Instructables

Boomerang

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Picture of Boomerang
With one hour of work, you can have a boomerang that actually comes back. It's like magic.

This design was inspired by a book I used to check out from the library, read and re-read when I was a kid. It's called Boomerangs: How to Make and Throw Them , and it was pretty great. The author would apparently make boomerangs that he could throw and then catch with his eyes closed. He would also paint them and get birds to chase them. Every time I've made one of his designs, it's been very successful. This instructable shows my version of what I remember being my favorite design: a simple cross-type boomerang made from thin, beveled pieces of wood with a slight bend. Dimensions aren't critical: the design is robust enough that it seems to work well as long as you get the basic idea right and the bends in the right direction. 

What you need:

Full Version:
  • An 18" 2x4, (or 2x6, 2x8, 2x10... etc).
  • Wood glue
  • A table saw
  • A sander
  • A microwave
Poor-Man's Version:
  • Two 18" paint stirring sticks (from home depot)
  • A pocket knife
  • A bolt and nut (or wood glue)
  • A candle

I made it at TechShop (techshop.ws)

 
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Step 1: Cut Two Thin Strips of Wood

Full Version:

Cut two strips from your piece of wood. Final strip dimensions should be ~ 2 inch wide, 1/8-1/4 inch thick, and 18-24 inches long.

If you're using a 2xsomething, put your table saw at a 45 degree angle (increases strip width from 1.5 inches to 2.1 inches). Alternatively, you could rotate the wood 90 degrees and cut very wide strips (3.5" for  2x4, for example), then cut those strips down to the size you want.

Poor-Man's Version:

Paint stirring sticks = wooden strips. They are probably too narrow, but they'll still work pretty well.
Shahiq1 month ago
That's good. I'll try to make one as soon as I'm able to arrange good wood.
solobo (author)  Shahiq1 month ago
sweet! Let me know how it works out.
Shahiq1 month ago
Hmm , okay. So, does it really return to your hands?
solobo (author)  Shahiq1 month ago

On a good throw, yes. If there's a wind, or you throw it too high or too low, it'll overshoot or undershoot by a little bit (5-10 feet usually). But it's not bad.

I've found that in other propeller-type applications the length is critical because most of the air comes from the end of the prop because it traverses more area and produces more wind for the same degree of rotation. Could you do me a favor and build one with the same length arms, joined in the physical center of each board and make up the difference by glueing a penny or so to counter-weight the error in balance and seeing how it compares to the center of mass joining shown here?

solobo (author)  Gary Viveiros1 month ago
That would be a cool experiment. I may try it sometime, or if you do, let me know how it turns out!
Shahiq1 month ago
Okay. I'll let you know when it's ready.
I'm still worried about one thing, though. Won't the strips break or catch fire during the bending and heating process?
And also, can any wood be used for this? Or is there any special lightweight wood that works?
Thanks for the help.
solobo (author)  Shahiq1 month ago
I've only used cheap woods (like pine), but I think ti would work with just about anything. When you heat, be careful not to let the wood start blackening (that's hotter than you need). Getting the spot wet helps. And don't bend it so far that it crackles/starts to break.
Shahiq1 month ago
Can I get a little help in the bending step? Should I bend it at 1/3 of the length from centre or what? I don't want to make a mistake and end up with a nonfunctional boomerang.
The guide is great. Thanks.
solobo (author)  Shahiq1 month ago
I shoot for about 1/3 of the length from the end. So if you were to divide the whole length into 3 sections, using two lines, bend at each of the lines.

Thanks! Let me know how it works out for you.
Kiteman1 month ago

Oh, I like the microwave wood-bending technique!

solobo (author)  Kiteman1 month ago
Thanks!
Jackal14121 month ago

Very well put together Instructable.

Good clean shots of each step, multiple ways of accomplishing each step, and a video!

I've added it to my 'Fun Project" list and voted for it.

Thanks and good luck!

solobo (author)  Jackal14121 month ago
Awesome, thanks!
joeduhclown2 months ago

I had the same book and loved it. I still have it somewhere.

I recall that he may have mentioned that a longer bolt could be used as a handle when catching a larger boomerang.

solobo (author)  joeduhclown2 months ago

Yes, I think so. When I was trying to catch this one, I realized why that would have been nice. The boomerang comes in horizontally, so if there was a bolt hanging down below, you could catch it by that pretty easily.

Tisila2 months ago

Seems very simple to make and a lot of fun to throw! =) Good job!

solobo (author)  Tisila2 months ago

It is. Thanks!

sfraneta12 months ago
I'm still trying to find a pencil! Seriously, good post I definitely have to try it out.
solobo (author)  sfraneta12 months ago

Ha thanks!

leongene2 months ago

I am now 81 yeqrs old and made these out of free yardsticks when I was a pre-teen. We only beveled the one side i.e.,four (4) edges towards throwing side)

leongene leongene2 months ago

And we never bent them. They flew pretty good and returned to us, or

almost to us.

solobo (author)  leongene2 months ago

Sweet!

sweeeet

i like it, well done

solobo (author)  palestinian-warrior2 months ago

thanks!

What do you call a Boomerang that doesn't come back?

A Stick

786Ayesha2 months ago

very nice .love it.

solobo (author)  786Ayesha2 months ago

thanks!

qdillion2 months ago
Do you bend both pieces or just one?
solobo (author)  qdillion2 months ago

both.

cykedsiva2 months ago
really cool. are sidewalks that effective? XD
solobo (author)  cykedsiva2 months ago

ha haven't tried them myself.

briandamge2 months ago

This is awesome.

solobo (author)  briandamge2 months ago
Thanks!
nerfrocketeer2 months ago
Nice!
solobo (author)  nerfrocketeer2 months ago

thanks!

tstevens-12 months ago
Really nice. You did a great job on them.
solobo (author)  tstevens-12 months ago

thanks!

rimar20002 months ago

Warning, little children could be seriously hurt by the boomerang. Don't allow them be near you when you are throwing.

solobo (author)  rimar20002 months ago
good advice.
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