Trebuchets were magnificent medieval weapons that were designed to fling all kinds of nasty, often flaming*, projectiles into well defended fortresses to rapidly end a siege.
500 years or so ago the trebuchet was the weapon of choice for invading armies. And even today people still like to build them for fun – Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear managed to fling a Nissan Sunny with one.
Their construction is based on the simple physics behind the first class lever and they’re perfectly suited to being built with LEGO. You can see one of the club creations below:
We used long Technics pieces assembled with joining pins and then braced with crossmembers for strength (there was lots of product testing).
Tie on some fairly large fishing weights and pull these down and through the leg struts and the projectile bucket is primed and ready to launch.
It may not be as impressive as the biggest trebuchet in the world – watch the video below from Warwick Castle – but it was certainly good at launching marshmallows and accurate enough to hit our paper targets!
*No marshmallows were set fire to during the Brick Builders session