It is often as confusing to learn how to make a ping pong catapult as it is fun to play with one. The process is very simple though, if it is well thought out in advance. With the properly built catapult, hours of fun can be had with very little cost.
To make a ping pong catapult, you will need:
- Finish nails
- Finish hammer
- A handsaw or circular saw
- 1/2 inch diameter dowel, 36 inches long
- Large half of a plastic egg
- Bungee cord or spring
- Build the frame of the catapult from the strapping. The base will be rectangular, and should be twice the length of the arm of the catapult (about 48 inches). The width needs to be the length of the axle of the catapult arm, plus the thickness of the supports. There should be two arm supports that come up the middle of base where the axle will be connected. To fasten the strapping together, use finish nails so that the wood does not split. 3 nails per joint is adequate. Make sure to cut off any excess nail that has gone through the wood.
- Cut the dowel into 2 pieces. One piece will be 12 inches. The other will be 24 inches.
- Attach the egg to the arm. This is usually done with a nail. The egg is nailed directly into the end of the larger dowel. Make sure to cut off any excess nail that has gone through the dowel.
- Attach the axle of the catapult to the arm. This can be done in a variety of ways, although the most permanent is to nail the axle, made of the 12 inch piece, to the arm. There is no set place of the axle to be attached, although halfway is common.
- Make the adjustable stop. This ensure that the arm will stop to project the ping pong ball. Making it adjustable will help you to find the most distance. This can be done by cutting or drilling holes in the support to place an extra piece of wood that stops the arm.
- Attach the axle to the axle supports. This is done with nails through the supports into the ends of the dowel.
- Attach the bungee cord or spring from the end of the arm to the base. The tighter the cord, the more velocity will be made when the arm is released. One end is attached to the end of the dowel. The other end is attached to the base on the side where you pulling down the arm (the back of catapult).
- Test the catapult.
With extra effort, a spring loaded release may be made in order to fire the catapult instead of loading and releasing by hand.