The Curiously Strong Trebuchet: A Pocket Sized Medieval Siege Engine

Picture of The Curiously Strong Trebuchet:  A Pocket Sized Medieval Siege Engine
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!
giike33 years ago
what is the diffrence between a trebuchet and a catupult? it looks the same?
Pettrocity4 years ago
Burnsides4 years ago
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
Ethanal (author)  hyperactiveguy4 years ago
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!
GianniMora5 years ago
i love your carpet... its sooo 70s
Ethanal (author)  GianniMora5 years ago
Its not carpet; it is just a spare piece of fabric.
viper64 Ethanal4 years ago
its cool where did u get it
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
(YOUR N4 years ago
please tell me you dont use cheerios in this
(YOUR N4 years ago
where do i get altoids tins
Crakur5 years ago
i wonder if you could set it up to collapse into the tin for transport...
Ethanal (author)  Crakur5 years ago
It already does.  (read on in the Instructable)
Crakur Ethanal5 years ago
Oh cool I didn't notice that.
ericmccloy6 years ago
This weekend, my son & I built this (with a few minor alterations). We had a lot of fun; thanks for the instuctions!
Ethanal (author)  ericmccloy6 years ago
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.
robotkid2496 years ago
It's not exactly a Trebuchet, but good job!
Ethanal (author) 6 years ago
Thank you to all who voted for me, even though I just missed getting into the finals. I hope you enjoy(ed) my instructable.
bowmaster6 years ago
I'm sorry to rain on your party but this is not a trebuchet. Trebuchets are traction or gravity powered. This is tension powered.
bleounis6 years ago
I would have loved to have this going through school. Sweet purple background, is that your carpet. I hope it is.
Ethanal (author)  bleounis6 years ago
It's actually just a piece of fabric.
Ethanal (author) 6 years ago
Remember to vote if you haven't already done so!
zaro123456 years ago
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. http://members.iinet.net.au/~rmine/htt/ttspot.html

It is still a trebuchet, even if it's a different type.
Ethanal (author)  zaro123456 years ago
That is exactly right. This is a simplified traction trebuchet.
coreyt6 years ago
This is pretty mint'(note pun intended).
Brother_D6 years ago
That's very boss.
Intriguing. :)
Charles IV6 years ago
Um, technically this is a catapult... trebuchets use a counterweight to fling the projectile.
Ethanal (author)  Charles IV6 years ago
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.
rjnerd Ethanal6 years ago
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.
Ethanal (author)  rjnerd6 years ago
This type of trebuchet is called a spring trebuchet (link).
myrrhmaid6 years ago
Tennis Fan6 years ago
This is awesome - really great job. I like all the detail.
Ethanal (author) 6 years ago
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