The Curiously Strong Trebuchet is a miniature trebuchet designed in a way such that it can be disassembled and stored in an Altoids tin. It uses standard materials like wood, threaded metal rods, and other hardware. It also uses common tools most every hobbyist would have in their garage. For these reasons, The Curiously Strong Trebuchet would be a great weekend project.

According to Wikipedia "a trebuchet works by using the mechanical advantage principle of leverage to propel a stone or other projectile much farther and more accurately than a catapult, which swings off the ground. The sling and the arm swing up to the vertical position, where, usually assisted by a hook, one end of the sling releases, propelling the projectile towards the target with great force."

My trebuchet is a bit different than some of the others that you see, in that uses a rubber band instead of a counterweight. I opted for rubber bands because they gave me better results with this particular trebuchet than weights and they are much more compact. This kind of siege engine is called a spring trebuchet, a form of a torsion trebuchet.

Here are some links, in case you want to get some more background info before you start:

NOTE: The measurements in the steps ahead assume you are using an Altoids tin, or any other container of the same size.


Remember to vote for me in the Pocket Sized Contest if you like my Instructable!

Step 1: Parts and Tools

You will need the following in order to build the curiously strong trebuchet.

X2 -#10-24 tee nut
X3 -#6-32 round head slotted screw
X3 -#6-32 machine screw nut
X2 -#10-24 rod coupling nut
X1 -#10-24 threaded metal rod (should be about a foot long)
X1 -Altoids tin
X1 -String
X1 -Cheerios
X1 -Rectangular stick of good quality wood (I used poplar)
X1 -An assortment of sizes and strengths of rubber bands
X1 -Straightened coat hanger or other wire
X1 -Standard rubber aquarium tubing (make sure that it's a snug, but not tight fit over the machine screws)

-5-minute epoxy
-Tin snips
-Cordless/electric drill and drill bits (a cordless drill will suffice for most of this project, but an electric drill really speeds up some processes)
-Hacksaw/bolt cutter (again, a hacksaw will suffice, but a bolt cutter will work better)
-An assortment of pliers
-Dremel tool
-Center Punch
-Heavy hammer
-Coping saw
-Diagonal cutters
<p>Love it! Made this with my kids. We epoxied ground-down washers rather than tee nuts to the lid (epoxied after these photos--worked as shown, but epoxying made for one less assembly step). We set some nuts on the uprights for consistent assembly height, and we used wing nuts to fasten as suggested in another comment. We found thread tape works well to keep the arm posts in the arm block, and we get great distance (easily flings payload across a 15-ft room and hits the opposite wall). Great project--thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>This is a catapult. a trebuchet uses a weight to fling the ammo foward<br></p>
what is the diffrence between a trebuchet and a catupult? it looks the same?
<p>while a catapult uses torsion/tension, the trebuchet uses a counter-weight</p>
i saw this years ago when i had an altoids tin lying around. i meant to say what a great idea it was. although, the rubber band disqualifies this as a true trebuchet. I actually used fishing weights on mine to power it and can get about a 6 foot range under ideal conditions. Still great i dea
Yeah, I originally used a small weight too, but I wanted to keep it compact, so I switched to a rubber band. As you said, not a true trebuchet but it's still fun!
i love your carpet... its sooo 70s
Its not carpet; it is just a spare piece of fabric.
its cool where did u get it <br>
oh... it still looks sweet. the 70's was a good decade, i wasnt alive but still good
how long are the machine screws and where did you get them. Also where do I find the rod coupling nut
please tell me you dont use cheerios in this
where do i get altoids tins
i wonder if you could set it up to collapse into the tin for transport...<br />
It already does. &nbsp;(read on in the Instructable)
Oh cool I&nbsp;didn't notice that.<br />
This weekend, my son & I built this (with a few minor alterations). We had a lot of fun; thanks for the instuctions!
Your welcome. I love how you used wing nuts instead of tee nuts. Thanks for posting a picture. It is so neat to see other peoples interpretations of your project.
It's not exactly a Trebuchet, but good job!
Thank you to all who voted for me, even though I just missed getting into the finals. I hope you enjoy(ed) my instructable.
I'm sorry to rain on your party but this is not a trebuchet. Trebuchets are traction or gravity powered. This is tension powered.
I would have loved to have this going through school. Sweet purple background, is that your carpet. I hope it is.
It's actually just a piece of fabric.
Remember to vote if you haven't already done so!
If I remember right, this is a simplified version of a traction trebuchet. In a traction trebuchet, people would pull on ropes to swing the short arm, thus hurling the object. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://members.iinet.net.au/~rmine/htt/ttspot.html">http://members.iinet.net.au/~rmine/htt/ttspot.html</a> <br/><br/>It is still a trebuchet, even if it's a different type.<br/>
That is exactly right. This is a simplified traction trebuchet.
This is pretty <em>mint'(note pun intended).</em><br/>
That's very boss.
Intriguing. :)
Um, technically this is a catapult... trebuchets use a counterweight to fling the projectile.
After some research, I confirmed that my creation is a trebuchet, not a catapult. A catapult uses a twisted rope or twine, or a piece of springy wood to propel the object. A trebuchet uses mechanical advantage and leverage to propel the object. Plus, a trebuchet has a rotating arm and a catapult does not. You are right that most trebuchets do use a counterweight, but not all trebuchets do.
A catapult is a machine that can throw things. There are many kinds of catapult, some of which have specific names. If it uses a falling weight, its a trebuchet. If it uses a bundle of rope, its a torsion catapult. Spin? its centrifugal. Most catapults have at least one rotating arm (ballistae usually have two). All trebuchet use a falling weight. Sometimes its an explicit lump, attached to the arm, but there are "torsion trebuchet" that use the weight of humans attached to dangling ropes. Your machine uses a spring as its power source. It doesn't fit into the trebuchet subcategory.
This type of trebuchet is called a spring trebuchet (<a rel="nofollow" href="http://thehurl.wikidot.com/trebuchettypes:spring-trebuchet">link</a>).<br/>
This is awesome - really great job. I like all the detail.
Remember to rate my Instructable!

About This Instructable




Bio: Please subscribe, rate, vote, and comment.
More by Ethanal:Flip Video Macro Lens The Curiously Strong Trebuchet:  A Pocket Sized Medieval Siege Engine 
Add instructable to: