How to Build a Model Ballista


Used by the Greeks and later adopted by the Romans the ballista is a formidable weapon used to hurl stones up to 50 pounds and as far as 400 yards. You can build your own model ballista in a day or purchase one of the many kits available. Relive the early days of warfare with your own working ballista.

Things You'll Need

  • 12 inch by 12 inch by 24 inch wood
  • 3 inch by 3 inch by 12 inch wood
  • 2 inch by 2 inch by 24 inch wood
  • 2 pieces of 2 inch by ¼ inch by 12 inch wood
  • 2, 2-inch wooden cubes
  • Hammer
  • Wooden pencil
  • 2 inch long by 2 inch diameter cylinders
  • 2, 2-inch metal poles
  • 2 hoop hooks
  • 2 washers
  • Nails
  • Nylon string
  • Thin rope
  • Connect the 3 inch by 3 inch by 12 inch wood piece to the short edge of the 12 inch by 24 inch base and secure them together with nails to begin your build. Turn the base over so that the 3-inch block is underneath the base. Place the 2 inch by 24 inch piece on the top center of the base.

  • Create a "T" by nailing a 2 inch by 12 inch piece to the 24 inch piece of wood. Secure the 2 inch cubes 3 inches on each side of the top of the "T." Ensure the nails are long enough to connect the pieces but not come through on the other side.

  • Nail the second 2 inch by 12 inch wood piece on top of the 2 inch cubes with a single nail on each block.

  • Set the cylinders on each side of the "T" and nail a washer 3 inches from the outside end.

  • Use a hoop hook between the cube and the cylinder on the inner portion of the horizontal bar. Insert a rope through the hooks and twist the rope halfway up its length. Work the pencil into the rope and secure it tightly to the wood. Run the other end of rope through the washer.

  • Place the metal pole into the hole of the washer, lying across the horizontal bar. Tie the ropes to the poles and remove any excess rope.

  • Take the nylon and secure both ends to the pencil to complete your model build.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different items, sizes and weights to determine what will fly best for you.
  • A model ballista is for outdoor use and always under adult supervision.

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