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Friday, September 20, 2013

Make a marshmallow crossbow.


Big thanks to Jeff Searles for sponsoring this week's video with his generous donation to Woodworking for Mere Mortals. Please visit and subscribe to Jeff's YouTube channel, Work Against the Grain.


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Marshmallow Shooter!

Long time contributor to WWMM Carmen Salamone designed this crossbow quite some time ago and I've been wanting to make it ever since. Once I finally built mine, I wonder why it took me so long!

It fires mini marshmallows. And I mean fires them! We measured about 50 feet on average. The power is in the firing mechanism which uses Thera-Band...a type of super strong latex that stores and releases an enormous amount of energy.

Check locally: sporting goods retailers might carry it. Here's where you can buy Thera-Band online. You might also experiment with latex hose that you can find at hardware stores.

Plans

Here are plans for making your own. I've included a simple cutting template and a number of close-up photos to help you. The actual shape can be modified pretty much however you like. If you don't have a bandsaw, you can cut the pieces using a hand-held jigsaw or even a handsaw.




The only tricky part is attaching the stretchy Thera-Bands and rigging up the bow. Put the crossbow in a vise and just take your time tying it together.


*****





25 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. There you go with that drum sander again!

    I want to see and hear the outtakes from tying that theraband.

    Don't you have to register that in California?

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    1. Not as long as the wood is locally grown and the marshmallows organic.

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  3. Will it shoot bottle caps? and what's the muzzle velocity of a mini marshmallow?

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    1. We shot some rocks and it worked great. Scary though!

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    2. Well, now you have a "destructive device". Better get that out of CA ASAP!

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    3. I realize I'm incredibly late, but the question "What's the muzzle velocity of a mini-marshmallow" is begging for the answer "African or European?" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2R3FvS4xr4)

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    4. Will it shoot larger marshmallows? Can you provide a template for that?

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  4. So, awesome. Perfect for my upcoming camping trip with my brother and sister. I may or may not make them one, lol.

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  5. You bratty kids are going put someone's eye out with that thing.

    I'm calling your mother.

    Now GET OFF MY LAWN.

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  6. Will it shoot suppositories instead of marshmallows?

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  7. What are the sizes of the Thera-Band pieces that you used?

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  8. I just completed the first of two crossbows for my grandsons' Christmas presents. Great project. I made a few changes to make them more resilient to rough handling. The first change was to make the crossbar by laminating 3 x 1/4" layers of oak with the top and bottom layers parallel to the long dimension of the crossbar and the middle one at right angles. I think this will make it less likely to snap at the angle if dropped, sat on, etc etc. The second change was connecting the trigger to the body. Rather than tie it I made a small pivot out of two pieces of 1/8" oak and some 5/16" dowel. Works great.
    I'd like to send you a photo, but I'm new to this blogging stuff. Can someone tell me how to do it?

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  9. The PDF and Sketchup links go to some Chinese web site. I'd love to see the PDF.

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  10. Completed 2 today for stocking suffers. Very fun project and one my Dobie likes. He get to eat the marshmallows if he can find them.

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  11. Hi i have tried making one of these using the plans turned out great. best project i've done of yours so far

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  12. I would love to make a couple of these. What mil. is the thera band?

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    Replies
    1. Follow the link to "where to buy" and it shows it as 25 mil

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. I have had great fun making two of these for my grandchildren (4 and 7, so don't need a lot of power). After wrestling with a physical therapy band my wife had, I gave up and substituted a piece of a 3/16 bungee cord. I made loops through the arms of the bow and secured the bungee with copper crimping sleeves I picked up in the electrical department at Lowe's. Much easier and looks great! Thanks again for posting this terrific project.

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  15. great project ...
    just 1 point . When you make a pdf with a dark background and I print it. I use almost an entire ink cartridge. :(

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  16. This is a great project. I sure wish there was a way to consolidate everyone's mods to make it even better. Here are some:
    - You get much more punch if there is virtually no slack in the launch cord when at rest.
    - Width of rubber that steve used is too wicked for a young child. I made mine about 1/2 of his width
    - Someone else said NOT to sand down the guide bars at the release point so that the launch chord lines up with the middle of the marshmallow. I also put a small block bridging the gap beween the rails at the launch point so you get a clean release of the cord.
    - For older kids, you could extend the gun a little at the cross bars and the release point to stretch the rubber more ... or make the crossbar wider.
    - don't use fishing line, but extra strong sewing thread (the unbreakable stuff). Fishing line doesn't tie well and knots weaken the line
    - I'd like to see someone's pics of a different trigger. This one works fine, but i'd like to see

    anyone else? I'm on my 4th gun now. Everyonoe that sees it wants one! :-)

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  17. I had a "blast" making these for my nieces.
    Two things that I modified:
    1. I used surgical tubing. I just cut a 3/4 inch piece of dowel and shoved it up to the center of the tubing so that there was a stable spot for the trigger to push against. It also made a large marshmallow contact area. I used small dowel plugs in the ends to secure the tubing. That make tension adjusting a snap!
    2. I used very small zip ties to secure the trigger and firing pin.

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    Replies
    1. Jeff, would love to see a picture of yours.

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