How to Build a Catapult

Catapults are medieval inventions that were considered to be quite lethal and were primarily responsible for the fall of many a great city as history would reveal today. These tiny replicas of the massive siege engines tore through many castles wall during the Middle Ages are quite easy to craft together as they require relatively few pieces of wood. They are the perfect Do It Yourself catapult projects for beginners and seasoned woodworking experts – they encompass all aspects of all the medieval catapults sans the devastating effects such as death and destruction.

Many aspiring woodworkers wonder how to build a catapult? Well, to start off with your DIY catapult, you need to select a catapult design. The shape and mechanism used in catapults are widely influenced by their origin and the subsequent modifications made after various countries and region adopted them. For other inspirational DIY catapult designs, you can refer this comprehensive woodworking program.

Step 1: Gather all the requisite materials

All complete models feature a detailed catapult design as well as the material and equipment required. Typically, one large plank of wood will suffice in building a DIY catapult. You’ll need a firing mechanism that can be made of different materials such as tensile springs, ropes or even rubber bands. The firing mechanism of our catapult project features a bungee cord release. You’ll require a saw, measuring tape, a chisel, drill, a screw gun and sturdy screws. Read on to see the DIY catapult plans.

Step 2: Cut all the materials to size

Cut wooden planks to the required lengths. Cut two pieces at seven and a half inches, three at fourteen inches, two planks at twenty-four inches, one plank at twenty-eight inches, and one of ten inches. Make sure the measurements are precise, and the wooden planks are smooth to touch.

Step 3: Make the catapult base

The longer sides of the catapult project base should feature grooves on the side where the upright support framework for the firing mechanism shall be attached using a tenon joint. Join the base wood pieces together using sturdy screws and secure them firmly to make the base rectangle. It is imperative to pre-drill the holes because small sized planks are prone to splintering, which would require you to start over again. After the base is complete, fix a hook on the upper side where the catapult shall be hooked before launching.

Step 4: Attach the upright beams

Attach the fourteen-inch pieces to the pre-grooved catapult base to their respective places and make sure to attach them firmly and secure using a sturdy screw. Be sure to have pre-drilled pilot holes for ease of fixing and to avoid splitting or breakage.

Step 5: Attach the upper support

Fix a cross beam on top of the two upright stands using a pair of screws into the predrilled holes and attach firmly and securely. This piece serves as a stopper on the swinging arm of the catapult project when launching a missile thus needs to be firmly attached to increase longevity.

Step 6: attach the back support

Cut the appropriate angles on the remaining fourteen-inch plank and attach it to the cross beam. One end should be fixed to the cross beam while the other end firmly secured to the base plate on the side bearing the hook. The back supports offers additional strength to the cross beam and prevents the buckling of the cross beam form continued hammering by the swinging catapult as projectiles are launched.

Step 7: create the swinging catapult arm

Drill a one-inch hole on one end of the twenty-four-inch piece using the appropriate drill. This hole will serve as the pivot point where the swinging arm will be fixed to the rest of the catapult by a dowel joint. Drill the hole as close to the edge of the arm as possible. A shorter length will ensure that the arm can swing freely without touching the ground and interfering with your launch or necessitating frequent repairs.

The catapult base should also have two one-inch holes drilled on the opposite ends to attach the swinging arms. Place the swinging arm in the middle of the base and drive the dowel from the outer edge, through the arm until it joins the other side of the catapult base plate. Ensure the arm swings up and down quickly and smoothly to facilitate the smooth catapulting process.


Step 8: Attach the projectile holder

Fix the projectile holder at the other end of the swinging arm making sure to place it in the middle for proper balance and stability.

Step 9: Attach the spring mechanism

Fish the second eye hook directly below the projectile holder and attach the twenty-four-inch bungee cord to both eye hooks and test the workings of the now finished catapult. Place a cushioning material on the both surfaces where the swinging arm strikes the surface of the catapult to reduce the impact and chances of breakage. And that is how to build a catapult.

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