Picture of Mini Siege Engines

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

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Step 1: 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 2: 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 3: 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 4: Advanced Ideas

Picture of 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.

JenH13 months ago

Awesome! the projectiles really fly far!

bdoorah6 months ago

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

cskinner78 months ago

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.

WYE_Lance (author)  cskinner78 months ago
Hey, glad to hear that you've made good use of these lessons. I'd love to see some pictures of how you redesigned!
kurtwied1 year ago
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?
WYE_Lance (author)  kurtwied1 year ago
Thank you! You can buy the cubes here:
To get corks, do you just save them from bottles or do you by them en masse from somewhere?
i buy them at hobby lobby.
kurtwied1 year ago
this is awesome!
kevmcd1 year ago
Quite simply splendid!
yapoyo2 years ago
I like this very much. How can I make this without the craft cubes? Are they really necessary?

WYE_Lance (author)  yapoyo2 years ago
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!
ynze2 years ago
And again congrats for being a winner in the Education Contest! Great project!
WYE_Lance (author)  ynze2 years ago
Thanks! I am so psyched!!
poofrabbit2 years ago
Congratulations on being a winner in the Big and Small contest!
WYE_Lance (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
Why thank you - you're quite gracious. I've seen your positive feedback all over the site. Keep it up, and good luck in future contests :)
Awe you are so kind! I was excited to read you are in talks with instructables to sell a kit of one or more of your instructables! I think that is wonderful!! Your partner in education, poofrabbit
person%2 years ago

i used to enjoy making shooting thingies, i once made a thing similar to the skewer shooter, but it was aluminum (from cans) and it used a thick red rubber band and it can shoot sticks and pencils as well, but it wasn't as strong. i used to sell them as well. they don't reload very quickly and is not very accurate, so i use it close range. i also made a lot of similar shooters, one of then is a sliding one for extra power, and one that is about 2-3 centimetres long for hiding it from teachers.

i still think that the ones i just said do too much damage and gets me into a lot of trouble, so now i making paper wasp shooters.
rimar20002 years ago
Very fun for kids!
snoo2 years ago
this will be great for food fights!!!!!!!
batonas2 years ago
I love all your project, they are simple, afordable for anyone and great for children physic education, way more fun than reading a boreing book.
Keep up the good work.
P.S. you could sell diy sets for these project I think people would be glad to buy it.
WYE_Lance (author)  batonas2 years ago
Wow, thanks for the kind words :) I've been talking with the Instructables HQ about selling the rubberband helicopters as kits - hopefully we'll see them in the store soon!