Picture of Block a Ninja Star on Stage!

It's 2011, and I am in charge of choreographing a bunch of children in a "ninja" skit to be played out on stage in front of their friends and families.

I decide to finish the skit by having the two most experienced kids have a battle on stage. In the beginning of the battle, the Ninja would bow, and suddenly, one would whip out a shuriken (AKA Ninja Star) and throw it at her opponent. Fortunately, the other ninja had a table nearby to grab and block the weapons with.

Of course, being children and on stage, no real stars would be used. Nothing would really be thrown, but it had to look - and sound - real. That's just how I roll. ;-)

I decided to create a variation of the apparatus magician's use in their knife throwing bits. Magicians have assistants behind a big board to trigger the knives. I would have an 11 year old child both holding the prop, acting with it, and activating it. I needed a simple, quick, stable illusion. This is a chronicle of what I came up with.

In the end, I managed to freak out the stage manager and the guy in the booth during the dress rehearsal, and not only did several parents ask me how long the kids practiced to throw the stars so accurately, but a couple people backstage dove for cover when they thought ninja stars were coming their way. That was a satisfactory reaction.

I want to give a big thanks to the people at HeatSync Labs in Mesa for their help. http://www.heatsynclabs.org/
I LOVE the hackerspace / makerspace concept!

Thanks to my friends at AZHaunters.com for putting up with me doing this when I should probably have been making monsters.

damianzuch6 months ago

Ha! I'm so happy i clicked on your instructable! (I didn't actually know from the title what i was going to find - although it makes sense in retrospect). What an awesome and most clever build! I remember reading that they used a similar system on Robin Hood Prince of Thieves - arrow shafts embedded with rat traps within tree bark would snap up as the actor ran by, making it look like arrows were being fired into the trees. I totally want to try this! Thanks!!!!

justjimAZ (author)  damianzuch6 months ago
Nice! I really don't know what else to name the 'ible, but I'm open to suggestions!
hmmm. maybe something like "Make a Ninja Star Special FX Rig" or "Fake Ninja Star Throwing Effect for Theatre or Film" or something like that? Yeah, it's a tough one. But it's such a good Instructable, I hope lots of people will see it!