Ping Pong Ball Catapults

Our freshman Physical Science students designed and fabricated ping pong ball catapults to go along with their unit on projectile motion. The catapults were designed in CoralDraw and laser cut out of one 24" x 12" piece of 1/8" thick plywood and assembled using wood glue. The students worked in groups of two.
The plywood cost is $3.20 per sheet on Amazon. The general design parameters are:

The Catapult Design Project

The goal is to build a catapult that shoots a ping-pong ball as far as possible using one rubber band.

Design parameters:

1. The catapult will be designed with Coral Draw and cut out with the Innovation Center laser cutter.

2. The entire catapult must be cut out of one sheet of 1/8” thick plywood. The dimensions of the plywood are 23.75” long by 11.75” wide. You may use wood dowel for pivot points or stops. Designing a project in two-dimensions that will be assembled in three-dimensions is challenging!

3. You will be provided with your first sheet of plywood and sections of wood dowel. (Remember, careful planning is one of the things we are looking for!)

4. The catapult must be assembled with only wood glue.

5. The rubber band will be provided. You will receive a new rubber band when we hold the actual competition.

6. Please feel free to inspect the sample. We are looking for creative designs, so don’t copy it.

7. Please ask for help! We want this to be a positive learning experience that coaches the best out of you.


Leigh Estabrooks's picture

Can folks provide

Can folks provide recommendations or links to laser cutters for the classroom?
I saw an interesting one last week at Saratoga Springs High School that was small enough to move to elementary school STEM camps where it could be used.