Crushing the boomerang
Our five foot long piece didn't fit in any of the load testing machines and therefore we had to build a frame to test it. Stephen Rudolph and Dr. John Germain from the Civil Engineering testing lab set up the frame and ran the test with us. They helped us out even though we asked them on very short notice. Thanks!
The piece failed due to plate buckling caused by the bending moment induced because of the boomerang geometry. This loading case was chosen because we wanted to proove that the piece would still hold loads in an extreme state when anything else would have failed. Well... it didn't! It only held 500 lbs... but we learned some valuable lessons. With a small -and hopefully last- design iteration we can prevent this.
Let's conclude that luckily we did do a load test?!