|Project by USCJeff||posted 09-16-2011 04:53 PM||8717 views||11 times favorited||8 comments|
Before I get into this one, anyone want to take a guess at which shot the furthest (see pic 6 to see Alien, Whopper, or Skittle)? See bottom for the answer.
Lowe’s carries a line of simple children’s projects that are designed to be fun and with safer methods. That’s great, but in reality the end product is at best fragile. The method and process are the aim. The Catapult uses a lot of pre-cut pieces that are very similar to Popsicle sticks. It also had wheels on it which would make it much harder to shoot versus a solid base. A couple reviews of the product stated the cross bar that the “spoon” slams into breaks after a few uses.
My 4 year old helped out here and there on this one. He did some sanding, finishing, and got glue on everything. I didn’t sand out most of it since “I like it like that” was his response. The walnut base is face to end grain butt joints (Not normally the best idea). The vertical arms and the braces are glued as well. The braces connect to the arms via lap joints. The crossbar is also a glued lap joint. The Lap joints take the real force making taking most of the pressure of the weaker butt joints. I suppose a dowel or brad could always reinforce it, but it seems as if it should hold under a kids use. The spoon is hard maple and has two holes drilled. One is to allow for the dowel to go through it and the other is for the rubber-band. and Yes, I’m not that big on carving and didn’t really go to town cleaning up the concave portion of the spoon. I put a couple holes near the cross bar to facilitate the knots. The rubber band in all likelihood will break if he abuses it. I found a pretty thick one in a drawer, so I think it’ll be fine for a while.
As to the shooting trials. . . The Alien went about 11 feet (Jacob attached a jet pack (really scuba gear) to make him go further). The whopper was in the ballpark of 15 feet. The Skittle is lethal. It kept hitting the ceiling about 10 feet from the coffee table it was shot from. Took it to the driveway and it easily cleared 20 feet.
-- Jeff, South Carolina