Introduction: Rubber Band Slingshot Bands
Charles Goodyear in 1839 invents vulcanized rubber, six years later the rubber band is patented in England by Stephen Perry. It takes no more than twenty years before whippersnappers are making a not so reputable name for the slingshot. In 1860 Karl Witkowski creates a painting titled The little hunter. This painting captures the historical significance of rubber band use for slingshots. It appears that the little hunter has linked three sets of rubber bands together using knots. The detail of the knots in the painting tells us that rubber bands have been used to huck items at targets for over 150 years. NEAT!
Also if we learned anything from Gizmo in Gremlins 2 rubber bands mean serious business!
So, lets get on with it. This project requires relatively minimal cost, materials, and tools.
Xacto Blade/Sharp Knife/Roller Cutter
Hole Punch (Xacto could do this job as well)
Yeah thats it.
Box of assorted color coded "brites" from Alliance http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/287730/Allia...
link to frames used https://www.etsy.com/shop/OOAKFORGE
Leather (tough is good 2.5mmish, got mine from a scrap barrel at local craft store)
Potentially an assortment of hardware (never throw away hardware)
Butt Powder (talc)
Step 1: Prepping the Rubber
Rubber on Rubber action is an aggressive action. Think battle of octopus and squid. Lots of pockets opening and closing on each other. To alleviate the rubber bands of such friction we will want to fill the pores of the rubber with something. Talc makes an excellent lubricant in this scenario.
I took a stainless steel bowl full of the rubber bands and doused them with Talc. Wearing a respirator or bandana for this would be a smart move. Any fine particulate ain't so good on the lungs.
When knotting the rubber bands reworking the knots as full of the talc as possible eased the process exponentially.
*Just for the sake of science I did a few with out talc. Some of the setups particularly the #64 of both brands would break on the second or third pull without talc. With talc I could see hundreds of shots with no issues.
Step 2: Crafting the Pouch
The Pouch is the part of the slingshot band that hold the ammo. As for the pouch design oodles of styles exist. For experimenting and general shooting I stick with a basic rectangle of .75" tall and 3" long with a .25" hole on either side centered from top to bottom and set in from ends at least .18".
You can trim the corners, add a centering hole, cut Vs at the center mark, taper the pouch from the center out. All sorts of fanciness... I'm more concerned about finding my preferred thickness of leather. If you have a rough and smooth side do yourself a favor and put the rough facing out, in other words the part that your fingers need to hold onto. I prefer the benefit of the additional friction provided.
*Note: A 2B pencil shows up on leather rather well for marking dimension before cutting.
* It is never necessary to put your hand in front of a sharp object. Severed tendons! Google it if you must.
Step 3: Attachment to Slingshot Frame
I will show three different methods.
Clamps: The OOAK Forge Slingshot provides a simple solution of thumb screws and a clamping action. Works great for tubes, flat bands, and rubber bands of all variety.
Paracord Loop: Simple enough and should work on basically every slingshot out there. After you have made your band. Take a piece of Paracord and place it through a hole or around the arm of the slingshot and tie a knot simple as that.
Gypsy Tab: This requires a bit more work, but functions great! You will need a slingshot frame with a hole in the arms to fasten the tabs to. Use a fastener long enough to reach through the frame, two layers of leather, washer, and still have at least four threads for the nut to grab.
- For the OOAK Forge "lil monster" frame I used a stainless flat head #10-32 9/16" long. A copper washer and brass cap nut. This is what I had a pair of. Many other combinations would work fine.
- Next I made a rectangle from a piece of leather 1.75" x .75" (you could make it longer). I punched a hole big enough for the fastener to pass through at the ends far enough in from the end that the washer would make full contact with the leather as shown in the fourth photo.
- When you get to the end of your band. Loop the leather through the rubber bands as shown in the last photo. Then fasten washer and the acorn nut onto the bolt. I only used finger force and it never came loose over the span of dozens of shots. When you squish the leather it applies force back on the nut acting almost like a lock washer would. This makes for a tool less band removable and repair.
- This worked great for an over the top shooter and was very gentle on the rubber bands.
*Note: I eventually ended up using talc on all of the components, leather and rubber alike.
Step 4: Linking the Rubber Bands With Knots
So I have come to the conclusion there are two ways to link the rubber bands. We will start with the I thought more simple and historically original. If you remember the boy from the painting this is what appears to be the method used.
I'm going to use the notation I came up with while trying so many combinations.
- First number indicates the type of rubber band EX: #64 or #32
- x indicates a knot
- - indicates a chain link (discussed on the next page)
- Number before or after either x or - indicates number of bands used in that particular segment.
- The notation begins at the frame ending at the pouch.
In this case #64 3x3x3x
- Stick 1/3 of three bands through the hole in the end of the pouch then take the longer tail and pull it through itself. Keep it powdered well when concluding that final cinch. It does not need to be super tight.
- Take three more bands and place them through the first three that are attached to the pouch.
- Now loop it through itself just like you did in the first step.
- Connect three more rubber bands in the same manner you have been using. Lots of talc powder worked into those knots before you cinch them all down.
- Repeat this on the other side and then attach to the forks of the slingshot frame in whatever manner you have chose to use.
This combination was an average draw weight and hucked items rather well. The draw weight and FPS of many different setups to be found on the last page.
*Note: This setups draw weight could be significantly reduced by doing a psuedo taper.
Such as #64 3x2x1x or #64 2x2x1x which is shown in the last two photos.
Step 5: Linking the Rubber Bands by Chaining
This is quite different than the Knot method in the since that it acts very different when shooting. It makes for a much shorter slack length, which is nice for packing and storage. It also did not seem to tangle as much. Most noticeable was that the knotted bands whipped the poo out of my hand. The Chained method never whipped me once.
The most successful combination that I came up with in this testing period was. Fast shooting and low draw weight.
- Loop the rubber band through the hole in your pouch so that the pouch sits in the middle of the band.
- Send the next rubber band through the first band as pictured.
- Follow the same principle for the next three chains only using two bands per chain.
- Attach to the slingshot frame are using whatever method you have chose to use.
This set up made for a low draw weigh which means you can shoot from you cheek or pull it further maxing it out to a full draw. The difference here being 10 inches. The further you pull it back the faster the ammo is travelling.
*NOTE: I must warn that pulling the ammo back past your face runs the risk of the pouch and ammo striking your head at over 80mph!
Step 6: Have Fun With Endless Combinations
Six different rubber bands come in the "brites" box #16, #18, #19, #32, #33, #64. I only used three types and felt like I had an overwhelming amount of combinations good and bad.
The second photo shows a successful combination of different bands, knots, and chain.
- The notation for this would be #33 1-1-1- #32 1x (This being so because the band connecting to the pouch is knotted to it)
The third photo shows a neat, but maybe not so popular combo of #64s. It provides a super short slack length which is cool, but has a very heavy draw.
- The notation being #64 3-2-1-
OK GO TO THE LAST PAGE FOR THE SCIENCE AND DOCUMENTATION
Step 7: Science and Documentation / Play Time
FPS: Feet Per Second (speed of ammo after it leaves the pouch)
KE: Kinetic Energy in Joules (energy delivered to target) EX: Airsoft limit is 1.5 and Paintballs between 2 and 10.
DW: Draw Weight (energy required to pull pouch back)
For testing I used a chronograph to measure speed and a fish scale to measure the draw weight. Two different forms of ammo. Jelly Beans and Gummy Bears. Weight is in Grains one of the oldest forms of measurement in the world and based off of the ideal weight of a single piece of grain. Typically used when dealing with projectiles and ballistics.
- Jelly Bean 22.6 Grains
- Gummy Bear 47.8 Grains
- 5/16" steel bearing 33.9 Grains (for comparison sake)
I will only list in my opinion interesting finds. Future finds will also be listed in this area. If you have what you think to be a success. Then send me the "notation" and your draw length. I will then measure DW, FPS, and list it with your name on this list.
OK here we go starting with not a rubber band, but the common tapered red band from TruMark commonly found in stores. Then in my opinion the best combo with a low draw weight half of the common tube band and faster FPS. Thereafter in no particular order.
Common Trumark brand Tapered Tube Bandset
- DW 16lb 12oz @ 35"
- Jelly 220 FPS
- Gummy 202 FPS
- Potential KE 5.8
"Purple" #33 2-2-2-1-1-
- DW 8lb 1oz @ 35"
- DW 10lb 8oz @ 45"
- Jelly 237 FPS (High of 245 FPS at Full Draw)
- Gummy 225 FPS (High of 245 FPS at Full Draw)
- Potential KE 8.6
"Purple and Lime" #33 1-1-1- #32 1x
- DW 4lb 4 oz @ 35"
- Jelly 191 FPS
- Gummy 173 FPS
- Potential KE 4.3
"Lime" #32 2-2-1-1x
- DW 6lb 8oz @ 35"
- Jelly 186 FPS
- Gummy157 FPS
- Potential KE 3.5
"Pink" #64 2x2x1x
- DW 6lb 13oz @35"
- Jelly 174 FPS
- Gummy 160 FPS
- Potential KE 3.6
"#64 Knot" #64 3x3x3x
- DW 11lb 11oz @35"
- Jelly 165 FPS
- Gummy 156 FPS
- Potential KE 3.5
"#64 Chain" #64 3-2-1-
- DW 25lbs @32" (that's all I could do without a bow release)
- Jelly 195 FPS
- Gummy 195 FPS
- Potential KE 5.4
What I have come to realize after playing with all of these different combinations of rubber bands is that unlike a bow and arrow draw weight has little to do with the FPS.
Having never taken rubber bands seriously for slingshots until this Instructable I was quite surprised and excited with the outcome. I can now have half the draw weight for my lil monster bottle opener slingshot and still drill my buddies with some serious gummy destruction. All using technology that has been around for over 150 years.
HAVE FUN Y'ALL! HOPE YOU LEARNED SOMETHING!
*Never aim a Slingshot at something you do not intend to harm, maim, or kill.