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Catapult FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Here are answers to some of the more frequntly asked questions about catapults.


  • Who Invented the Catapult? - The inventor of the catapult is lost to history . We don't have a name for the very first person who made one.
  • What is a catapult? The general definition is that a catapult is a machine that stores energy then quickly releases the energy to fire a projectile.
  • How did catapults develop? Catapults are an offshoot of the Crossbow.
  • When did the first catapults appear and where? The earliest writings of catalpults were that they originated in China around the 3rd and 4th Century BC and this type of catapult was much like a big crossbow. I have an article on the History of the Catapult right here.
  • How big are the biggest catapults - Well, catapults themselves don't actually get as large as trebuchets. But the largest ones are typically about the size of an automobile.
  • Where can I buy a catapult - There are a lot of places to buy catapults of all different sizes. has lots of them.
  • Are catapults dangerous? - Yes, they are dangerous. They are made to store lots of energy and then release it quickly. The projectile is of course dangerous and the stored energy also can be dangerous. In medieval times there are accounts of people being injured or killed when a catapult went wrong.
  • How far can a catapult shoot? - Difficult to answer because every catapult is different. The larger ones could shoot 100 meters or more.
  • If you make a catapult how far can it shoot! This depends on a lot of things including how big it is, what design you use and how well you build it!
  • The construction of catapults is called "belopoietics" ( poietike = making of; belos = projectile, projectile-throwing device)


The earliest catapult



The catapult a history

The Catapult - A History

A Major Contribution to the History of Technology and Ancient Warfare
The most recognized military device of ancient times and the source of continued fascination and popular appeal, the catapult represented a major shift in the conduct of warfare. In The Catapult: A History historian Tracey Rihll uses ancient sources and the latest archaeological findings to tell the story of this first machine of war. Dispelling any notion that the catapult was precision engineered in the modern sense, the author explains how a robust formulaic design allowed a variety of machines and missiles to be built and used for particular battlefield conditions or military tasks. Complete with original illustrations, maps, and two appendices detailing both the formulas for catapult construction and known catapult remains, The Catapult is essential reading for those interested in the history of warfare and technology.


The Table Top Troll Catapult

Table top catapult: The Troll
Rubber band powered

Mouse Trap Catapult

Mouse Trap Catapult -
fast to make

Torsion Catapult

Table Top Torsion Catapult
(Also known as a Mangonel )


Catapult Kit

Working Wood Catapult DIY Kit, 6" X 5" X 10"

A fun, wooden catapult DIY kit for all ages to enjoy. Every piece is already pre-cut for you as you will not need to make other hard drilling work. All you need to do is assemble following the instruction and you will have a working catapult in no time. You may enjoy it with another friend or family to see this medieval wonder comes to life.

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