Introduction: Cardapult, Quicker and Easier Method

Picture of Cardapult, Quicker and Easier Method
A lot of people have been making my business card catapult as just a fun little toy to play with and don't really need it to look clean and pretty. It can also sometimes be difficult to glue the cards together well enough that they don't fall apart. For this reason I have made a simplified construction method that needs less tools and time. This method also makes the card a little more durable and forgiving to abuse. The downside is that it is not as attractive as the original method.

This one can easily be made in less than an hour. For the assembly video below it took about 40 minutes, and I was taking my time to make sure and explain everything and get it right. So 30 minutes would be possible even for a first time build.

Here is a PDF of the Instructable that includes all the secondary images and annotations.

Here is a video explaining the assembly

It isn't really demonstrated much in action in that video, but it is pretty much the same as the original card in function.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Picture of Tools and Supplies

You only need a few things to make this.
Cardstock (the thicker the better, I use 0.012" thick and wouldn't suggest anything below that)
Stapler with staples
Small rubber band

Step 2: Print Out the Pattern

Picture of Print Out the Pattern

This pattern has been simplified in many ways to make it easier to cut by hand with a pair of scissors.

Make sure the page is not being scaled when you print it if you want business card size parts.

The pattern used for the one I built in this Instrucable had a dashed line on the upper arm. I've removed that for clarification that nothing needs to be cut there.

quick.pdf is just the normal pattern and quickfilled.pdf has all the scrap pieces filled in with a gray color to make it easy to identify which parts you don't need.

Since Instructables now requires a Pro account to download files, I've uploaded them to my site so you can still download them for free. Download here

Step 3: Cut Out Parts

Picture of Cut Out Parts

Cut along every line in the pattern except for the small circles which are just to mark key staple locations.

The only cut that may be tricky is the slot along the bottom of the outside face. For this one you can bend the card in half longways and make two snips along the lines to get a cut started.

The template has the parts for two cards, so you only need to cut out half if you are just making one.

Step 4: Staple in the Large L Piece

Picture of Staple in the Large L Piece

Put the three layers of the large L shape piece between the two outside layers and align the corners.

It is a little difficult to line up all the parts and hold them in place for stapling. If you are having problems then some double sided tape could be used to help hold the layers together for stapling.

You can add staples anywhere that there are 5 layers. I would just add 3 or 4 at the extremities for now and add reinforcements after the card is completely assembled.

Step 5: Staple the Long Skinny Piece

Picture of Staple the Long Skinny Piece

The three long skinny pieces get stapled between the outside faces along the bottom of the card.

It may help to move these pieces just a hair below the edge of the outside faces to make sure there is room for the legs.

Step 6: Staple the Top Arm Together

Picture of Staple the Top Arm Together

Now three layers odd shaped piece with long skinny strips extending to the side gets stapled to the outside face rectangle.

Line up the parts on the corner opposite the flap and all along the top edge.

Step 7: Add the Small Rectangles to the Flaps

Picture of Add the Small Rectangles to the Flaps

Now bend back one of the flaps at a time and staple one of the small rectangles to each flap. If you are using standard size staples then they need to be at an angle across the flap to fit.

You will end up with a small rectangle that is not used. This can be discarded.

Step 8: Staple the Lower Arm to the Upper Arm

Picture of Staple the Lower Arm to the Upper Arm

Unlike the other version of the cardapult that only uses two layers for the lower arm, this one uses all three. Line these up and slide them into the upper arm. They need to be parallel to the angled cut and up against the top of the slot.

Once they are in place you need to place one end of a staple as close as possible to the center of the circle marked on the face of the card. The other end of the staple needs to be off to the side of the lower arm so that it can pivot around the staple.

Make sure the arm can pivot properly before moving on to the next step.

Step 9: Staple Legs Together

Picture of Staple Legs Together

The legs can be stapled together outside of the card. Put a single staple on the inside portion of the legs.

Slide them into the card and make bends so that they can fold out when extended.

Step 10: Staple the Arm Assembly to the Other Assembly

Picture of Staple the Arm Assembly to the Other Assembly

Slide the lower part of the arm assembly into the large assembly made in steps 4 and 5.

The lower arm should be resting against the large L piece and the outside face of the upper arm should be aligned with the outside face of the other assembly.

Again place one edge of a staple through the hole marked on the outside face with the other edge of the staple through the skinny part of the large L piece. Make sure the arm can pivot.

Step 11: Add Rubber Band

Picture of Add Rubber Band

Cut a small V notch on the bottom of the card directly below the V-notch on the arm. Add a small rubber band and test out the card.

Step 12: Add Reinforcement

Picture of Add Reinforcement

Add as many staples as you like in places that won't interfere with the card's movement.

You can also use pliers to press the ends of the staples flat against the card. This makes it feel better and may help a little with strength.

Step 13: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

The weight added by the staples does cut down on the power some.

Even with lots of staples this card is limited to about the same range as the glued card. However this one just starts getting floppy and hard to use with too strong of rubber bands where the glued card will break. I think if staples were added to a glued card then it would probably make a stronger card that could use stronger rubber bands and shoot farther, but I haven't tried it.

My staples were mainly just added as strength was needed. If the pattern was more planned out and consistent then it may be possible to make a more visually appealing card with this method. If anybody comes up with cool staple patterns I would love to see them.

I think this would also look pretty cool done with rivets and a more durable material like plastic or metal.


yapoyo (author)2012-04-13

this sucks it just wobbles and its too small but then again i have sweaty hands...

Iron ninja (author)2011-10-02

hey could you do this step with tape i stapled both of my fingers trying to do this

the poodleo (author)2011-05-29

OMG ASWSOME!!! i was looking all over the website for the templates, because it said it would show you them. thank you SO MUCH for doing this. It's awsome.

greymatter21 (author)2011-05-23

LOL nice stapler its old fassioned;D

troym (author)2010-11-14

what size is the diamiter of your rubber band? and you should do office lines.

clide (author)troym2010-11-14

It's a size 8 rubber band, so it is about 7/8" long when held flat and 1/16" thick.

troym (author)clide2010-12-20

thanks for that i gave up a while ago when my science teacher statrted a trebuchet comp at school soo maybe in the future i guess.......

imthatguy1125 (author)2010-02-17

 Are you planning on posting your penny shooter anytime soon

clide (author)imthatguy11252010-02-18

I'm not sure, still trying to decide. I kinda got turned off of instructables by what they tried to do with the Pro memberships. They eventually improved their policy a little, but at first they were trying to strong-arm people into Pro memberships by taking away features necessary to use many instructables. And I'm not entirely convinced that they won't try it again in the future.

danm95 (author)clide2010-11-07

is there any place where we can find the disgns other than instructables for the penny shooter?

clide (author)danm952010-11-07

The Penny Shooter design files area available at Thingiverse

No detailed how-to but I do give a brief explanation.

danm95 (author)clide2010-11-08


imthatguy1125 (author)clide2010-02-18

 Yeah I agree

qwerty123969 (author)2010-08-28

lol when in doubt... ...use staples.

Spotman (author)2010-08-26

Do u have an image file than PDF

Spotman (author)2010-08-26

how do i resize it the only cardstock i have is 3.5 by 2 inches

ninja_maker (author)2010-08-24

i dont get how to make the thing it turns on

clide (author)ninja_maker2010-08-24

It is just pivoting around one end of the staple, so you just have to make sure that only one side of the staple is going through the arm so it can rotate freely.

ninja_maker (author)2010-08-23

does the picture of the pattern make more than just one cardupult

clide (author)ninja_maker2010-08-24

Yes, it makes 2 cardapults

ninja_maker (author)2010-08-23

you should make one on version 2

rocksalt2342 (author)2010-08-19

you should make an instructable on the penny shooting card.

user1997 (author)2010-02-21

can u  please post a version of the adobe file that can be accessed by non pro users????

clide (author)user19972010-02-21

On step 2 there is a link right above the pictures for a .zip file that contains the drawings.

stevenx590 (author)2010-02-17

Where can i print the paper thingy ?

knota (author)2010-02-12

I thought it would be cool if you could enlarge it so it is almost as big as a normal piece of paper.  It would give you more add space.
I was also thinking that you should make a valetine cardapult.

tehgreatiam (author)2009-05-20

i did this with the cardboard you find on the back of the notebooks. i found it easier to staple the margins of the printed sheet to that and cut it out instead of printing it on the kind of paper you have, which not many of us have. But a fall back on this is that the cardboard will strain and sometimes bend into an unfixable state. A great alternative are the plastic gift cards, old library cards, credit cards, etc. anything that will not bend from pressure. the catch with plastic cards, is that you cannot staple them. Use super glue. And for the axles, heat a needle with a lighter or stove and stick it through. repeat it over until you burn it through. If you need to cut through the 5 layers of plastic, use the same method you did with the needle to slice through. It may take longer, but trust me, the final product won't turn into mush if sat on, left in the rain, etc.

clide (author)tehgreatiam2009-05-20

Good tips, thanks for adding them. Got any pics of your plastic Cardapult?

kid1717 (author)clide2009-07-07

am not the guy that made the plastic one but ill try it and upload but until then I made a multicolored cardstock one I used the quick template and just glued it and it works great!! I would be willing to pay about 5 bucks if u would send me a set of regular cardapult parts not assembled but probabily not more than five cause i dont want to get stiffed on my money no offense my email is if u would contact me it would be great but untill then heres the multy colored

uytksa (author)kid17172009-09-01

hay can u email the parts or cut outs

clide (author)uytksa2009-09-01

There is a download link that you don't need a Pro account for at the end of step 2 right before the pictures.

uytksa (author)clide2009-09-01

cant you like email me the pdf plzz

tehgreatiam (author)clide2009-05-21 soon as...i fiiinnnd myyy cameraaaa

dombeef (author)tehgreatiam2009-05-24

When? lol

tehgreatiam (author)dombeef2009-07-08

yeah, it really pissed me off to find it mangled by my dog (damn you oreo!!!). i should really get them a chew toy or close my door when i leave. i tried to build second one, but i lost interest and now its sitting in a small basket on my desk with some pencils and pens gathering dust. maybe ill get back to it one day.

dombeef (author)tehgreatiam2009-07-09

Oh ok

superhornt (author)2009-07-06

i just made one- it works great! the wad of paper hit the ceiling. there's only 1 complaint i have- the legs won't come out, so it is now a handheld unit.

wonder4 (author)2009-06-02

This is so great! (a lot greater than using circular pieces as pivots and having to make sure not to accidentally glue them on.) The only drawback is that when the legs are out, the rubber band cannot be too powerful, or the small space risks being crushed. This is not really much of a problem though, considering that some staples are on the side for support. thank you so much for posting this instructable!

macktns (author)2009-05-31

i just printed the template right onto one of my old 5 flex binder... i just cut out a paper sized portion of the plastic cover and stuck it in the printer. it can go way farther than my paper one because it can handle a way stronger rubber band, across a classroom at least :)

emdarcher (author)2009-05-13

you should make one with laminated parts it would probably be really strong

gmana (author)2009-05-10

awsum simple but awsum.i just made it ;)

shrek150 (author)2009-05-06


bug on fire (author)2009-04-27

i like the stapler have not tried it myself

sharlston (author)2009-04-26

does this shoot powerful?

clide (author)sharlston2009-04-26

Its not really powerful. It can shoot probably about 12 feet with a Tic-Tac with the right strength rubber band. If you also glued the parts you could probably put a stronger rubber band on it and shoot farther.

sharlston (author)clide2009-04-26

thats quite good

Kirby123456789 (author)2009-04-25

I dont have a small rubberband to ft on it. HELP

sharlston (author)Kirby1234567892009-04-26

get a big thin rubberband and loop it

clide (author)Kirby1234567892009-04-25

Depending on the strength of the normal size rubber band doubling it up like notveryreal said may make it too strong. You can give it a try though, and if that doesn't work you can cut a section of a larger thin rubber band and glue the ends back together with superglue.

Just double a normal sized rubber band.

About This Instructable




More by clide:Trebuchet business card - TrebucardIris greeting cardIris business card
Add instructable to: