Instructables

Viking Axe Boomerang

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Thematic boomerangs are nothing new. Nearly every possible object has ever been transformed into a boom, like beer bottles, airplanes, knives, chihuahuas (with three wawas you can make a triblade), birds, cats etc. I did my part too, long ago, experimenting with Moon Moths, whale tales and chicken wings...

So this I'ble is everything but innovative. It's quite boring, in fact, because I'm sure you've seen this before, many times, just old beer in new bottles, no need to continue.

In fact, this I'ble is just a documentation of a project I've been willing to make for a long time. I knew that one day I would put my teeth in it, that one day a spark would appear and set this ol' barn on fire.

You know, or probably you don't, I've always wanted to make a kind of 'axe boomerang'. Yes you've seen this before, because after the zombie stopper, the axe buckle and the firewood tutorial we're talking axes again - like I said, this is gonna be really, really boring.

Why the hell would I make a returning axe?!

Let me explain this with a story. A few years ago I was exercising my axe throwing technics (don't ask me why I was doing thàt), and too bad for me a few people saw me busy. I'll skip the details, but know that I ended my day in the local police headquarters, where a few dozens officers did great efforts to explain me that throwing axes in retirement home gardens was really really bad. And that my dad would come to pick me up the next morning. In the meantime I learned also that even walking with axes seemed to be out of the law. That's how I got my second nickname, btw, 'Walks With Axes' - a lot better than 'Dances With Wolves', my opinion...

Like I said in a few of my previous I'bles, the system is forbidding a lot of cool stuff, making it hard for people to express themselves. I'm born 1000 years too late, maybe...

So I had to hack that system, somehow, and with this project I'm making the circle round. Boomerangs are toys, there's not one law that's against them.

Walks With Axes is back in town.

 
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Step 1: Makin' Plans

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There are a lot of tutorials and plans on the net about tomahawks and middle-age-styled boomerangs - which is why I decided to do design my own, based on a few pictures, a vague trace of viking ancestors in my family and streamlined with a few beers.

So I came up with this viking-style battle axe design - in fact just a two-bladed boomerang.

Caricatural? I know, it's intended.

Aim was also to make a 'slow' boomerang, and there are no magic tricks to make it that way: make it or big, or heavy. Or big and heavy. The larger the diameter & the heavier the boom, the wider the trajectory and the slower the spinning rate. I didn't want a speedy Jack Russell, I wanted a sleepy St. Bernard.

You like it? Just load it down, I give it to you, free. No need to send web-based drakkars to my computer...

THIS LINK will soon be activated...

Btw, thanx Miranda Lambert - when are you coming to europe?

Step 2: Building A Mystery

Making a boomerang is really, really easy. You don't need much: a sheet of plywood (10mm), a jig- or bandsaw, a few sanders & some sanding paper. That's how I made booms in the very beginning when I started woodworking. Download, copypaste, cut, sand, paint, launch, crash & build again.

If you want to put a little bit more creativity and effort in it, I invite you to experiment with natural elbow boomerangs. That's how I make boomerangs now, when I'm not busy making battle axes.

I had no idea if the design would effectively work - I'm a geologist, not an aerodynamics engineer - so I built it 'from the belly'. I copypasted the design, jigged & sanded and gave it a finish with epoxy & spraypaint.

Two hours work, building a mystery. Literally.

Step 3: Break Everything

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When the whole was nicely dry we went out for a walk and looked out for a wide open space, far from retirement homes.

After a check of wind direction & speed & the presence of people, policemen & other angry birds - too bad, no zombies were spot - I took a deep breath and threw my battle axe for the first time...

... and became amazingly surprised! Since I feared for its uplift abilities I exagerated the throwing angle in the first runs - which seemed to be unnecessary since it climbed just perfect. Too bad the handle broke in the third trial, snif...

So I finetuned the original design, made the blade thinner and the handle thicker and glassfibred the back (and repaired the old one, of course). Sturdy it is! Prototypes are never right first time, that's boomerang design the try&error way...

To be continued, stay close!

pieterg21 days ago
i just made one, turned out really nice. scared my neighbours. which can be a good thing to keep them alert. just in case of a zombie breakout.

The trick I am working on is to make the airfoils on the front side of the axe angle at 100 degrees. In that case the classic boom shape is conserved, although it is disguised as a butterflyslaughtering object.

Just this afternoon the boom changed course 70 to 90 degrees...

great idea!
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bricobart (author)  pieterg21 days ago

Thanx pieterg, and great job btw! 90° is the best result I had as well untill now, and only by throwing it almost flat 'frisbee style' - which is the reason why I didn't throw the plans on the net yet, and why I felt a bit embarassed to put the video I made ;)

Keep up those improvements! And the stressing of your neighbours...

You are to kind. I am not an boomerang expert, although I like to make them now and then. A while ago did some research on boomerangs and there were a couple of design rules on this. My brain decided this information was polluting the rest so it got deleted.

But I do remember the most important one: the optimal angle for the airfoils of a boomerang ranges between 100 and 110 degrees. (there are two in your butterfly design) (which is a very nice boomerang)

To fit this idea into your design I came up with the picture you see below. The red line approximates the position of maximal thickness of the axe. The right hand side of the stem is the round part, the upper side of the blade is the flattened part.

Since the "sharp end" of the blade swings in the same direction as the stem I decided to flatten this part as well, as a well designed axe should.

Once again, thanks for sharing your idea!

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Hi. I'm curious about the shape/cross section of the 'blade' and 'handle'. I understand that traditional boomerangs used a wing-like 'aerofoil' shape to fly (though I may be totally wrong on that). Was that one of your considerations when you designed and shaped your boomeraxe? In particular, the 'sharp edge' of the 'blade' appears unusual in the way that it tapers to the leading edge on one end of the blade. Was that done for aerodynamic reasons or for an authentic viking-axe-shape reason?

I also like your idea of mounting crossed axes on what appears to be a gate - very Scandinavian!

bricobart (author)  Pernickety Jon1 month ago

Hi Jon. I basicly shaped the outlines (XY-axis) as a real axe, and aim was to play only with the Z-axis in order to get the right shape to let it come back properly. When you shape a boom, first of all you need to know is it's rotation center, since that tells you where you those wing-shapes need to be. So once I had cut out the basic shape I threw it away horizontally, only a few meters. The rotation point was - obviously - right in the center of the inner half circle of the blade. Once I knew that I started shaping the blade & the handle. The handle has a classic wing-design, for the blade it's more difficult since there's no real leading edge (the inner side of the blade is just running around the center). So the overall design wasn't bad in version 1.0, it was better in version 2.0 but it's still not good. I'll call this project still 'a prototype' since I'm not satisfied yet. It works 'relatively good' with strong steady winds - making it a wind driven boomerang by now. I'm still working on the design, so that's why a didn't post any plans yet ;)

Thanks Bricobart. It seems the handle may do most of the lifting while the 'head' provides a pivot point and, maybe, momentum? Quite a challenge. The shape caught my eye because it reminded me of hand axes depicted on a TV show called 'Vikings'. I guess their fighting axes (if authentic) would be shaped differently to wood chopping axes.
I've also found your 'Tree-Nex' instructable - very clever. I'm going out to look for some branches!
bricobart (author)  Pernickety Jon1 month ago

Thanx for the compliment. The axe was based on a traditional fighting axe design - lichtweight and with a long blade to do a lot of bad things with a minimum of smashing. Version 3.0 will have a bit shorter blade, just because I'm curious to see if this affects the flight and if yes in which way. Called 'experimental boomerang designing' ;)

lazyboy3951 month ago

you've really made something awesome dude, and my only pet peeve about this instructable was that there was no vid of this in action. still, you are definitely going to win something in this competition.

bricobart (author)  lazyboy3951 month ago

Thanx mate! The only reason there's no video is that I just haven't got the time to do the second trials. Watch out that UPDATE sign, more is on the way! ;)

Triclaw2 months ago

at first look it looked like a real axe too bad I broke it would be fun to see that heading back to you and a little unnerving as well axe flying at head

bricobart (author)  Triclaw2 months ago

Don't worry, it's been repaired! ;)

nice project. I didn't realize the head was wooden at first either.

bricobart (author)  szvenigorodsky2 months ago

Got to test this in public! ;)

Such a neat craftsmanship dear friend. For a moment I thought the head is actually metal :). I really wish to see a video of boomerang flying back to you :)

bricobart (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya2 months ago

Neat craftmanship will be when I manage to make it behave like a boomerang worth that name - instead of a prototype ;) That video you will have, my friend - with or without an apple on my head ;)

I am sure you would do. And try first with a melon on your head ;)