Prints (1)


A fun and adaptable pie-shooting catapult. It can be used for mechanics, design, and introductory projectile motion lessons.

***see MyPie_Assembly_Instructions - Explore_Making.pdf in Files

The MyPie catapult was designed from 12 year old Maya’s pen and paper drawings. Maya envisioned her design on paper, and Noah brought her design to life using SolidWorks. Some of Maya’s pen and paper designs had to be altered to be easily printable by a desktop 3D printer. To do this we removed any overhangs and steep angles. Insuring the shapes printed at angles less than 45 degrees meant parts wouldn’t need support structures and would print quickly and reliably.

Overview & Background

Maya saw a small wooden catapult for sale at the store. She wanted to buy it, but decided that she could design a better one herself. She designed and drew the MyPie Catapult. Maya recruited her uncle Noah to turn Maya’s drawings into 3D printable parts, and made them on his 3D printers. The catapult works well as a teaching tool. First, having students follow directions and then design and run experiments using the catapult. It is natural for students to try to make changes to get the pies going farther and faster. Depending on the class, it can be a good introduction to projectile motion. The parts are designed so that students can take the catapult apart and design something new as an extension activity.


Follow instructions to create a functional catapult 

Demonstrate understanding of projectile motion to change the arc and speed of the projectile 

Design and build a new functional project (extension activity)


grade 5 to adult


Physics, Math, Design, Mechanics

Skills Learned (Standards)

  • Follow instructions to build a functional product
  • Document the process of creating a MyPie catapult and any alterations done
  • Change elastic type, placement or other parameters to impact projectile


Students can work in groups of 2 or 3, promoting teamwork and reducing material costs. If teams used, we recommend having the students switch roles every 5 to 10 minutes so all students assemble, read, and document. One suggestion for homework is the documentation of their process.

We've worked hard to create a step by step assembly guide. Please also see the PDF in the files.

You can extend the lessons by including challenges for the students (e.g. how far can you launch the pies?). We do a second extension activity where students have to create a new functional product with the catapult pieces and only allowed to add one more 3D printed piece.


One hour is sufficient for the basic activity. The extensions can take several hours depending on the depth and number of extensions added.



  • 3D printed parts (as uploaded here)
  • wood dowels
  • elastic bands
  • 42 x #2 screws (#2x3/8 inch Pan-Head Phillips)
  • razor blade or Exacto knife
  • ruler
  • screwdriver
  • string
  • padding and zip ties
  • Rubric/Assessment

    Students could be assessed on the following:

    • Documentation of the process
    • Completed catapult that flings pies a certain distance
    • Understanding of the relationship between elastic size and power of projectile

    Handouts and Assets

    MyPie Catapult Assembly instructions

    This lesson plan was a submission in the Create to Educate lesson plan contest with MatterHackers, sponsored by Ultimaker

    Design Files

    File Size

    2.54 MB
    6 x t .STL
    111 KB
    1 x latch a.STL
    165 KB
    1 x arm bracket.STL
    101 KB
    fruit pie.STL
    1.17 MB
    6 x corner.STL
    69.7 KB
    4 x wheel bracket.STL
    343 KB
    2 x center.STL
    102 KB
    1 x latch b.STL
    97.3 KB
    1 x elastic anchor.STL
    77 KB
    1 x basket.STL
    414 KB
    1 x elastic bracket.STL
    374 KB
    1 x pulley.STL
    328 KB
    4 x wheel.STL
    201 KB
    6 x clamp.STL
    109 KB
    All The Parts.stl
    4.75 MB


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