Design Oriented Trebuchet Model with SimMechanics

Version 1.0 (3.63 MB) by James Allison
Advanced trebuchet model that predicts dynamic performance based on design changes.
Updated 26 Feb 2016

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Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

This advanced trebuchet model can be used for simulating the Trebuchet mechanics using SimMechanics tools. The inputs to this model are finger angle, pivot position, and sling length. Wheels can also be added or removed. Output of this model is projectile range as a function of these inputs along with a mechanics explorer simulation. This model was used as part of a freshman engineering course that introduced students to model-based design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An article based on the use of this model and the physical trebuchet project has been published recently in the journal Education Sciences (free download):

In addition, complete instructions, CAD files, and drawings for fabricating your own trebuchet kits based on this model have been made available. Curricular materials are also available so that instructors can incorporate this activity into their own courses. It was designed for freshman engineering students, but has been adapted for use with K-12 students as well. We have engaged with students as young as five years old to help them learn how computer simulation is important for engineering design. You can download these additional materials (fabrication documents, curriculum documents) from:

A large number of people have contributed to this project, including many graduate and undergraduate students. Several are acknowledged in the above journal paper. Anand Deshmukh was a primary contributor to the SimMechanics model, and Dan Herber was a core contributor to the documentation and many other aspects of the complete trebuchet project as used in class.

Cite As

James Allison (2024). Design Oriented Trebuchet Model with SimMechanics (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2015b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
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Version Published Release Notes

Associated journal paper has now been published. Added link to journal paper and supplementary documents. Updated description. Files have not changed.