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SSBow (Super Simple Bow) Write Up

homemade concept bow

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#1 HotShotAzn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:28 AM


Background:
My daughter (due to Hunger Games) wanted to learn archery last year. When winter rolled around, I thought this was the perfect time to practice muscle memory. I also wanted to teach her to make every shot count (so no hopper/mags). After reading for hours and watching some painstakingly detailed YouTube videos, I started off this project with overly complex designs and ended up with something so simple that I am calling this the SS Bow, for Super Simple Bow - however I doubt I am the only person that came up with something like this.

CREDIT: This bow is like my third or fourth iteration. Thanks to Kane for the aabow design, Carbon for the SNAP-7 design, MAV13 for the answers, and bchamp22795 (from YouTube) for the plunger design. I feel like I took parts of all your designs and combined them into one.

Parts list:

 


Qty Part

BOW

1 1/2" x 50" sch 40 PVC

1 1/2" x 15" sch 40 PVC

1 3/4" cross

3 3/4" to 1/2" reducing bushing

1 1 1/4" x 12 sch 40 PVC

1 1/2" TEE

1 6" PEX

1 5' nylon cord/rope

2 3/8" ID washers

Scrap 1/2" PVC for stub bushings

PLUNGER HEAD

1 1 1/4" rubber washer

1 1 1/2" rubber washer

1 1 1/4" metal washer

1 1/2" end cap

1 Fender washer



Plunger Assembly
1) Place 1 1/4” rubber washer on top of 1 1/2” rubber washer. Place both on to of 1 1/4” metal washer.
2) Place the three on top of the ½” end cap. Add the fender washer. Secure using whatever means you want. You can screw a machine screw from the top down or drill a hole and secure with a small nut bolt.
PlungerAssembled_zpsf430e5f3.jpeg
3) Connect the plunger head into the ½” x 15” PVC pipe.
PlungerHead_zps7b3d976f.jpeg
4) Slide the 1" to 1/2" bushing onto the plunger rod.
5) Connect the ½” TEE onto the end.
6) Add lube to the plunger head. Insert into 1 ¼” PVC. Plunger assembly is now complete.

Cross Assembly
1) Drill out two of the ¾” to ½” bushings so that ½” PVC will slide completely through. These are for the bow arms.
2) Insert the two drilled out bushings into opposite ends of the cross. If your cross has raised letters on the cross arms, than those cross arms are now the sides the bow arms enter. This is where the drilled out bushings need to go into.
3) Insert normal ¾” to ½” bushing into remain open cross arm. This is the side of the barrel.
4) Slide cross onto ½” x 50” PVC pipe. Again, this is the side with the enlarged bushings. Center as best as you can. Trim down bow arms. A tip to get the cross and bushings onto the bow arms is to use scrap PVC pipe that will fit over the bow arms but not the cross, and hammer down. I'll post a pic when I get home.
a. NOTE: I’ve experimented with different bow arm lengths. 30” to 27” gives the bow a weird curve and is very unbalanced. 26" - 24" is better but range is weak. I chopped it down to about 20" and that seems to be the sweet spot.
5) Connect plunger assembly onto a cross arm. Wrap in electrical tape if a little loose.
6) Use a 5/8” spade bit to drill out the ½” x 6” PVC tube. This doesn’t need to be perfect.
7) Lube up your 6” PEX. I was going to use random garage lube but my daughter doesn’t like the smell so she used girly lotion or something that smells like spring time.
8) Hammer 6” PEX into 6”PVC.
9) Insert new barrel into front of the cross.
10) Drill holes into the end of the bow arms. I chose about an inch from the end. Hole is same diameter as my nylon cord.
11) Insert rope and add a washer. Tie it off.
12) Choose where you want the plunger rod to stop. I did this by pushing the rod forward as far as possible, then pulling off about an inch. Mark it off and drill a hole for the rope to go through. This will allow you to dry fire your bow without damage to your plunger head.
DrilledPlungerRod_zps6edfdc86.jpeg
13) String though and tie off on the other end with the washer. I experimented with different lengths. Some say that bow arms at 3/4 of the plunger tube is a good measure. I pulled my daughter’s bow to about that length and it is fine. I pulled mine further and do get more range.
14) Check for fitment. I used some machine screws in random parts like the plunger rod TEE as it came off once and my hand smacked my face. Awesome.
This is my bow which has 3/4" arms:
AssembledBow_zps37b00bea.jpeg

 


Edited by Aeromech, 23 November 2015 - 03:18 AM.

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#2 HotShotAzn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:37 AM

ALTERNATE DESIGN:
The SS Bow basically has air from the plunger going around the bow arms in the cross. As MAV13 pointed out, there is dead space which may or may not attribute to lower range. I decided to mitigate this by using Kane's design.

1) Drill out bow arms. I used a 5/8" spade bit. This does not have to be perfect as your PEX will slide through.
Posted Image
2) I wish I would have taken a picture of this, but your barrel assembly is different. You can keep 6" of PEX but the 1/2" PVC is much shorter (about half). The reason is the PETG is what goes through the bow arms.
3) The pic below is the PEX inside a 1/2" PVC stub, inside the 1/2" to 1" bushing.
Posted Image
4) PEX will protrude from the barrel side. Again, I wish I would have taken a pic of this. Lube up your PEX and slide your 1/2" PVC barrel over it.
Posted Image

The rest of the assembly is the same.

Edited by HotShotAzn, 22 January 2014 - 11:43 AM.

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#3 HotShotAzn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:59 AM

Conclusion:
1) The target range was 50’ – 60’. My daughter’s Nerf Rebelle can pull off 30’ - 35' ish, so I wanted to reliably beat that. With 1/2" bow arms, 45' - 50' ish is achievable with good ammo. Stock streamlines are well over 50'. With the 3/4" bow arms, streamlines go fishtailing. Range with good ammo is about 75'. I should note, my wife and I suck at making slugs so over time, I expect to see better ranges.
2) Muscle Memory: Repeatedly shooting does require a fair amount of strength and I have no doubt muscle memory will improve with each shot.
3) Cost: My initial bow cost about $25 - $30 and that includes buying parts that I didn’t need from other designs (thin wall PVC and EMT, $2 each) as well as breaking two crosses at $1.79 each. The second bow was an extra $10 in parts. Average cost is $20. Knowing what I know now, I could have built one for $15 or less. I could probably gain an extra 10’ (maybe more) with improved efficiencies in the plunger to cross design, but that will be in the next rev.

Things I would do different:
1) Plunger head on the 3/4" bow works better than the 1/2" bow. This leads me to believe there is too much margin for error...like if you don't have the head centered on the 1/2" cap. I have a new idea in mind that uses Kane's HAMP design but a few tweaks.
2) Better rope. The 3/4" had some braided 5/8 I had laying around. The 1/2" used some random 3/8". That will be changed asap.
3) Maybe, just maybe, reinforcing the 1/2" arms with 1/2" PVC that has been split will help getting a little more range. That being said, do yourself a favor and build a 3/4" one if you can pull it back. My daughter can pull the 3/4" fine but the 1/2" is much easier for her, especially over and over.

Edited by HotShotAzn, 22 January 2014 - 12:01 PM.

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#4 MAV13

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:39 PM

Looks good. Nice work!
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#5 shmmee

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:52 PM

Glad to see the finished product! The NIC (Nerf Internet Community) needs more simple builds like this. So much of what we do focuses on raising the bar and developing the next "awesome" at the neglect of entry level submissions.
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#6 HotShotAzn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:02 PM

Looks good. Nice work!


Thanks for the answers! I was getting stumped and would have given up...or built something shotty.


Glad to see the finished product! The NIC (Nerf Internet Community) needs more simple builds like this. So much of what we do focuses on raising the bar and developing the next "awesome" at the neglect of entry level submissions.


Thanks shmmee, I never thought about it that way. There is always some kind of innovation and having lurked on here for the last 5 years, I'm amazed by what some people come up with. But for me, I like simple as there is less for me to screw up.
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#7 WSU Cowboy

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:09 PM

This reminds me a lot of NoM's Drac Bow. Very cool! I think what I like the most is the fact that this idea can be easily changed or modified (different lengths of bow arms or diameters of the arms) depending on who makes it. I may have to try this when I start to get into homemades!
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#8 MAV13

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:04 PM

This reminds me a lot of NoM's Drac Bow. Very cool! I think what I like the most is the fact that this idea can be easily changed or modified (different lengths of bow arms or diameters of the arms) depending on who makes it. I may have to try this when I start to get into homemades!


Thank Carbon for the Drac Bow, I have to admit it kind of bothers me that people call it that now haha
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#9 Nerfomania

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:26 PM

Thank Carbon for the Drac Bow, I have to admit it kind of bothers me that people call it that now haha


Trust me it was never intended to happen.....

I like this design, simple and classy.

One thing though, why is your Finishing washer on that way? It will cut through the rubber like that eventually. Flipping it over will help you get a very nice 'Cup' as well.
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#10 HotShotAzn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:38 PM

Trust me it was never intended to happen.....

I like this design, simple and classy.

One thing though, why is your Finishing washer on that way? It will cut through the rubber like that eventually. Flipping it over will help you get a very nice 'Cup' as well.


Wow, seriously? I feel like dumb@$$ now. I was wondering why I wasn't getting any cup action. I'll do it to both bows. Might make a better seal!
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#11 HotShotAzn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:02 PM

WOW! NoM, you rock for pointing that out!

I easily added 20' with the 3/4" bow just by turning that fender washer around! You can hear the suction!

Now on to my daughter's bow.

I was getting worried that I wasn't getting the ranges posted by others but this solidifies it!
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#12 Nerfomania

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 09:50 PM

WOW! NoM, you rock for pointing that out!

I easily added 20' with the 3/4" bow just by turning that fender washer around! You can hear the suction!

Now on to my daughter's bow.

I was getting worried that I wasn't getting the ranges posted by others but this solidifies it!


Happy to help!
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#13 Keola88

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:47 PM

This makes me rather worried about the body snapping. How stable is it?
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#14 MAV13

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 02:05 AM

Why would the body snap? There's an increased risk of the arms snapping because of the hole in them but even then most of the stress is on the junction of the cross and the arms.
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#15 HotShotAzn

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 09:27 AM

This makes me rather worried about the body snapping. How stable is it?


Out of the many iterations I made, this is by far the most sturdy. No creaking or noises when drawn back, unlike other designs.

If you are worried about the cross snapping, you shouldn't. I broke a 3/4" cross by hitting it with a hammer, trying to get it off of a stuck PVC. I was swinging it pretty freakin hard and I doubt the stress that you could place on the cross by drawing the bow back is even 10% of how hard I was swinging the hammer.
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#16 Langley

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 05:00 PM

This would be a great entry for the Homemades contest.
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