Picture of Quick-n-Dirty Trebuchet
No Tools, No Drilling, No Cutting, No Lumber, No Saw, No Hardware, No Need to wait for your allowance, Super Easy, Super Cheap, Fast Build.

You probably already have everything necessary to build this Trebuchet in your house right now.

It's made out of:
9 Chopsticks*
2 Toothpicks
3/4" or larger masking tape
2 rubberbands
3 paper clips
Something for a weight - I used a fishing weight 5.75oz or 166g - it could handle twice that though.

The complete tool list:

  • I used the better Bamboo ones you buy - 20 for 3.50 at Amazon. I didn't buy these, I've had them for years. They also make imitations of this style in hard plastic. They would probably work great also. The ones I used are 10.25" or 26cm. They are not fancy, no artwork or lacquer. This was an ideal length. You could probably use the free ones from take away, but they are shorter and lighter. You probably wouldn't be able to do quite as much weight, or fling as far. You could probably use lacquer ones also but they are expensive and it would be harder to keep it together as the tape wouldn't stick to the lacquer as easily. They are often shorter also. You could also try it with pencils but once again, they are shorter so you wouldn't get the performance that you get out of these chopsticks.

This video shows you what the finished trebuchet looks like.

This video lets you see it fly.

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yapoyo2 years ago
would bamboo skewers work?
nfathin4 years ago
hey , really a saver for my sci project , but i dun get y my trebuchet cannot shot ? the sling is a necessary? and short or long sling is better? thks
youThat's a COOL trebuchet.. I actually just had to build one the very next day that I saw this... I'm adding some pictures to show you mine, and as you can see I made some adjustments to your instructions (like using a cotton-string, and I used some tools like glue and a knife...)
Nice, good for a school project! lots-o-fun
SFHandyman (author)  Peter_Feliest6 years ago
You made one! Yay. I love that. It looks great. My tape let go after a few months. The string is an improvement. You made a lot of improvements. The X-brace on the front looks especially nice.
ur instructions ar great :)
Actually this treb is an ongoing project... Still trying to make it that much better or authentic looking.
I've added a release mechanism and a proper sling and a net. See pictures for details. In the net picture, there is projectile inside which is about one cm cube for LOW LOW trajectory and glued 4 of them together for a higher trajectory, my treb has a range of about 2 meters.
riceman5954 years ago
the toothpick support did not work well. i added a lower support. pencils work great I built it with me Amego
iApple guy4 years ago
how far dose it launch?
if you used pencils inseatd of chop sticks would that work as well

SFHandyman (author)  instructable doggie5 years ago
I don't see why not. Give it a try. It will be shorter but should work fine.
Goalie15 years ago
Wow!! That is really cool!
SFHandyman (author)  Goalie15 years ago
madvillain5 years ago
what is the ammunition for this?
SFHandyman (author)  madvillain5 years ago
It is the cap from a pen.
Matt4_166 years ago
This is pretty sweet i just made one except i didn't have toothpicks so i used extra paper clips (1.5 paperclips for a toothpick) and i used duct tape. mine throws up more than over though.
SFHandyman (author)  Matt4_166 years ago
That's great.
jc89526 years ago
My school hosts a regional competition for the National Science Bowl for high school students every year with the winner going on to the national competition in Washington, DC. This year I was in charge of finding some sort of competitive project for the teams to build and compete with during the lunch break. I chose your quick and dirty trebuchet and made a kit for each team. I made a few changes to your plans. I used 12" long 1/4" cut dowels instead of chopsticks since I didn’t have a cheap source of chopsticks. I did not give them rubber bands and instead they were to tape the paperclips on for the axle. They were given a 200 g weight with a loop of string taped to it for the weight. The projectile was a mini binder clip with a loop of string tied to it. The complete kit contained the 9 dowels, a roll of masking tape, 4 paper clips, the 200g weight with loop of string attached, mini binder clip with loop of string attached, your printed instructions as a guide and a sheet explaining the rules of the competition. It worked out quite well. The teams were given a copy of your plans as a guide and 20 minutes to build their device. The competition was they were to launch the projectile three times and it had to land inside a track 4’ wide each time. The distances of the two best of the three throws were added together for their score with a foul (outside the lines) counting as zero distance. We had 12 teams participate and the winner had a score of about 44.5 feet. They all had fun and I think learned something too.
SFHandyman (author)  jc89526 years ago
That is so excellent. 44.5 feet! Wow. This makes me feel so great. That's why I make Instructables. Where is your school? Any video or photos? Thanks again.
Sorry I don't have any photos or video. I should have brought my camera along. I am a physics prof. at the Univ. of Arkansas - Fort Smith. We host a regional competition every year for the U.S. Dept. of Energy's National Science Bowl. ( http://nationalsciencebowl.energy.gov )
Sounds fun id love to compete in sotn like tht
SFHandyman (author)  jc89526 years ago
That's cool. I'm just really happy that you could use it and had so much fun. Thanks so much for letting me know.
jc8952 jc89526 years ago
I forgot to add that I also gave them toothpicks for the cross bracing.
kitkaty6 years ago
actaully the part where i fit the broom in is difficult for me..so any suggestions?
SFHandyman (author)  kitkaty6 years ago
I cant know what is going wrong without seeing it. Can you post a photo somewhere?
acaully nevermind, I got it to work..sry for bothering you
SFHandyman (author)  kitkaty6 years ago
No bother. Glad it's working.
somoko26 years ago
I have a project due tomorrow and I am building this trebuchet. It is multiplied by 4 and tennis balls do not fly out of the sling. how do I make it work.
SFHandyman (author)  somoko26 years ago
There is no way this treb can throw a tennis ball when increased by only 4x. The max a 4x increase can throw is the weight of two quarters.

A quarter weighed on my little cooking scale weighs 5.7g (2 to 3x as heavy as the 2-3g pen cap). Your tennis ball weighs 58g. 20 to 30x heavier than my pen cap. If you scaled this trebuchet up proportionately it would need to be at least 20x larger to throw a tennis ball.

Try throwing something that weighs less than 2 quarters and use a weight of at least 1.5 lbs.

  • This is not scientific measurements. It's just an approximation to illustrate the problem with your design.
Part of a project like this is doing the calculations. 4x size requires 4x the weight and can only throw 4x the weight that I threw.

Crumple up a single piece of paper and cover it with a little bit of aluminum foil and try to throw that. If it's still too heavy, tear the paper in half and try again.
chadandjody6 years ago
I've been looking for good instructions on making a trebuchet or catapult. Yours is by far is the best explained and has the best photos. Very nice.
SFHandyman (author)  chadandjody6 years ago
Thanks. I'm glad you like it.
8doug86 years ago
its cool and all but there is a problem, a trebuche is supposed to use a sling firing mechanism and a counter weight. you only got the counter weight, no sling.
SFHandyman (author)  8doug86 years ago
The sling is mounted on the pen caps that I'm flinging. It should stay with the boom in a traditional Trebuchet, but this way you just make a custom sling to fit what you want to throw. So the sling is there. It is the string at the end of the boom that holds the projectile.
ok thats what I meant I didn't notice the pen caps I was short on time and only saw your videos sorry about the confusion if you happened to think of a way to make a sling that stays attached that would be nice
good job
SFHandyman (author)  kiss my donkey6 years ago
Thank you
pieboy19927 years ago
oh.... it's a minature.... i thought it was a full scale model. but still this is pretty kick ass, you guys got the right concept. next step: FULL SCALE MODEL!!! WOOOOO
SFHandyman (author)  pieboy19926 years ago
09876549697 years ago
awesome i built mine out of knex and it gos about 16 ft
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