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Mechanics and Physics of Atlatl and Dart Systems

Throwing a Dart with an Atlatl

The mechanical foundation of Atlatl technology is the flexible Dart. Under acceleration by the Atlatl, the Dart flexes and compresses like a spring, storing energy to be used to push itself away from the Atlatl and launching at velocities that easily exceed 100 mph. The first of many improvements to this mechanical system was the implementation of multiple length Atlatls to fine tune the device - longer atlatls tend to increase the system's range. Interestingly, the number pi is found for optimum performance in the relationship between Atlatl length and dart length.

The great innovation of Atlatl weights in the evolution of this technology bears the mark of true genius. By building flexibility into the Atlatl's shaft and applying a mass to influence the amount of flex during the swing, the energy stored in the spring of the Atlatl can be exactly matched to that of the Dart. This allows for a more efficient use of available energies by forcing the atlatl to push away at the same time the dart is pushing away from the Atlatl, much like a diver pushing away from a springboard platform.

A Dart Being Thrown with an Atlatl

Watch video demonstrating the mechanics of a dart being thrown with an atlatl (700k).

Over time different types of Atlatl weights were developed to improve upon this effect. One particular type commonly called a Banner Stone and using Agent Stealth Technology, went so far as to silence the "zip"-like noise caused by the swing of the atlatl.

These and many other aspects of the Atlatl and Dart have been rediscovered by BPS Engineering. We have been credited with some half-dozen discoveries in the field, or, virtually all that is known of the deceptively complex mechanics of the Atlatl and Dart System. Claiming that BPS Manufactures the finest Atlatl and Dart Systems in the World is no idle boast. It's just a given fact.


Energy exchanced between atlatl and dart Flex in a thrown dart Flex in an Atlatl