Grab your popsicle sticks and raid the office supplies! We’re making a miniature popsicle stick catapult that seriously works great.
Built with Popsicle sticks, a binder clip, bottle cap and hot glue, this DIY Catapult will shoot distances of around 20 feet! It’s an easy to build catapult that’s not just a fantastic science experiment, but a fun toy.
Kids can use it to hurl marshmallows at their foes or knock down paper cup fortresses, all while picking up valuable lessons in STEM.
A while back Mitch and I made our first popsicle stick and spoon catapult. It’s a fine “simple machine” but it lacks…oomph. Plus it has an annoying tendency to fire straight up.
It’s fairly obvious why the spoon catapult launches it’s payload at the ceiling — when you pull back the spoon, it only moves about 45 degrees and all the launching force goes straight up.
I’m sure there’s a more scientific way to state this, but my degree is in journalism, not physics.
We’ve actually created a Popsicle Spoon Catapult 2.0 that solves the upward thrust issue, but…it’s not nearly as cool as today’s catapult.
Make a Binder Clip Popsicle Stick Catapult
Adding a binder clip to the pivot point (fulcrum) solves two problems: it’s adds way more energy to the catapult’s throw and has a greater range of motion. This allows the payload to move in a forward direction. In our basement tests, the Binder-a-pult was able to toss mini marshmallows 18 to 20 feet, and small foil balls around 15 feet.
Mini marshmallows are a great projectile — they’re a universal size, so your results should match mine. Plus you can snack on the ones not fired across the room.
— See how we made the Binder-a-pult 2000 over at YouTube. —
- 6 Popsicle sticks (craft sticks)
- 1 Binder Clip
- Hot Glue
- Low Melt Hot Glue Gun
- Glue one craft/popsicle stick to the wire "handle" of the binder clip. Put hot glue inside the wire and down the length of the stick.
- Quickly place another stick on top, make a sandwich (stick, clip handle, stick). The sticks will NOT line up at the back -- that's ok!
- Repeat for the other wire handle.
- Glue the bottle cap to the top stick.
- Glue two more sticks to the bottom -- crosswise -- as a base.
Most bottle caps will work -- we used small water bottle caps for our Binder-a-pult. Metal bottle caps are not recommended as they might have sharp edges.
Always use caution when using a glue gun with kids -- even low temp glue reaches 250 degrees!
Crumpled balls of foil and small marshmallows make excellent projectiles for this style of catapult.
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