Ancient Engineering
The Atomic Bomb of the Middle Ages

The Desktop Trebuchet

Defend your desktop!

The mere presence of this striking machine on your desk will induce fear and respect among your peers. Take charge and besiege your opponents with a fully functional, genuine trebuchet for your desk!

It really works! It takes about two to four hours to assemble, which is a joy in itself with the hand selected wood and computer-controlled, precision cut parts. The professionally designed kit and fully detailed instructions - 10 pages of descriptions and tips, with of photos of every step - makes assembly a breeze. All you really need is some glue and a pair of scissors. For a more refined look, a little sandpaper and a small, round file would be helpful, but are entirely optional.

Performance! This mighty desktop artillery is capable of hurling the wooden ball projectiles (included) over twenty feet! Just load-up the counterweight bucket with about $1.50 in pennies and you've got a fully-loaded machine. Use less counterweight for shorter range, or experiment with different configurations of sling length and projectile/counterweight combinations.

The desktop trebuchet is a fantastic way to demonstrate the pinnacle of pre-gunpowder mechanical engineering technology. Great for classrooms or school science projects, or just a great display piece on your bookshelf or desk.

  • Made from all hardwood, natural string and real leather.
  • Computer controlled precision manufacturing for guaranteed-to-fit parts.
  • 10 inches long, 9 inches wide and 11 inches tall.
  • Propped counterweight box for increased potential energy. The counterweight box automatically props-up to a higher position when cocked.
  • Sides lean inwards for shorter axle span. A shorter axle is stronger and won't "bounce", improving the performance and lifespan of the machine.
  • Natural twine "ropes" for a more authentic looking model.
  • Historically accurate trigger design is easier to operate than other friction-based triggers.
  • Half-lap and reference-notched joinery make precision assembly easy to do without having to measure or mark anything.
  • No metal or plastic parts! 100% wood and rope, but it's still a functional machine capable of hurling a ball across the room!

It's a wonderful model suitable to defend the portcullis of any office cubicle or classroom!

Tools required:
Scissors, Glue, Ruler, and a utility knife. Sandpaper is optional.

Assembly time:
For a Master carpenter doing a sloppy job: about 2 hours.
A person with no kit building experience being extremely meticulous: about five hours.
The model in these photos was built by Ron Toms in about three hours.

Assembled Size:
- Height: 11" at the main axle.
- Length: 10"
- Width: 9"

Additional Counterweight Required: 150 pennies.

- 10 to 20 feet with the included wooden ball projectiles.
(Optimal range assumes a well tuned machine)

Shipping weight: 2 lbs.
Box dimensions: 19" x 12" x 3"

Quantity pricing info:
0 to 4 kits, standard price.
5 to 9 kits, 10% off
10 or more kits, 15% off

Orders of $200 or more get FREE ground shipping!

For more discount pricing info, please visit

WARNING! This is a functional model intended for display and/or educational demonstrations of physics. It contains a fast moving arm and projectile that can cause injury if you make contact when firing. Use only under strict, competent adult supervision.

* You'll need to supply the counterweight material. 150 pennies are recommended.

* Can throw 20 feet when properly constructed and tuned. Your performance may vary.

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    Price: $49.95
    Minimum age: 10
    Availability: out of stock

    Item code: 10421

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Interesting Notes

Some Trebuchet History:

From the 13th century writing: "Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi"

In June and July of 1191, Richard the Lionheart (the Duke of Normandy) laid siege to the city of Acre as part of the medieval Crusades.

The Duke concentrated on constructing siege machines and placing trebuchets [petrariae - literally, stone hurler] in suitable places. He arranged for these to shoot continually day and night. He had one excellent one which he called "Bad Neighbor" [Malvoisine]. Its continual bombardment partly destroyed the main city wall and shattered the Cursed Tower. On one side the Templars' trebuchet wreaked impressive devastation, while the Hospitallers trebuchet also never ceased hurling, to the terror of the Turks.

Besides these, there was a trebuchet that had been constructed at general expense, which they called "God's Stone-Thrower". A priest, a man of great probity, always stood next to it preaching and collecting money for its continual repair and for hiring people to gather the stones for its ammunition. This machine at last demolished the wall next to the Cursed Tower for around two perches' Length [11 yards or 10 meters].

The count of Flanders had had a choice trebuchet, which King Richard had after his death, as well as another trebuchet which was not so good. These two constantly bombarded the tower next to a gate which the Turks frequently used, until the tower was half-demolished. Besides these, King Richard had two new ones made with remarkable workmanship and material which would hit the intended target no matter how far off it was. . . . He also had two mangonels [traction trebuchets] prepared. One of these was so swift and violent that its shots reached the inner streets of the city meat market.

King Richard's trebuchets hurled constantly by day and night. It can be firmly stated that one of them killed twelve men with a single stone. That stone was sent for Saladin to see, with messengers who said that the diabolical king of England had brought from Messina, a city he had captured, sea flint and the smoothest stones to punish the Saracens. Nothing could withstand their blows; everything was crushed or reduced to dust.