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The Rubber Band Powered Catapult

Here is a great little catapult project based loosely on my popsicle stick catapult and designed by Tom Wilson. He also put together this whole tutorial. My thanks to him for this! It's a fun and easy project. With just a few materials you can build this powerful little catapult in no time at all.


Rubber band powered pyramid shaped catapult


Will Note from Will: I also have this neat little catapult project made from popsicle sticks:



the teeny tiny catapultThe Teeny-Tiny Popsicle Stick Catapult - The Hobbit Fun little project that comes with a video of me shooting a projectile into a Lord of the Rings Mug. This little catapult is great for having little competitions with friends. Build two and make a game of this project.


Pros :

  • --Fairly simple to build
  • --Fairly powerful, High trajectory, great "hang time"
  • --Fairly durable if built correctly; easy to repair

Cons :

  • --Not historically authentic
  • --Can self-destruct if not made correctly!
  • --Less accurate than more complicated models

Materials :

  • 11 Sticks
  • Masking Tape
  • 1 ½" square piece of paper
  • Rubber band
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors

1.  Make the Base.

Lay three sticks end to end.   Tape them together.



•  Fold into a triangle and tape.

•  Repeat steps 1-3.

•  Repeat steps 1-3 again. You now have three triangles.



•  Place two triangles side by side. Tape together one side.




•  Open un-taped ends; place the third triangle between them.

•  Tape this third triangle in place to complete the pyramid.

•  Notice that three sides are made of double sticks. These are the "strong sides." The place where the three strong sides join is the "strong corner." Locate these places before continuing.


2. Make the Throwing Arm

•  Tape or glue two sticks together so they overlap and are approximately 6-7" in length.



?? How might changing the length of the arm affect velocity and trajectory?

•  Make a cut to the center of your paper.

•  Fold paper into a cone. Glue or tape in place.

•  Trim corners round.

•  Smash point of cone flat with your finger. Glue to end of throwing arm.



3. Attach arm and rubber band.

•  Fold rubber band around strong side of pyramid.

?? How might using thicker, thinner, longer, or shorter rubber bands affect performance? Are there any risks to using a stronger band?

•  Pull outside loop down through the inside loop.


•  Insert throwing arm through rubber band loop, with cone pointing up.



•  Using two 6" long pieces of tape, attach arm to strong corner of pyramid.


•  Wrap one piece of tape around arm to secure tape.

?? How might attaching the arm more loosely affect velocity? Are there any risks to doing this?



  •   Hold base at strong corner with one hand
  •   Place projectile in cone.
  •   Pull arm down all the way. Release.


1000 Woodsies Craft Sticks

  • Natural raw wood
  • Birch wood, non food safe
  • Great for use in classroom projects, party crafts, and camp crafts
  • Ideal for crafters, teachers, and students




Look what you can make with craft sticks

Look what you can make with craft sticks

This book offers dozens of easy-to-make items that start with craft sticks. Crafts include toys, games, gifts, and decorations, with full-color photographs, materials lists, and helpful tips for getting started.



Want to build a bigger, better, more powerful or fancier catapult? There are some great books available to you. These books, available at will help take your catapult building to new heights! Pun intended!


Defending Your Castle

Defending Your Castle

Your home is your castle, but could it withstand an attack by Attila and the Huns, Ragnar and the Vikings, Alexander and the Greeks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, or Tamerlane and the Tartars? Engineer William Gurstelle, author of the bestselling Backyard Ballistics, poses this fascinating question to modern-day garage warriors and shows how to build an arsenal of ancient artillery and fortifications aimed at withstanding these invading hordes. Each chapter introduces new bad actors in the history of warfare, details their conquests, and features weapons and fortifications to defend against them-culminating, by the end of the book, in a fully fortified home. Clear step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and photographs explain how to build a dozen projects from table-top models of the Cheval-de-frise, Da Vinci's Catapult, and Alexander's Tortoise to the fullsize working Carpini's Crossbow, Hour-Glass Watchtower, and Palisade Wall. With a strong emphasis on safety, this book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind many of the projects, and shows where to find the best materials. It's sure to be an indispensible guide for at-home defenders everywhere.


The Art of the Catapult

The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery



Kits and More Siege Engine Projects

Another Interesting Project: How to Build a Trebuchet

Make a trebuchetThe Trebuchet was a unique siege engine of the middle ages. It was extraordinarily powerful and was easier for military engineers to build because it used gravity as the energy source. I also have a complete project on how to make the Little Dragon Trebuchet.



Catapults and Siege Engines

MOTA Catapult - Desktop Battle Kit

MOTA Catapult - Desktop Battle Kit -

  • Engage in a fun hands-on learning experience and build your own desktop catapult with the included easy-to-understand instructions and pre-cut wooden pieces
  • Test your precision and your catapult's power, or change the trajectory angle with the adjustable cord
  • Take aim and fire away with five lightweight wooden ammo that's safe for indoor use
  • Replicate the ancient art of war, or learn about the physics and engineering while constructing the catapult
  • Guaranteed fun for all ages, imagination and wood glue not included


Miniature Ballista Kit

Miniature Ballista Kit - Wooden Desktop Warfare Ballista

The ballista was the ultimate artillery weapon of the Roman Empire. Similar in appearance to a giant crossbow, it was powered by massive bundles of twisted horse hair. The bolts it fires would mow down enemies and fortifications alike. This kit is based on the Roman design. It is laser cut from select hardwood for easy assembly and reliable performance. This tabletop kit has been designed for simple assembly. Designed with interlocking parts, a simple, reliable trigger, high strength cordage and lightweight projectiles this ballista is incredibly durable. Three easy-to-follow rules for public demonstration are provided to ensure everyone's safety.


What good is a catapult if you don't have a castle to attack!

Make a paper and cardboard castle

I have another project you might like. It is the Paper Castle and it has everything you could want in a castle making project including all the art work you can download. You just follow the instructions and make it yourself with some glue and cereal boxes. Build a Paper and Cardboard Castle It also has a learning sheet that helps to learn about castles when you are building it.



If you are looking for something easier to make you might want to try my project on making a popsicle stick catapult. Fast, easy and fun project! Goes great with the paper medieval castle. Make a popsicle stick catapult




Catapult Game

Storm The Castle Catapult Game - Build a Popsicle stick catapult and hurl paper balls at the castle. How to make the Game and the catapult are here