Introduction: Functional Wooden Boomerang: 8 Steps (With Pictures)
In this Instructable I will be illustrating and detailing the entire process of creating a fully functional handmade wooden boomerang that will last far longer than store-bought boomerangs as well as fly farther and perform better in windy conditions (a major drawback of the foam boomerangs you usually find in stores).
Step 1: Understand the (Very) Basic Principles
A boomerang works, in short, by creating lift. When you throw a boomerang, lift is created in the direction the top of the boomerang is pointing, causing it to veer in the direction of the top of the boomerang and thus come flying around in a circle back towards you. The airfoil shape of the boomerang is the most important part, because without it, the boomerang would continue in a straight line away from the thrower rather than curving back around, as this one will when completed.
WARNING! This boomerang is very dangerous since it is hard, heavy, and flying at high speeds, which is basically the classic recipe for disaster. Use caution when throwing (do not throw indoors) and also use caution when catching the boomerang. Try to catch it by grabbing it flat between your hands rather than one handed. I have NO legal responsibility for your actions while using this.
Dangerous? Yay! Let's make it!
Step 2: Gather Supplies & Tools
The majority of tools used in creating this boomerang are interchangeable, so fear not! If you don't have access to power tools, hand tools can easily be used instead.
1.) Jigsaw (Hand saws of varying types will work as well, but it may be slightly more difficult).
2.) Files - In this project I will be using three different files to create the curves and airfoils of the boomerang, but it can easily be done with just one, or even entirely with sandpaper.
3.) Sandpaper - A coarse, medium, and fine grit.
4.) Scissors - Used for cutting the template.
5.) Sharpie/other marking tool - For marking the outline of the boomerang on the wood.
6.) Wood - Used to actually create the body of the boomerang, I used 1/4 inch project board left over from another design, but this can be bought in a 2x2 foot size at home depot for cheap.
7.) Linseed oil - Used to seal/protect the wood from cracking during collision with the ground.
8.) Stain (Optional).
9.) Polyurethane - Used to finish the wood.
10.) Shop towels/rag - Used to apply stain/polyurethane/linseed oil.
Step 3: Print+Cut Out Template
Scale the template to the maximum size that will fit on standard 8.5/11 paper, print, and cut out.
Step 4: Trace Template Onto Project Board
Use a sharpie/pencil to trace around the cutout onto the project panel.
Step 5: Cut
Cut the rough outline of the boomerang out of the wood. This shape will be refined later, so don't worry if it isn't perfect.
Pro Tip: you can use clear, strong tape such as packing tape or clear duct tape to minimize shredding of the edges of your cuts, which often occurs when you are cutting layered materials such as this, especially with a jigsaw. You can also change the blade on your jigsaw to a finer toothed blade, which will further refine the cuts.
Step 6: Start Sanding!
Give the whole thing a good sanding to remove any stray splinters and refine the edges a little.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS NEXT STEP! This is the most important step because it creates the wing shapes that make the boomerang return.
If you are right handed, mark the right edge of every wing/blade of the boomerang, and vice versa if you are left handed. This is the edge that you will be tapering to create the wing shape.
Begin filing on the edge that you have marked. Check the shape of the wing by viewing it from the wingtip. continue filing until it resembles the above images, and then repeat on each of the other wings.
Step 7: Linseed Oil
Sand with the coarse, medium, and fine grits in that order before using linseed oil. Rub a generous coating of the oil into the whole boomerang and let dry. Multiple coats can be used so do as many as you want, but one should be sufficient.
Step 8: Finish
Ad a few layers of polyurethane to finish the boomerang. More than one layer should be used for added protection. If you want, paint or add designs with sharpie before finishing.
Pro Tip: If there are bubbles in the polyurethane when it is fully dry, take a piece of normal printer paper and use it like sandpaper. This will remove the bubbles and smooth the surface without scuffing up the finish.
Step 9: Done!
Go play with your new boomerang! To throw it, hold the boomerang with the top side facing you, then throw at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the wind in a flat, wide open space. Throw it almost like a ninja star, tilted slightly away from you and then thrown at a slightly upwards angle. Thank you so much for reading my Instructable! If you enjoyed this Instructable give this project a vote/like and keep an eye out for future projects! Feel free to email me with any questions/comments or leave a comment down below!
Runner Up in the
Make It Fly Challenge