Instructables

One Hour Atlatl

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One Hour Atlatl.

This is old before I discovered instructables, we went to the Pequot Indian Museum in CT with the scouts and I saw one of these in the museum. We even got to use one, and figured I could make that. On that trip I made a tee-pee and at camp and 3 scouts slept in it (14 ft poles, 10 ft diameter). I am going back with a new group of scouts (this is about 4 years ago) and will try to document the Tee-pee.

For those who don’t know ‘ is feet ‘’ is inches.

Materials:
Altlatl

2’ of a broken broomstick or 1inch dowel
2-3‘ of  ¼ or 3/8 inch clothes line.
3’ of twine.
2 ¼ ‘ ‘   ¼’’ dowel (scrap)
Wood glue.

Dart
4’ fiberglass winter driveway marker (it was cheaper than a 4 ft dowel).
Craft Foam.
Hot glue

Tools
Drill
Hand Saw
Sand Paper
1/16 ¼  inch drill bits
Knife
 
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Step 1: Atlatl Build

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Cut the broomstick to length, drill a ¼ ‘ drill bit drill a ¾ inch depth hole at 45 degree angle about 1’’ from the end of the broomstick.. Take the  ¼’’ dowel  coat the end of the dowel with wood glue and put it into the hole as far as it will go, about 1 ½ ‘’ should be protruding. Use a knife to round the end slightly, use sand paper to finish it.

Finishing the Atlatl take the twine ant tie a clove hitch about ½’’ from where the dowel meets the broomstick towards the end.. Loop the long end around the shaft and up the dowel about ½ way up keeping it tight finish it off by wrapping it again around the broomstick ending in another clove hitch.

Take some wood glue and smother the twine, set it aside to let it dry/cure.

Once dry take the rope and tie a clove hitch such that the knot is in the center of the rope about 6’’ from the hand end. Make a 6-7’’ loop using a square knot, this will go over your wrist to make sure you don’t throw the Atlatl with the dart.



owen57029 months ago
You should make video of it launching
oilitright1 year ago
Do you think bamboo could be used for the projectile and or the throwing stick? I have a pretty good stand of bamboo from about 3/8" to 1" diameter.
I was a child in Africa and the dart was made of bamboo and where the 'rib' is close to the flight you take a length of string tie a large knot in the end then wrap the string around the rib around knot and hold the string taut over the knot down to the dart tip and lengthen your arm behind you and sling the arrow over your head to your target...it can travel over 100 feet. The string releases once it passes over your head because it slackens off and the string falls down.
I used to use bamboo canes years ago, with folded paper flights bound into slots cut in the end.
old_alex (author)  oilitright1 year ago
It should work, though the wind may catch it. Cut the dart close to a "rib" or whatever they call it, this will make a place for the atlatl point to fit in. In bamboo these ribs are concave and should fit nicely.
racoontnn1 year ago
Kids fun things for the summer. Be sure to take note and tell children how to make this dart.
james.m.k1 year ago
Be careful with this. I grew up when Lawn Darts were a thing, and I think I still have a few squirrelled away somewhere.

There is a reason they don't make them any more.
I thought they were made illegal? Was that to sell or use? Ah, I looked it up. SALE is banned in the US and Canada.
My warning was strictly physical.

In the US doing most dangerous things is legal, as long as you're only endangering yourself. As it should be. We tend to assume this is also the case everywhere.

The reason that they are no longer made, is that some careless and unlucky people ended up with Lawn Darts sprouting from various bodily locations, like their heads!

Here is a short report by the US National Institutes of Health about it:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3808799
Besides, I think this would not legally qualify as a Lawn Dart. Probably a type of spear or javelin. The main difference being that no one is selling those as an outdoor game for parties etc.
its not a lawn dart, its actually just like an ancient hunting tool like the bow and arrow but usually used longer arrows and took lots of skill to use correctly
All the more reason to use it with care, and not use it as a toy.

With practice, and with what was actually a copper grounding rod, I was able to penetrate half-way through a telephone pole and a steel door.

Shocked the heck out of me. And that was just launching it off of my finger (you could tell if it would work during the throw, you could feel how the rod was an extension of your arm and finger). No tools necessary.
in fact it is just that
old_alex (author)  james.m.k1 year ago


My brother-in-law is the keeper of the family law darts, my mother-in-law (RIP) loved this game and acted like the NRA when someone told her they were illegal.

I will publish a DIY for this in the near future, I already figured it out and it won't involve any welding and I will try to keep the tools to a minimum.

I hope they don't find out about my Pneumatic, Hairspray (stopped using it due to you cannot control the air/fuel mixture) or Carbide cannons!

Look in the back of any Boy's Life from the 60s and you will know why it was better to be a kid back then you could buy things that you cannot buy today (no parental approval needed): Carbide Cannons, BB Guns, Sling Shots, Smoke Bombs, Alligators and even a live Monkey (for ~$17).
You are so right (and making me very nostalgic to boot) though I grew up with Boy's Life in the 50's. Was it Boy's Life or Popular Science that ran the how-to article on carbide cannons? Not only did I build one, I was able to have a can of calcium carbide shipped to me, a 17-year-old, no questions asked! The can must've weighed about 2 pounds and could've generated enough acetylene to blow the roof off my Dad's garage where I'd hidden it!
it probably was better back then, maybe that's why almost all children today are so stupid they don't have access to all the cool stuff ,a new era
arpruss1 year ago
I made some Japanese-style stilts a while ago and used the wood-glue over twine trick. Unfortunately, eventually the glued twine became became brittle and the twine would just crumble. This happened very fast (less than half a year) when the stilts were stored outdoors and exposed to UV (i.e., sunlight), but I think I may have had a failure before when they were stored in the garage, too.

One option be to try using Shoe Goo instead of wood glue.

By the way, apparently bamboo garden stakes make great darts.
flamesami1 year ago
I do remember something about the dart needing to be flexible, but I cna't remember why. It might have been something to do with accuracy, much like the "spine" of an arrow
mashj501 year ago
hi this is very much like the Australian Original people's woomera for launching spears, the woomera was shaped like a long leaf with a spike like this one at the end to locate the spear on what was aslo interesting about the woomera was it served multi functions, which is logical for people's who were nomads, the counterweight at the bottom where the hunter held the launching stick had a big ball of Spinifex grass resin on it, usually the ball was around the size of a golf ball and at room temperature is hard like a rock , but if u put it over a fire it becomes liquid , It is actually GOD's hot glue & sets like stone when it cools, awesome stuff collected from the prickly grass that grows in the Australian desert, the designs on the woomera are often maps of the local area indicating known water holes, they can be used for digging also as it has a flat curved leaf blade shape, google woomera to see the Australian version cheers good artlicle thx
deathmango1 year ago
The winter driveway marker is an AWESOME idea for a dart! I've been trying to figure out how to easily make some darts to go with my atlatl (the local hardware store doesn't have dowels long enough, and I'm not very confident in my shaft straightening skills).
Cool! Wikipedia says throws of 850 FEET have been recorded! That's something to shoot for! also "Another important improvement to the atlatl's design was the introduction of a small weight (between 60 and 80 grams) strapped to its midsection. Some atlatlists maintain that stone weights add mass to the shaft of the device, causing resistance to acceleration when swung and resulting in a more forceful and accurate launch of the dart. Others claim that atlatl weights add only stability to a cast, resulting in greater accuracy."
Ballooner1 year ago
You know with that wrist strap you could also do some whipping and make a handle it would just take a longer string. I love the idea though and thanks for putting up the 'ible.
radiograf1 year ago
Takes me back about 40 years, I used to use a piece of knotted string. Cut a groove (or nock) in the tail end of the arrow, tie a knot in the end of your string, fit it into the groove, and hold the line taught down the length of the arrow. The arrow can then be thrown as with the atlatl. Thanks to my father for that tip, he used to use it as a boy!
ringai1 year ago
That's pretty cool. I've used a similar throwing stick. That one was dished out and the spear/lance nested in it. The throw looks the same, though. Cool project. Just don't poke your eye out ;-)
Kiteman1 year ago
That's a great build for a Scout activity.

I like the addition of a wrist loop.
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