Catapults were popular during the medieval period. It is a type of machine used to hurl projectiles without using explosives. Different armies used catapults because it is a highly effective device in battle. No medieval siege is complete without a catapult.
You can make your own working catapult using PVC pipes and other materials available at the hardware store.
- 10 pieces of 18 inch PVC pipes
- 12 inch cord (similar to the one used for bungee jumping)
- Duct tape or any other strong tape
- Plastic bowl for the projectile
- Get three of the 18-inch PVC pipes. Set these up into a triangle formation. Tape the three PVC pipes together in this shape using duct tape or any other strong adhesive.
- Make the two other triangles. Use the same procedure as step 1. You should end up with three triangles made out of the 18-inch PVC pipes. Lay the triangles down on a flat surface.
- Get two of the triangles. Designate one as triangle A and the other as triangle B. Align one side of triangle A with one side of triangle B. Tape these two sides together. The two triangles, once taped together on one side should look like an open book.
- Pick up the third triangle (designated as triangle C). While triangles A and B are standing on the flat surface like an open book, slide in triangle C into the open area between the triangles A and B. When sliding triangle C, it should be flat against the surface. Tape triangle C to the other two triangles.
- Take one of the extra PVC pipes. Position one end of the PVC pipe into the far most corner of triangle C (the bottom triangle). Tape this to that corner. Make sure it is secure. The idea is for this PVC pipe to be able to move up and down without restrictions.
- Hold the cord. Loop this around the PVC pipe that you just taped to the corner of triangle C. Get the hooks and hook the ends together.
- Attach the plastic bowl. Use duct tape or another adhesive to affix the plastic bowl to the moving PVC pipe. Make sure that you tape it securely so it does not fly off when you use the catapult later on.
- Test your catapult. Put a small object into the plastic bowl. The object should be light enough for the PVC catapult to throw. Pull the moving PVC pipe back by stretching the cord. Release the cord to hurl the object forward.
- Use only soft objects as your projectile. Hard objects can cause damage to property or injury to humans and animals alike. You can use small hollow plastic balls. Water balloons are fun to use also, especially on hot summer days.
- Avoid using your PVC catapult in an enclosed space. Instead use it in an open area away from property or objects that may get damaged.
- Never aim the catapult at people’s faces.
- Supervise children whenever they play with catapults.
A PVC catapult is an interesting project to do on your own or with children. You can find other ways to convert pieces of PVC pipes into a catapult. Once you have made a basic one, you can improve on this basic version. Look for books and online articles about catapult making to widen your knowledge and skill in making this medieval war device.