Laser Cut Trebuchet

Introduction: Laser Cut Trebuchet

A trebuchet is a type of catapult, a common type of siege engine which uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile. The word trebuchet comes from the Middle French verb "trebuch," meaning ‘to tumble’ or ‘to fall over,’ which is exactly what the throwing arm of a trebuchet does when it is released.

Step 1: The Supplies That You Will Need

In order to properly complete this laser cut trebuchet, you will need several different things:

  1. This Onshape Document
    1. Onshape is a 3D CAD software that allows you to virtually create a model of a soon to be, tangible object
  2. A laser cutter or a 3D printer
    1. Based on my particular design you are able to 3D print each part or cut each on out on a laser cutter
  3. Wood
    1. As my wood of choice, I chose Luan
    2. I chose this specifically because of the thickness of .189 inches
    3. This thickness allows the Luan to be easily cut by any laser cutter
    4. If you happen to chose a different type of wood you will have to modify the dimensions of all the parts in the CAD file (specifically the mesh points)
  4. Glue
    1. Any wood glue will work

Step 2: Preparation

  • After properly analyzing the full design you can begin modifying it to your own satisfaction
  • Remember, if you modify the thickness of the whole design you will also need to change the length and the outward protrusion of the mesh points
  • After the model is modified insert each part into a C sized sheet of drawing paper and create your engineering drawing

Step 3: Transferring to Adobe Illustrator

  • After step two is complete you will need to export a PDF file of the final drawing and import it into Adobe Illustrator

Step 4: Assembly

  • Now that you have inserted the document into Adobe and then cut it out on your laser cutter you can begin assembly
  • Go to this link for help on the tangible assembly
  • If the pieces do not quite fit together you can file, sand, and then use the wood glue that was on the list in step one
  • When using the Trebuchet, in order to receive the best results, you should have approximately 170 grams in your counterweight, and your projectile should be about 5 grams in weight and 6 inches long in length.
    • Any counterweight can be used
    • I have made my projectile out of two rubber bands, a nut, and a bolt as you can see in the picture above
    • As my counterweights, I have use bolts and ball bearings

Step 5: Final Product

In this last step, I have inserted a video of the final product in action.

Step 6: Design Faults

When analyzing each design you may find that the parts don’t fit together flawlessly. This is because the measurements and dimensions are slightly off; some filing and sanding may be required to assemble the final product. These errors have occurred because of careless measuring.

Step 7: Citations

Some of the information and/or images in this instructable was not my own work. Here are the proper citations crediting the information I have utilized.

“Arms and Men: The Trebuchet.” HistoryNet, 23 June 2016,, director. YouTube. YouTube, YouTube, 19 Oct. 2018,

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    Question 1 year ago

    Thirding the request for a vector version of this. SVG, AI, whatever, that would be great.
    I tried to export it, but I think it's a permissions level type thing because Export just isn't an option, even after making an account.
    I think it would be fun to give to a nephew for Christmas, if you happened to be able to make it available. :)


    2 years ago

    Design looks interesting. Too bad I can't try to cut it without redrawing everything. After creating an account on OnShape, I still can't get the files.

    I agree with other feedback: It would be nice to have files here rather than going to another site. Especially when the other site doesn't even let you download them...

    Hopefully you can add the files as I would love to try this! Much better looking design than others I've seen.


    3 years ago

    Cool design. I tried to make 2 with some cub scouts. Not wanting to sign up for another account to get the drawing files, I saved the preview, traced it and cut it. Several pieces are not to scale an don't fit. The main arm was not included in that picture either. It would be most useful if you would post the drawing files in pdf or svg here rather than on another software site that is locked down.

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Awesome. I wish that I had access to a laser cutter so that I could make fun stuff like this.