In this instructable, we'll be making a blowgun with all the accessories I could think of. This blowgun is stable, accurate and mobile so I consider my goals reached. This is my latest week-end project and I hope you enjoy reading about it! The original idea came from Grant Thompson's Laser assisted blowgun, but I made significant changes and additions so I considered it worthy of an entire instructable rather than just an "I made it" comment. All the credit for the original idea of putting a laser on a blowgun is not mine and is awesome. Just like putting a laser on anything really.
If you aim at people and kill them or hurt them in any way it's so not my fault. Same goes for pets, elephants, birds, trees, drywalls, girlfriends and squirrels. If you're thinking of aiming at something else than an inert piece of carboard or dead wood, please check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
As I am not home at the moment, I had litteraly no tools and had to improvise with what I could find in the kitchen drawer and at the poundstore.
A sharp-ish knife
Bread knife (pretend it's a saw)
A bit of sand paper or a rough brick
Black sharpie or black spray paint
10 to 15 mm inner diameter rigid plastic or metal pipe, 1 to 2 meters in length depending on the size you're after
A female/female adapter for the kind of tubing you picked
A reducer from a bigger diameter to the diameter of your tubing (mouthpiece)
Insulating foam tube
Plastic folder or hard plastic wrapper
Light and long nails or hard metal wire
Blu-tack or hot glue
Duck tape with your choice of motif (I used camo to make it invisible. That's why you can't see anyhting on the pictures after step 3.)
Laser pointer (I used one of these)
Electric wires (from a salvaged piece of USB cable for instance)
Some kind of thin foam or anything flexible really
Step 2: Body and Mouthpiece
First I cut two pieces of tubing of about 60 cm (2 feet) long. I didn't have any measuring device so I used an A4 piece of paper as a known length (210*297 mm). I cut them using the bread knife as a saw.I used a sharp knife to clean the inside of the tubing after the cuts so the darts would go through smoothly, and sandpaper to clean the outside of the cuts. Those will be the two halves of the blowgun, for a total lenght of about 120 cm, or 4 feet. I wanted a long blow gun as, although they are harder to handle and shoot, they allow for more power and precision and I have big lungs. This is the maximum length authorised by the FSSA, the french association for recreative blowgun practice, so I figured it would be a good size.
I took the reducer and removed the crimping part and various loose plastic bits as well as an o-ring from the wide side to make a clean mouthpiece. I left everything else on the other side as I wanted an airtight connection with the tubing.
Step 3: Make It Invisible and Put It Together
On the two pieces of tubing, I marked the position of the connection and mouthpiece, and cut to size a piece of fancy camo duct tape to give it a better look. I laid the piece of tape on the table and carefully wrapped the tubing in it, taking care not to overlap with the connector and mouthpiece. I painted the middle adapter black with a permanent marker (you could also use spray paint) and decorated the mouthpiece in black and duct tape.
Step 4: Darts and Holder
At first, I made the darts according to Grant's instructable, with paper, but soon realized that the inside of the blowgun got wet very quickly from blowing humid hot air in it, turning the darts into papier-mâché. I therefore switched to a flexible yet quite rigid plastic, such as the one that makes a lot of wrapping boxes. I cut it in little squares (5*5 cm, 2*2 inches) and folded them into cones with regular adhesive tape in which I stuffed a 1 1/2 inch nail with a bit of blu-tack to add weight and hold everything into place. I then cut a slice of insulating foam, heated a nail to make holes through the foam and put it atop another piece of foam, this one intact so I can dig the tips of the nails in there and they would hold in place (see pictures).
Step 5: Foldable Bipod
I cut a piece of the same tubing in half and shaped the halves with a knife to give them better looks, then covered it in the same duct tape as the tubing. I then cut a thick slice of foam and made four slots in it : two on the side to put the feet in when in "shooting mode", and two on the face to be able to put the feet in when in "folded mode".
Step 6: Laser Pointer and Pressure Switch
I wanted the laser as close to the end of the blowgun as possible but did not want to have to reach for it with my hand so I decided to make a remotely placed pressure switch. I simply cut two little rectangles of aluminium from a drink can, sanded them on both sides to remove the resin and render electric contact possible. I then taped a piece of USB electric wire on each of them, and made a sandwich with the two plates separated by two little bits of foam so as to create an electrical connection when squeezed. I held all in place with a bit of regular tape, then folded to wires backward so they wouldn't detach if I pulled on them accidentally. I fitted the switch in a piece of heat shrink tubing to make it tougher and braided the wire. I shrunk the tubing on the ends but not in the middle as doing so might press the switch forever.
I then made a "break" for the current inside the battery compartment so I could avoid messing with the existing switch, which would have been a pain without a soldering iron and wire. I made it so that I would keep the regular switch pressed on with a piece of tape and would only need squeezing the pressure switch to get a laser beam. This break consists of two pads of aluminium, separated by a piece of insulating material. One of these touches a pole of the battery and the other one the casing that acts as conductor between the battery and the laser module.
It could be schematically presented as such :
>(+) LASER MODULE
>ALUMINIUM ------------------------------- pressure switch
>ALUMINIUM------------------------------- pressure switch
>(-) LASER MODULE
I then taped the wire along the tube and placed the switch where my thumb usually sits when I shoot.
Step 7: Go Shoot (inert) Things
There you have it! The most customizable home made blowgun you can think of. Everything is adjustable because the pieces slide freely on the body of the blowgun. It is really accurate up to 30 meters, much more accurate when lying down than when standing but that is because I need practice. The laser really adds to the fun I had with it compared to previous blowguns. It is a great yet dangerous contraption and could be used for hunting I guess, but I am not really into this kind of things.
Have fun and stay safe!
Until next time,