Introduction: Bow - the Bike Wheel Bow

Picture of Bow - the Bike Wheel Bow

Could not find one of these anywhere - put it into Google but no joy - - guess I better make one myself.

Rigid frame.
Good power output.
No knock required on arrows.
Longer draw than a standard bow.
So very! light.
Simple to build.
Cheap - cost £2.50 for proper catapult rubber preferred by the Chinese apparently (big following of catapults).
Pimp this up and she would be awesome - I kinda like her dirty and visceral though.
Easily shoot 20 meters. 
Would work well for short range hunting of small game or fish.
Ammo carried on the frame.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

Simple tools -
saw to cut the bike rim - scissors - Snips or some way to remove the spokes from the wheel - file to tidy cuts - pliers to bend.

Materials for the basic build - 
Bike wheel  - eyelets of some description - inner tube from wheel - catapult rubber (or you can use cut down inner tube but it is not as powerful) - retainers for the threaded end of the eyelets (plasterboard expanding grommets in this case) - a spoke for the sight  

Step 2: Lets Go

Picture of Lets Go

Ok - normally I would break the construction down but this build has been developed and put together so I didn't want to take things apart again, but the build is pretty much self explanatory by just looking at the photos really.

So - take your scrap wheel and strip it down to it's constituent parts - clean up the body/frame - strip down the spindle and remove the bearings etc..

Take a saw and cut the rim/wheel in half between two holes - cool cos you get a spare frame to pimp up if you like the performance of the first build rather than breaking it down or adding things on.  Clean up the corners and round off any sharp edges.

This rim is a 29inch so for position of the eyelets I will assume you are using the same size.

Step 3: And On

Picture of And On

Ok - find four full circle eyelets with threaded ends (meaning a full circle welded hoop or hole) this stops the thrust material from getting caught in the end of the eye where it bends round and meets.

Take two eyes and push them into the last holes of the frame - with the threaded end sticking outwards and put a nut or in my case plasterboard fixings on the thread to stop the eyelet from falling into the center of the frame when the bow is drawn (this would not really happen due to the way the draw works and the eyelets are forced against the frame but I figure better safe than sorry - plus I though they looked rather cool ). Now count inwards five holes and put the other two eyelets into the frame, as seen in the photo.

Step 4: Boing

Picture of Boing

Now - take your catapult rubber (I used a meter) - cut it in half and tie the ends to make two rubber bands.

Take your old inner tube and cut a strip eight inches long and one inch wide  tie it between your two bands - a bit like when you set up the rubber on a catapult.

Look at the photo - can you see how if ya do it right, the tied tube makes a natural channel that is perfect to place the end of an arrow into - you'll see when ya try it - when you fit the rubber into the frame position this facing forwards. 

Step 5: Feeding Time

Picture of Feeding Time

Firstly - go back to your old inner tube and cut off a section one and a half inches long (keep it as a tube - you'll see why).Push the tube over the frame till it is in the middle, like a small black hand grip.

Feed the rubber bowstring through the inner eyelets so that they move freely - take the ends out to the second set, pass the rubber through the hoop but before ya do undo the nut slip out the eyelet, pass the rubber under it so it comes back on itself then re insert the eyelet. this will ensure the rubber can never pop off when you draw - you'll see from the picture what I mean. Because your dealing with rubber and not a bow string it is quite easy to manipulate things that would not  work normally, it;s a fiddle but not a pain.

Step 6: Have a Rest

Picture of Have a Rest

Phew!! - I need a rest - and here it is.

Take your old, clean spindle and pass it through that short tube of rubber - when the bow is all built you will set this up so that with the arrow in place at the center of the bowstring the other ends rests on the side of the spindle on one edge but with the arrow situated at the bows center of the frame - you know what I mean.

Step 7: A Sight for Sore Eyes

Picture of A Sight for Sore Eyes

Ok - looking at the picture - take your old spoke (leave it full length for now and cut it down when ya sort out the range you want to work in/over).

At one end make a one inch 90 degree bend - do you see it, top of the photo.
feed the spoke through the spindle from top to bottom and holding it in place pull outwards to make another bend but 90 degrees to the first - when you find your range you can mark the sight shaft for different distances, for elevation just bend the wire upwards to suit .
To lock the sight in place, pull the sprocket away from the frame a little and tuck the short bend into the frame as in the photos.

Step 8: Lube and Arrows

Picture of Lube and Arrows

Before you shoot lube up the rubber that passes through the eyelets with vaseline etc to stop friction reducing power - not the far ones just the inner - if you tweak your bow you'll probably want to put rollers here to give a more constant draw.

Not gonna mention arrows as you can pretty much shoot anything - make em or buy them.

Step 9: Let Fly

Picture of Let Fly

Lets go - drop your arrow in the channel of the rubber - rest the front on the spindle - aim at that nice big and probably close target to get ya going - - draw like any other bow and SHOOT!!. - - yes she will slap you on the back of the hand, it does not hurt, it is not the arrow and it's just a tap ya baby : - )

Because the rubber is gentler when resting you can store your ammo under it without worrying about deforming the shaft - nice and easy to carry.

Have a play - if ya don't love this and really see the potential then get back to me for a full refund.

Be safe - wear safety goggles - have fun.

More piks to follow of my bow in the draw position to follow, just the weather is dire here at the mo.

See Ya.



mje (author)2016-01-21

Looks like fun, but it's not a bow. It's a slingshot.

AeSix (author)mje2016-01-21

I was going to argue this point with you, but then I realized you're right. The rim does not deform to add power to the release, and more over, the "bow string" is elastic, not taught and rigid, and acts as the sole power producing mechanism.

But, if society comes to a drastic halt, I'd still rather have one of these than nothing at all. :D (Oh, wait, wrong forums, this is instructables, not survivalist things) >_>

The only question I have is; could the spokes be turned into projectiles? Seems to me they're straight, long, slender - maybe use some of the inner tube for fletching... might not even need a head, but not sure how practical these would be for hunting small game. Just some ponderings :)

AdrianJ3 (author)AeSix2016-01-21

For aerodynamic reasons, an arrow point MUST have more weight than the rest of the shaft; otherwise it will wobble in flight and miss the target.

LeoWorks (author)AdrianJ32016-04-09

I respecfully disagree with you. I make my own wooden arrows and before I put the arrowhead, I test it WITHOUT the head (I only sharpen the end) and the arrow flies straight even beyond the 20mts.

Phoghat (author)LeoWorks2017-10-16

you will ngfind that your way "works" but with weight "works better". Even abos use an arrow head

NiytOwl (author)AdrianJ32016-01-25

Isn't it that the tail must have more drag than the head? When I did survival training I made arrows that are just a stick with feathers tied to the tail, and they fly pretty true.

Polymorph (author)NiytOwl2016-02-07

Not drag. You want fins as guidance, not drag. The head needs to be heavier so that the center of gravity is ahead of the center of pressure or the arrow will be unstable.

Phoghat (author)mje2017-10-16

actually, the proper term is "slingbow"

CigarSmoker2 (author)mje2016-01-23

That is my thought as well. Definitely not a bow, but an interesting sling shot.

instructme2do (author)2016-07-07

if you try, you could easily turn this into a crossbow

Phoghat (author)instructme2do2017-10-16

that's a good idea, that way no hand slap

HaydenY1 (author)2017-06-04

I made a modified version of this for my year 12 physics project. I mounted the bike wheel on a piece of wood and used high strength Theraband for the bowstring and used full sized arrows. I managed to get around a 40 - 50 meter range on it when launching from a good angle. Thanks for the concept idea it helped me greatly in the development.

Phoghat (author)HaydenY12017-10-16

have a picture of that?

the modder (author)2017-08-30


the modder (author)2017-08-30


LeoWorks (author)2016-04-09

where is my old MTB?, there it is!

darrenhall (author)LeoWorks2016-04-11

Lol - go for it --- don't forget lots of photos

Hunting Activity (author)2016-04-05

sleek stainless steel frame easy to handle. In my opinion you should wrap the fabric around the frame, decorated for better supply

inspecter gadget (author)2016-02-17

Damn excellent Instructable - May also come in real handy if there were ever such a thing as a 'zombie apocalypse'! lol :D

Haha - maybe - always fancied either a Katana or a super soaker filled with gas/petrol ( long range of course ).

mchau2 (author)2016-02-14

a more comfy handle is always a plus haha

Adrian N. (author)2016-02-08

Nice instructable. But would you get more power by using a spring (even two) and by doing so you would avoid the breaking point of aluminium claimed by someone before me?

darrenhall (author)Adrian N.2016-02-08

Hi - sounds like good idea - the item itself was just a prototype to see just how much of a wheel I could use for a fun build - the rest as they say is up to you guys to run with - any builds that lead on from this would be great to see.

Cheers for the interest.

patdoherty (author)2016-02-07

Im curious how long it last before it gets stress fractures? 6061 aluminum (which most bicycle wheel are made of) does not like bending. You aren't going past its plasticity point so I imagine you can get a decent amount of shots but it wont last forever.

patdoherty (author)2016-02-07

Im curious how long it last before it gets stress fractures? 6061 aluminum (which most bicycle wheel are made of) does not like bending. You aren't going past its plasticity point so I imagine you can get a decent amount of shots but it wont last forever.

MelonieR1 (author)2016-01-26

If the world was all Mad Max Fury Road you would be king!

darrenhall (author)MelonieR12016-01-26

lol - cheers but I think I would be more like roadkill, them dudes is crazzzzzeeeeee.

pedrobedro (author)2016-01-22

If you are in the UK as your pricing of parts seems to indicate you should be aware that bow hunting of any kind is illegal and if it fires arrows it will be seen as a bow. Not that it bothers me but it might save you a big fine. Blow pipes are illegal as well and I like them.

Chrispcrunch (author)2016-01-21

You are .. THE MAN!! WOW!!

darrenhall (author)Chrispcrunch2016-01-21

Naa - it is folks like you who take a basic idea and make it really work great.

MTJimL (author)2016-01-21

Not a bad starting point. Using the bands for an extra arrow holder will cause the rubber to pull over the arrow.

Suggest using grommets through the wheel for the bands' anchor points—less torque on the wheel.

I'd try shooting straight through the wheel by enlarging the valve hole, placing it at the center and mounting split PTFE tubing around the hole. If the wheel is double-walled it should be strong enough.

And the pulley wheels are a must. Now, to do it myself!

darrenhall (author)MTJimL2016-01-21

Hi - just a big cheers for all the comments - glad folks still find this still interesting and thought provoking.

bruce5000 (author)2016-01-21

just a though but may have more power using spear gun ore exercise tubes for the sting

VictorV14 (author)2016-01-21

Upload Video Please!!!! Awesome Bow!!!

KristinM5 (author)2016-01-21

FYI, those are 'eye bolts' not eyelets. Otherwise, excellent build idea.

adele.morgan.54 (author)2015-01-04

I have a question. Maybe I missed it earlier, but I would really like to know what kind of game this is capable of taking down. I only hunt to supply myself with meat. I love you design. I just would not use it to experiment without a little more info. Thanks

AdrianJ3 (author)adele.morgan.542016-01-21

Grey squirrel or rabbit. Look online how to dress and skin them first. You shoot anything bigger you will need heaver weapon and razor arrows; and you better have someone to help you transport, hang, gut and skin and butcher and process your kill so you don't waste any of the meat. ( --But I think there are some U-tube videos even for this) .

adele.morgan.54 (author)2015-01-04

I have a question. Maybe I missed it earlier, but I would really like to know what kind of game this is capable of taking down. I only hunt to supply myself with meat. I love you design. I just would not use it to experiment without a little more info. Thanks

AdrianJ3 (author)adele.morgan.542016-01-21

Grey squirrel. Roast, fry, or make Brunswick stew from grey Squirrel. Process the skins and make youself a fur hat, collar, or coat.

Hi there - cheers for the look in.

Hhmmm ok, my honest reply would be this - if you built the bow totally like mine I would suggest it would really only ok for close range spear fishing, as some of the other folks have stated, the rubber used is not the best kind as it does not have a powerful or very fast recoil - this was really a basic prototype just to see if it could be built at all.

For bigger game I would suggest you look on Youtube at the Slingshot channel, the guy there really knows his stuff - ya might decide to go with one of his designs or build similar to mine but with more information about the surgical rubber he likes to use.

Sorry I could not be more specific but good luck to you - hope you find the right tool for the job - it would be great if ya let me know how you got on.

Cheers once again.

Darkmon (author)2013-04-06

Should use some Flint and some feathers and a straight stick to make the arrow... Think primitive!

AdrianJ3 (author)Darkmon2016-01-21

You can fletch your arrows by cutting flat & waterproof paravanes from plastic bottles or flattened beer cans. Use tin-snips to cut arrowheads from stiff tin-cans.

SabaB1 (author)Darkmon2015-06-24


Darkmon (author)SabaB12015-06-25

No, flint chips easily, and the flint chips are sharp, although minecraft does use that idea

pplumber (author)2016-01-21


SabaB1 (author)2015-06-24

I just noticed that drawn picture of this bow (one before last) looks like assassin's creed's emblem

MsMaoMaoz (author)2015-06-19

I like this!

POITO (author)2015-05-17

hey guys

I'm new around here

just found the concept pretty interresting

where I live we go spearfishing and you might want to upgrade for power

look for speargun rubbers, they can be 16, 18 and 20 mm diametre and you have all kinds of length

Godzilla54 (author)2015-03-24

with a few hacks it can turn into a crossbow

darrenhall (author)Godzilla542015-03-24

Hi - yeesssssss! your right, and the extra frame would allow a mod to increase power but not just working around the bow itself - cool idea.

About This Instructable




Bio: F/B group created for folks who might like to tell about their builds/projects. just type PROTO - TYPE - CHAT into find friends. Hope to ... More »
Add instructable to: