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Make a Miniature Ballista

This is a tutorial on how to make a miniature ballista.

A ballista is an ancient siege weapon used by the Greeks and Romans over 2,000 years ago. It is very closely related to the crossbow. It uses skeins of string or rope to create tremendous torsion that can fire a bolt or projectiles.

You just need a few basic supplies to make this project and I give you the template which makes it very easy. You print out template, cut out the parts and use them to trace onto your foam board.

The template is right here.

I also have a youtube video on how to make this project at the bottom of the page.




A Miniature Ballista


Materials and Tools List:

  • 1 sheet of foamboard
  • Hot glue gun (preferable) but regular white glue can be used
  • 10 inch length of 1/4 inch dowel or a couple of paintbrushes
  • string or yarn around 12 feet of it
  • 1 straw
  • X-acto or hobby knife
  • 3 toothpicks
  • The Template (Download here)


Note from Will: The Template and the tutorial are both absolutely free! But would you consider a donation of $1 to support my work? Paypal makes it very easy and safe. Click here to donate $1 - Every little bit helps Will to keep making great tutorials and templates. Thanks!


Let's Begin

Cut out the template pieces

Print up the template and cut out all the pieces. They are numbered.







Cut out the foamboard pieces

Trace those pieces onto your foamboard then cut them out. Number each piece the same number it has on the template. Makes it a lot easier. Note that some of the pieces in the template need to be transferred onto foamboard more than once. For example, pieces 4 and 5.





Four of the pieces need holes put in them. (4,5, 17 and 18) So, use a sharp knife to cut those holes out approximately 1/4 inch in diameter.






This picture shows one of the pieces after the holes have been cut.






NextOkay, Let's build it (or watch the video tutorial just below)


Here is the video tutorial :




A Real Roman Ballista

This is a full sized roman ballista that really fires. Lots of pictures, an explanation of the parts and a video showing it being fired. It can penetrate shields easily. A Roman Ballista


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.


Table top Troll Catapult

How to Make a Catapult

The Table-Top Troll Catapult Build this miniature catapult from materials found around the house. It's an easy project and the catapult really fires projectiles! Catapult Project


-Make The Little Dragon-
1 foot desktop Trebuchet







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