Constructing a catapult.

Foundation students were assigned to construct a ballistic device that launches an object (we were told to utilise a tennis ball) to a tower of boxes of approximately 6ft high at 10 metres. That sounded like a monstrosity, isn’t it? 

I’m not denying about the fact that this project was utterly challenging. It demanded such scientific skills and creativity from us that it nearly sucked our brain juices out. But hey, if you run dry, it means that it’s working.

Without further ado, let’s get started on the experience itself.


Thanks to Sir Charles, I got to team up with Jennifer, Vivian and Nafiz.

Left to right: Jennifer, Nafiz, Vivian, Me

Materials weren’t difficult to look for as Jennifer’s dad supplied us with what he had left in his studio; wooden pallettes which we had to dismantle. Jennifer also managed to obtain curtain rods from home which we used as the arm of the catapult. Vivian and I looped loads of rubber bands to launch the tennis ball at the target. Not to mention, duct tapes to secure every nook and cranny! Moreover, we were lucky enough to have Nafiz as our “handyman” as he did most of the hammering. Literal blood and tears (and skin) were shed throughout.

Initially, we had a massive catapult of 130cm x 130cm and it could not pass through the entrance of the sports complex. Thus, we had to improvise by searching for another base, nothing more than 76cm. We ended up racing against the clock, assembling another catapult of a smaller size.

Our first catapult
Introducing “Organic” (Don’t question the name)

We knew “trial and error” was bound to occur in order to get the desired angle of the arm and strength of the band. To be honest, I cannot recall on the number of times we attempted to shoot at 10 metres but we managed in the end.

Here are 2 videos of the millionth attempts: Catapult launch: Test #1 and Catapult launch: Test #2

On doomda- I mean the day of our presentation, we were given 3 chances for the launch. Our first try was a total failure. However, our second try had us completely astonished because we had never shot over 10 metres until that very day. Lastly, we managed to hit the target but it did not fall off. Nevertheless, I’d like to consider this as a success. The overall experience was worth it.

Here’s the video of the actual testing: Catapult launch: D-DAY


2 thoughts on “Constructing a catapult.

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