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A History of the Onager in Pictures - Page 1


Birth of an Onager

The Rest of the Story... 

My fascination with hurling things began very early. My interest in building a catapult really took off, however, when I witnessed my first Punkin Chunkin competition - "Wow!" I said,"I just gotta do that myself!" And so I set off to do some research and came up with a plan to build a torsion catapult.

Baby Onager 

The first step was to build a model - here is "Baby Onager". Cute little siege engine is'nt it? This little baby was throwing golf balls out of my back yard - about 125 feet.


Getting Bigger


Mid Sized Onager 

The next step was a mid-sized model. Here is an early version of this model.

Mid Sized Onager 


Serious R & D

Here is a sequence of my dad and I cocking the mid-sized Onager. There is a chain attached to the arm with the other end attached to a drum. We are using metal rods to rotate the drum which winds up the chain and pulls the arm down.

Starting to crank 



Now the Onager is fully cocked and loaded.


I pull on a string which is conected to a release made from a gate latch to fire the Onager.

This model helped me to appreciate the power these machines generate when they are twisted up - I had to heavily reinforce the sides to keep them from being crushed when the torsion spring was cranked up. In the above photos you will note that there are already some cracks in the side pieces - these are form the torsion bundle being twisted, which pulls inward.


Home Run!


Home Run? 

Here is the "beefed up" version of this model. As you can see, I heavily reinforced the sides of the frame. You can see a softball on the ground - This catapult was hurling them about 300 feet - a home run!


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