Introduction: Acrylic Archery Arm Protector

I had some acrylic sheets from old Melissa and Doug toy boxes, and needed some arm protectors for archery for myself and the kids (I later used more of the acrylic for a bow sight).  A bit of work with hair dryer, box cutters and rotary tool, and I made some that work fairly well, though they are somewhat difficult to put on over clothes (Velcro might work better).

The arm protectors have two functions: one is to protect the arm from string slaps, and the other is to keep clothes out of the way of the string.  The smooth plastic also may mean that if the string goes on the protector, it won't distort the shot extremely (though it will distort it significantly).

These are usually made of leather, but I don't have any scrap leather.

Step 1: Cutting Acrylic

Cut acrylic sheet to the length you want, and wide enough to wrap as far around the arm as you want it to.  

You can cut acrylic sheet by scoring deeply (a couple of passes may be needed) with box cutters, and then breaking (while wearing safety goggles, of course).  Then you can smooth the corners and the edges with sandpaper, a file or (in my case) a sanding drum on a rotary tool or drill.  As always, when sanding plastic (and other things) wear breathing protection.

Step 2: Rolling Acrylic

In a well-ventilated area, blow a hair dryer from close proximity at the sheet, on both sides, until it becomes sufficiently pliable.  I bent it against carpet until it attained the right shape to fit the arm--wider at the upper end.

If you bend too sharply it will make an ugly crease.  But in some places to do the right bends, I did have to use plyers on it.

Step 3: Make Holes for Elastic

I cut elongated holes for the elastic along the edge, about four per side, by using a burr on a rotary tool.

Step 4: Insert Elastic

Now thread elastic through in the way you like.  You can tie it off, but you might not actually need to if the holes are snug enough.

Step 5: Final Trimming

Now put it on, bend the arm, and see if comfort requires further trimming.  E.g., corners may need to be rounded more.  I also found that my protector became more comfortable if I trimmed it at an angle near the elbow.

This final trimming is actually a little harder than the initial cutting.  Initial cutting is done by scoring and breaking (and then sanding).  But when you are only cutting off a thin strip, it's harder to break off.  I used pliers to tear off the strips.

As always, when sanding plastic (and other things) wear breathing protection.

Comments

author
bakdrft (author)2012-11-04

I dont mean to rain on your parade. But If you grip the bow correctly you will not need an arm guard. In the pic your arm is turn rotating inward. The correct way to hold a bow is to have your elbow rotating clockwise outward (right handed) and bend the elbow slightly to avoid any contact with bowstring.
The riser handle is gripped not at the palm but at the junction of thumb pad and fore finger.
Doing this you will feel like the bow will "jump" out of your hand this only is achieved by proper hand grip, to keep the bow from "jumping" out of your hands a bow sling can be used
Your arm guard can be used though to keep camo clothing from touching your string on release.

author
arpruss (author)bakdrft2012-11-04

I agree that the string shouldn't hit the arm if things are done right. But a beginner like me is unlikely to do things right every time. :-)

I do keep the bow as described, with some other fingers loosely circling the grip to perform the sling function.

If the elbow is slightly bent, won't that lead to a draw-length inconsistency, unless of course a clicker or other draw check is used, since it's hard to bend at the same angle each time?

author
bakdrft (author)arpruss2013-04-25

Draw inconsistency comes from lack of practice. A properly sized bow will draw and set and the end of the draw. Mine is at 29.5" I pull the bow back and feel the string hit the "valley" and I pull ever so slightly to the end where the string begins to tighten again, That is where I get my consistent draws.

author
arpruss (author)bakdrft2013-04-25

Valley? On my recurve, there is just smooth continuous pullback, with ever increasing tension. Are you shooting a compound?

author
bakdrft (author)arpruss2012-11-18

Yes but that comes with time and practice. My suggestion is to straighten the arm for full extension but remember to rotate the arm like I described. This will eleviate the nasty string slap. Please watch some archery vids (youtube) this should help.

author
arpruss (author)bakdrft2012-11-18

I also expect that a big arm protector like this gives some protection, though a Protx glove will also be needed for more protection, against shards of exploding carbon arrows.

author
bakdrft (author)arpruss2013-04-25

WHy would am arrow explode? It will only explode when it hits something like a cement wall then it would splinter.. Im not sure what type of arrows you use, but mine will not explode.

author
arpruss (author)bakdrft2013-04-25

If you google, there are gruesome pictures of carbon arrows that break up on firing, with pieces sticking through people's hands.

author
audreyobscura (author)2012-10-30

What type of bow are you using?

author
arpruss (author)audreyobscura2012-10-31

Samick Polaris 66" recurve, 26# at 28".

author
bakdrft (author)arpruss2013-04-25

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