Introduction: DIY PVC Survival Compound Crossbow

Picture of DIY  PVC Survival Compound Crossbow

For this survival ready contest, I will make a compound crossbow in PVC pipe.

Why a crossbow? Because when I think to survival equipment present since the beginning of the series The Walking Dead, I see the Daryl's crossbow. And I find it really cool. Silent and precise it is also a good melee weapon if necessary.

To make this crossbow, I will use common materials that can be found everywhere, and does not require any electric tools, except to save time, in order to stay in the survival mind.

Ready? Watch out for the walkers!

Warning! This is not a toy, be careful. Never aim directly at a person or animal.

Only walkers.

My youtube channel:

Step 1: Components and Tools Needed:

Picture of Components and Tools Needed:


- hacksaw

- blowtorch

- Drill or manual borer

- Cutter

- Gloves

- knife

- meter and pen

- a clamp (optional)

- Metal file (optional)


- 1 PVC pipe - 1m - diameter 32mm

- 1 PVC pipe - 1,5m - diameter 40mm

- 1 PVC bend - diameter 40mm

- 3 PVC bends 45° - diameter 40mm

- 1 "Y" pvc connection - diameter 40mm

- 1 PVC tee - diameter 40mm

- 3m of rope

- 2 pulleys

- 8 screws with bolts and ring

- tape (optional)

- PVC glue

- protective foam or rubber

- 5 PVC collar - diameter 40mm

- 2 Toothbrushes

- wood trunnion - 60cm - diameter 8mm : 1 by arrow

- A strap of 1 m

Step 2: Make the Bow

Picture of Make the Bow

- To begin, insert the pipe diameter 32 in the tee diameter 40.

- Place the tee in the center of the pipe and make a mark on each side to keep it centered during handling.

- Heat the pipe with the torch to soften the plastic, and then flatten the pipe to shape your bow.

Proceed by small sections of 15 to 20 cm and move the torch well so as not to burn the pipe.

Leave 7 cm on each side so that the pulleys can be inserted afterwards.

This part is the longest, but the rigidity of the arc depends on it. Be patient.

Step 3: Installation of the Pulleys

Picture of Installation of the Pulleys

- Draw the pulley locations at each end of the arc, and then cut them out using the hacksaw.

- Drill a hole in the tabs thus created.

- Put the pulleys in place by fixing them with a screw and a bolt, tighten by hand so as not to deform the tabs.

Your 2 pulleys must face each other.

- Pass the rope through the pulleys, attach the end to the screws, and stretch there.

Step 4: Housing of the Rope

Picture of Housing of the Rope

- Insert the diameter 40 pipe into the tee.

- Stretch the rope as if to arm the crossbow, and make a mark where the rope stops.

- Drill 2 holes leaving a sufficient distance to place your arrow

- Insert your 2 screws head by down and tighten the bolts. You must be able to secure the rope to the screws.

Step 5: Make the Stock

Picture of Make the Stock

- Assemble the stock without sticking it to fit your size.

- Cut pieces of pipe diameter 40mm in order to assemble the elbows.

- Once it is properly adjusted, glue the elements together but do not stick the stock to the crossbow: It will be easier to transport or store.

Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes.

Step 6: Make the Trigger

Picture of Make the Trigger

To make the trigger, cut a strip of 20 cm into the length of a pipe.

- Heat the piece obtained with the torch to flatten it and give it its shape as in the photo.

- Drill a hole 1 cm from the rope housing and insert a screw. This screw will allow to make lever with the trigger.

- Make a slit in order to make cross the trigger.

Step 7: Cable Pass

Picture of Cable Pass

To limit the friction and avoid cables getting tangled, make a slit perpendicular to the rope in the center of the pipe forming the body of the crossbow.

- To make this slit, drill a succession of small holes.

- File the angles of the slot so as not to damage the rope over time.

Step 8: Arrow Guide

Picture of Arrow Guide

- Cut the toothbrushes into 2.

- Clip a pvc collar on the body of the crossbow

- Glue the brushes on each side of the PVC collar in the shape of a "V" inside out.

- Clip a second PVC collar 10 cm before the trigger.

You must be able to drag an arrow between the 2.

Step 9: Make the Quiver

Picture of Make the Quiver

For the quiver, I used pipe leftovers and a foam piece that was on an old sports device.

The remainder of the piece of pipe used to make the trigger will serve for the tip side of arrows.

- Insert foam into the piece of pipe and make smaller holes than the diameter of your arrows to plant them in.

- Take a second piece of pipe and cut it in half lengthwise.

- Make incisions in the foam so as to be able to wedge arrows in it.

Glue the foam in the hose if necessary.

- Heat a 40 cm piece of pipe to soften it and flatten it. This part will serve to connect the two elements of the quiver .

- Fix this part on the 2 elements of the quiver (glue or screws).

- Attach a diameter 40 PVC collar on the quiver so that it can be snapped onto the body of the crossbow.

Step 10: Crossbow Camouflage

Picture of Crossbow Camouflage

To finish the crossbow, I cover it with black adhesive tape. I think the finnish will be very nice with camo color, but I haven't camo adhesive tape. And it's apocalypse!

Step 11: Make Arrows

Picture of Make Arrows

I use wooden trunnions long of 70 cm and diameter 8mm for the barrel.

- Make a notch on one side of the arrow the size of the rope.

- To replace the feathers, glue pieces of adhesive tape at 45 ° in double thickness.

- For the tip, carve the other end of arrows with the knife.

Step 12: Add a Shoulder Strap

Picture of Add a Shoulder Strap

To carry the crossbow, with free hands, a shoulder strap will be welcome.

- Drill the strap at the 2 ends.

- Pass a screw through each hole and screw the PVC collars.

- Clip PVC collars on the crossbow.

Step 13: Bonus: Concealed Blade

Picture of Bonus: Concealed Blade

When the arrows are missing, a melee weapon is always welcome!

- Surround the handle of your foam knife. - Insert the knife and foam into the stock by forcing.

If necessary extract the stock and plant her in walkers head's.

Step 14: Kill Walkers!

Picture of Kill Walkers!

Now, you have a real survival crossbow. You are ready to survive to the apocalypse!

Don’t forget: shoot in the walkers head! And if you run into Negan... You know what to do!

My youtube channel:


alanjamesblair (author)2017-01-23

Great job on this. It looks fantastic. I love the knife in the stock. Have you seen Nick Tomihama's (YT's backyardboyer) 100# PVC crossbow? I think the two of you would have fun on a design collab.

Thanks! I Sorry for the response time, I had a happy event!

I just discovered his work, which is just great. Collaboration could be fun yeah!

You can found my other project on my youtube channel:

ljohnson72 (author)2016-11-14

I happen to make pvc bows too. A hint on heating your pvc, get a heat gun. Most pawn shops carry them quite cheap. The heat of that blow torch will make the plastic brittle and it will snap on you from the force of the pull. Also make sure to rotate your pvc as you are heating it and keep your heat source a good 8 inches away from the pvc. This takes longer however makes for a stronger bow and a cleaner look in the end.

Thank you for your feedback! I will make a spare arc with a heat gun, as soon as I have bought one. Thanks again!

Great job, but what are you going to use it on?

Thanks! I use it on target, bottle and walkers ;-) But I will not take it into the forest!

I have no idea what a walker is or where to find it... of the fact that it even exists at all :P

By the way, what holds that stock in? It looks like it might fall out at any awkward moment.

The stock is nested, and you really have to pull it to undo it, no risk it falls.

I've read somewhere in some book: "The crossbow could fire 305 metres or more, but the bolt had to be cranked slowly back. Normal archers were so skilled, they could turn the crossbow-man into a pincushion in to time - unless he bolted first." Funny, but is the first sentence correct, in relation to your crossbow?

I mean, how long does it take to crank?

The crossbows you are reading about are very powerful and machined. thefrenchmaker's design is just for fun and looking awesome. I think you could seriously hurt a person with it, but as the author said, they aren't taking it into the forest. This isn't a hunting crossbow or one that could shoot that far. But it is something that could hurt someone. A grownup's toy.

ho, ok. A few seconds. But it takes longer than with a bow.

No, she does not could fire at that distance. It would be fun, but no.

NathanM189 (author)2016-11-23

How big are the screws that you are using?

simonres (author)2016-11-21

Did you glue the bows in step 2 or you only inserted them?


thefrenchmaker (author)simonres2016-11-21

I just inserted it, because the bow is in one piece. The tee can slide along the arc before softening the pipe.

ljohnson72 (author)2016-11-20

I saw alot of you asking about a trigger system and I thought I might have some insight on this as well. This is one of the simplest triggers to start fabricating and very efficient. A complete guide on how to make it is here Also you you should think of adding a D loop or maybe using parts of slingshot bands to increase your velocity and accuracy. Good luck, hope this was helpful.

Thank you very much for the link, the animations are welcome, I will look at it in detail.

offseidjr (author)2016-11-20

cool! when the apocalypse comes around ill be sure to use this instructable!

thefrenchmaker (author)offseidjr2016-11-20

Thanks! Be ready for the apocalypse! :p

Eli9232 (author)2016-11-18

WHat type of rope did you use???

thefrenchmaker (author)Eli92322016-11-18

The rope is made of non-stretchable polyamide.

Eli9232 (author)thefrenchmaker2016-11-18

A few things.

I don't quite understand the trigger. :( sorry. And also, can I use actual crossbow bolts/arrows?

thefrenchmaker made it! (author)Eli92322016-11-18

Until I can make a video, here is an extra schema.

The trigger is pulled downward, not towards you. The rope is lifted by the trigger.

I do not have a actual arrow, but I think it can work. It's a good question, I will buy one arrow before to make the video.

Eli9232 (author)thefrenchmaker2016-11-18

OH!!!! thanks a million! I am planning on making one, but did not want to if i was unable to operate the trigger. I will make one now. How much did the the materials cost?

thefrenchmaker (author)Eli92322016-11-19

without counting the knife, scotch and glue I already had, I got for about $ 20

Eli9232 (author)Eli92322016-11-18

Great! Thanks.

thefrenchmaker (author)Eli92322016-11-18


aceof harts2233 (author)2016-11-17

hey looks amazing. i've been locking to make a crossbow withe little tools and and easy trigger system to thank you but there 2 things I'm wondering how accuret is it and hoe powerful is it? thanks a lot

Thanks! With a little training, the accuracy is about 10-15m. I can touch a balloon at 15m. The current range is a little over 30m, but my garden is too small to know how exactly. I have the margin to increase the power, by stretching a little more the rope. The torch can be replaced with a hot air gun. And be careful!

simonres (author)2016-11-17

Awesome project bro!

thefrenchmaker (author)simonres2016-11-17

Thanks bro!

SandiM10 (author)2016-11-15

Hi looks like nice job, but here in Australia working cross bows are'd get locked up and fined big time if you got caught with one,same if you get caught carrying any weapon ,knives,guns,battens,anything that looks like a weapon. :)

Lexifer (author)SandiM102016-11-16

Last time I checked eveything in Australia is dangerous, from spiders to snakes to War Boys. And the ONLY people allowed to protect themselves are....spiders, snakes or War Boys?

thefrenchmaker (author)SandiM102016-11-15

Thank you! Here, in France, crossbow is authorized on the private ground and in shooting range. Crossbow hunting is prohibited, and anything resembling a weapon is prohibited on the public highway. Machete are not allowed in bush?

Cjae1 (author)2016-11-15

Would it kill a animal for food

thefrenchmaker (author)Cjae12016-11-15

I do not know, I'm not hunter. But on small animals like rabbits or birds, I think yes.

Gordyh (author)2016-11-15

Just wondering if you did any thing to protect the string from the threads on the bolts, they will cut into the string. Either tubing over the threads, or use the edge of a file to remove the threads where the string is.

Also have you hardened your arrow tips? I saw several history shows that showed how they did this with fire before stone arrow head were developed. Basically take the arrows you have and heat then till the head's start to char, then resharpen.

And as a tool collector I have to ask for details about that locking pliers in the photos, Name and where to get it.

Thank you

thefrenchmaker (author)Gordyh2016-11-15

I file the bolts so as not to damage the rope.

I haven't hardened my arrow tips, I didn't think about it, but I've already seen this technique in tv shows. I'll make it, it's a good idea, thanks!

The locking plier is a FACOM N°501. In France, it is found in do-it-yourself stores, but it can also be found on the internet.

Mjtrinihobby (author)2016-11-13



KLethal (author)2016-11-13

Way cool!! What kind of range does it have?

thefrenchmaker (author)KLethal2016-11-13

Thanks! At least 30 m. My garden is not big enough to test anymore. But I should soon be able to test it in a field, I will indicate the actual range at this time there. I will take this opportunity to make a video.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-11-13

This is awesome! You should really enter it in the Survival contest that is currently running.

Thanks! I just signed up for the contest.

Anirudh Ralhan (author)2016-11-13

Really Cool!!!

Thanks! It's my first "big" project, and I had a lot of fun making it.

I really wish I don't face any bloaters !!! ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: Dad, Maker, biker, trekker, I like sciences, technology, martial art and wild.
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