Introduction: Wooden Laser Cut Jenga Pistol

Picture of Wooden Laser Cut Jenga Pistol
Jenga, the classic wooden game of skill, luck and balance, where players take turns to prod, poke and pull a block from the stack without toppling it.

Now, what could be more fun than Jenga? Jenga with guns!

This laser cut Jenga pistol contains a rubber band powered captive bolt which allows you to knock the blocks from the tower at never before seen speed and allowing you to perform feats that'll amaze your friends. Originally seen at Woodgears, this version's designed to be cut on a laser cutter and is an upgrade on the acrylic version that I previously made. It's easier to put together and requires fewer nuts and bolts.

Want one? Get a kit from the Instructables store.

Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

The jenga pistol was designed in a trial version of Alibre Design, my favoured CAD package.

I went through several iterations to get to this stage with various attempts at getting the plunger, trigger and plunger guides correct. While designing it I wanted to keep it as simple to build as possible, with minimal screws and bolts holding it together. The trigger was designed so that it was its own spring, I didn't want to have to use a spring or a rubber band like in the acrylic jenga pistol that I made last year. The joints holding the pistol together are all interference fit, designed to either fit together tightly with no modification or after a very light sanding.

A laser cutter would be the tool of choice for this project, but it could easily be made with a paper template glued to 1/4" ply and then cut out with a scroll saw or a coping saw.

The files for either method are attached in this step. I've included:
1) The DXF files for laser cutting or for printing 1:1 scale to glue to wood
2) An EPS file, converted from the DXF files. Some laser cutters prefer this.
3) A PDF of the Alibre model. You can open this, click it and then use the controls to rotate it and look around the model.
4) A zipped copy of all of the Alibre files for opening, viewing and modifying.

Step 2: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials
  • 1/4" ply (12" x 24" should suffice)
  • 1/8" acrylic (3" x 6" max)
  • 2 off rubber bands
  • 1 off 1 1/4" machine screw 1/8" diameter or less with matching nut and two washers.
  • Small sheet of 80 grit sand paper
  • Wood glue (optional)
Tools: Option 1
  • laser cutter
Tools: Option 2
  • printer
  • scroll saw or coping saw
  • drill
  • a tiny bit more skill and patience

Step 3: Parts

Picture of Parts

This step contains an annotated photo with the names of the parts to make assembly easier. These names and are used throughout the assembly instructions so you can refer back here for clarification.

Step 4: Assembly: Clean

First, check you've received, cut or made all of the correct parts.

Lightly sand the non laser cut faces to remove small amounts of burn. Covering the ply with masking paper before cutting will reduce/eliminate this flareout. Do not sand any laser cut edges, some of them are required for precision interference fits.

Peel the protective layer from the four acrylic trigger pieces.

Step 5: Assembly: 1

Picture of Assembly: 1

Pick one of the large outer layers. Place it with the face with butt detail facing down.

Insert the two pegs into the rectangular holes in the stock of the pistol. A light tap with a small hammer may help them locate easily.

Step 6: Assembly: 2

Picture of Assembly: 2

Push the two stock spacers over the pegs and tap them down flush.

Step 7: Assembly: 3

Picture of Assembly: 3

Pass a washer over the machine screw. Thread it through the trigger pivot hole from the outside and lay the pistol back down.

Stack all four layers of trigger parts on top of each other and drop them over the machine screw.

Step 8: Assembly: 4

Picture of Assembly: 4

Place the second outer piece on top and tap it into place.

Drop the second washer onto the machine screw and then add the nut. Tighten by hand.

Step 9: Assembly: 5

Picture of Assembly: 5

Position two of the parts labelled "Assembly Aid" on top of one another to create a piece of ply 0.5" thick. Place these loosely into the gap between the two outer layers as shown in picture 1. Insert the final assembly aid through the slot. These are provided in the files to make assembly easier, they're not strictly necessary but help prevent strong hands crushing the parts during assembly if the joints are too tight.

Sand both shoulders at one end of the braces very lightly by placing the sand paper on a flat corner of a table and gently stroking the part along it.

Firmly press the three braces into place. You shouldn't need to tap with a hammer. If you've sanded too much, some wood glue and clamps can be used to hold it together.

Step 10: Assembly: 6

Picture of Assembly: 6

Knot a pair of rubber bands.

Put one side into the slot provided in the plunger.

Push one of the plunger guides into the slot.

Remove the assembly aids and insert the plunger through the slot.

Pass the rubber band around the front, through the band slots and back to the plunger on the other side.

Attach the second plunger guide.

Step 11: Play!

Picture of Play!

For most fun, play with a pair of pistols, or


LALINTORRES (author)2016-04-23

nice work, very fine.

funvill (author)2016-01-20

Please don't spam instructables with your referral links.

Posh Josh (author)2015-07-05

Nice job, is it possible to 3D print the parts?

chiok made it! (author)2014-12-30

I took your design and Poikid's design to cut my own. Took some time to do some Celtic scroll work engraving on the "barrel" sections. They work great, thanks!

Poikid (author)2014-02-23

This was such a great idea, I wanted to make my own design! I thinned out the amount of material needed, made the spring rubber band powered to allow for cheaper materials used, and made the sliding "knocker" thin in profile so it can be better aimed.

Jayefuu (author)Poikid2014-02-24

Nice! It looks great. I like your trigger much more than mine. How does it spring back?

Poikid (author)Jayefuu2014-02-24

A rubber band wraps around the middle chip in the handle. I had masonite on hand which isn't exactly a springy material, so I couldn't do your sweet finger spring.

CobyUnger (author)Poikid2014-03-08

Also the trigger is shaped like a squirrel running with his arms out stretched to catch acorns.

Poikid (author)2014-02-23

noahw (author)2012-02-24

This is very nice work James. Have you ever thought about making a Giant Jenga Pistol for a Giant Jenga Set?

CobyUnger (author)noahw2014-02-15

I was thinking about doing a giant jenga version next week. If I do I'll post photos.

Jayefuu (author)noahw2012-02-24

What a good idea! :p If only I knew someone with a shop in which to build one....

CobyUnger (author)2014-02-15

You should move the files to the first step. I didn't see them until just now. Made the Acrylic version last night but I like this one better. Nice instructions. Great project.

Spaceorb (author)2012-04-16

That's really awesome! Not sure if that counts as cheating, though ;D

the Bruce1322 (author)2012-03-30

Here's my effort. Just have to dig out the kids jenga now!

Jayefuu (author)the Bruce13222012-04-04

Nice! Easy enough to follow my instructions?

the Bruce1322 (author)Jayefuu2012-04-05

Yeah no problem. Just that the dxf file didnt import to Techsoft 2D very well so I copied it into Corel and had to add some lines. Didnt need to use any glue in the construction.

I use 2D design - fancy sharing the file and allowing me to access it easily? I can swap with files for cutting the t-shaped joint below

Jayefuu (author)sioux gardner2012-04-11

The files are in step 2 if you want to have a play with them. I've seen that joint construction on Ooomlout before, it's great for boxes/robots etc.

Jayefuu (author)the Bruce13222012-04-05

Excellent! Nice work.

sioux gardner (author)2012-04-11

love it! Cannot wait to get back to work and play with 'my' educational issue laser cutter. How do I get around my self imposed rule of 'nothing violent/rude/offensive' when making designs?!

poofrabbit (author)2012-04-09

OMG I so wish I had a laser cutter! I clearly need one of these.....time to try to find a new best friend with the tools I need. Great 'able!

the Bruce1322 (author)2012-03-08

duh, wheres the trigger? I downloaded the Corel file but the trigger's not there. I see it made from acrylic, is it in a different file?
The dxf file doesnt work.

tqwerty (author)2012-02-26

Great design!
If only I had a laser cutter.. although I think I'm actually going to attempt this with a coping saw this summer.

rperrin (author)tqwerty2012-02-28

One made with a saw rather than laser cutter is probably best done following the simpler plans from Matthias Wandel at woodgears:

Jayefuu (author)rperrin2012-02-28

Agreed, it's linked to in the into as well :D

tqwerty (author)Jayefuu2012-02-29

Why, thank you!
Sadly, it doesn't look nearly as awesome as your version.

AngryRedhead (author)2012-02-27

Honestly, this is pretty awesome!

But the temptation to turn it on opponents would be so great that I shouldn't ever get one.  :P

Jayefuu (author)AngryRedhead2012-02-27

Oh, nothing fires out the end, so they'd be safe. The thing that moves is captive. Thanks!

AngryRedhead (author)Jayefuu2012-02-27

LOL!  I thought it shot Jenga pieces at the Jenga tower, and I was all like, "Damn, Jaye's got some mad shootin' skillz!" 

But maybe...  you could make a gun that shoots Jenga pieces...  you know...  for the evil.

Jayefuu (author)AngryRedhead2012-02-27

Ha ha, I'll put it on the list of things to make :p

AngryRedhead (author)Jayefuu2012-02-27

Also, nice intro shot!

lushboobs (author)2012-02-25


Knexperiment (author)2012-02-25

Brilliant and simple, I especially like the trigger design. Now, if only I had a lazer cutter...

XOIIO (author)2012-02-25

This makes me want to start playing jenga XD

freeza36 (author)2012-02-24

this is really cool

notalis1970 (author)2012-02-24

This is great...I just bought Jenga for my daughter last week, now she wants me to build the if! I was laughing and thinking about if a person was sitting on the opposite side...bam! Jenga mark on the forehead...

rimar2000 (author)2012-02-24


Can I envy you a bit?

JohnsonJ (author)2012-02-24

This has to be the coolest thing I've seen on here yet!

kelseymh (author)2012-02-23

That's extremely awesome!

I'm surprised that no one noticed the rather subtle bit of insensitivity a few months ago... Did you guys really mean to talk about knocking down towers in the September 11th newsletter?

canucksgirl (author)kelseymh2012-02-24


iceng (author)2012-02-23

Very good wood working design ;-)

building_boy (author)2012-02-23


About This Instructable




More by Jayefuu:Beech Tray for Salt & Pepper MillOmas Grünes Tomaten ChutneyDisabling Contactless Payment on Debit Cards
Add instructable to: