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The Creativity of it: Cardboard Catapult

The cardboard catapult is an interesting little project that I made in one afternoon.

I find it a bit surprising that I hadn't done this before. I love cardboard and have been working with it for decades. And the thought never occurred to me to make a catapult out of cardboard.

The tutorial to make this catapult is here



The goal of this project was to make something simple that anyone could make. And using very few, and readily available, supplies.

This project accomplished these goals. You only need a piece of cardboard, a pencil, a rubber band and some glue to make this project. I give you the template so you just have to trace out the pieces, cut them out and glue them together.

The cardboard catapult

One of the tricky things about a project like this is keeping it simple. Making it simple can actually be difficult to do! But I did accomplish this goal. There are only five different pieces in this catapult.

So, how do you go about thinking up something like this from scratch?

Here is the creativity of it:

Start with a drawing

I tried to simplify the concept of the catapult. I started here. We have a base that supports it and an upright that the swing arm stops on.

But this requires a stop at a different angle, something more defined and placed.



Refining the shape

So I moved to this kind of shape.

Now there is a defined stop.


Designing a single piece

Now Can I design this so the whole thing is one piece that can be traced onto cardboard and cut out?

I made this out of cardstock and found some things that needed changing and improving.

The refined piece

So this was my refined version. It includes everything but the swingn arm.


To prove it out I built it out of card stock. The reason for this is so I could cut it out quickly and test to see if it assembles correctly. i went through a few iterations of this until I got a finished version.


The index card 3d shape

This is what the final version looks like assembled out of cardstock.


Tracing the template

So I traced it onto cardboard.

When it got down to the final version I here I scrapped it as the potential catapult. It is too small and too weak because of it being single layer and because of the folding of the cardboard.


The prototype

And here is the working prototype. But it had some definite issues.

So, What did I end up with. Here is the catapult project. I got a few good things out of this. There are only five different pieces. Some of them are copied so they can be stacked. The side piece, shown by the arrow is a stack of three. And the catapult is strong, easy to build and it fires powerfully.

The catapult is half built

And it is bigger which is nice.

Quick synopsis of the creativity of it

When trying to make a little product or object it is a good idea to follow the materials. What I mean is that we start first with drawings . Then we move on to some card stock. This way I could make some up real quick. Once I had something I thought was workable I then moved on to cardboard.

And if the end result was going to be a wooden catapult I would still do all these stages, eventually ending with a wooden version.



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