Introduction: E-Bola

About: Working wireless-ly.

Bolas, or boleadoras, are throwing weapons used to trap / capture prey. Traditional bolas are made of weights attached to the ends of three connected sections of cord. When thrown, the weights will spin around the taut cords until the bola hits it's target. If the bola is thrown correctly the weights will have enough momentum to completely circle the target multiple times, wrapping / trapping it with the cords. (obligatory wikipedia link)

"E" is an abbreviation for electronic, it was very popular in the 90's before the whole "I" fad. It can still be spotted today lurking next to mail.

This project describes the process of building a bola that uses LEDs and batteries as the weights, and a short length of cord as the cord.

Step 1: Materials

Duct tape - What would we do without it?

Nine 10mm LEDs - Use whatever colors you like. I decided to use a single color for each section of cord.

Nine batteries - Standard 3v CR 2032 Throwie variety

Seven feet of cord - It should be strong, thin, and flexible.

Step 2: Illuminate the LEDs

Clip the leads from the LEDs so they are about half of their original length.

Attach the LED to the battery with a small piece of duct tape. Each LED / battery combo will undergo a ton of abuse so make sure that they are connected very securely.

To test: Violently throw the illuminated LEDs at walls and other hard surfaces to see if they flicker at all. If they do, reconnect the LEDs to the batteries, and try again.

Step 3: Make the Bola

The goal of this step is to attach two pieces of cord together so the final product is three equal lengths of string, with a fourth shorter section as the throwing handle.

Cut one section of cord to about four feet in length, and another section to about two and half feet.

Fold the four foot section in half to get the center point. Lay the two and a half foot piece of cord across the center point of the other section of cord so three sections of cord are equal length. Tie two knots at the midpoint to hold both cord sections in place.

Tie a knot at the end of the short section. This will be used as a handle while the bola is thrown.

Step 4: E-ify the Bola

Tape the LEDs together in groups of three.

Wrap the end of each equal-length section of cord around a group of LEDs. The cord should be wrapped around twice to prevent the LEDs from flying off while the bola is being thrown. Securely tape the cord to the LED bundles.

You now have E-Bola!

To get rid of your E-Bola, hold it by the handle and swing it over your head. For the most part it should fly tangentially away from the release point. With a small amount of practice you can learn to hit a target, and with a bit more practice you can learn to actually get the bola to wrap around your target.

Step 5: Take Cool Pictures

Have fun with E-Bola.

Try different throwing techniques, or just whip it around.

Special thanks to fungus amungus for all of these awesome extended exposure shots.