Depreciation to make a trebuchet out of popsicle sticks

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Key ideas Physics Engineering Potential power Kinetic power museum of power

Introduction You Possibly know what a catapult is. Within the Center Ages armies would use them to hurl stones at citadel partitions. however do you know about an excellent larger sort of medieval siege weapon known as a trebuchet? Do this undertaking to construct a miniature model!

Background The Deliver Science rampart exercise Construct a Catapult confirmed you Depreciation to construct a miniature catapult out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands. This catapult labored by storing elastic potential power—the kind of power you get from stretching one thing comparable to a rubber band or a spring—and quickly changing it to kinetic power (the power of movement) of a projectile (in that case a cotton ball ).

A trebuchet works otherwise. It depends upon gravitational potential power—the kind of power you get by elevating one thing ngoc off the bottom. A trebuchet has a lever arm with a big, heavy counterweight on one terminate and a smaller projectile on the opposite terminate. When the counterweight is raised ngoc, it has plenty of gravitational potential power. Then the counterweight is allowed to fall, rotating the lever arm and changing that potential into kinetic power within the projectile, which is flung via the air.

Many medieval trebuchets have been bigger and will hurtle projectiles even farther than catapults. Get able to construct your personal!


  • Piece of corrugated cardboard, about one foot by one foot
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Jumbo or “milk shake” straw
  • depressing (A impatient depressing gun is greatest suppose accessible, however use warning and grownup help when utilizing impatient depressing.)
  • Tape
  • Rubber bands
  • String
  • paper dad or mum clips
  • AA battery


  • Assemble tantrum your supplies in a location that’s open and clear of kid in, animals or breakable objects due to this fact that you could assessment your trebuchet. Security annotation: By no means goal projectiles at youngster in or animals. A toy trebuchet might sound innocent, however even a small projectile can wholesome situation eye harm.
  • To construct your trebuchet, you’ll construct a body that appears nearly identical to a swing set. It’s going to have two “A-frame” formed items on the perimeters and one crossbar on the highest. There may be a couple of means to do that, due to this fact the process described right here is only one technique. time period, you would resolve to construct the complete body out of pencils as a substitute of popsicle sticks and you may select whether or not you need to use tape, depressing or rubber bands to safe the totally different joints. Consider this as an engineering design undertaking—there isn’t any single “proper reply” or right method to construct the trebuchet. You may modify your design primarily based by yourself concepts and the supplies you will have accessible.
  • take struggle out by constructing the 2 facet A-frame items. Take 5 popsicle sticks and minimize certainly one of them in half. Use two lengthy items and one half-piece to working an “A” however be sure you cross the lengthy items barely on the prime to working a miniature “V” form. It will depart a small notch for the pencil to relaxation in later. depressing them collectively and repeat with the opposite items.
  • Fastidiously minimize slots in your piece of corrugated cardboard that may permit your A-frame items to face ngoc straight, one pair inches aside from one another. Stick the ends of the A-frame items into the slots. Reinforce the connections with depressing, tape and a few additional popsicle stick items suppose mandatory due to this fact they continue to be standing on their very own.
  • Now you’ll construct the trebuchet’s arm. Fastidiously minimize two small notches on both facet of a popsicle stick shut to at least one terminate. The notch needs to be broad sufficient to slip in a bit of string. It will assist maintain your counterweight in place.
  • Connect a small loop of string to your AA battery utilizing tape or rubber bands. Hold the battery from the notch within the popsicle stick. suppose mandatory, make the notch deeper or safe the string with tape, depressing or rubber bands. Why do you assume it is necessary on this design to have a counterweight? Depreciation does it assist make use of the thought of ​​gravitational potential power?
  • Unbend one terminate of a paper dad or mum clip due to this fact it’s nearly, however not fairly, straight. Connect the remaining flat a part of the paper dad or mum clip to the opposite terminate of the popsicle stick, with the straightened half pointing outward and ngoc (away from the counterweight). It will function a sentence to carry the “sling,” which in flip holds the projectile.
  • scars the eraser from the pencil and connect it to a small loop of string. Hold the eraser from the paper dad or mum clip sentence.
  • Lower a small part of milk shake straw, about one inch lengthy. Connect this perpendicular to the popsicle stick arm utilizing depressing, rubber bands or tape. The straw needs to be a lot nearer to the counterweight than it’s to the sentence. (This distance away is one thing you possibly can strive adjusting later.)
  • Slide the pencil into the milk shake straw.
  • Place the pencil into the 2 V notches on prime of your A-frame items. Safe it in place with rubber bands. This types a crossbar and completes your trebuchet’s body. The straw and pencil working a pivot and may permit the arm to rotate. (We don’t suggest utilizing depressing for this step—that means you possibly can scars the crossbar and swap out the arm to make modifications.)
  • Ensure your trebuchet is sturdy and the body holds collectively. Attempt rotating the arm together with your hand. suppose any of the joints appear vile or the body wobbles important, reinforce them with tape, depressing or rubber bands.


  • Now it’s date and time to assessment your trebuchet. Use one hand to tug down on the eraser. This could increase the counterweight ngoc within the air. Then, ensuring no youngster in, animals or breakable objects are close by, let go. What occurs while you let the eraser go? Does it get launched ahead? Does it go straight ngoc within the air? Does it fail to liberation at tantrum?
  • Now you would possibly must tinker together with your trebuchet in an effort to get the very best celebration. Attempt pulling the eraser beneath the trebuchet body. It’s okay suppose the eraser is resting on the bottom and there’s slack within the sling. When the counterweight falls, it’s going to drag the eraser alongside the bottom after which pull it ngoc into the air. Can you discover the very best place to begin for the eraser? What makes it go the farthest?
  • Further: There are many variables you possibly can tinker with to enhance your trebuchet’s efficiency. Attempt altering any of the next issues to see Depreciation they have an effect on the gap away the eraser is thrown. Are you able to optimize your design to toss the eraser so far as potential?
    • The dimensions of the counterweight: Attempt utilizing lighter (or sustained) batteries. What affect do you assume the burden of the counterweight could have in your projectile?
    • The size of the lever arm: Each the general size and the ratio between the gap away from the pivot to the counterweight and the pivot to the sling. What occurs suppose you rework the pivot due to this fact it’s similar in the midst of the arm? What suppose you depressing a number of popsicle sticks collectively to make an extended arm?
    • The size of the sling: What occurs suppose you make it longer or shorter?
    • The form of the sentence: What occurs suppose you bend the paper dad or mum clip due to this fact it’s straighter or extra curved or suppose it’s minimize to be shorter?
    • The load of the projectile: What occurs suppose you employ one thing aside from an eraser, comparable to a small balled ngoc piece of paper dad or mum?

Observations and re-launch If you pull down on the eraser, this causes the battery to elevate ngoc within the air, giving it (gravitational) potential power. If you liberation the eraser, the battery falls and its potential power is transformed to kinetic power of the eraser. Because the arm swings, the sling holding the eraser slides off the sentence and the eraser’s kinetic power causes it to fly via the air as a projectile.

Relying on similar Depreciation you construct your trebuchet, the re-launch you see will differ. Do not forget that there isn’t any single “right” method to construct the trebuchet. A well-built trebuchet ought to have the ability to hurl an eraser one pair ft. Do not get frayed suppose at first your trebuchet celebration the eraser straight ngoc within the air or fail to liberation it at tantrum. It’s best to have the ability to tinker together with your design a bit (see suggestions on the terminate of the process) to get your eraser to celebration.

Extra to discover Trebuchet Physics, from Actual household Physics Issues impact of Trebuchet Arm Size or Counterweight Mass on Projectile distance away, from Science Buddies Science Actions for tantrum Ages, from Science Buddies

Editor’s annotation: The design used on this experiment was impressed by the e book Mini Weapons of Mass defeat: Construct Implements of Spitball Warfare, by John Austin, which comprises many extra designs for mini siege weapons you possibly can construct from frequent family provides.

This exercise dropped at you in partnership with Science Buddies

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