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How To Build A Catapult

table top troll catapult logo

This is a tiny replica of the massive siege engines that were used to tear down castle walls in the Middle Ages. You can make one of these catapults with just a few pieces of wood and a little bit of know how. I will guide you through the whole process. There are lots of different ways to power up a catapult and the way I show you in this tutorial is probably the easiest - you need just a rubber band or two.


Build the Table-Top Troll Catapult. This is a great little siege engine that really hurls projectiles! You just need some wood, a few screws, a rubber band and a couple of hours. This little catapult really hurls projectiles. And you can really tweak it to be quite a powerful little troll.

This tutorial on how to build a catapult takes you through all the steps in showing you how to do it. Want to see it in action? I have an eight second youtube video right here: Firing the Table Top Troll (opens in a new tab)

Want more catapult and siege engine videos? I have them on my youtube channel right here


Note From Will: If you are looking to buy a Siege Engine kit that you can make yourself you should check out my siege engine store. I have all kinds of trebuchets, catapults and more all available from - The Siege Engine Store

The Table Top Troll Catapult

What do you need to build this catapult?

Parts list for the catapult

Parts List: You don't need a whole lot of parts or tools to make this catapult and this is just a suggested list and these are the parts I use to make the catapult in this tutorial. You can fudge and replace lots of the parts. If you are creative there is a whole host of parts and things you could use instead of these parts. As you can see though it is pretty basic and you don't need a lot to build a basic catapult.


parts in the picture:

  • 3 pieces of wood 12 inches long
  • 8 pieces of wood 6 inches long ( two of these pieces have the ends cut at 45 degree angles - I will explain more about these.
  • An assortment of small screws and/or nails
  • 1 large rubber band or several smaller ones
  • 2 eye hooks (to the right of the rubber band
  • Some glue (optional but a good idea)
  • 1 four inch square piece of cardboard or poster board (This is the basket that your projectile sits in
  • 1 metal bar at least 6 inches long, I am using the axle from an old toy car (thats the wheels)

the catapult pivot

About the metal bar from the axle: This is what I am using but you can use almost anything similar. This is going to be the pivot point for the catapult arm so you need something thin and strong. Here are some suggested things you could use: very firm coathanger wire - the cut off blade of a screwdriver, the metal bar handle from a bucket. Take a look at the close up of the catapult arm pivot on the left. See how it is going to be installed. So think of this and find some kind of metal bar for this. If all else fails you could even use a pencil or a pen. You would just have to drill a hole large enough for it to pass through. I used the axle from a toy car which works perfectly. So you may want to scrounge through your toy box to find one.


That's pretty much everything unless you want to paint and decorate your catapult. So lets start on the tutorial and make one ourselves!

NextLet's Begin building our Catapult !


Note from Will: The Template and the tutorial are both absolutely free! But would you consider a donation of $1 to support my work? Paypal makes it very easy and safe. Click here to donate $1 - Every little bit helps Will to keep making great tutorials and templates. Thanks!



Torsion powered mangonel

The Torsion Powered Mangonel.

A mangonel is a type of catapult that is true to the real catapults they made in the Middle Ages and Medieval Times because they didn't have rubber bands! They used twisted rope for power and this table top Mangonel does the same. It is more historically accurate. It is also easy to build and pretty powerful for such a little catapult. How to build the Torsion Powered Mangonel Catapult

Want to Build a Bigger Catapult? I also have this project:

The backyard Ogre Catapult

The Backyard OGRE Catapult

This is a powerful two foot long catapult. I have complete instructions and tutorial on how to build it here The OGRE


The Wyvern Catapult

The Wyvern Torsion catapult
Complete project with step by step assembly instructions, blueprints and a video for making this powerful 3 foot catapult. It uses twisted rope for torsion. This type of catapult is called a Mangonel.The Wyvern Catapult


Mouse Trap Catapult

How to make a Mouse trap Catapult in about 1 minute.

You don't need much and this thing is really powerful. You can probably fire small projectiles about 40 feet. How to make a Mouse Trap catapult


A popsicle stick catapuilt

If you are looking for something easier to make you might want to try my project on making a popsicle stick catapult. Fast, easy and fun project! Goes great with the paper medieval castle. Make a popsicle stick catapult



Another Interesting Project: How to Build a Trebuchet

Make a trebuchet

The Trebuchet was a unique siege engine of the middle ages. It was extraordinarily powerful and was easier for military engineers to build because it used gravity as the energy source. I also have a complete project on how to make the Little Dragon Trebuchet.



Want to build a bigger, better, more powerful or fancier catapult? There are some great books available to you. These books, available at will help take your catapult building to new heights! Pun intended!

The art of the catapult

The Art of the Catapult

Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery - Nice book that shows you how to build ten different catapult projects, moderate wood working and pvc piping kind of stuff. Good book with complete instructions and materials lists.

Backyard Ballistics Book

Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices Want to get a little more creative? This book is off the hook!

Defending Your Castle Book

Defending Your Castle - Your home is your castle, but could it withstand an attack by Attila and the Huns, Ragnar and the Vikings, Alexander and the Greeks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, or Tamerlane and the Tartars? Engineer William Gurstelle, author of the bestselling Backyard Ballistics, poses this fascinating question to modern-day garage warriors and shows how to build an arsenal of ancient artillery and fortifications aimed at withstanding these invading hordes. Each chapter introduces new bad actors in the history of warfare, details their conquests, and features weapons and fortifications to defend against them-culminating, by the end of the book, in a fully fortified home. Clear step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and photographs explain how to build a dozen projects from table-top models of the Cheval-de-frise, Da Vinci's Catapult, and Alexander's Tortoise to the fullsize working Carpini's Crossbow, Hour-Glass Watchtower, and Palisade Wall. With a strong emphasis on safety, this book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind many of the projects, and shows where to find the best materials. It's sure to be an indispensible guide for at-home defenders everywhere.


Kits and More

  • Comes complete with all pieces pre-cut and ready to assemble
  • Glue included
  • Suitable for beginner model makers
  • Easy to understand instructions

  • Comes complete with all pieces pre-cut and ready to assemble
  • Glue included
  • Suitable for beginner model makers
  • Easy to understand instructions

The Abong Catapult Kit Makes Medieval Warfare Fun and Educational

  • Well Written Color Instructions and Laser Cut Hardwood Make Construction Easy
  • Test Your Accuracy and Distance Firing the Wooden Ammo
  • Build Multiple Kits to Wage Desktop Warfare
  • Fun For Kids and Adults Alike to Construct


check out my siege engine store. I have all kinds of trebuchets, catapults and more all available from - The Siege Engine Store