Thursday, July 15, 2010

Clothespin Torsion Catapult for Kids (and Adults)

I'm not sure if it was the children, or I, who enjoyed this science project/really cool toy from Rain Newcomb, and Bobby Mercer's Smash It! Crash It! Launch It! 50 Mind-Blowing, Eye-Popping, Science Experiments, more. But, it was a lot of fun, and so simple to make.

All you need is:


  • Glue (I would suggest hot glue, but good old Elmer's School glue will do for a start)
  • A spring-style clothespin
  • A craft stick (C, colored ours to make it show up better)
  • A small scrap of wood.
  • A plastic drink bottle cap (we used a milk cap)


Glue the clothespin to one end of the scrap of wood.


Glue the craft stick to the top of the clothespin, about midway down.


Glue the plastic cap, hollow side up, near the end of the craft stick, but not right at the end.


After the glue is dry, place a pompom, or marshmallow into the cap. Push down on the craft stick...


...and let go! This little torsion catapult really works.


Just for fun, we set up a communion glass tower, to knock down. It took us several tries to get a direct hit, as we learned about angles, distance, and stored energy, and just generally had fun.




It's great to be a homeschooler.

16 comments:

Debbie said...

Thank you! I have been looking for the perfect idea for a catapult. This one is great and one that I know Selena will have fun with!

Phyllis said...

Thanks, I was just thinking about making castles and catapults! We made catapults out of mousetraps but they are a bit dangerous. LOL
http://bergspot.blogspot.com/2009/07/mousetrap-catapults-nervous-system.html

Raising a Happy Child said...

OK, this is certainly worth trying. How fun, especially for boys and tomboys.

Christy said...

Fantastic! I think we will have fun with this.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

No way!!! That is soooo freakin' awesome!!! :-) You rock!

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Elise said...

That's my kind of catapult - easy to construct and effective. I am also going to make a note of that science experiment book you mentioned in this post - sounds like a must have book.

Ticia said...

That'd be a good catapult to add into our family arsenal. And would be another use for all the milk caps I've saved.

Lady Chadwick said...

finally made one of our own...sorta
http://ladychadwick.blogspot.com/2010/07/catapults.html

Thanks for posting such fun ideas!

shannon said...

We made a similar catapult to this, as well as some cool ones from binder clips and rubber bands. They came from a great book called "Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction: Build Implements of Spitball Warfare." Despite the title, which initially put me off, the book is really fun! Very clear instructions.

Anonymous said...

torsion means twisted...stored energy in twisted rope or string. Your catapult is a tension catapult.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Hmmm...my thinking was the twist of the spring on the clothes pin is why it was called a torsion catapult - but I'll certainly look into it.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Yep - just looked it up, the spring in the clothes pin is a torsion spring.

Tech said...

This is a great idea. Though it is a torsion spring it is not a torsion catapult. It is a tension catapult because it works the same way as a bow does in archery.

You can check out the difference here
Catapult - Onager Look under Power Source to see the way a torsion catapult operates.

Sweet idea, though. If you can figure out how to get a sling on it, you would have a fairly historically accurate little onager. Thanks

Casse-bonbec said...

so simple, but so efficient. Thanks for this fantastic idea

JenKehl.com said...

This is awesome! Thank you!