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How to Make a PVC Catapult
PVC is an inexpensive plastic pipe that plumbers use. It is readily available, easy to work with, and it comes with all kinds of fittings that make it excellent for making things. Fittings that you just buy right off the shelf at the home improvement store.
In this tutorial, with a video, I show you exactly how to make a small table top catapult out of PVC. I take you through the process and give you the parts list.
This project also comes with a video. It is at the bottom of the page.
If you make this project email me a picture! I will email you a certificate of contribution from stormthecastle.com You can print it up and hang it on the wall.
Materials and Tools:
85 inches of 1/2 inch PVC - Don't go out and buy 85 inches unless you can get it in one full length! Because you have to cut it up into sizes I will show you below. Buy more for margin of error.
Five of 1/2 inch T's.
Six of 1/2 inch 90 degree elbows
One of 1/2 inch male coupler
One of 1 inch to 1/2 inch elbow reducer
Optional (PVC Cement)
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Note about the pipes and the fittings. Every hardware store will have lots of these right on the shelves. These parts are standard parts. And it is all very inexpensive. For example the elbows are about 38 cents each.
Here are the length's to cut the PVC to:
1 - Fourteen Inches long
2 - Nine Inches long
7 - Six Inches long
2 - Three inches long
2 - 2 1/2 inches long
Note that when buying these pvc parts only two parts have threads. They are the Male Coupler and the Reducer. Be sure to inspect the elbows and the T's to make sure they are no threads in them.
Let's put it together.
It is very easy to put together. But don't glue it. At least not the first time you put it together. Do it the first time without any glue. This way you can make mistakes and get a feel for how the pieces to go together.
First put together the Swing Arm. Here is how to do it:
Now let's start building the base. Here are the parts and how to assemble them.
Now attach the swing arm to the base with a pair of T's.
Finish the assembly by adding the final pieces to the base.
Now work the swing arm up and down so the pivot is nice and loose. You want it to easily move. You can always sand down the parts to loosen them.
Finish the catapult by adding a rubber band or multiple rubber bands.
And that's it. Your PVC catapult is ready for storming the castle.
If you have trouble getting your swing arm to swing freely:
Try lightly sanding the ends of the pvc pipes as shown marked in red. This should make those ends fit much looser when assembled. You can also apply some kind of a lubricant like WD-40 or silicone spray.
Here is a tip from a web visitor (Vince). If your catapult throw arm is a bit sticky you can use threaded reducers. This way instead of friction the throw arm rotates on the threads. Here is a picture. Note that if you add threaded reducers you should put small foot pads under the catapult frame so the pipe rotates freely without hitting the ground.
You can watch the video tutorial here:
Make a Cardboard Catapult
This is an easy project for a powerful catapult. You need almost nothing to make it. I give you the template. Cut out the pieces and glue it together. Make a Cardboard Catapult
Make a Torsion Catapult (Mangonel)
A torsion catapult is a bit different than my other catapults. This one uses string for it's power. You crank it up to make it stronger and stronger. Make a Torsion Catapult
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