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Catapult ideas or plans???

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  • Catapult ideas or plans???

    I have offered to assist/build a catapult for middle schoolers and high school kids. Not sure yet what the scale will be but ideas have ranged from launching tennis ***** to pumpkins. Do any of you have plans or experience building something like this? The school field is about 150 yards long and we do not aim to exceed this range, just trying to be good neighbors. Has got to be mechanical in nature i.e. no electric motors. Thanks in advance, Bill

  • #2
    they had an episode on Discovery or TLC one where they built catapults or trebuchet's (I believe is the technical name). was great stuff !

    this guy has plans on his site.

    also, if you search at on punkin chunkin, you'll find a contest somewhere in the mid-west I think where they fling or shoot pumpkin's. It's becoming a national event, all kind of categories. Lots of trebuchet's there.

    good luck and most of all be safe !

    - jack
    Last edited by morpheus; 03-07-2003, 02:30 PM.


    • #3
      Now your talking fun. Haven't looked in my trebuchet folder in a long time and most of the information turned out to be dead links. But here's one that works
      Oooooh Yeaaaahhhhh

      Morpheus, Thanks for the link. Maybe this summer I'll mount one on the 20 foot trailer that does nothing.
      Last edited by Main; 03-07-2003, 06:58 PM.


      • #4
        no problem main ! I think i'm going to build me one of those little ones in the "Plans" section of that website. looks like great fun. even that little one can hurl a golfball a LONG way.

        - jack


        • #5
          Here are a few Trebuchet sites I have bookmarked:

          "How to build a trebuchet" (The paper trebuchet linked here offers an interesting early experience for your students. Download the PDF, print on light cardboard, cut out, assemble and throw a grape.)


          The Gray Company Trebuchet page

          The Discovery Channel Catapult site

          Personal Trebuchet:
          Tabletop Artillery

          Ripcord's Trebuchet stuff

          The Ballista and other siege engines:

          Photos of a medium and large Trebuchet

          Thre are several Trebuchet simulation programs. With the programs you can compute the effect of changes (more or less counterweight or a change in the size of the trebuchet components). This may be an interesting step for your stuidents.

          WinTreb is a free windows program to simulate a Trebuchet. It was available on the West Point web site (it was written by a professor) but is no longer there. There is a copy at

          "The Algorithmic Beauty of the Trebuchet" sell a $15 Windows or Mac program

          ATREB available from for $20


          • #6
            Great links, thanks... now how about...

            Thanks for the great links. Good material here! I got to thinking about less traditional ideas that might work as well when watching a coiled spring wound around an overhead garage door shaft. Could something like this have enough oomph to snap a lever arm? Can you picture a throwing arm connected to a shaft/pivot that had a set of springs on either side. If this was capable of swinging the arm it would allow a tremendous amount of adjustability by rotating the springs, more or less, in quarter turn increments. Perhaps something similar to a mouse trap in function.


            • #7
              I would be thinking about something like a clay pidgeon thrower. Stretch up the spring when you **** it and PULL!
              Arbo & Thor (The Junkyard Dog)
              The Next Loud Noise You Hear Is Me!


              • #8
                I saw one of those on tv once. These crazy brittish farmers built a huge one to throw cars with. Man, wouldn't that be cool?
                Art is dangerous!


                • #9
                  One crazy dude built one to throw himself into a river ... sorta a sideways high dive. Could be the next hit at Raging Waters like theme parks.



                  • #10
                    I haven't built a catapult recently or have plans to build one anytime soon...but i'm thinking you should put more than one pivot point or elbow on the arm