Introduction: Piano-wire Slingshot

Picture of Piano-wire Slingshot

A small but powerful slingshot made using 1mm gauge piano-wire and ordinary rubber bands. A strong magnet at the base of the handle holds a cluster of steel shot.

Step 1: Materials

Materials for the Piano-wire Slingshot are as follows:

1. A length of 1mm gauge piano-wire. I stumbled on this in a hardware store but it's also available from most hobby stores. It is sold in 1-metre lengths and ranges from 0.3mm to 5mm (yep, I made a slingshot with 5mm piano-wire too!). In this instructable, you'll be working with a length of 360mm.

2. Rubber bands. Use however many you like and whatever thickness you like. As I mention in the video, I prefer to twist several ordinary rubber bands into a kind of bungee-style cord. This makes for a much safer slingshot (for the user, not the target) and reduces the risk of a whole band snapping and hitting you in the face.

3. Slingshot handle. 100mm length of dowel (10mm diameter) or rod (10x10mm).

4. Handle binding. Cord or tape is needed to bind the slingshot frame to the handle. After using electrical tape, I finished my handle with black heatshrink (also found in hobby and electronics stores).

5. Ammo pouch. This can be made from any soft pliable fabric. I used a short length of ordinary shoelace for mine, because it's readily available, easy to work with, strong and soft.

Step 2: Tools:

Picture of Tools:

You will need the following tools and safety equipment:

1. Eye protection and safety gloves.
2. Small bolt-cutters or other heavy-duty wire-cutters. Piano-wire is extremely tough to cut and bend.

WARNING- cutting high-tensile materials like piano-wire is dangerous. Be aware that pieces of wire can fly off when cut. Do this in a safe environment away from people and pets. Secure the pieces you are cutting to keep them flying away.

3. Pliers for bending the wire. A bench vice is helpful here too.

4. Small tenon saw. This is for cutting the grooves in the handle as you'll see in the video.

5. Electrical tape, cord, twine or heatshrink - to bind the frame into the handle.

Step 3: Building the Slingshot

Building the piano-wire slingshot is demonstrated in the video. Check out the next steps for additional tips.


Step 4: Attaching the Bands

Picture of Attaching the Bands

The bands must be of equal length if the slingshot is to have any accuracy. Therefore, attach them to the frame first (as shown), then trim them to equal lengths before attaching the pouch.

This diagram shows where and how the bands should be attached to the slingshot. Remember the elastic binding should be very tight. Elastic is great for binding because a little bit goes a long way when it's stretched, plus, it squeezes tightly around whatever you wrap it.

The only downside with elastic binding is that rubber bands deteriorate after a while, so constantly check the elastics for wear and deterioration.

Step 5: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

When cutting the shallow grooves into the handle, make sure they're deep enough that the frame will sit in there nice and snug, especially at the base of the 'Y' where support is most crucial.

Step 6: Using the Slingshot

Picture of Using the Slingshot

As in the diagram, aim at your target by looking along the left band. Here you can see why eye protection is crucial. If the band snaps, it goes right for your aiming eye!

Also, ricochet is always a concern when using any projectile weapon. Be aware that just because you're wearing safety glasses, doesn't mean you can't blind a bystander or passer-by.


Knex Guru (author)2009-03-25

Two Words - Surgical Tubing

Rahdzhillaxxx (author)Knex Guru2011-05-18

Thera band tubing for resistance training is widely used by may slingshot enthusiasts. They even argue over the pro's and cons of tube vs flat bands LOL.
I prefer the Black "special heavy" tubing. You can go through amazon or ebay for it or even just google ti :)

picklepie159 (author)2010-06-01

Where can I get piano wire? I'm looking for mebbe a bit stronger 2mm. Can you get it in stores, or is it off the internet? Thx for answering

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-05-30

 I sense... inspiration!!!

That reminded me when I cut this tiny tiny wire off and flew away. One moment it's there; another moment it's gone! Time to post my version (later, still have an Aikido session after 2:30 pm GMT+8)

FAIL!!! :( looks like I'm going ahead with my other instructable...

master-of-chaos (author)2007-09-12

hey chluaid, I'm one of the many people who love your flash work and have bin annoying you about waterlollies, but more on this topic great insturctable and if you made a larger version i have an alternative more heavy duty ammunition for it , if you still have an old mouse (not the laser or light sensor type ones) remove the ball from inside, then take an Xacto knife and cut the rubber/plastic coating off it, and there you have it a much more powerful heavy duty solid iron (I'm pretty sure) ammunition

whats a water lollie

Its... like a drop of water.... but.... look at his videos he has on newgrounds.

chluaid (author)master-of-chaos2007-09-12

cool.. yeah I did make a piano-wire slingshot out of 5mm piano-wire which is incredibly sturdy. The wire was a nightmare to work with, especially cos my tools are mostly for smaller-scale projects. I attached a proper slingshot band to it (the type you buy in stores) and I use 8mm lead shot, and of course you can't go wrong with good old glass marbles (14mm). An old mouse ball sounds like great ammo, if a little difficult to come by. That's the kind of ammo you fire away then spend hours trying to find it again. I do have a great (completely different) use for those balls though.. I'll post another instructable later. Thanks for the comments!

master-of-chaos (author)chluaid2007-09-13

also there is a version of ammunition that i call "Saturn shots" what you do is take the solid iron ball from above, then take a electrical connector ring (i have no idea what its actually called but i have about 26 of them and I'm wearing on as a ring right now) and use a belt sander (Recommended), file, or sand paper and make it sharp then push it onto the ball in a very snug fit (see it looks like Saturn with spikes around the middle)

chluaid (author)master-of-chaos2007-09-14

Jeez dude that shit sounds evil :D My kinda thing heheh

master-of-chaos (author)chluaid2007-09-14

oh really, how do you feel about explosives

PieMaster777 (author)2009-08-30

Damn gettin hit w/ steelshot hard would hurt like hell =p

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-09-09

CHLUAID! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG Dude, you're awesome! I love your work and simply cannot WAIT for Waterlollies! (SO glad that the animation's done! I hope that audio guy finishes soooooooon) Err... sorry for sounding like a sissy girl before, I just can't believe that you're on Instructables! It's the only site that I eat, drink, and live for (other than yours, of course << ). Your instructable is pretty awesome... I've never seen a quality slingshot made from "scratch" before, and I'm pretty darn impressed! Awesome work, keep it up! (Btw, I'm "Muff" on blogger) P.S. How'd you find out about Instructables? If it's from my post on your blog then I'm pretty damn honored. If not, however you got here.... AWESOME! Hope to see many more Instructables from you in the future! -Josh

chluaid (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-09-10

I was wondering the other day how I stumbled upon instructables and now that you mention it, I went back and looked at your comments on my blog and it WAS you :D Thanks dude this site is so my thing you wouldn't believe it. When I clicked on your link in the blog I saw all this awesome stuff come up and I got right to work on my slingshot. Waterlollies progress is screaming now.. it's a toboggan on hard ice :D

T3h_Muffinator (author)chluaid2007-09-13

!! Wow!!!

I'm so honored... you have no clue ;DD

Yes, this site is REALLY addicting. I've spent hours and hours on Instructables without really noticing. The best thing about it, though, is that you never waste your time... it's always time well spent =)

Can't wait for waterlollies!


P.S. Perhaps post an Instructable on making flash videos... it seems like if anyone on this site should make one.... it's got to be you!

someone plese tell me what the crap a waterlollie someone plese tell me

By the way, I just created an "Adam Phillips Is The MAN!" group, and added this instructable to it. Is that alright? -Josh

chluaid (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-09-14

lol.. uh, I guess :P Now I feel pressure to populate it (in an effort to be The MAN).

T3h_Muffinator (author)chluaid2007-09-14

Bah... Don't feel pressured! You're the man already... ;D

i_blow_it_up (author)2008-02-17

This Instructable is awesome . I want to build my own slingshot but i can't find a store which sells piano wire here in Germany. Can anyone help me ?

Frindledon3 (author)i_blow_it_up2009-07-03

i made a sling shot and it shoots a big marble maybe 500 feet and goes like a hundred miles an hour. You can substitute a piano wire fore hair on a violin bow. its basically the same as piano wire because they are both from horses

pandaboy292 (author)i_blow_it_up2008-04-14

wouldn`t a coat hanger work?

n0ukf (author)i_blow_it_up2008-03-29

Have you tried both hardware stores and music stores? How about hobby shops? The wire doesn't have to be a specific diameter, just stiff enough to resist the pull of the bands. Also, wire is only one possible material to make the framework from.

Capt. Fat (author)2009-01-16

Sweet!! Alot cheaper than the ones at Canaidian Tire!

AnarchistAsian (author)2008-09-16

well done again, man. i guess i'll make one of these nextime we have our piano tuned, or whatever.

bullet-head (author)2008-09-06

the handle looks like a chocolate bar and that's why i clicked here :))

popomaster (author)2008-08-22

hey, didnt you work for disney?

Kaiven (author)2008-07-23

o.O i must make! im voting and i need some wire! also what cloth did you use?

sigsauerman (author)2008-07-17

isn't piano wire also like razor wire?

keags2208 (author)2008-06-29

can some one aanswer pandaboy292 please. i got wired coat handers not piano wire.would it be strong enough?

chluaid (author)keags22082008-06-29

Piano wire is high-tensile steel, or spring steel which means that it will flex and bend but always spring back into its shape. A coat hanger on the other hand, is ordinary soft wire. Sure if the wire is thick enough, it's harder to bend, but if you want real power in your slingshot you'll need strong rubber which would bend a coat hanger very soon, probably even with the first use. Beware when bending spring steel like piano wire. Sometimes it can snap if bent too sharply, and tiny shards of metal can fly off.

Eddiepers (author)chluaid2008-07-12


keags2208 (author)2008-06-29

yeh, thanks though anyway.

Ssiatha (author)2008-06-04


craniac (author)2007-09-28

Where are examples of chluaid's flash work?

Yellow84 (author)craniac2008-01-19

ericm247 (author)2008-01-18

man this is nice too bad i cant find piano wire lol well check out my new instructable it`s a slinshot also

brainspater (author)2007-12-22

I see that you can make a split shot with the BB's so I see.

Mr. Rig It (author)2007-09-17

Your sling shot inspired my sling-o-plane project in the launch it contest. While not exactly like yours it was a spinoff idea from yours. Good job.

chluaid (author)Mr. Rig It2007-09-19

awesome, thanks for the nod. Your sling-o-plane is cool :D

Aucifer (author)2007-09-16

Thats an awesome sling shot, i have a hobbyist one which is better though, but i'm missing the elastic and leather strip. I'll definitely try this out.

hunter cd (author)2007-09-14

tolaly awsome but try and make a bigger one

eviloverlord (author)2007-09-14

Excellent instructable. I really must commend you on an astounding video. That method of describing things really does make it far easier to understand than plain pictures or descriptions.

chluaid (author)eviloverlord2007-09-14

thanks! I find it's a fun way of working too.. feels more natural to explain things with animated diagrams

boocat (author)2007-09-13

Too cool about the wire. I was trying to decide what I could use as a base to construct an armature for a paper mache snake. I'll do what you did. Oh - cool slingshot, too. Are they legal in NYC?

chluaid (author)boocat2007-09-13

I assume this slingshot comes under other slingshot laws. I don't know what parts of the world slingshots are legal/illegal, but this particular slingshot can be as powerful as (perhaps more than) a standard BB or airgun so if the police stop you, it'll probably be classified as dangerous. Whether you're allowed on your way, it gets confiscated, or you get locked up will depend on your local laws :D

pmac93 (author)2007-09-13

dude your ms paint drawings are awesome

chluaid (author)pmac932007-09-13

thanks :) It's actually Adobe Flash I'm using there but yeah, I've noticed time-lapse sketching usually makes for a good demonstration (e.g Mythbusters).

JamesRPatrick (author)chluaid2007-09-13

Yeah, those are good drawings for a computer.

About This Instructable




Bio: I make stuff!
More by chluaid:Chluaid's 10-minute Monkey FistAirgun with eXplosive air-Release ValvePiano-wire Slingshot
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