Rapid-Fire Hail Of Chopstick Arrows Makes Short Work Of Diminutive Foes

Many Hackaday readers may also be familiar with the Discworld series of fantasy novels from [Terry Pratchett], and thus might recognise a weapon referred to as the Piecemaker. A siege crossbow modified to launch a hail of supersonic arrows, it was the favoured sidearm of a troll police officer, and would frequently appear disintegrating large parts of the miscreants’ Evil Lairs to comedic effect.

Just as a non-police-officer walking the streets of Ank-Morpork with a Piecemaker might find swiftly themselves in the Patrician’s scorpion pit, we’re guessing ownership of such a fearsome weapon might earn you a free ride in a police car here on Roundworld. But those of you wishing for just a taste of the arrow-hail action needn’t give up hope, because [Turnah81] has made something close to it on a smaller scale. His array of twelve mousetrap-triggered catapults fires a volley of darts made from wooden kebab skewers in an entertaining fashion, and has enough force to penetrate a sheet of cardboard.

He refers to a previous project with a single dart, and this one is in many respects twelve of that project in an array. But in building it he solves some surprisingly tricky engineering problems, such as matching the power of multiple rubber bands, or creating a linkage capable of triggering twelve mousetraps (almost) in unison. His solution, a system of bent coat-hanger wires actuated by the falling bar of each trap, triggers each successive trap in a near-simultaneous crescendo of arrow firepower.

On one hand this is a project with more than a touch of frivolity about it. But the seriousness with which he approaches it and sorts out its teething troubles makes it an interesting watch, and his testing it as a labour-saving device for common household tasks made us laugh. Take a look, we’ve put the video below the break.

9 thoughts on “Rapid-Fire Hail Of Chopstick Arrows Makes Short Work Of Diminutive Foes

  1. It actually fired a bundle of arrows all tied together, it just so happened during their short time experiencing weightlessness that they’d take on the attribute of being on fire causing them to explode outwards in a cloud much like being attacked by very angry rock eating bees…

    1. From the Discworld Wiki
      “As Detritus considers this a waste of energy if all the energy devoted to drawing back and cocking the string is only expended on a single arrow (which from a human point of view is a six-foot lance), he has adapted it still further, so that it shoots a bundle of twenty or so arrows wired together around a central core. Due to the violent force acting on them, the arrows tend to disintegrate into a cloud of supersonic (a significant fraction of local lightspeed) shrapnel which bursts into flame from air friction. The resulting fireball scythes everything in its path totally clean. Hence the name. It not only opens front doors, but frequently creates a back door as well.”

  2. What sort of T.W.A.T. uses weak and perishable rubber bands, when it’s already got an order of magnitude more of potential energy stored in spring steel? Are you just trying to make it more complicated and less effective than it has to be?

    If your going for Rube Goldberg, you may as well add the rolling boulder that chased Indy through the cave in the form of a marble track to set off the mousetraps. Then have one of the darts aimed at a lever which releases the trap door under the target to the snake pit below(It had to be snakes), which is also lined with unsprung mousetraps, then have the boulder fall in on top for good measure!

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