Could I build a giant crossbow?

using a section of a leaf spring from a truck, put it on a substantial piece of lumber, pull it back with an electric winch and remotely fire broomstick sized bolts

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You can but I would have to agree with the others. I know of this weird crossbow that's like a bazooka of the medieval times. It's carried by two people and fires fat bolts (they kinda' look like they contain explosives or something). 
You might lose some fingers but its possible although the question remains why would u want to
i think a better question is: why WOULDN'T you want to? =P<br /> <br /> there are a few blueprints on the web for a ballista. if you search hard enough you'll find a good one that has clear instructions.<br />
nieks8 years ago
It is possible. The most difficult part would probably be a spring that is made correctly, and the trigger. Maybe you could instead of a crossbow, build a ballista or scorpion, like those in these links:

http://www.legionxxiv.org/ballista.htm
http://www.legionxxiv.org/catapulta/
jtobako8 years ago
I'm going to go with 'only if you can find a trigger that will work'. A truck spring is going to deflect what, 3 inches under a ton (2000+ pounds) of weight? Can you make a trigger that can handle the weight and quickly and reliably release? Without it trying to rip your hand off when it 'pops' off the string?