing and building an obstacle for a race? More than first meets the eye, of course. For this one, there were concerns about safety, strength, wobbliness (if that’s a word), and abuse. Having 6 or 8 people on it at one time all jiggling and bouncing around is a challenge.
While it also had to be reasonably light for setup and shipping, safety was the top concern. It also had to pack away into a small space (limited by the trailer size!). We’re happy that it looks so simple, being so easy to erect and disassemble. Yet, most of all, we are happy that it easily withstands the rigors of racing and the many people that threw themselves over the bar as part of the competition.
(If by some chance, you have a photo of this piece in action at a race — particularly if you’re in it — please send us a note. We’d love to feature you right here with your story and the obstacle creation!) That would be really cool.
Now you have another peak into the stuff we do. Does this go under the category of Product Design and Development? Or maybe under Custom Machines? I don’t know, but we like the projects that are not so easy to describe. Let us know if there is something you need designed. At Synthesis we tackle all sorts of crazy and amazing engineering projects.