Introduction: 15-30lb PVC Bows

Picture of 15-30lb PVC Bows

we built these for scouts and they turned out pretty well, i was very impressed.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

what you need:
common sense (this is NOT optional)
 heat gun
 a pot
 hack saw
 vice holder thing (you make this)
 3/4" PVC
optional but highly suggested:
 arm guard
 glove (your hand is the arrow rest and if your shooting arrows with feather flechings, it can be painful.
 arrows (duh)

Step 2: How Its Made

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this is basically a 4 step process, flatten the PVC, bend the PVC, and curve the PVC

Step 3: The "vice Holder Thing"

Picture of The "vice Holder Thing"

its just 2 boards pined to a larger board just wide enough to fit the PVC and another board.

Step 4: Get Started, It May Take a While

Picture of Get Started, It May Take a While

start heating the PVC, this may take a while but don't be discouraged, keep going ON BOTH SIDES its hot enough when it behaves like spaghetti OK not actually like spaghetti but it gets soft enough to bend in ways it shouldn't  DO NOT hold the gun in one place for too long this will burn the PVC and greatly weaken it.

Step 5: Step on It!

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or sit or stand or kneel or whatever, just take the 2x4 and sandwich the pipe.

Step 6:

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heat about an inch above the 2 handle marks, then let it fall and pinch where the handle goes. USE GLOVES

Step 7: Curve the Top

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use a pot to curve the top part of the bows

Step 8: Notch It

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using a hack saw, cut notches going toward the center.

Step 9: String It

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just use para-cord  if one side bends mere than the other heat it up making try to return to its original form, don't go all the way just enough to equal it out.

Step 10: Done!

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now you have a PVC bow, not as good as the other 2 in the picture below but just as acurtate if you practice! also you may notice the other re-curve has a yellow string, i didn't have one for that length so i just made one with bright yellow para-cord

i highly suggest ether finding a way to use an arrow rest or wearing a glove when firing


thesuperninja2 (author)2016-09-08

how do you determine the draw weight?

my wookie (author)thesuperninja22016-09-13

the length of the bow and the diameter of the pipe, if you make it too long it will be a very light bow, if you mean actual figures use something like a large fish scale after making it, i just kinda compared it by feel to the draw weight of my other bows

asadabdul (author)2015-03-10

Hi, very nice 'ible! How far from the tips is the mark for the recurves and what's the diameter of the pot? I'm making this bow but still struggling with the best shape for the recurves. Thanks in advance and forgive my poor english.

my wookie (author)asadabdul2015-03-10

dimensions aren't too critical, the tip marks are about 1 (2 or 3 centimeters) inch away (assuming you mean for the string?) and the pot can be anywhere from 8-12 inches (20-30 centimeters) just don't make the bow too long a friend of mine did that and he only got about a 10 pound draw weight

asadabdul (author)my wookie2015-03-11

Thanks a lot! No, I don´t mean the string nocks but the total lenght of the recurve :). I don´t think that the lenght of the bow it's gonna be a problem, mine is 44", but my recurves are 6" long made with a 6" diameter pot, that's a very deep curve! I can't even brace the bow! LOL. Maybe with a little deflex it will work. Thanks again!

rbclima (author)2014-10-08

How long is that pipe? I guess ...1.5m?

my wookie (author)rbclima2014-10-09

prety close mine was 4 feet so 1.2 meters if you want a heaver bow make it shorter, bigger means more leverage so weaker

basementhacker (author)2013-05-11

Nice job!

EmcySquare (author)2013-05-10

This project is great, moved the "PVC BOW MAKING" a step further.
Two small words of advice:
1) Describe what type of PVC pipe you use. Here in europe we have "thin walls" for passing electric wires in (too thin), and "heavy walls" for high pressure wather (way too thick). Looks like in the states you have something in betwwen that works quite better.
2) The "Vide Holder Thing" is actually a "JIG". Look at the picture where you put your knee on the 2x4 to gradually flat down the limb: you can see that the handle is making a notch, this will cause that very spot to be a weak link in the structure of your boy, for the step is concentrating a good part of the tension/stress. You might take it out in step 6, but it would be bettere not to have it at all.
Keep up the great job.

my wookie (author)EmcySquare2013-05-10

ya, i'm not the one who came up with "vice holder thing" someone just called it that and it for the type of PVC, its just 3/4" 480 PSI sprinkler pipe.

my wookie (author)my wookie2013-05-10

of course i guess over in Europe thy don't need sprinklers so its probably not very common.

EmcySquare (author)my wookie2013-05-11

Hahahah... we got sprinklers here. We use 'em in a different way: the pipes are black and flexible. I found out it's all abut "grade" of the pvc pipe:
- grade 20 : electrical conduit
- grade 40 : sprinklers
- grade 60 : (green) house wather tipes

EmcySquare (author)EmcySquare2013-05-10

forgot one thing: in order to avoid that "notch" you simply need the sides of the wood vice to be as tall as the pipe

l8nite (author)2013-05-09

there have been several pvc bow instructables and I've been thinking about making a limber for a small crossbow I found but I would need to flatten part or all of it. I really like the jig you created for that purpose. What kind of range do you get with the bows? Have you tried using other types of cordage to see if you get different results?

my wookie (author)l8nite2013-05-10

we were shooting at a 20 yard range and they worked pretty well, as for other types of cordage no we haven't, but i do have a real bow string i'm gonna try next time we go down to the range.

my wookie (author)my wookie2013-05-10

for a cross bow id suggest using a thicker pipe though, maybe 1-1 1/2"? i'm making a ballista with some 2 1/2" but that's probably a little overkill for a cross bow.

l8nite (author)my wookie2013-05-10

I need to check my possibillium piles to see what sizes I have. The crossbow is a midsize about 18" long (nice for small game) so I don't think I'll need something real big but it's cheap enough to try several diameters and to find the TIME....

l8nite (author)my wookie2013-05-10

I need to check my possibillium piles to see what sizes I have. The crossbow is a midsize about 18" long (nice for small game) so I don't think I'll need something real big but it's cheap enough to try several diameters and to find the TIME....

KemikalzAreFun (author)2013-05-09

If you want an arrow rest just cut a slightly angled notch in the PVC where the arrow should rest. Fill the hole with some expanding foam, cut excess off, then put a bit of bondo over the foam and sand till smooth. Might not be the prettiest but it'd get the job done.

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