The Office Siege Weapon Series: The Pencil Trebuchet

Picture of The Office Siege Weapon Series: The Pencil Trebuchet
this is the ultimant office war-waging weapon. now, you can have this beutiful piece of history on your office desk for only 5$ or less. this project may look complicated, but really it shouldnt take you long to be firing paperclips and staples across the cubicles. (Its too bad i didnt know about instructables during the office supplies challenge!)
i am not responsible for anything you hapen to do with this. it would be a good idea not to aim staples at people, by the way.

P.S. (this is my first instructable, please help me out with constructive critism. Thanks!)

If you enjoyed this ible, you'll really like my pencil ballista:
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
if you are like me, i usually look at the materials and say 'too many, not gonna do it.' but trust me, most of this stuff you can find sitting at your desk.

What you need for materials is:

-A box of 12 or more pencils(1$)

-Thick paperclips(1$)

-tape (I used electrical tape) (50 cents)

-rubber bands (1$)

-film canister for counterwheight (I used pill bottle ) ( fill with whatever, fishwheight,rocks, batteries, ect.)

as for tools, all you really need is:

-Drill or dremel tool with really small drillbit (about the width of paperclip)

-exacto-knife or pocketknife

-glue gun and glue


Step 2: Make the frame part one

Picture of Make the frame part one
to make the frame for your trebuchet, the first thing you do is cut half of the tips off of the wood end of four pencils (look at pics). glue two together at about a 60 degree angle.

now, cut an indentation about 3 inches above the eraser end of the frame on both sides. then, trim another pencil to fit in these, so that you end up with an A-frame shape. (you should have two A-frames now.) Next, drill a hole in the top of the A frame where the two pencils are joined.

Step 3: Make the frame part 2

Picture of Make the frame part 2
to conect your two A frames, cut one pencil in half. then, slot the ends like in step one and glue together the A frames at the base. Do this on both sides as shown.
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Heywasup5 years ago
does anyone else have a tendency of gluing their fingers together with krazy glue???
mo5 Heywasup5 years ago
yes,yes i do
draghi mo55 years ago
go to Google imgs and type "I Like" don't hit enter and there will be something like "I like to tape my thumbs to my hands to see what it would be like to be a dinosaur"... I glue fingers together once and a while to. also nice 'ible
1414Wes draghi4 years ago
i've glued my fingers together few times on accident
me and my bother put our hands in a jar of superglue once
the jar had a leaking tube of glue in it
Morgoroth6 years ago
What kind of distance can you get? Also, how heavy does the wieght need to be? And what kind of stuff do you usually throw?
zaro12345 (author)  Morgoroth6 years ago
well, curently, i can get about 15 feet throwing staples, pennies and such. but, if you used better string then fishing line, i'm sure you could get farther. Also, the counterwhieght varies by what you're throwing. A heavier counterwieght for a heavier projectile.
The sling is probably the part that is the most tricky for the one I am making. I could probably use fabric, but I think that would be cheating a little since I don't have any at the office and I want to make it as much as possible out of office supplies. However, I have made a sling out of one of those little empty mustard packets and some string and I think that it will work out once I get the other details fixed. How long should the sling be?
I was thinking about your 'no fabric in the office' problem...
I haven't tried building this yet so I don't have a feel for how much you need but it doesn't appear to be much...

You might look under your office chairs... many of them have the fabric pulled around the seat and/or back and stapled.  You might have enough extra sticking past the staples it could be trimmed off... then it would certainly count as coming from the office!

Either that or see if you can talk your cleaning staff out of a rag... it seems like that would be legitimate too.

That or raid the first aid kit for gauze?
Oops... I just noticed how old this thread is... ah well...
zaro12345 (author)  yumadome5 years ago
Eh, it's an old thread, but I do actually reply to comments (for the most part). Great idea, I might incorporate that into my Office Floating Arm Trebuchet instructable (when i get around to it, that is.)

zaro12345 (author)  Morgoroth6 years ago
this also depends on what you're throwing. For lighter projectiles, use a shorter legth. Heavier, longer. BTW, nice inginuity on the mustard packet. I didn't even think of that.
Thanks. I also made one out of a paper towel that works well. I doubt it would work for anything heavier than a penny, but it seems to work for that.
My Uber catapult and yes thats a heatsink as a counter weight, they can have a pencil jammed down the middle apparently... I took apart my old Xbox recently and saw the heatsink sitting there and it's pretty heavy. now tell me that's not fun
zaro12345 (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
finally, someone else who loves to take apart things. nice job by the way. looks deadly.
who doesn't like takeing things apart?!?!?!
zaro12345 (author)  brainiac7 years ago
You'd be surprised at how many people cant even take apart a mechanical pencil and put it back together.
baackkk together ? ...opps
 there's this person who was in my class in grade 6 whose mechanical pencil got jammed so she had to take the end off, and didn't know how to put it on-there was a rubber grippy thing that she didn't know could SLIDE
lol i know that is so funny like at school and u take ur frends apart and watch them put it together lol haha
O so true
i love doing that
i looove taking things apart(drives my parents crazy cause i would bye electronic toys just to take them apart for their various components)
yea people give me there junk now took me awhile to figura out it keeps me outa there hair if im preocupied taken there old {tape}answermachiens apart , i built a delecsick robot each motor works againts the other one an it does nothing but if it ever did move im sure its eyes would light up an blink
yeah check out my beer can USB hub its another child of my boredom but the major flaw in my design is that the trebuchet keeps breaking its own legs because it hates being the bastard child of an xbox and pencils as the pivot screw is also from the xbox lol
zaro12345 (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
where do the legs break? also, you might need to make it wider so the heatsink doesnt run into the legs. also, you can renforce the legs by rubberbanding popcicle sticks like you did the throwing arm
that's actually string but the legs get knock apart by the force of the swing, it's actually very powerful
zaro12345 (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
how far does it launch?
it depends on the projectile but the angle is hard to work I need longer stronger legs really
zaro12345 (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
to adjust the angle, all you have to do is bend the wire on the end of the arm. test it out enough, and you can get a perfect angle.
have you ever seen the trebuchet from fryers kits (free paper model that shoots grapes 30 feet)
zaro12345 (author)  the gizmoman6 years ago
Yeah, it's pretty epic. Papercraft that actually does something!
zaro12345 (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
try putting a renforcment bar to make the legs into an "A" shape. that should solve you problem.
 hey zaro i cant grasp this concept one end of a string is tied to a ring the other end of that same string to the sling then the other string is tied to the sling and the arm? how does it shoot where does the ring come into play plz help thanks
knife:) i alwase keep a knife in my office desk ppl dont steal my mints anymore
Ezlo5 years ago
How do I cut a pencil like that?
zaro12345 (author)  Ezlo5 years ago
You cut just to the lead with an exacto knife, then the wood should separate easy.
bwahahaha! i built one and fired on in school. i hit one of my friends, and he fired his pen bow at me. but both of us got in trouble and got our weps confiscated...
zaro12345 (author)  lucariothelegend6 years ago
Yeah, I allways build these paperclip catapults and fire them in class. My writing teacher has _sooooo_ many of my weapons right now...
heheheh.... i built an army of them, and use a wall of lego bricks as defense. both me and my friends fire pennies at each other point blank range
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