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Roy Ritchie

GRAVITY CATAPULT

Get medieval with this portable, stowable, gravity-powered trebuchet.

By William Gurstelle

I have long been enamored of catapults. Invented around 400 B.C., they were used until nearly A.D. 1300. So for 1,700 years, catapults were arguably the largest, most expensive, and most powerful machines on the planet.

Today, people build catapults for fun: Scout troops, historical reenactors, fathers and daughters, beer-stoked college students. Having built more than a few, I’ve found it’s not nearly as easy as it might appear.

First, for any projectile larger than a golf ball, catapults have to be big, and building big things ...

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