Here's how to make a laser guided blowgun for under $3. It’s powerful enough to break glass, and even blast darts into concrete.
In this project we’re making a custom laser sighted blowgun, that not only looks cool, but adds another dimension to the fun you can have, in the backyard.
Step 1: Watch the Video!
WARNING: Blow guns should not be pointed at people, animals, or any living thing. Projectiles shot at high velocity may cause deep wounds leading to infection, and/or may cause loss of vision if hit in the eye. They can also break glass and cause damage to property. This project should only be attempted with adequate knowledge, training, and adult supervision. Use caution and common sense. Use of this video content is at your own risk.
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Step 2: Paper Darts
Start this project with a roll of scotch tape, a stack of sticky notes, and a paper party hat.
Using small 2x2 squares, wrap one carefully around the tip of the hat. The cone shape acts as a forming guide for making a pointy paper dart.
You'll need a little bit of tape to reinforce the tip and hold it altogether, so when it slides off, it’ll still keep its conical shape.
If you push the tip into a 1/2” PVC tube and give it a little twist. You can see the pressure leaves a little mark right where it starts getting too big for the tube.
Carefully trim along the inside edge of the marking, and just like that, you've made a mini paper dart that’ll fit perfectly inside the blowgun barrel.
Step 3: Weighting the Tips
It’s not quite ready to use yet. You still need to add some weight to the tips so they’ll fly straight.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to do that, is to squirt a little hot glue inside the cones until they’re about 1/3rd of the way full.
If you don’t have hot glue, try pulling off a little piece of poster putty instead, and shove it down into the tip with something like a screwdriver. That’ll work just as good.
Alright, you've got some paper darts. All you need now is a blowgun, so get to work on making that next.
Step 4: The Simple Blowgun
At the hardware store you can pick up a 2 foot length of 1/2” PVC pipe, and a reducing adapter. The female adapter is 3/4” on one side, and reduces to a 1/2” slip connector on the other.
If you simply push the adapter onto the tube and give it a little tap, you've just created a super simple blowgun that can be used right away.
You can see the weighted darts fly amazingly straight, and will take out paper cups with an impressive amount of power. They’re just strong enough to do a little damage, but still safe enough to shoot around the house. Not that you should. But you could.
Step 5: Camo Wrap
Alright, let’s take this system to a whole new level with a roll of duct tape, and some wire nails. I got my roll of camouflage tape from the hardware store.
You’ll need to start by putting a long strip on the table with the sticky side facing up.
If you carefully set the pipe lengthwise in the center of the tape, then gently rock it from side to side, the tape will start to wrap itself around the tube.
Doing the same thing with a second piece of tape will cover any gaps, and just like that, your blowgun’s got a custom camo wrap.
Now just add some electrical tape around the tip of the barrel and around the mouthpiece, to cover the rough edges and make it look a little nicer. At this point, you can see our blowgun is starting to look pretty serious, so get busy making some rounds of ammunition that are a little more serious as well.
Step 6: Nail Darts
I tried using #16 and #18 wire nails. They’re relatively lightweight, and have a nice flat head on the top.
When the nail gets pushed through an empty paper cone, it instantly transforms into a high speed nail dart.
They work fine just like this, but to make them a little more durable, try adding a dab of hot glue on the inside of the cones, then pulling down on the nail until the head catches firmly at the bottom.
They’ll need about 2 minutes for the glue to cool and harden.
Step 7: Glass Breakers
A stack of colored sticky notes will make different colored darts, and just for fun you can snip the tips off and drive small screws deep into the glue. I call those ones my glass breakers, because they do just that!
If you want to experiment with different types of darts, you can really use any length of nail you want. Smaller darts will be easier to shoot, and fly faster, while heaver darts will penetrate deeper and do more damage.
Now that you've got some good ammunition, you’re going to need a way to store it.
Step 8: Makeshift Quivers
You can get a 6” length of 1/2” foam pipe insulation for a little over a dollar, and cut little donut shapes off the end, about 3/4” thick.
Use some electrical tape to reinforce the outside of the disc, then just for looks, use a black marker to color the foam a little bit darker.
The next step is to make another foam disc the exact same way, then slide both of them onto the barrel of the blowgun.
To modify the quiver, so it’ll carry 8 rounds of ammunition, heat a phillips head screwdriver carefully over a flame for about 20 seconds.
That get’s it just hot enough to burn little holes into the foam on contact.
Note: Only burn holes in the top disc because you’re going to want the bottom one left intact.
The 8 holes you made space the darts evenly, and guide the nails as they push down into the padding below. These makeshift quivers keep all the darts securely in place, while protecting the tips of the darts at the same time.
Alright, your customized blowgun is looking pretty impressive. You could stop here, or go one step further, and give it a laser.
Step 9: Laser Scope
I found some red laser pointers at the dollar store, and imagine you can as well.
Hot glue the laser about 8-1/2” back from the tip of the barrel, then reinforce it with a couple of zip ties for durability.
The best things about these $1 lasers are how one button operates an LED flashlight, while the other activates the laser sight, making this system operable in the dark.
I got a slightly better laser from the pet section of the grocery store and turned it into a custom laser scope that compliments the gun really well.
I used about a 3" piece of PVC and 8 small screws to hold the laser pointer inside, and each screw can be adjusted.
With this setup, the position of the laser can be fine tuned with amazing precision, which results in surprisingly accurate shots.
Alright, now let’s have some fun with it.
Step 10: Nail Darts in the Backyard
I took mine outside and found that the darts easily penetrate into wooden posts with out even trying.
They’ll also stick into tree trunks, or completely abuse the side of a wooden deck, like the one on my kids playhouse.
I was able to hit some targets from over 100 feet away, and if I missed, the darts just sailed right into the concrete wall behind it, which actually blows my mind completely. I still don’t really know how these stick into cinder block, but they do.
Step 11: Customizations & More Projects
Now you've probably realized that if you use different rolls of tape, you can customize your blowgun any way you want, and if you want a safer kind of ammo, try using colored mini marshmallows. They’re the perfect fit for 1/2” PVC, and can be shot safely, but still with incredible accuracy.
Well now you know how to make an incredible, laser guided blowgun, that will rattle off nail darts with power and precision. The best part is, if you make these in bulk, they can cost as little as $2.50 each. And that’s including the $1 laser.
Well that’s it for now. If you liked this project perhaps you’ll like some of my others. Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com