The pittarion is a goalpost-shaped component at the end of the Cheiroballistra slider between the claw and the handle. Several suggestions have been made by scholars as to what its purpose was. Based on my practical experience I use the pittarion for three purposes, first two of which are actually important:
- To limit the upwards movement of the handle when the handle passes over the locking pin
- To give the handle a very useful auto-locking property: the operator can fully focus on pushing the case forward aggressively instead of having to clap down the handle at the exact right moment at the most inconvenient time, that is, at full draw. This requires that the pittarion is made from somewhat springy steel.
- To reinforce the end of the slider against splitting. The need for this is questionable, so the pittarion could just as well be placed between the claw and the axle of the handle. This would be more in line with the manuscript text and diagrams.
Making the pittarion Edit
Take a piece of fairly springy ~3mm thick round steel. Bend it into a goalpost shape, but leave the angles at slightly less than 90 degrees:
Drill a pair of holes for the poles (or "feet") of the pittarion a centimeter or so beyond the axle of the handle. The distance of the holes should be the same as the length of the horizontal crossbar of the pittarion:
Lower the pittarion into the holes. If the angles of the posts and the crossbar are less than 90 degrees, you will need to apply some force to get the feet in which makes the join stronger:
Adjusting the pittarion for the handle Edit
The next step is to bend the pittarion down towards the shaft of the handle. This serves two purposes:
- Ensures that the handle can rise up just enough to pass the handle (and no more).
- Ensures that the shaft of the handle, when passing over the pin, bends the pittarion up slightly. This makes the pittarion act as a spring which pushes the handle down at the instant it has passed over the pin.
The basic idea is shown below: