This, I hope, will come in handy to someone. Before I go on to the instructions, let me answer the question at least one person will ask...
Recently, the friends of mine who Nerf have (unfortunately) become incredibly fond of swordplay. Not one of them will head to a gathering without one (or two) at this point. This has led to them creating their own "round", or sometimes even phase of a round. They call it "Getting Medieval". At this point, blasters are scrapped altogether, in favour of some good old fashioned beating on one another with swords. All good fun, but fairly anathema to Nerf, in my opinion. What can I say? I'm a fan of projectiles.
That said, the arms race began. I put together a knife out of a wire hanger, cardboard and duct tape for Florentine; I came up with a tsai for deflecting (or capturing) swords. I fabricated a shield from a pizza box. I took a length of 1/2" PVC and some suction darts for a very crude atl-atl. Finally, I decided it was time for something I could more accurately aim. That something is what I'm calling the JA-Bow --- the Just-a-Bow. That's all this is; just a bow.
A quick caveat...
If you are unfamiliar with at least the very basics of archery, this is something you probably won't want to build. It's not at all difficult to use, but if you're not at least a little handy with a real bow, you're probably going to hurt yourself.
Alright, so what do I need?
- 3 pieces of 1/2" PVC, 2' long
- 2 1/2" PVC (2-way) joiners
- 1 1/2" PVC "Cross" (4-way) joiner
- 2 10" bungee cords - I found these at Lowe's Hardware in a 4-pack. Always nice to have extras.
- a hacksaw
- You may need a pipe cutter, but the hacksaw will work just as well for its purpose.
- Some duck tape & e-tape.
- Matchsticks, or something of a similar width.
- A nail.
- A hammer.
That's all that's strictly necessary. I used some hockey tape for certain things, but it's not needed.
How do I do it?
1. The very first thing you'll want to do is use your pipe cutter or hacksaw to trim each of the three lengths of PVC by roughly 2". This won't need to be exactly 2", as long as it's the same on all three pieces (or at the very least two of them).
2. Saw one of those pieces in half lengthwise. Down the middle, all the way through. This took me a while because I have a very dull blade, but it should be no problem otherwise. This isn't going to have to be perfectly straight, but the straighter it is, the better.
3. Take the two halves, put them back together, and duck tape one end so that there's a small gap between the two of them. --- this is where matchsticks come in handy to hold them apart a little bit. DO NOT tape the other end yet.
4. Now stick the other side (the one you didn't tape) into one opening of your cross coupler, so that if you were to lay it on the ground, the gap would not show. Put the other two pieces in adjacent openings:
5. Using your hammer and nail, bust a hole towards the top of each of your regular couplers. Stick them on the ends of the non-sawed lengths of PVC, with the hole you punched on the further edge from the pipe.
(Ignore the extra opening; I didn't have a spare 2-way to demonstrate)
6. Set this monstrosity aside for now, and grab your bungee cords, and link two of the ends together. Use your pliers to bend the metal bits securely to each other.
7. The other ends of your bungee cords are just made for those holes in your couplers. Link ONE of them through, pinching the ends again:
8. Now, the trickiest part --- slide the whole bungee assembly through the gap in your center pipe. This might take some creative prying, but it can be done. Ultimately, you want the two linked ends of the bungees inside of your hacksawed PVC, and the loose end connected in the same way as the other side.
9. I wrapped some duck tape around the cross coupler and the sawed PVC, continuing down the PVC for roughly 2". I then covered this in e-tape for about 3". The first section from the cross coupler was fairly light on layers. The next section was very heavily layered, and the last was right in the middle. This will become clearer to understand in a moment.
10. Take some more e-tape and wrap it around the metal "coil" that holds the links to each of the two bungees by your hacksawed PVC.
Strictly speaking, you're done at this point, and it's ready to go. Drop a streamline into the open end of the cross coupler, draw back, and fire away. I chose to e-tape the hell out of mine, but this is, for the most part, purely cosmetic.
My finished product:
Odds and ends...
The line of red e-tape just before the cross coupler is what I call my "bloodline" -- the idea being that if the bungee starts to cut into that, I'm going to bleed. You may need to re-tape outside of that area every once in a while, but with a very thick layering of e-tape, it'll be every once in a long while.
I wrapped some hockey tape just under the cross coupler for a handle, and at the very end of the hacksawed PVC. I tend to take my time aiming it, so I like to be able to rest my hand on it.
As you can see, it can break down fairly easily for storage/transport, etc. These pieces, when held together, also make a fairly effective defensive tool against those pesky swords.
The JA-Bow works wonderfully with streamlines that LS's or other clip-system blasters chew up. I don't make stefans, so I can't accurately say how well they'd work. --- I tried stuffing some FBR in there, but it's a bit too snug to work proper.
I've managed to squeeze some more power out of it by twisting the PVC so that the bungees twist around them. Never done more than two rotations without the pipes trying to run away, however.
Can't take a good outdoor range test at the moment, but indoors, I can stand at one end of my 80' apartment and hit the other wall. The dart does start to fall by the time it hits the wall, so I'll give a conservative estimate of 60'-75'. Not bad for what it is, if I do say so myself.
Hopefully this will be of assistance to someone. I know this is clearly not for everyone, and not something I'd bring to a legitimate war, but certainly a good projectile weapon against my sword-toting friends.
Questions, comments, flames?
Edited by QuidProNihil, 03 March 2010 - 02:33 AM.