Introduction: Make a Boomerang That Actually Comes Back!
Make a working boomerang!
Step 1: Does It Actually Work?-Yes!
I teacher engineering in high school and this is a project I do with my classes. If a ninth grader can build a working boomerang so can you. Still don't believe me, take a look at the video proof. (Note the plans are for a righty, the student in the video is a lefty he reversed the plans so it would work for a lefty.)
Step 2: UPDATE! the Plans and the Material
First step is to download the plans or the pics on this page and print them out full size. Cut out the plans/template on the page, tape the 2 sizes together. Adhere the template to your material using rubber cement.
UPDATE: I have saved the plans as a PDF File this should correct the printing issues. You will still need to select print full size or 1:1.
Material-the plans call for 1/4" 7 layer marine grade plywood, this plywood is hard to find. Baltic birch plywood has 5 layers and it will work great for this project. It can be found at craft stores, lumber yards, or ordered online. My students have had good results with other types of 1/4" plywood but baltic birch works the best.
Step 3: What Tools Will I Need?
I recommend a jigsaw and anything that can be used for sanding. Hand sander, palm sander, orbital sander, disk and belt sander, drum or pad sander mounted on a drill, etc.
You could also carve your boomerang, but I do not have the patience for that.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Blank
Carefully make relief cuts around your pattern and cut it out. I used a jig saw for this but a scroll saw and band saw work well also. If you are skill with any of these tools you can cut some of the bevels for the edges.
Step 5: Sanding the Edges and Contours
After cutting the edges will be rough, you will want to sand these smooth.
The leading/trailing edges are what makes the boomerang return. However the template gives you an easy guide to follow. The template directly shows you where to sand the 45 and 30 degree angles.
On the ends and middle you will have to blend the two edges together. No special technique for doing this just sand everything smooth.
Step 6: How Do I Shape the Edges?
You will shape the edges with lots of sanding. Palm sanders and orbital sanders work well for this, however it can take some time. A belt/disk sander makes sanding easier and faster. The machine in the picture is my favorite machine to use for this. It has a gage for the angles and takes material of quickly but not so fast that you take off to much.
Follow any power sanding with hand sanding.
Round the front edge just slightly, it will make it easier to throw.
Step 7: Check Your Work Frequently
Check your work using a t-bevel, square, or triangle.
Step 8: Almost Ready to Fly
After sanding your edges to the proper angles your are ready to throw your boomerang. In the picture you can see several boomerangs in various stats of completion.
It is not necessary to paint or stain your boomerang. However I have had students that create great looking boomerangs for display.
Do not paint, stain, or seal your boomerang until you have thrown/tested it. It needs to be unfinished so you can make adjustments. Also paint and stain may decrease your boomerangs performance.
Step 9: Throwing Your Boomerang
Find a wide open area like a soccer or football field. I recommend stand at the corner of the field. If there is wind you want to be throwing into it.
Hold the boomerang in the palm of your hand, flat side on your palm. Thumb on top fingers wrapped on the front edge. See the picture.
Throw it like a baseball with a little side arm. Aim the boomerang up and down the sideline of the field.
Practice and repetition help you find the proper throw to improve performance.
Step 10: Watch Out When It Comes Back!
Heads up! Hopefully yours will fly nicely and come back. If not you have a really cool flying stick.