Between rebuilding my FreeNAS server, editing gaming videos, traveling for work, and various other activities, my schedule is rather full these days. The latest challenge is an ask from the Cub Scouts to build a functional set of “rubber band” style catapults for use during Day Camp this year. Since that is rapidly approaching, and I have few weekends to complete the task, this weekend is the designated window for construction.
When we say rubber-bands, we are really talking about large springs or bungee cords – enough force to launch a kickball or similar object a decent distance, with enough interaction (and safety) to allow cub scouts to aim and fire. A more mechanical tension catapult or trebuchet would certainly be interesting, but the safety starts to push what 10 year old boys or younger can reasonably expect. So my general approach is more slingshot than lever.
Completely unnecessarily and with over complication and detail, I spent a bit of time with SketchUp and drew out some basic designs. The cords would obviously attach near to top of the front legs, and the boys would then pull the payload back until they release. This should keep most things out of the way so there is nothing to block and snap back, and give them the flexibility to aim as they desire.
No doubt the design will change a bit as I actually construct the systems – I need to make 2 so that they can have competitive target practice each day of the camp.
Do you have any suggestions or feedback, or is this a project you have attempted in the past?