Model Trebuchet

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Project by bch posted 02-14-2011 12:55 AM 4832 views 9 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This French/English style trebuchet is of my own design, if you discount the fact that I looked over many other designs to come up with this one, and this style was perfected centuries ago. Of the three model siege weapons I’ve created, this is by far the most successful. Firing this, it is plain to see why trebuchets were the best that we had come up with prior to the invention of gunpowder. I wish I knew how far it can throw, but it’s winter and I haven’t tried it outside yet. Inside it hits the walls or ceiling in even our biggest rooms. Given it’s adjustments I think we could get it to throw in the 30-50 feet range. We’ll see this Spring. Given how far it throws things, it really isn’t good for knocking down blocks that are 10 or 15 feet away, as we enjoy doing with the other siege weapons.

I made a little pine “rock” ball about an inch in diameter which it throws terrifically. For the kids I cut foam wine corks in half. I sewed the pouch out of a little scrap of felt I found in my wife’s sewing basket. Felt I think was the right material—you can stretch it with your thumb to form a pocket.

P1: The trebuchet cocked and ready to fire (I hooked the pouch over the end to hold it in this position so that I could take the photograph).
P2: The trebuchet in it’s relaxed position.
P3: This pin is what allows a trebuchet to release the projectile. When the arm swing approaches about 180 degrees from it’s starting position, the loop slides off the pin, opening the pouch and releasing the projectile.
P4: I wanted to make the toy educational, and adjustable, so I designed it to have an open bucket for weights, so that the children (and I!) could experiment with using different things as weights. Also, I wanted to allow them to change the folcrum, so I made it adjustable with three holes, as you can see in this photo. It’s amazing how much these two adjustments (weight and folcrum) change the trajectory. You can make it release with a very high arc, or, approaching horizontal.

-- --bch

10 comments so far

View Shawn K.'s profile

Shawn K.

56 posts in 2903 days

#1 posted 02-14-2011 01:55 AM

Now all you need is some miniature cavalry, pikemen, and some tiny plague infested cows, and you can conquer those liliputians! Seriously, excellent work, I’ve thought about building little siege engines myself.

-- -- Never entrust power to those who desire it.

View bch's profile


296 posts in 2926 days

#2 posted 02-14-2011 02:04 AM

Shawn K: How funny! Yes, I’ve just had a ball. And now that you mention infested cows, that would be a genuine excuse for a carving set, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t this project require the purchase of another set of tools? Man, you are brilliant. Let me think, a carving set to shape the cow carcass, a wood burner to decorate the cow with… any more ideas are welcome before I mention my shopping list tomorrow night at the dinner table.

-- --bch

View steliart's profile


2893 posts in 2926 days

#3 posted 02-14-2011 02:09 AM

Everything is woodworking big medium small, Cool projects

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View NormG's profile


6378 posts in 3241 days

#4 posted 02-14-2011 02:41 AM

I am getting ready to make one for the kids. It is supposed to be an educational activity for them, so the wife would not object She must have forgotten she saw the Little People Big World episode with injuries and the annual pumpkin throwing event that as televised.

Great project and I like that it is adjustable

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3913 days

#5 posted 02-14-2011 04:00 AM

Kool!! I love those

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 4121 days

#6 posted 02-14-2011 05:59 AM

This is great. You need to do a blog on this with dimensions.


View jg15's profile


14 posts in 2736 days

#7 posted 08-21-2011 02:27 AM

have you got to see how far it throws ?

-- jg

View bch's profile


296 posts in 2926 days

#8 posted 10-16-2011 03:56 AM

Sorry for the delay. The kids and I did some tests today. It throws the artificial wine corks the best. I cut them in half. Our furthest distance was 38 ft. with an average of about 34 ft.!!

-- --bch

View bch's profile


296 posts in 2926 days

#9 posted 11-05-2011 07:02 AM

Kerux- I’d have to build another one to do a blog, as I did not take photos or notes, but I’ll give you some basic dimensions:
Length of bottom frame: 16”
Width of frame: 5.5”
Height of vertical supports, above bottom frame: 12”
Total length of throwing arm: 20”
Best pin location on throwing arm: 4.5” from bottom.
Best weights: Four dead D batteries.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

-- --bch

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3104 days

#10 posted 11-05-2011 01:49 PM

It’s very interesting and a nice job.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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