A catapult is any mechanical device
used to throw a projectile a great distance; particularly various
types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Construction of a
catapult will familiarize students with mechanical machines and how
This project is called My First
Catapult because often students use it as the first step toward
developing more advanced and more creative models.
The catapult appears to have been
invented in 399 BC in the city of Syracuse during the reign of the
tyrant Dionysios I. Originally, "catapult" referred to a
dart-thrower, while "ballista" referred to a stone-thrower, but the
two terms swapped meaning sometime in the fourth century AD.
|Wood parts needed to
construct this catapult are pre-cut and ready to use in a
kit. Pre-cut parts can save you time and eliminate problems
associated with cutting wood.
Additional Items needed:
- White glue or ca glues
- 1 sheet of “fine”
- sanding sealer
Before you begin to assemble your Catapult, punch out all of the
parts and sand the edges to remove any burrs or rough corners. This
is always a good way to become familiar with the parts that you will
|1. Glue the two
catapult arms together. Insert a ¼ ” dowel through the
assembled arms to the center of the dowel. Slide a retainer
ring on each slide of the arm and glue in place. Make sure
that you leave space between the rings and the arm to insure
free movement of the arm. DO NOT glue the arm assembly to
the dowel or the retaining rings.
2. Glue one of the squares to the back of the arm “V”
notch and the remaining squares to the front as shown.
3. Glue the two bottom supports into the slots on one
of the sides. Glue the two dowels into the same side that
you glued the supports into. Make sure that the catapult arm
faces forward. Glue the remaining side to the two supports
and dowels. Glue the four discs onto the sides using the
bottom edge to locate the disc. If you are going to paint
your model, this is the time to do so. ( See the “Finishing”
section for more information.)
4. Loop the rubber band around the front bottom
support as shown.
5. Pull the top loop of the rubber band up and over
the top of the catapult arm into the curved notch. It is
recommended that you only use one rubber band to charge the
Lightly sand all of the wood surface paying close attention
to any rough edges. When you are satisfied with your effort,
apply two coats of sanding sealer to the entire model. When
it is completely dry, very lightly sand any rough areas
until they are smooth. You are now ready to paint your
model. Use your imagination to make your model reflect your
personality and have fun!
We recommend that you only launch
soft objects from the catapult. Load a soft object into the
projectile cradle; we suggest a small marshmallow. You can
experiment by raising the front of the catapult. When you adjust the
elevation of the front or back of the catapult, you will see how it
affects the distance that the launched object travels.
|If you don't
have this kit, you can order it now! It is
available both as a single pack and class pack.