Zheng3 Penny Ballista

by zheng3 May 22, 2012
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also check my chopsticks crossbow


Chopsticks Crossbow


You know, I see some negative comments on here. I disagree. While the design may not be perfect, and there may be better ones, but I appreciate the designer making this and uploading it for me to try. Mine came out great and the clips that hold the rubber bands press fit just fine. If anyone said they didn't fit I'd say they probably need to tune their 3d printer better.

Ultimately, you weren't forced to download this and I don't think any promises were made that this would be the next sniper rifle. Be thankful.

Also, in regards to it holding a penny, It has to be able to release the penny so I'm sure it can't just clip in and hold it tight.

Anyway, thank you Zheng3 for sharing. Posting a Make as soon as I'm done here.

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Hi, can you make a version with a wedged slot like the Micro Ballista?

WARNING; This design is pure rubbish. If you somehow manage to build it the holder doesn't fit a penny and if you try to shoot it simply falls out. When you do manage to shoot the damn thing the holder flops all over the place and the penny goes like 2 feet even with the band pulled back hard. Don't waste your time and material printing this.

I'm sorry this design didn't work out for you. I wish you peace and love in 2017, my friend.

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how do i even put it together

looks good and yet to print

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Printed this, really not happy with it. The half-moon pieces that are supposed to have the rubber band wrap around them don't fit in the slots, even after filing or cutting. The penny doesn't stay in the shooter, and the launcher usually flips up when firing. Only got one successful launch, and it was with a dime.

I had the same problem.

There were a couple problems with this particular one. I am currently designing another one. I have version one done. My least favorite part about this one is that the penny always falls out when I am shooting. Also the things on the ends were not fitting in. My modified version is much bigger, goes much farther, and also has a better holder so you can hold the penny in while you are drawing back. Once I am done I will post it as a remix. I also want to point out the simplicity of this design as I was able to make my new one which is similar in shape, in tinkercad. Make sure that when you shoot don't point down or the penny will fall right out

About to print any advice

every time i pull it back the penny just falls out

Which Program should I open this into? I can't seem open it in sketch-up.

For 3D printing, STL files are usually opened up by your choice of slicer software. Some examples are Slic3r, Cura (both free) and Simplify3d (not free).

You can open them in Sketchup by installing the STL plugin and then importing. This will allow you to make modifications to the 3D model although there are some issues and limitations with this.

Can you split this to separate files please the launching pad bit failed and don't want to have to print it all out again????

Open the file in CURA, right click on it and choose 'split parts'. Now you can remove bits you don't want to print.

sadly i dont have money to launch :,(

I can print it for you

same here it cost to much to print for me :(
(i don't have a 3d printer)

I can print it for you

Cant u print the ammo:)?

Could you offer the pieces as separate files? I can't figure out how to break them down because my printer keeps messing up one part but not the others, so I don't want to keep doing full reprints of all four peices

bro there is a split button in you slicer software.

so um, why is the penny not included?


Oh! Cool. I'll let you know how this comes out. Cant wait to annoy my coworkers. =)

@IoFabLab I had the same problem. I just loaded the STL into Cura and right click > split parts.

I'm having trouble printing everything together...the penny holder keeps breaking free...what's the best way to separate each item and print them on their own? I want to try printing this piece "flat". Thanks

Hey zheng3, is this copyrighted? I would like to use and distribute it.

Is Creative Commons - Attribution use this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:23464/attribution_card

Zheng3 Penny Ballista
by zheng3

Does it have to be printed at 100%?

Just printed this and I think you should make it so the penny carriage stays on track, other than that, it's pretty damn cool!
Thanks for sharing!

This is a great idea, but few improvements will go a long way towards the easy construction and firing of this device. Please take these points as constructive criticism, since I admire your work and the fact you're sharing it with us.

  1. Enable the nock to go into the tunnel without leaving it. I don't have the proper technical names, so I'm sorry if it's unclear, but the fact that the nock can just leave the tunnel at any timepoint is really annoying, and also detracts from the accuracy.
  2. Create hooks or other similar add-ons on the nock, to tie the bands there. Tying them around the nock itself is particularly bothersome and prone to mishaps.
    I would do the alterations myself, but as I have no skill with 3D designing, all that's left for me to do is give advice to others :)
    Again, thank you for sharing your work!

Thanks, those are excellent ideas. I'll take them into account for the next iteration.

Soon to be leaving thingiverse because of Makerbot's behavior towards open source.
Details: http://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2014/5/25/has-makerbot-crossed-the-line-for-some-yeshttp://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2...

Thanks for this ballista I just printed it. Tommorow I will get the rubber bands and we´ll see if it works

I printed the ballista and it looks great. The problem I am having now is that I cannot figure out how to attach the rubber bands. I have them both connected to the half-round pieces but I can't figure out how to connect the two rubber bands without offsetting the penny holder. It says to center the holder on the knot but that doesn't seem to work out. Am I really supposed to tie the two rubber bands together? Wouldn't some type of hook have worked?

Did you ever figure out the rubber bands? I just printed this thing and can't figure it out either....

Can you upload just the parts as files? When I printed, only the crossbow came out correctly.

Looks like you designed this for US elastic bands. NL bands are larger and almost impossible to fit in. FYI, NL bands are 8mm wide and 1mm thick. (might be the same for the whole of europe, don't know that)

It is possible to get these bands in, but I damaged the band during insertion. So I hope it will hold up during use.

Has anyone tried printing the pennies to shoot with this?

I know this is a late post, but i have the file right here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1320911

Fake ammo for penny weapons

Had a problem printing, the carriage for the penny broke free from the pad. Can you post the file as individual pieces?

 I can't fit all of the pieces in the 140 mm by 140 mm area on my Up! Plus. Is it possible to get a zip of the separate pieces so I can print them out separately?

You might want to take a look at the Short-Stock ballista. It's made for a 120x120 platform.


I think MeshLab or Netfabb basic (both free as in beer) should let you break up the STLs into their component parts until I can get around to making that zip for you.

Zheng3 Short Stock Penny Ballista
by zheng3

 Thanks. I saw the short stock just after this and am printing it now.

For this Seej game, are rubber-band powered, penny-tipped battering rams allowed?

Yes! See Core Rule #2 at http://www.s33j.nethttp://www.s33j.net

As long as your opponent agrees to play against you with whatever strange device you bring to the table, it's legal.

When i was creating the gcode for this with slic3r, it came up with the error "This model has overlapping or self-intersecting facets" and "the input file was not marnifold near edge 122.000000-121.000000." When i printed it then it started printing from the layer above the front arch of the ballista. Any idea why this is happening? I printed the catapult the other day and its fun as hell, so i'm dying to get this one printed! Thanks!

EDIT! There's now a model that works with slic3r! There was some nonmanifold geometry around the bow that made slic3r choke but ReplicatorG let through.

I left the original version in place because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Slic3r users should download zheng3_penny_ballista_slic3r.stl.

FYI both models have sections that are inside out (normals facing the wrong way) Also something weird about the D shaped keys.

You can fix them by sending them through http://cloud.netfabb.comcloud.netfabb.com
What are you using to make the models?

Thanks cyclone for bringing that to my attention. I've fixed the normals and tracked down the funky n-gons in the locking keys. It's now zheng3_penny_ballista_clean.stl

I left the older versions up for continuity.

I'll look into it. I've been using ReplicatorG to generate my gCode... maybe's it's a little less touchy than slic3r for this model.

Great thanks! i tried the shorter version of the ballista too and had the same issue.

I really wanted to print this but it is just barely too large to print without scaling on my 120mm x 120mm Thing-O-Matic heated build platform.

Here you go:


Let us know how it turns out!

Zheng3 Short Stock Penny Ballista
by zheng3

When I go to generate code it says it is still too big but I think it should actually print. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Thingiverse needs more office-weapons. :)

I'm workin' as fast as I can, cap'n!