Introduction: Homemade Slingshot by Reusing Old Tire Tubes
Over 300million tires are used each year. A valuable amount of this ends up being bad and discarded. The inner tire tubes are often discarded with the tires, filling up our landfills. Not all gets recycled by recycling companies. It always pains me to see stuff getting thrown away. I'm always looking for ways to recycle the so-called 'waste' and bring new life to it.
A slingshot is an effective tool/weapon that uses elastic potential energy to propagate projectiles through the air. It has been used for millennia and is still in use today. With the advent of other modern and more effective weapons, the slingshot is no longer preferred for hunting. It is still used in some parts of the world though. Slingshots are excellent when it comes to throwing projectiles in the air at high speed. In addition, it is a fun object to play with in my opinion. I like to play 'how-far-can-I-chuck-it?, a game where I try to see the farthest distance I can throw a stone while using my slingshot.
Made out of a old rubber tubing, a waste material, this costs nothing to fabricate. It is also very easy and fun.
Step 1: What You Need
To get started, acquire the following:
1 Y-shaped stick. (Shaft should be seven inches long while the forks can be 3-4 inches in length. It can be harvested from a tree. This stick will undergo pulling forces during use so it has to be strong. Sticks gotten from a guava or eucalyptus tree will do well)
2 six-inch long and 4cm wide rubber tubes pieces. (If you can find an unusable rubber tube from a garage, junkyard or car scrapyard, cut pieces with this dimension. These rubber shall be exposed to strong elastic forces so they should be firm and have no tears)
A piece of fabric. (Can be any kind of fabric, but leather is preferred. Why? Because it is stronger and more resistant when stretched.)
Ropes (Thin ropes are best in this occasion. Thick ropes will have to be reduced before use.)
A pair of scissors.
Step 2: Shed the Skin
Using the knife, repeated swipe the blade over the stick repeatedly to remove the bark, if any. All this is being done to make it more aesthetically beautiful. At least, this is my opinion. If you prefer to have the bark on, that's totally fine.
Step 3: Tie Tire Tube Pieces.
One at a time, meticulously tie each piece of tire rubber to each side if the Y-shaped stick.(See photo to know how it is properly done). Do not hurry. Take your time to wind the rope over and over before knotting. If poorly done, it could come apart during operation. During tying, use appropriate measures to guarantee that the tire tube pieces are of the same length and will meet at the centre when joined. If assymmetrical, it will not function well.
Step 4: Cut Fabric and Join
Take hold of your pair of scissors and cut a cross-shaped piece from fabric. Its total length should be about four inches in length and an inch wide. Two ends should be attached to that of the rubber. This fabric part should be centered. It will be the point where the stone/rock/pebble will settle prior to shooting.
Just like the first scenario, tying the joints well is absolutely critical to functionality. Do it firmly and carefully. As much as you want it to be strong, it should also be beautiful. I tried to make my knots and ties organized so that they decorated my slingshot
Step 5: Finishing Touches.
If there are any ropes or twines sticking out, do trim them off. Due to the slipperiness of most ropes (the plastic ones), they may become undone. To prevent this, hold the knots over a candle flame. It heats up and partly begins to melt. In this soft form, you can press the opposite heads of the knots and press. As it cools, it hardens and joins together.
Now you can gaze upon your finished work. Please, do test it out.
How to use it:
Hold the long shaft with one hand. Using the other hand, place a small object of your choice in the center, pull back and release. Mine could shoot a pebble up to 75ft. How far can you shoot?
*Note: Distance travelled by projectile is directly proportional to amount of force applied and the elasticity of the rubber pieces.