Ancient Engineering SeriesCatapult Kits
Have you hurled today?

Magentic Rail Gun!


A magnetic accelerator is a chain reaction device. It is built in a series of stages, each containing a magnet, a spacer, and a projectile.

"More stages means more power..."
To start the chain reaction, a steel ball is released, which accelerates towards the first stage magnet. Like billiard balls, when it strikes the magnet, its energy is transfered through the magnet and spacer and into the projectile which speeds off toward the next stage. The process repeats until the last projectile leaves the end of the device. The more stages an accelerator has, and the more powerful the magnets are at each stage, the faster the ball bearing will leave the final stage!

This type of magnetic accelerator can also be called a "magnetic rifle", "gauss rifle", "linear gaussian accelerator", or "linear chain reaction magnetic accelerator".

"Includes powerful rare-earth magnets"
Our four stage magnetic accelerator assembles in minutes without tools or glue. It includes powerful rare-earth magnets, steel ball bearings, a 25cm (10") long firing trough, and all the hardware needed to build your own magnetic accelerator. You can even join more than one kit to multiply the effect! This kit is an ideal centrepiece for a science project on magnetism and kinetic energy.

"Safer than a pointy stick"
Manufactured on-site at our Canadian facility using quality Canadian lumber and locally sourced hardware. There is no lead in any of our products.


  • Length: 25cm (10")
  • Stages: 4
  • Magnets: Ne(2)Fe(14)B (Rare Earth)
  • Projectile: Chrome steel ball


  • Chain reaction fires balls
  • Powered by magnets
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Four stage design
  • Assembles in minutes
  • Completely adjustable
  • No tools or glue required

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    Price: $39.00
    Minimum age: 8
    Availability: out of stock

    Item code: 11003

Why should a kid
build a catapult?

Because the world needs good engineers and scientists, and because the kids who will grow up to become engineers and scientists need a way to get hands-on experience with physics, math and engineering.

In this age of 200-plus channels of TV, the Internet and computer games, kids are also spending far less time building tree houses, tinkering with engines, or designing downhill racers. We believe those are important skills to have. They help form the basis for good problem solving skills and an innate understanding of the real, physical world that you just can't get from a computer game, no matter how good its physics simulation software is.

Ballistic motion was one of the key players in the development of the science of physics. The word "engineer" even originated as the builders and designer of Siege Engines

Why is a budding engineering student expected to take a year or two of calculus in high school, but she isn't expected to have any real-world experience in building or working with machines and materials? Pencil and paper (or computer screens) are only one part of the learning experience. Where will she apply all of the stuff she learned in geometry and trig? Without physical projects to touch, feel and see, the lessons become abstract, their utility questionable.

A catapult project gives students a chance to see that science and engineering really can be fun, and it's a lot more than just numbers on paper. The real payoff for an engineer is in the field, where she can see and enjoy the results of her ingenuity. And it may seem counterintuitive, but engineering projects not only help kids learn math and science, they are also great at getting kids back outdoors, away from the massive over-exposure to video games, TV and the Internet.

Why all this interest in getting kids to study science and engineering? Because it's important to our society, and it's great mental cross training regardless of what field of work the kids eventually go into. Most people develop a sense for what they want to do in life while they are still in high school or even earlier. A catapult project is fun and interesting enough to inspire some kids to study the science behind how they work, and then go on to become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.

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