There’s nothing like searching catapult designs and finding just the right one. If your goal is to build a catapult for kids out of household items, the soup can design offers the perfect blend of simplicity and power. Best of all, you can adjust the launch cup to easily improve the arc and distance of launch items.
-Unopened soup can
-Rubber bands (approximately seven)
-Business card (or cardboard from cereal box)
What to Do:
1. Wrap approximately seven rubber bands (depending on the strength/ size) around the top portion of a soup can. Rubber bands should form a belt approximately one inch from the top of the soup can. (figure 1)
2. Insert a popsicle stick beneath the belt of rubber bands. Make sure most of the popsicle stick is above the belt–approximately 80% above. (figure 2)
3. Make a launch cup: Using a business card or the back of a cereal box, cut a square approximately 1.5″ x 1.5″.
4. Make flaps on the launch cup: Fold the top 1/4 inch of the launch cup to create a wing or flap. Repeat for bottom. (figures 3 & 4)
5. Attach the cup to the arm with a piece of masking tape on the back. Do not attach the cup the the top of the arm. Leave the tip of the arm exposed so your thumb can easily pull the arm back. (figure 5)
6. Your catapult is now complete (figure 6 & 7)
How to Launch Stuff: Pull the arm back, insert launch item (dry bean, dime, tinfoil ball, etc) and release.
Adjustments: Adjust the top flap of the cup to correspond with launch item:
A. If item launches downward, flatten the top flap (all the way or most of the way).
B. If item flies straight up, restore the top flap into a bent position.
If you’ve been looking for just the right catapult design for kids, the soup can catapult has a few advantages. It’s easy to make, and requires a very few materials. On the other hand, it’s quite powerful for such a quick and easy catapult. Lastly–the launch cup is easily adjustable, so you can fine tune the arc of the projectile.
Best of Luck!
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