Introduction: Altoid Catapult

Picture of Altoid Catapult

This is my first instructable, so if you feel it necessary, tell me i suck bad at explaining stuff, and ill try to improve it.

This is a catapult built into an altoid can. It uses pretty common items:

1x Altoid can
2x Clothes Pins (ones with springs)
2x Toothpicks
2x Rubber Bands (Preferably small ones)
1x Assorted piece of flat wood.

Tools Needed:

Hot Glue Gun
Small Metal Saw

First thing you should know is that not everyone of these things turns out perfect, or even useable. If you dont think any of the things I used to make this is perfect, do not be afraid to change it. The one that i made during this instructable turned out to be a flop, because i tried some new methods, compared to the last one. Ill try to include notes to help you make a beautiful catapult.

Step 1: Prepare Fulcrum

Picture of Prepare Fulcrum

In this step you need:

Toothpicks, or whatever round piece of wood you used (i used a "bamboo skewer", which turned out to suck) Try to use something as thin as possible

Clothes Pins.

First, Remove the metal spring things from the wood of the pins, and strech them out a little, so the legs are about 1/2 an inch apart when they stand up.

Next, cut a piece of the toothpick that is just a little longer than the width of the can. Now, shave the toothpick down so that it fits smoothly into the hole of the springs. Shave it down with whatever you feel like.. scissors, file, teeth... and make sure to clean up the mess.

Step 2: Throwing Arm Addition

Picture of Throwing Arm Addition

First, to finish the fulcrum, a hole must be sawed into the side of the can. Saw it in line with the inner end of the little stub that holds the cover on. (See pictures) Make sure your toothpick can fit into the slot.

For the throwing arm, cut a piece of the clothes pin's wood that contains the largest (widest) hole [see pictures]. Use a roundfile, or almost anything to make this hole just a little bigger, so that the toothpick can go in, and not be higher than the flat part of the pin.

Now, cut a piece of the long, flat wood. It should span from one end of the can to half way between the cut and the other end. (See pics if needed)
This board should not be anywhere near as wide as the space between where the two springs will be.

Now, hot glue the piece with the hole to the piece of wood where shown in the picture... do not leave the toothpick in there while gluing.

Now slide the toothpick through the hole in the can, and through the first spring, then the arm, then the other spring.

Proceed to glue the legs of the springs into place... DO NOT WORRY ABOUT OVERDO-ING IT WITH THE GLUE. i ended up having to create a sea of glue on the legs near the end, then tend to pull up easily.

Step 3: Start the Trigger

Picture of Start the Trigger

Glue The Holding end of the arm (arm that fires the item) to the can... you'll see why later.

Step 4: Take a Damn Break

Picture of Take a Damn Break

Go sip on a drink for a little, while the glue dries, and you think about what you gotta do next.

Step 5: Final Steps

Picture of Final Steps
Break that glue bond that you just formed (before the break). The purpose of this was just so that the arm would have a little more friction when coming up, and could be stopped by a trigger mechanism.

Also, add a little box, to hold items you are shooting better. (Pic 2)

Cut the end off one of the toothpicks, to make a small trigger.

Now tape/glue (i suggest a heavy amount of glue.. even though it sucks to change the band once it breaks i used tap in the example, and it didnt stick enough) to the bottom of the can. (pic 4) Now turn the throwing arm the right way, and rig up the two parts of the rubber bands.. one by one.

Once they are on, glue a little bit at the end, to prevent the bands from slipping off.

Now, put that little stick (aka. trigger) between the arm and the can. Now load it and pull the trigger back to fire.

This video.. i made it about a year ago.. and had to convert it to swf to show it on mywebsite.. and not take up a ton of space.. but since then, i lost the original avi, because we got a new computer, and now i have to convert it back to mpeg, so sorry about the brandings on the video..


peanutbutterman (author)2009-10-23

can u use a c-clamp to hold down the altoid tin?

Heywasup (author)2008-03-21

ur pics arnt good get better ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;l

chanmantheone (author)Heywasup2009-03-17

its aren't not arnt

Zrowny (author)chanmantheone2009-08-16

And it's it's not its.

MadBricoleur (author)Zrowny2009-10-01

LOL two way whammy.

Heywasup (author)2009-07-10


toogood (author)2007-05-07

if those altoids are made in britan ,why can't you get them hear?

mchs60chip (author)toogood2009-06-28

That's weird i can generally find these at the local grocery stores and pharmacies and i live in the U.S. on the west coast

11richie21 (author)toogood2009-06-25

maybe they just say they are but they lie to charge almost 2 bucks each on them! idk...

sharlston (author)toogood2009-05-03

you can try morrisons where the toffee and things are thats where i get them from

stin6516 (author)2009-05-24

try putting a hole in the bottom to tie the rubber band to

dodo91 (author)2009-02-15

The video doesn't work. it says its a private video. I have to be your friend to watch it!

agent69akasexy (author)dodo912009-02-16

all fixed.

dodo91 (author)agent69akasexy2009-03-31

thanks for the fix. it looks good, and this is AWESOME!

N1CK4ND0 (author)2009-03-14

YES!! Another altoids tin project!!! lol I've made so many things out of altoids tins, I'll have to add this to my collection ASAP.

MattSwan (author)2009-03-08

why not try making the fulcrum more centered and lower in the can so that you can put the lid back on and sneak it into your pocket during class?

Your Average Guy (author)2009-01-31

"You suck bad at explaining stuff" ok i told you, happy now?

very good now do you want a cookie?

pyro8 (author)2008-03-30

This is pretty good for a first, it's a little confusing but pretty good. After all if haven't even made one thing yet. LOL!!!

soccermuffin (author)2008-03-19

I used a filed down nail as my fulcrum to support the arm of the catapult, it seems to be more stable than toothpicks.

clwatkins10 (author)2008-02-26

u need better pics :(

D4c3y11 (author)2007-08-22

Those eyes are green =/

engineer_01 (author)2007-06-12

I dont get it can you put more pictures at the rubberband part.

yellow elephant (author)2007-03-17

i dont have wooden clothes hangers. what else can i use?

Hmm. Thats tricky. But i suppose you could use any piece of wood with a tooth pick sized hole in it. The clothes pin's metal parts are the only thing used, they stand up straight and harness the axel through their holes. P.s. You can get 20 clothes pins for a dollar at the dollar store.

can i use the springs of a pen?

i_need_fire (author)2007-03-05

eeeewwwwwwwwww duuude what is up wit yo face p.s. i an see a buger up in ur nose

Monkeybo1 (author)2006-10-11

Very Nice! 5ive stars! *****

theRIAA (author)2006-10-07

so does the tin close?

agent69akasexy (author)theRIAA2006-10-07

it closes if you remove the axel (suggested). You can store it inside there along with everything else.. it helps keep it discrete. if you wanted to be extra sneaky, you could print out a picture of mints, and put it over the whole thing, so atleast throw people off if they open it really fast.

Black Sheep (author)2006-10-07

omg awsome please video it because mine is crap and i want to see how it should work

PetervG (author)2006-10-07


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