Altoid Catapult

This is my first instructable, so if you feel it necessary, tell me i suck bad at explaining stuff, and ill try to improve it.

This is a catapult built into an altoid can. It uses pretty common items:

1x Altoid can
2x Clothes Pins (ones with springs)
2x Toothpicks
2x Rubber Bands (Preferably small ones)
1x Assorted piece of flat wood.

Tools Needed:

Hot Glue Gun
Small Metal Saw

First thing you should know is that not everyone of these things turns out perfect, or even useable. If you dont think any of the things I used to make this is perfect, do not be afraid to change it. The one that i made during this instructable turned out to be a flop, because i tried some new methods, compared to the last one. Ill try to include notes to help you make a beautiful catapult.

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Step 1: Prepare Fulcrum

In this step you need:

Toothpicks, or whatever round piece of wood you used (i used a "bamboo skewer", which turned out to suck) Try to use something as thin as possible

Clothes Pins.

First, Remove the metal spring things from the wood of the pins, and strech them out a little, so the legs are about 1/2 an inch apart when they stand up.

Next, cut a piece of the toothpick that is just a little longer than the width of the can. Now, shave the toothpick down so that it fits smoothly into the hole of the springs. Shave it down with whatever you feel like.. scissors, file, teeth... and make sure to clean up the mess.

Step 2: Throwing Arm Addition

First, to finish the fulcrum, a hole must be sawed into the side of the can. Saw it in line with the inner end of the little stub that holds the cover on. (See pictures) Make sure your toothpick can fit into the slot.

For the throwing arm, cut a piece of the clothes pin's wood that contains the largest (widest) hole [see pictures]. Use a roundfile, or almost anything to make this hole just a little bigger, so that the toothpick can go in, and not be higher than the flat part of the pin.

Now, cut a piece of the long, flat wood. It should span from one end of the can to half way between the cut and the other end. (See pics if needed)
This board should not be anywhere near as wide as the space between where the two springs will be.

Now, hot glue the piece with the hole to the piece of wood where shown in the picture... do not leave the toothpick in there while gluing.

Now slide the toothpick through the hole in the can, and through the first spring, then the arm, then the other spring.

Proceed to glue the legs of the springs into place... DO NOT WORRY ABOUT OVERDO-ING IT WITH THE GLUE. i ended up having to create a sea of glue on the legs near the end, then tend to pull up easily.

Step 3: Start the Trigger

Glue The Holding end of the arm (arm that fires the item) to the can... you'll see why later.

Step 4: Take a Damn Break

Go sip on a drink for a little, while the glue dries, and you think about what you gotta do next.

Step 5: Final Steps

Break that glue bond that you just formed (before the break). The purpose of this was just so that the arm would have a little more friction when coming up, and could be stopped by a trigger mechanism.

Also, add a little box, to hold items you are shooting better. (Pic 2)

Cut the end off one of the toothpicks, to make a small trigger.

Now tape/glue (i suggest a heavy amount of glue.. even though it sucks to change the band once it breaks i used tap in the example, and it didnt stick enough) to the bottom of the can. (pic 4) Now turn the throwing arm the right way, and rig up the two parts of the rubber bands.. one by one.

Once they are on, glue a little bit at the end, to prevent the bands from slipping off.

Now, put that little stick (aka. trigger) between the arm and the can. Now load it and pull the trigger back to fire.

This video.. i made it about a year ago.. and had to convert it to swf to show it on mywebsite.. and not take up a ton of space.. but since then, i lost the original avi, because we got a new computer, and now i have to convert it back to mpeg, so sorry about the brandings on the video..

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    32 Discussions


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That's weird i can generally find these at the local grocery stores and pharmacies and i live in the U.S. on the west coast


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    maybe they just say they are but they lie to charge almost 2 bucks each on them! idk...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    you can try morrisons where the toffee and things are thats where i get them from


    10 years ago on Introduction

    try putting a hole in the bottom to tie the rubber band to


    10 years ago on Step 5

    The video doesn't work. it says its a private video. I have to be your friend to watch it!

    2 replies

    10 years ago on Introduction

    YES!! Another altoids tin project!!! lol I've made so many things out of altoids tins, I'll have to add this to my collection ASAP.


    10 years ago on Step 2

    why not try making the fulcrum more centered and lower in the can so that you can put the lid back on and sneak it into your pocket during class?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is pretty good for a first, it's a little confusing but pretty good. After all if haven't even made one thing yet. LOL!!!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I used a filed down nail as my fulcrum to support the arm of the catapult, it seems to be more stable than toothpicks.