Build Yourself A Little Mangonel, You Deserve One

If you’re of a certain age, you almost certainly learned about mangonels by playing Age of Empires II. Any intermediate player will tell you they are a powerful siege weapon that nevertheless cannot destroy trees (in game). However, why limit yourself to experiencing this capable siege engine in digital form? With the help of [Arry Koster’s] design, you can build a little mangonel of your very own!

A good-looking siege engine is, more often than not, a well-performing one.

The build is intended for a student or hobbyist audience, and is for a mangonel roughly the size of a shoebox. That’s big enough to have some fun, without being so large as to get you into trouble. The project also comes complete with a useful spreadsheet that lets you simulate the performance of a mangonel hurling a projectile so you can better understand the physics involved.

The mangonel is constructed out of wood, just as medieval examples were. The guide explains how to put the the design together, including the use of graphite to lubricate moving parts — a technique also used historically. Beyond building the siege weapon itself, there are also instructions on how to instrument it with an Arduino to measure its performance accurately.

The only thing this project is missing is a brilliant video of the titchy siege machine in action. We want to see it knocking down some appropriately-sized castles! If you happen to be building your own siege engines, miniature or otherwise, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Do include some excellent footage of your antics, to boot!

Flywheel Trebuchet Spins Right Round

Most of us gained a familiarity with siege weapons from Age of Empires, and the march of technology has meant these relics aren’t typically seen on modern battlefields. However, development continues apace in the enthusiast community, and [Tom Stanton]’s latest trebuchet design puts a different spin on launching projectiles at speed.

The design takes advantage of the flywheel as an energy storage device. The flywheel is spun up to speed using a hand crank, through a timing belt and a set of hybrid 3D printed and CNC aluminium gears. Once spun up to sufficient angular velocity, a trigger releases the tennis ball payload from a sling, flinging it forth at speeds over 180 miles per hour.

Moving on from classical materials such as wood and nails, [Tom]’s latest design relies on aluminium in an effort to build something that won’t rot when left outside in the rain. The use of aluminium profiles also makes adjustment and redesigns easy, while providing the necessary adjustments to dial in things like release point and belt tension. We’ve featured a few different designs over the years; the walking-arm trebuchet is perhaps the most oddball of all. Video after the break.

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