Mini Siege Engines

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Introduction: Mini Siege Engines

About: I'm a writer, maker, and educator who's on a mission to better the world through hands-on engineering projects. Pledge on Patreon.com/LanceMakes

Catapults - a classic and exciting engineering project that introduces students to fundamental ideas in physics and engineering like energy transformation, trajectory, and structural strength.

If you enjoy this project, then please consider pledging on Patreon.

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Step 1: Materials

Please message me to report broken links. All of these materials are used in my other Instructables for kids, so your purchases can be used across multiple projects.

Step 2: Simple Catapult

To fire:

  • Load the projectile
  • Firmly hold down the front of the catapult
  • Pinch the cube under the basket and pull down, then release

Step 3: Leverpult

To fire:

  • Load the projectile
  • Hold down the base from inside the support structure
  • Firmly and quickly press on the lever. Do not strike the lever with a fist or other object or the hinge may break

Step 4: Slingshot

To fire:

  • Load the projectile
  • Firmly hold the front of the slingshot, or grasp the front of the slingshot as shown in the video
  • Pull back on the sling and release

Step 5: Advanced Ideas

A straightforward advancement of the Catapult project is to add two baskets instead of one.

A wacky design, dubbed the Confused Catapult, incorporates two catapult arms onto one frame. Making catapult arms of different lengths allows the user to enjoy a wider range of trajectory options.

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    29 Comments

    this is really cool

    i wish it was buyable

    Hi - could you please list the materials for the catapult? For some reason the materials list shows up like this on this page:

    {"context":{"you-image":{},"spinner":{"jQuery110202310703694010483":521},"location":{"href":"https://www.instructables.com/editInstructable/publish/EF6GG4YH173P8OO","origin":"https://www.instructables.com","protocol":"http:","username":"","password":"","host":"www.instructables.com","hostname":"www.instructables.com","port":"","pathname":"/editInstructable/publish/EF6GG4YH173P8OO","search":"","hash":""},"jQuery110202310703694010483":1,"gtmHasClickListenerTag":true,"b":{"sizzle-1444572116521":{"parentNode":["9933 46",149]}},"h":{}},"selector":"#editor-Object-185"}

    Thank you!

    Hi - could you please list the materials for the catapult? For some reason the materials list shows up like this on this page:

    {"context":{"you-image":{},"spinner":{"jQuery110202310703694010483":521},"location":{"href":"https://www.instructables.com/editInstructable/publish/EF6GG4YH173P8OO","origin":"https://www.instructables.com","protocol":"http:","username":"","password":"","host":"www.instructables.com","hostname":"www.instructables.com","port":"","pathname":"/editInstructable/publish/EF6GG4YH173P8OO","search":"","hash":""},"jQuery110202310703694010483":1,"gtmHasClickListenerTag":true,"b":{"sizzle-1444572116521":{"parentNode":["9933 46",149]}},"h":{}},"selector":"#editor-Object-185"}

    Thank you!

    Thanks for asking - I've added a materials section

    This is one of the things I have to do for a project that's due I think in 3 weeks, better get started.I think I'm gonna go with the slingshot my personal tool of mischief (^w^)

    1 reply

    where do I find the instructions for the slingshot?

    Awesome! the projectiles really fly far!

    i love all your projects. It's really awesome.do you teach simple machicens in your projects? pleas give me a hint. i am trying to figure it out :-(

    Love all of these! Made them all in preparation for a class I am teaching. I figured out how to modify the Lever-pult into Torsion catapult by gluing regular cubes at the pivot point to your frame, and gluing drilled cubes below them. You can string a loop of nylon string through both holes (and the holes on the swing arm) and hold them with 1/2 craft sticks on both sides: Wind them up and you get a powerful torsion launch.

    Also working on gravity swinging catapult and a trebuchet based on your framework. Pictures to come.

    1 reply

    Hey, glad to hear that you've made good use of these lessons. I'd love to see some pictures of how you redesigned!

    all your projects are awesome!!:) i'm going to show my friends. where do you get the cubes you use? do you get them in large or small amounts?

    1 reply

    Thank you! You can buy the cubes here:

    http://www.americanwoodcrafterssupply.com/catalog/?blocks&show=category&productCategoryID=6005&productCategoryIDs=6005

    To get corks, do you just save them from bottles or do you by them en masse from somewhere?

    1 reply

    i buy them at hobby lobby.

    this is awesome!

    Quite simply splendid!

    I like this very much. How can I make this without the craft cubes? Are they really necessary?

    1 reply

    The cubes aren't necessary - I use them because it's what I use in all of my projects. I don't know what you have access to, so if I were you I'd rummage around my home for materials or visit a craft or hardware store. Good luck!

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    And again congrats for being a winner in the Education Contest! Great project!