The Office Siege Weapon Series: the Pencil Trebuchet




Introduction: The Office Siege Weapon Series: the Pencil Trebuchet

About: I'm a poor college student currently getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and working on a minor in Fine Arts. I enjoy a wide variety of hobbies, and am always looking to pick up new skills.

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:

Step 1: 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

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

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.

Step 4: Make the Throwing Arm

first, you need to take two scrap pecies of pencil and glue them as shown. then, renforce the connection with electrical tape so the two pencils dont wiggle. (you may need to use three scrap pieces to connect them. i used three because i ran out of hot glue.)

then, you drill a hole at each end and one about three inches up from one side paralel to the other two.

after that, cut a piece off of a paperclip about two inches long. then, secure it to the longer end of the arm with rubber bands or glue.

Step 5: Make the Counterwieght

for the counterwhieght, first you must drill a hole through both sides of the container. fill the container with your wheight (water(not recamended), sand, fishwheights.)

then, bend a strong paperclip into the shape below. thread the paperclip shape through the hole closest to the hole in the middle of the arm so the arm is in the raised part of the shape.

you then thread the ends of the paperclip into the holes in the container.

Step 6: Make the Sling

to make the sling, first cut two lengths of string two inches longer than a pencil. then make a tiny loop out of a paperclip. tie this to one end of a string. tie the other legth of string through the hole at the other end of the arm.

to make the actual sling, take two pieces of electrical tape about three inches long each and stick them together. cut a tiny hole in each end of the sling. then, tie one legth of string through each hole as shone.

Step 7: Finish It Up!

to finish this project, you unbend one of your paperclips and slide it through the holes you made in the A frames. as you do that, also slide the paperclip through the hole in the middle of your throwing arm. next you need to twist the ends of the paperclip around the A frame.the last thing you need is to cut a notecard in half. then, tape it to one end of the frame to form a ramp.

Hooray! you finished the Pencil Trebuchet!

fyi: (you can also make a realease system out of string and paperclips.please, if you have any ideas on a good reasease system, please post a pic!)



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    70 Discussions

    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

    me and my bother put our hands in a jar of superglue once
    the jar had a leaking tube of glue in it

    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?

    7 replies

    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?

    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.)

    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

    6 replies

    You'd be surprised at how many people cant even take apart a mechanical pencil and put it back together.

     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