Introduction: Indoor Disc Golf Using Plastic Bottles and Caps
Play disc golf indoors by making your own miniature disc catcher (or in this case, a "capcatcher") from a 20-ounce sports drink bottle, and using old bottle caps as the flying discs.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with disc golf, it follows the same premise as regular golf, except that instead of trying to get a ball into a distant cup in the fewest number of shots, you try to get a flying disc into a distant basket-shaped target.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Start by finding the right kind of bottle. I used an old Vitamin Water bottle, since that's the type of bottle I had.
I think Gatorade or other types of bottles will work, but they might require a little more effort on your part, as you'll see.
In addition to a bottle and cap, you will need the following:
Various sizes of dowels (1/8", and either 5/16" or 1/4")
Basic crafting tools
You're probably going to want some extra bottle caps. The kind to look for are the ones that come on most sports drinks and family-size juice bottles.
Step 2: Mark and Cut Holes in Bottle
Bamboo skewers will be used for the basket framework, and 1/8" dowels will be used for the tripod base. We first need to make some incisions in the bottle where these sticks will be inserted.
The bottle I used has six panels on the sides with two little bumps in each panel. If you use the same type of bottle, you can mark your bottle exactly as shown and get the same results as I did. Otherwise you'll have to measure and lay out where you want the cuts on your particular bottle.
The two photos of the bottle with milk in it show where to make your marks for the incisions where the skewers and dowels will be inserted. (The milk is only there so the markings will show up better in the photos.)
The purple marks indicate where the bamboo skewers will go for the basket, and the red marks indicate where the dowels will go for the tripod.
The purple marks should be in the same locations on all six panels. The red marks should be marked differently on adjacent panels. Make small "X" cuts with a sharp blade in each of the marked locations.
Step 3: Prepare Dowels and Skewers
Before we insert the dowels and skewers, you need to put the upright dowel in place.
Cut a 5/16" or 1/4" dowel so it is 18 inches long. Trace the bottle opening on some cardboard and cut out the resulting disc shape. Use your best judgement to cut a couple of X cuts in the center of the cardboard disc. This will act as a centering ring for the 18" dowel. Glue the bottom of the dowel down to the inside center bottom of the bottle, and glue the cardboard disc to the top of the water bottle, with the dowel coming up through it.
Cut three 1/8" dowels to be 7 1/2" long.
Cut the sharp points off of six bamboo skewers. They should be about 11" long without their points.
Step 4: Insert Skewers and Dowels
Beginning with the skewers, insert one into the top purple X on one of the panels, and make it exit out the lower purple X on the opposite panel. Working counter-clockwise, insert all the skewers making sure each new one goes over the previous one, as shown in the photos. You may have to jimmy them a little, but they are quite flexible.
Insert the dowels likewise, only insert them through the lower red X and out the top red X on the opposing side.
Each skewer should protrude out of the bottom cut a little bit (maybe 1/4"), and the dowels should protrude out of their top cuts the same way.
Adjust the tripod legs as needed so the upright dowel stands perfectly straight. Put some hot glue where each skewer and dowel enter or exit the bottle. My gun is a low temp gun and it melted the plastic a little, so be careful if you're using a high temp glue gun.
Step 5: Make the Basket Web
Cut out six pieces of fabric according to the dimensions shown on my pattern piece in the photo. (If you have had to adapt these instructions to a different bottle type, you may need to come up with your own dimensions for the basket webbing.)
I used some old canvas which works fairly well to keep the bottle caps from slipping back out if they fly into the basket directly without first hitting the deflector ropes. (I tried using nylon on a prototype for this, and it was too slick.)
Glue the edges together, overlapping 1/2". I found it easier and quicker to glue the web pieces all together first, creating a limp umbrella shape. I then placed this whole piece onto the basket framework and tacked it in place with hot glue.
Cut six bamboo skewers to be about 6 1/2" long. With the structure upside down, glue a skewer to the top of each section of the web and fold over the fabric and glue it down over the skewer. This makes the whole basket rigid, and serves as a lip which adds an additional measure to help keep bottle caps from sliding out of the basket.
Step 6: Make Cardboard Discs to Hold the Deflector Ropes
Use a compass to draw two 10" circles on some cardboard. Cut out the cardboard discs. On one of these, measure and mark circles with the following radii:
Using a protractor, mark the 4 1/2" radius circle every 30 degrees. Using a sharp blade cut notches about 1/16" wide from the outside of the disc up to the 4 1/2" line.
Mark the 3" radius circle every 15 degrees. Using a sharp blade cut a small hole at each mark.
The 3 3/4" and 2 1/4" radius circles are there for guide lines that we will use when we glue the rope deflector rings to this disc.
Step 7: Make Rope Deflector Rings
Regular disc golf catchers have sets of chains that hang from an upper structure above the basket which ideally absord the momentum of a flying disc and deflect it down into the basket.
To create a similarly functioning apparatus, I used some 5/32" poly rope. It was $3 for 75 feet at the Home Depot. (I think any similar thin rope would work just fine.)
Cut 24 pieces of rope that are 10" long. Make sure all the pieces are precisely the same.
Cut 12 pieces of rope that are 13" long. Use a lighter on all the ends of the cut pieces to fuse the rope to keep it from fraying.
Cut four strips of fabric that are 3/4" wide, with two that are at least eight inches long, and two that are at least ten inches long.
The 24 shorter pieces of rope should be glued to one of the 8-inch strips of fabric. Space them about 1/16" apart, making sure the ends are all even with the bottom of the strip of fabric. Wrap the strip of fabric into a ring shape, with the ropes facing outward, and glue it together (as in the photos). Glue the additional 8-inch strip of fabric around the outside, sealing the ropes inside a ring of fabric.
Do the same with the longer 12 pieces of rope and the 10-inch strips of fabric.
(If you look at the finished photos of the capcatcher, you may notice that there is a 2 1/2" strip of fabric around the bottom of the outer ring of ropes. I added this to cover up the rounded upper portion of the plastic bottle, which bottle caps would hit and bounce right back out of the catcher. I had cut my ropes a little too short. The measurements I gave for rope lengths in this step eliminate the problem I encountered.)
Step 8: Attach Rope Deflector Rings to Cardboard Disc
Insert the ropes through the holes and notches in the cardboard disc, and glue them down even with the guide lines we drew previously. Before you start gluing things, make sure the smaller ring with 24 ropes is on the inside set of holes on the disc.
Step 9: Finish Your Capcatcher
On both cardboard discs, make a few X cuts it the center for the upright dowel to go through. Cut out ten pieces of cardboard that are 1 by 1 inch square. Glue four of these right next to the center hole on the disc with ropes attached. These will act to keep the disc perpendicular to the dowel. Glue this disc to the upright dowel, leaving about 1/2" of dowel sticking up. Glue the other six cardbaord pieces onto this disc to act as spacers to keep the second disc parallel to the first. Now glue the second disc on top.
The cardboard I used was 1/4" thick, so the total thickness of the cardboard discs with spacers in between was 1 1/2". I cut out some long strips of fabric that were 1 1/2" wide and carefully glued them in place to cover the opening between the two discs.
To finish it off, I made a small carrying loop from some some wire which was glued into a small hole I drilled into the top of the main dowel.
There you are. You're done with your capcatcher!
Step 10: How to Lay Out an Awesome Disc Golf Course in Your Own Home
To get the most out of your homemade capcatcher, you should lay out a series of fun holes to play inside your home. You can make more capcatchers, or just move the same one around for each hole.
Like a regular outdoor disc golf course, there should be quite a bit of variety to make for a fun, challenging experience. Here are some ideas to help you lay out a great indoor course:
1. Create a variety of hole-types, with some difficult and some not so difficult.
2. Assign a "par" rating for each hole. The lowest number of successful throws to reach and get into the basket without any major mistakes should be par. Birdies will happen when you make great throws, have a little luck, or make excellent recovery shots. (Having a par rating makes the game work. You've got to have a standard to compare your performance against.)
3. More talented or experienced players should start each hole from a greater distance, or from a more difficult angle.
4. Take advantage of the specific features of your home to create challenging holes. Go down hallways, in and out of rooms, up and down staircases, etc.
5. Designate certain areas or elements of your home as penalty areas. Here are some examples:
- Create "sand traps" by naming certain sections of flooring, rugs, or furniture as such. If you land on these, the penalty is that you have to make your next shot with your odd hand (left for righties, right for lefties).
- Create "water" areas the same way. If you land in these areas, you have to take a stroke penalty and shoot your next shot from the point where your cap first crossed over into the "water area."
- Create "out-of-bounds" areas. If your bottle cap lands in these areas, you must take a one-stroke penalty and retake your shot from the previous location. Also, try banning certain walls completely. If your bottle cap touches these walls at anytime, it is out-of-bounds.
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