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Looking for a great weekend project to tackle with your kids? Look no further than Toolmonger schnaars‘ awesome “suburban siege” trebuchet. Unsatisfied with their original Lego and Connex models, he and his son switched to pine 1x2s and angle steel to build something a bit, well, more powerful.

From his kick-ass writeup in the Flickr pool:

It’s just a base and an A-frame with a bolt going through it. I used two bungee cords for the power, and you have to adjust them a bit to get the right amount of tension to throw something, but not so much it destroys the thing. The whole thing took about an hour to bang out. […] I put two holes in the arm: one to give it a high arc throw and one to give it a line drive.

Does it work? Hells, yeah: “The nerf baseball on the bench goes about 75′ on both settings. Golf balls go about 100′ and roll forever.”

(Thanks to schnaars for the great CC-licensed photo — and sweet project!)


6 Responses to From The Flickr Pool: A Trebuchet Built By Two

  1. Coach James says:

    My physics students build trebuchets every year. Some as large as 20 feet high with 600 pound counterweights. We’ve had some throw a five pound projectile well past 100 yards.

  2. sam k says:

    no disrespect intended, but if the motive power comes from elasticity, it’s a catapult. trebuchets are powered by gravity.

    sweet looking project, though, to be sure.

  3. Dan says:

    Actually, if we are being correct, a catapult is sort of a general term for a siege engine that hurls… um… stuff. So yes it is a catapult but so is a trebuchet. I think his device is more of a onager. Though as bungee cords were in short supply in those days, there is not really an exact analog.

    Still, an awesome onager. Good work.

  4. daily says:

    In highschool small groups of students had to make catapults for an assignment. Our group made one with a 4′ x 8′ footprint (to fit in the back of a pickup) with around a 8′ piece of box steel for the arm. We wrapped coils of rope through the frame and around the arm and wound them to get our throw. We tested them on our football field at school and ours threw golfballs way past the other endzone into the forest behind the field. Wish i still had the thing.

  5. Robbie B says:

    I think Sam K had it right in calling it a catapult. Onagers are powered by torsion (twisted rope bundles). Regardless, catapults are just plain cool, especially when they can throw something farther than I can.

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