Make a Trebuchet – Make: Video Podcast

Make a Trebuchet – Make: Video Podcast

With a trebuchet, you can smash your enemy’s castle or at least fling the heads of enemy spies into their courtyard. In the old days, the most important metric of a trebuchet is that it can fire farther than your enemy’s archers can shoot their arrows!

Trebuchet Big

In this podcast you’ll see how to build a paperclip trebuchet and a medium sized trebuchet. The paperclip trebuchet can be made in under an hour and it teaches you a lot about how they work.

The medium sized trebuchet took a little longer to cut, drill, and screw together, but it’s not hard.

Download the pdf for more instructions to make your own seige weapon!

Here’s an mp4 that plays on pretty much everything. Here’s a 3gp and 3g2 for people who like to watch on their phone! Of course if you subscribe in itunes, the videos and accompanying pdf get downloaded automatically for you, no muss no fuss. You can browse all the Make: videos on or on the weekend projects page at your leisure! – Subscribe Link

16 thoughts on “Make a Trebuchet – Make: Video Podcast

  1. mechanisma22 says:

    I downloaded this video to my phone. Thats pretty cool watching video on a phone.

  2. Bre says:

    Yay, someone is watching the phone feed… this makes all the time transcoding into 3gp and 3g2 worth it!

  3. GuardianAero says:

    good video, but I believe some of the information is incorrect. A trebuchet is not defined by its sling. Its defined by its counterwieght design. A Catapault on the other hand is based around a spring design.

  4. kaden says:

    A ‘catapulta’ is a big-assed dart throwing cross-bow affair powered by twin torsion skeins.

    Think ‘Ballista’.

    Medieval siege weapons were not reliant on springs. The whole ‘spoonapult’ really-flexible-tree-trunk design popular in video games and Roadrunner cartoons is the product of poor research in Hollywood and has no basis in history.

  5. trebuchet03 says:

    trebuchet is fun to say :)

    If you’re ever in the trebuchet building mood again — I would suggest a FAT (floating arm trebuchet). You’ll get a longer distance per pound of counterweight ;)

    As far as the definition of a trebuchet… The general consensus is that a trebuchet is a type of catapult. The only difference between an onager (little brother of a manganel) and a trebuchet is that an onager uses torsional potential energy and a trebuchet uses either gravity or a bunch of people (called a traction trebuchet) for energy.

  6. kaden says:

    FATS are up to 74% more efficient than a fixed weight treb…That Ron Toms guy is a damned clever fellow.

    It’s a much more involved build though; check with Mark Fraunfelder and see if he still has the FAT build log I did for him last year.

    Onager (mule) was the common French term for a mangonel…other than the name, there’s no difference.

    The coolest thing about torsion powered devices is that they scale down in size much more efficiently than gravity powered machines; energy providing mass decreases exponentially as a weightbox is downsized, but a scaled down torsion skein retains *impressive* wellie compared to its’ full sized brother.

    The main issue I’ve encountered in fabricating literally hundreds of tabletop mangonels is ensuring that the structural strength of the device is able to cope with the potentially huge amounts of energy moved around during a firing cycle. If you’re interested Bre, I can draw up a quik ‘n dirty mangonel for you to try your hand at.

  7. wateronlydries says:

    We made a trebuchet last year for our son’s middleschool science class. It was lots of fun and we found it to be quite accurate. Our small version was perfect for tossing ping pong balls. We were able to land it in a yogurt container from 15 to 20 feet. My son put our instructions on his site along with a link to a video he made of target practice.

  8. nathan1941 says:

    there is a trebuchet seen on this site


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