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Chapter 3. BallistaMail > The Body - Pg. 68

Ballista Mail A Note on the Term "Ballistae" Technically, the Romans attached two different names to essentially the same (swiped from the Greeks) mechanism, depending on the projectile being ... er ... projected. A catapulta threw arrows, and a ballista threw stones. When I started selling these things, my target demographic was North American and, thanks to poorly researched mass media, used to applying the word catapult to the "improbably flexible tree trunks with a big spoon on the end" you see in Road Runner cartoons. So I marketed `em as ballistae, which some people recognized and some people asked about. in nature. On-the-fly component and material substitution is Standard Operating Procedure during improvisational fabrication; expect your results to vary. Successfully winging it just means being cognizant of the purpose and function of each individual subassembly, and matching the material(s) used to the physical needs of each component. No biggie. Using a compass and a French curve, I sketched out a rough body shape that ended up looking half cricket bat, half bowling pin. The bulge needs to be present at the skinny end so we can build the windlass into it, and the wide end needs to be wide to accommodate nice, long skeins. Keeping the tail end light right from the beginning also goes a long way toward keeping the balance of the completed project controllable on the tripod. In order to actually accelerate a projectile (E), we have to cram onto the body a windlass (A), a trigger mechanism and guide rails (B), and a bow assembly (arms and bowstring, C) attached to the torsion skein rack (D). [Figure 03.05] This leaves us with a potential draw of 10". We'll wait until the majority of the build is completed, then [Figure out how