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My almost 5yr. old grandson is showing interest in gadgets that throw thing great distances. We've already built a ping pong ball catapult for indoors use that is great for nailing someone by surprise as they walk out the bathroom door. Anybody build an outdoor use catapult or trebuchet? Probably a tennis ball projectile would be the best....for now.:rolleyes:
 

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Many years ago we had a stainless steel pipe with one end capped. We stood it in the street at a steep angle, it was about 4 feet long.
We would light an M-80, the old good ones, and drop it down the pipe. Then hastily follow it with a tennis ball.
Way down the street in the next block a bunch of kids would try to catch the ball on re-entry.
 

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M-80s might be a bit much for a five year old.:p
Normally I would suggest a water ballon catapult made from surgical tubing as it is safer on the neighbor's windows. However with winter approaching in New York maybe ice balloons aren't a good idea either.
Perhaps stay with something small and safe, lots of designs on internet. images-2.jpeg
Later can work up to bigger outdoor designs, let the little guy help you build something like this catapult/slingshot idea. images-3.jpeg
 

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The best scene from the best TV series...ever.
From Northern Exposure.

"It's not what you fling...it's the fling itself."
 

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No trebuchets, but the shop guys at my middle school built a fully functioning ballista that would chuck spears all the way down the football field lol.
 

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Ice balloons - haha, I like the sound of that :)
 

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I have launched water balloons with a giant slingshot that flew more than 100 yards. But an easier and quicker way to do water balloons is a giant david sling.
Sewn up out of an old pair of levis, It could launch a softball sized water balloon well over 50 yards, sometimes as much as 75 yards.
JUst like David did to goliath, swing it around your head and let go one end. Accuracy takes practice but is achievable. The best part is that you can bomb one onto someone
and unless they actually saw you do it they won't think you are guilty because you are too far away to be the one who threw it.
 

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Ok it doesn't throw things far but it does shoot them and is easy to build. How about a potato canon? You get a piezo barbeque igniter, some 1 1/2" abs sewer pipe and a can of hairnet hairspray , wd40, or propane and some costco giant potatoes. Woamp! 100 yard potatoe chunks.
 

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Many years ago we had a stainless steel pipe with one end capped. We stood it in the street at a steep angle, it was about 4 feet long.
We would light an M-80, the old good ones, and drop it down the pipe. Then hastily follow it with a tennis ball.
Way down the street in the next block a bunch of kids would try to catch the ball on re-entry.
We did firecrackers in pipes like that when I was a kid (I was too little to really understand the "engineering"/mechanics, but IIRC they had a little hole drilled into the pipe just past the cap, for the cracker's fuse); but we'd set the pipes horizontally and shoot marbles at things (like Lego men or barbies stolen for mutilation). Pretty amazing that none of us ever burned the house down or lost a finger. Adult supervision was unheard of :)
 

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There is a you tube video of a guy who mounted a clay pigeon thrower to his deck with the release in his house. When a squirrel got to the right spot trying to raid the bird feeder he would pull the release and launch the critter. It was funny as could be and as much as I hate squirrels I never gave it any thoughts about being cruel.

GaryL
 

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My dad and me have built three trebuchets over the years, mostly him. Probably inspired by a scouts competition but he likes fiddling around. One had a throwing of about 18 inches, was compact, good for small items or eggs, used about 35lbs in counterweight. One had a throwing arm of 3 feet, but was to flimsy (headed by the scouts and some pansy parents). After he was visually disappointed in that, he went home and built one with a 6 foot arm, 2x4s and we used barbells and dive weights. It could throw a tennis ball/egg three blocks over. We always joke about grabbing a scrap train crossing arm and building the next one, and send funny clips back and forth. A few things, you need a lot of counter weight, which makes it inherently dangerous or atleast an adult supervision kind of thing, put some thought into your thong (!?) because it's hell-a-easy to blow your ballot before the throw. Makes tennis balls the ideal if you don't mind chasing,
Edit: that should say your ballon, but blow your ballot sounds more appropriate for the times.
 

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In 9th grade a friend made a canon out of water pipe big enough to shoot lemons. He used calcium carbide and water (makes acetylene gas) as the propellant. When the air/acetylene mixture was correct, and the lemon fit snugly in the "barrel", with the barrel 3' off the ground and level with it, the lemon would go approx. 75 yards before hitting the ground, or in this case the street.

As I look back I am sure glad it didn't hit anything or anybody. That lemon was moving very fast and would have done some damage.
 

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A bowling ball mortar has got to be the most impressive launch I've seen. Chucking a 16lb ball 550 yards or so is an awesome sight. Hearing it crash through the woods upon re entry is amazing.
 

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Used to build "potato cannons" all the time. Ran them off of MAPP gas with a bbq piezo trigger. Had solenoid charger system that ran off of 9v.

Interchangeable barrels would allow for many projectile types. One of the most impressive was a dart made out of a carriage bolt with a huge stack of fender washers. When loaded correctly, it blew completely through an empty 50 gal water heater.

Accurate as all hell too.

I can expand on this if you want. Couple of good stories on what went on at the supply house.
 

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Used to build "potato cannons" all the time. Ran them off of MAPP gas with a bbq piezo trigger. Had solenoid charger system that ran off of 9v.

Interchangeable barrels would allow for many projectile types. One of the most impressive was a dart made out of a carriage bolt with a huge stack of fender washers. When loaded correctly, it blew completely through an empty 50 gal water heater.

Accurate as all hell too.

I can expand on this if you want. Couple of good stories on what went on at the supply house.
Expand away please!!!! :happy1:


Tom
 

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As long as one does not attempt to shoulder fire smooth bore homemade devices less than 26" long overall or with barrel length less than 18" with combustable propellants one is not in violation of the National Firearms Act . So go ahead and build that 5 year old his own personal cannon:p. I took great joy as an 8 year old to discover my firecracker powered smooth-bore could shoot a bolt right through the side of the house. My parents were less impressed.
 
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