Fun Family Activities | 12 August 2016Rubber Band Engineer: Bow and Arrow Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Have you ever tinkered with office supplies while bored at school or work? Rubber Band Engineer takes that tinkering to a whole new level but teaching you how to create a band armory. Below are steps on how to make a bow and arrow out of yard sticks, duct tape and wire. Branches, sticks, string, rubber bands, pens, rulers, and bamboo skewers can all be used to craft a bow and arrow. This design is one way to do it, and it illustrates the important principles. Like all the projects in this book, it’s built to be as fun and effective as it looks. MATERIALS 2 Yardsticks (or meter sticks) Duct Tape Utility Knife Pliers (optional) String Dowel, 24″ (61 cm) long Pencil Sharpener (Optional) Spool of bendable, non-aluminum wire, at least 18 gauge Substitutions YARDSTICKS: Tape several paint stirrers together in an overlapping pattern; any strong yet flexible material that can be cut to the dimensions of a yardstick STRING: A long chain of linked rubber bands DOWL: Bamboo gardening stakes 1. Stack one yardstick (meter ruler) on top of the other and tightly wrap the ends together with duct tape. If your yardsticks have a hole at one end, make sure that both holes line up. 2. Cut a 1?4″ × 1?2″ (6 mm × 1.3 cm) piece off each corner of the yardstick. Use the utility knife to score the yard-stick several times and then break the piece off. Because the grain of the wood runs lengthwise along the yardstick, you should have a clean break. Use pliers to snap off the corners if you have trouble breaking the wood. 3. Cut a 6′ 8″ (2 m 20.5 cm) length of string. Fold the string in half and attach it to one end of the bow with a hitch knot. If your yardsticks have a hole at one end, thread the folded end of the string through the hole. 4. String the bow by bending it significantly while holding the loose ends of the string in your hand. Wrap the string around the second end of the bow and knot it. 5. Cut a 1″ (2.5 cm) piece from the dowel. Tape the 1″ (2.5 cm) piece of dowel so that it lines up with the very center of the bow. (If you are using yardsticks, this is at the 18″ mark [50 cm] on a meter ruler.) This will serve as the arrow rest. 6. Now turn the long piece of dowel into an arrow. Use the utility knife to cut a V-shaped nock at one end of the dowel. The nock will prevent the arrow from slipping off the bow string when you shoot. 7. Use the utility knife to whittle the other end of the dowel to a point. Alternatively, use a pencil sharpener for a more precise point. 8. Wrap fine wire around the dowel near the arrow’s tip to create a 1″ (2.5 cm)-wide band. Adding this leading weight will allow the arrow to fly straight. THE IMPORTANCE OF LEADING WEIGHTS Imagine trying to throw a long strip of paper. It won’t go very far and it definitely won’t go straight. Now imagine attaching a rock to one end of the paper and throwing it again. The momentum of the rock will carry the paper through the air and the paper will trail behind it in a straight line. This same idea applies to long projectiles—such as arrows. They need weight at the tip in order to work. 9. Wrap the wire with duct tape to secure it. You’re ready to fire! 10. Nock the arrow onto the string and rest the shaft on the arrow rest. Contrary to the techniques of real archery, you will pinch the nocked dowel and draw it back until only the very tip of the arrow is in front of the bow. Aim safely, and let go! Sheets of cardboard make great targets. WAIT, WHERE’S THE FLETCHING? Real arrows use fletching (fins or feathers) in addition to a leading weight to stabilize the arrow’s flight. Arrows made from household materials sometimes don’t. Here’s why: Real arrows are flexible. If you watch an arrow being shot in slow motion, it will bend significantly under the force of the released bowstring. This bending allows the arrow to effectively curve around the bow before straightening out in midflight. This is important! If the arrow did not bend, the fletching would collide with the bow and be ruined. That is exactly what will happen if you add fletching to this inflexible arrow. If you make an exceptionally strong bow, or you use a more flexible material for the arrow, your arrows will benefit from fletching. Want to know more? Do an internet search for “the archer’s paradox.” Buy from an Online Retailer US: “Whoa, that shot a lot farther than I thought it would!” Shooting far, flying high, and delivering way more exciting results than expected are the goals of the gadgets in this book. Discover unexpected ways to turn common materials into crafty contraptions that range from surprisingly simple to curiously complex. In vivid color photos, you’ll be guided to create slingshot rockets, unique catapults, and even hydraulic-powered machines. Whether you build one or all 19 of these designs, you’ll feel like an ingenious engineer when you’re through. Best of all, you don’t need to be an experienced tinkerer to make any of the projects within. All you need are household tools and materials, such as paper clips, pencils, paint stirrers, and ice pop sticks. Oh, and rubber bands. Lots of rubber bands. So grab your glue gun, pull out your pliers, track down your tape, and get started on the challenging, fun, and rewarding journey toward becoming a rubber band engineer. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.