14 Skills for 14 Days
Day 8: Homemade Catapults
I had a substantial phase where I built catapults. I built them out of anything. LEGOs, K’NEX, matchsticks, pens, pencils… Anything that could take tension or create leverage got co-opted into catapult pieces.
I primarily referenced The Art of the Catapult for blueprints.
This book outlines the development of catapults through the ages. It also comes with handy construction outlines for each model. Sadly, most of the instructions require extensive power-tool usage and advanced hardware.
Fortunately for the safety of everyone in my vicinity, I did not have access to power tools in my teenage years. So everything was pretty much hot glue and ingenuity.
Unless you have access to a handy 50 pound counterweight, the easiest model to go with in your apartment is the Onager, a Roman catapult from around 350 A.D. The Onager throwing arm is powered entirely by twisted cord. For the homemade varietal, the components you need are a frame to hold the cord, a throwing arm to winch up inside the cord, and a block to stop the swing of the catapult arm at its peak.
Then just load up with the ammunition of your choice (ideally the severed heads of your enemies) and fire away!