Kid-Friendly Catapult

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There are some PVC catapults out there that can really fling stuff. This isn’t one of them.

The CatSupult is meant to be used by kids at the annual Eastmont Tomato Festival in Shawsville, Va. Kids pay a dollar to fire three fake tomatoes at a bucket. A tomato in the bucket wins a t-shirt.

The first CatSupult looked like this:

The original CatSupult.The original CatSupult.

The original CatSupult.

It made a weak toss and allowed for no accuracy whatsoever. This year’s model is a huge improvement in range, accuracy and portability:

The new, improved model. A bungee cord provides the flinging "power." Feet on the front keep it from tipping over. The throwing arm is attached to a larger-diameter pipe.The new, improved model. A bungee cord provides the flinging "power." Feet on the front keep it from tipping over. The throwing arm is attached to a larger-diameter pipe.

The new, improved model. A bungee cord provides the flinging "power." Feet on the front keep it from tipping over. The throwing arm is attached to a larger-diameter pipe.

Mounting the throwing arm on tube, instead of a short one took a lot of wiggle out of the contraption. So did replacing the wobbly PVC throwing arm with an old wagon handle. (My Geeklet’s idea.) Making the throwing arm out of larger PVC would probably do the trick as well.
The new model is also much easier to move around and set up. It’s basically just a flat, fat T, with feet and a H-shaped brace. Remove the brace and it lies flat.

Sadly, it was too much of an improvement. Last year, the CatSupult was very profitable (the money goes to the festival/farmers market fund). This year, so may kids hit the target that we were giving away t-shirts left and right.

A kid -- with help from a non-Geek dad -- prepares to fire the CatSupult at the Eastmont Tomato Festival.A kid -- with help from a non-Geek dad -- prepares to fire the CatSupult at the Eastmont Tomato Festival.

A kid — with help from a non-Geek dad — prepares to fire the CatSupult at the Eastmont Tomato Festival.

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