Introduction: How to Make a Rubberband Shotgun (18 Shots)

About: 25 year old social cultural worker making things that he finds cool! My interests are wide and vary, but usually if the voice in the back of my head goes: "That's cool we should totally make that!" I get excit…
So you are pinned down by family members / friends shooting at you with the ping pong ball guns and luger rubberband guns  you made for them? (ungrateful people)

And you need something that can shoot a lot of rubberbands in a small time period?

Well your family / friends are going to learn that in war technological advantage quickly can change the tide of war because today you will learn how to make a shotgun that fires 18 rubberbands at once or separatly!

Like I said, today you are going to learn how to make a shotgun that fires 18 rubberbands at once, seperatly or in small bursts. How fast and how many you shoot all depends on how quickly you can pull the fore-end backwards.

Lately I'm really getting into rubberband guns but I refuse to buy those small plastic trigger thingies! I believe there are other ways to make fun rubberband guns without the need to buy the most important parts from companies. And with this ible I think I have proven that. I started out building the luger clothespin rubberband gun. And although it's a very cool gun, the reload time is just to long and the amount of rubberbands shot just to few to have some serious fun with those guns alone. Should you stop making them now? No ofcourse not, I still use them as a side-arm and they really come in handy in certain situations where you can't reload. They are only not so handy as a main weapon.

That's why I needed to come up with something that could fire multiple rubberbands and would be easy to reload. Then one time while playing with some rubberbands I saw that one would climb up (and then fly off) on a hillshaped piece of wood without me having to do anything. I then knew that this was the way to fire multiple rubberbands. I then needed to find a gun that has a piece that could be pulled back (where I could place my hillshaped pieces on to which I'll be referring as "flippers" during this ible) and still look realistic. I didn't need to search for long before I found the pump action shotgun. It's big, it's cool and looks completely realistic while firing the rubberbands (I know pulling back the front-end is realisticly for reloading but who cares?)

Me, my family and friends already have had al ot of fun with this gun and that's why I decided to share this with you guys so we can all have some fun with our family / friends / colleagues in the backyard / classroom or office!

Here's a little video, showing the gun firing in different modes and how to reload the gun. The written explanation can be found in step 10. This is the first video I ever made so I hope it's good :)

In my believe this is the perfect gun for any child, teenager or adult who wants to have some harmless fun in the classroom, office or backyard.

This is an entry for the "DadCanDo Family Fun"contest so if you think this ible is a winner please rate and vote for me :)

Disclaimer: A rubberband has not hurt anyone to my knowledge except perhaps a sting that lasted 5 minutes, so as far as parts of the body that get shot goes, there shouldn't be any danger. However if the rubberband should shoot in somebody's eye, they could really get hurt. It's therefore my advice that the people who play this game use goggles or glasses during playso they won't accidently put someone's eye out. I advice sunglasses, it makes you seem a lot cooler and that's always a plus ;)

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this project you will need:

  • Sander
  • Jigsaw (power tool)
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • An adjustable workbench (or something else you can clamp your wood on and easily saw it)
  • A vise
  • Woodglue
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • A piece of wood: 2 x 30 x 18 cm / 0.78 x 11.8 x 7 inch (any wood will do, I actually used a pallet my dad brought home to use as firewood.)
  • Another piece of wood: 1 x 45 x 3 cm / 0.39 x 18 x 1.2 inch
  • A wooden rod: thickness 1 cm / 0.39 inch, length 45 cm / 18 inch
  • Hard plastic: 11 x 3,5 cm / 4.3 x 1.3 inch (thickness should be as thin as possible but without it flapping around, I used a beer commercial board that I had laying around (see pic) )
  • 7 nails
*The dimensions of the wood are organized as followed: thickness x length x width

I had all these materials at home so this was free for me. I'm  pretty sure you'll have these materials at home to or you can improvise. For instance I used a pallet for the main part because it had a good thickness but if you find 2 cm to thick to hold in your hand comfortably you could easily go with another thickness. The same goes for the type of wood. Pallets mostly use  hardwood  to carry the heavy weight that is put on them which is great because it will make the gun sturdier and almost impossible to break.

Step 2: Research and Plans

So before I could start I had to get the buildplans for a shotgun. As with my previous luger ible, I decided to just take a sideview picture of the gun I wanted from the internet and then size it up untill it was at a realistic length. I'm actually not sure if this gun is 100% realistic as there was to many data on to many different guns so I decided to eyeball it.

In retrospect the gun fits well in my hand and is wieldable in combat. I do however find that the width of the gun is perhaps a bit to much but it's needed for the barrel to fit nicely.

If you think the gun is to long you can make this gun compacter by sawing off a piece of the front. It doesn't matter for the mechanics of the gun but can affect the realistic look of it. It's your choice.

Anyway for this instructable just download the template that I added as a word document and print it out. Printing in color or black and white doesn't matter.

Note: This template is for a grown man of 20 years old and 1m95 high. I suggest that if you make this for your kids you should adjust it in size. This will affect everything else (including the rest of the parts width) to so be aware of that. If you are not sure it will fit in your hand, just print and cut it out and put the paper in your hand. If you are able to hold it comfortably then it will be comfortably in wood. If not, resize.

Step 3: Tracing and Cutting Out the Gun

Take your wood (dimensions: 2 x 30 x 18 cm / 0.78 x 11.8 x 7 inch) and trace out the gun using the template from step 2. Don't forget to also trace out the triggerhole!

Then get your adjustable workbench and clamps out and clamp the wood on your workbench. Make sure that before you do any  drilling or sawing your wood is secured!

We'll start by cutting out the triggerhole because if you do this after the gun has been cut out, the wood surrounding your triggerhole could easily crack and render your gun useless. Start by drilling a few holes into the shape you have drawn for the triggerhole. Then use those holes as a start to cut out the triggerhole using your jigsaw (power tool). You'll notice that it's hard to make curved shapes with a jigsaw but don't worry, just start cutting a new path from the drillhole to adjust to the curved line. If you can't follow the shape correctly don't stress about it. Just file or sand away the excessive wood later.

Now cut out the rest of the gun using your jigsaw. I started with the handle of the shotgun as it is the hardest part to do. Always start cutting out the hardest parts because if you screw that up atleast you haven't wasted time cutting out the easy parts! After that I cut out the top of the gun and then the bottom and the outside of the triggerhole. Remember cutting new paths when you can't follow the curved line. It's a little bit more work and it takes a little longer but it certainly shows in the end. Also clamp and reclamp your wood to make sure you have the easiest position to saw out the gun. Don't work yourself in a hard situation or broken gun just because you were to lazy to re-adjust the clamps!

Spend some time on this. Like I said it shows in the end. After you're done, hold the gun in your hand and see how it feels. Normally you should have tested this with the paper version and if the paper version felt good normally the wooden version should to.

Step 4: Choosing a Barrel Length

Choosing a barrel length is pretty important as it influences the amount of rubberbands you can shoot before reloading.

As you can see the barrel on this shotgun is a rectangular piece of wood. This is important for the gun mechanism to work properly. It ofcourse isn't realistic but don't worry it'll still be immediately clear you are wielding a shotgun ;)

As for the length of your barrel. I chose to use a 45 cm / 18 inch long piece of wood. It gives you an ammo capacity of 18 rubberband shots which is more then enough for me and makes the gunbarrel a  realistic length. However if you want to make a compacter shotgun (I understand that you couldn't wield this one efficiently in an office or classroom without the boss / teacher spotting you) you can always make the barrel shorter. This will ofcourse decrease the ammo capacity. I would suggest that you first saw away part of the gun before touching the barrel. This way your gun will be compacter but still have an ammo capacity of 18 shots.

Note however that you should always have 2cm to spare to attatch the barrel to the gun. As I said my barrel is 45 cm long but in reality 2 cm of that 45 is inside my gun. (so my visible barrel is 43 cm)

So the dimensions of my barrel are 1 x 45 x 3 cm / 0.39 x 18 x 1.2 inch. Now we will need to make a hole of 2 cm long, 1 cm width and 3 cm high in the gun in order for the barrel to stay secured to the gun. I did this by first drawing out what should be cut away and then use a small regular jigsaw to saw on the lines. Then I used a small chisel to chisel out the hole. The lines you sawed will make sure that the chisel doesn't take away to much wood. When you are done test if the barrel fits in the hole but don't permenantly attatch it yet.If the barrel shouldn't fit use a knife saw or file to make more space.

Step 5: Making the Grooves on the Barrel and Cutting Them Out

Making the grooves on the barrel

Okay so now take your barrel, a pencil and ruler.

We are going to make grooves on the barrel with dimension 1 x 0,5 cm / 0.39 x 0.2 inch. Each groove will hold one rubberband. So for this barrel we will make a total of 18 grooves. Drawing and cutting out these grooves is probably the longest and most boring part but if you make one mistake the barrel is ruined so take your time.

Now about the places of the grooves. You are probably looking at the picture and going "but there's so much more place available? why can't we make more grooves there?" Well I will tell you.
  • The first 4 cm / 1.6 inch of your barrel that starts from the gun (so the hidden 2 cm / 0.7 inch doesn't count) should be open for your shooting flippers to go when all rubberbands are shot
  •  The 13 cm / 5.1 inch of the end or tip of your barrel should be left open for the first rubberband to have enough strength to fly away (if you don't do this the first 3 or 4 will just fly away and immediately fall on the ground or even not fly away at all)
So everything between those 4 and 13 cm is available for grooves. the grooves have a space of 1 cm / 0.39 inch left between them. This will provide enough strength to hold the rubberband without breaking the wood or the wood breaking during construction.

For the measurements you need to draw on your wood, look at the first and second picture. It's a drawing of the grooves plan you should use (there are only 12 grooves on the plan but it's just to show the measurements. We are making 18 of these so draw 18 grooves on your barrel.)

The first picture is the measurements in cm and the second picture in inch.

Cutting out the grooves on the barrel

Now you are ready to cut out the grooves on the barrel. I suggest you mark the grooves that need to be cut out by colouring them in with your pencil. This way you'll avoid cutting away the wrong pieces.

Start by taking a small drill that is the same diameter or smaller then 0,5 cm / 0.2 inch and drill a hole on the bottom of the groove (making sure you do not drill to far down). By doing this you'll make it easier to have a nice rectangular groove. When you have drilled a hole in each groove, just cut out the grooves with a jigsaw (power tool). Then file away excessive wood untill you have rectangular grooves. You can ignore drilling the small holes part but It'll probably end in chipped away pieces of wood and you angry because it looks nothing like a rectangular. So although it's boring just do it, it pays off in the end.

Also don't forget to cut out the small groove in the front where your rubberbands will be shot away from. The measurements for this are also placed on the plan.

Step 6: Sanding

An easy step. Take your barrel and gun and clamp it onto the adjustable workbench. Then take out your electrical sander and sand the sides of the gun and barrel nice and smooth.

Then clamp your gun in the vise and sand the top and bottom. You'll want to spent some time on the grip of your gun. Especially the curves of your grip should get a lot of attention. You probably couldn't cut them out really good with the jigsaw (power tool) so here's your chance to make them nicely shaped and smooth.

Then clamp your barrel in the vise and sand top and bottom. Be carefull with the top of the gun though.If you use to much force with your sander you may damage the grooves.

Sand or file the front groove to. It's better if this one is nice and smooth to otherwise your rubberbands might break after a few shots due to sharp / rough wood.

Step 7: Making the Fore-end

Allright now perhaps the most important part of your  gun. The fore-end.
This is the part of the gun that will slide back and scoop up the rubberbands with the plastic flippers and send them away flying.

Normally while cutting out the gun you should have some scrapwood left. Take a big chunk of that scrapwood and draw a rectangular piece of 10 x 2,5 cm / 4 x 1 inch.

Then cut this piece out using your jigsaw power tool. This will be your fore-end. Now you have to make a hole in it so it can slide down the rod easily. Use a drill with diameter 1 cm / 0.39 inch and drill a hole through the wood measured 1,5 cm / 0.59 inch from the bottom.

Test if your fore-end can easily be pulled back through the rod. If not try filing it first and otherwise use a bigger drill to make the hole bigger. Also sand the fore-end so it's nice and smooth.

When you have done this you'll want to cut out two pieces of your hard plastic (see picture for the dimensions and shape). As said before I used a beer commercial board that was made from hard plastic. You can use whatever you want. It just has to bend a little but alway return to it's original position. (this is because when all 18 rubberbands are loaded the flippers will be pressured inwards. But when the amount of rubberbands becomes less they need to return to a normal position)

Then nail one piece on the back of each side of the fore-end using two nails for each piece.

Note: as you may notice in the pictures, I nailed a small piece of wood between the two flippers. I thought this was a good idea at the time. That the two flippers would be more secured this way, but it was a mistake. The rubberbands kept jamming on the wood and nails I used. But then I removed it and there was no more jamming and it was a lot easier to make (nailing that little piece of wood between those two flippers was hard). So ignore that little piece of wood. It's someting I learned while making this.

Step 8: Putting Everything Together

Now it's time to put everything together.

First you'll want to insert your barrel into the gun. Don't nail it yet but lay the rod with the fore-end in it under your barrel. Try to see where the barrel "connects" to the gun and mark it. You have to make a hole at that place 2 cm deep just like the hole you made for the barrel. Make sure however that the fore-end can freely move and that the flippers reach the grooves!

When you have done that, nail the barrel to the gun using two nails. You can also use some woodglue but I would also use nails as it's certain that it's secure then.

After that take your rod and hammer a nail into it. Make sure the nail is long enough. What you'll want to do is pull the nail back a little then, put some woodglue in the hole of the gun and insert the other side of the rod into the hole. Then hammer your nail into the barrel of the gun at the tip. This way your rod is secured on the gun and the barrel. Also it makes it impossible for the fore-end to fall off. Don't hammer the nail in to far though as it may make your fore-end immobile.

Congratulations your gun is now finished! Read the next two steps for tips on firing, reloading and  things you can add to your gun.

Step 9: Firing and Reloading

As you can see on the video in the intro step, firing this gun is really easy. You just pull back the fore-end as fast as you want and point the gun at what you want to be covered in rubberbands ;)

This way you can fire the rubberbands: 
  •  all at once (by pulling back really fast)
  • In short bursts (by pulling back a small amount shooting three rubberbands at a time)
  • In single shots (by pulling back really slow and one rubberband at a time)

You can see this on the video to. Reloading should be done by loading the last rubberband to be fired first (the one closest to you). This is because that way all the rubberbands that will fire before that one will be stacked upon that  one at the tip of the gun. Should you load the first rubberband first you'll see that when firing it will not fly away but will be hanging at the tip of the gun because it was blocked by all the other rubberbands.

So load the last rubberband first!

The same video again :)

Note: should you accidently skip over a groove while loading never go back and load it. This will make the rubberband not fly away (like explained above). So it's better to skip one that load it afterwards anyway. Also note that skipping one and not loading it has no effect on firing except ofcourse that you are firing less rubberbands ;)

Disclaimer: A rubberband has not hurt anyone to my knowledge except perhaps a sting that lasted 5 minutes, so as far as parts of the body that get shot goes, there shouldn't be any danger. However if the rubberband should shoot in somebody's eye, they could really get hurt. It's therefore my advice that the people who play this game use goggles or glasses during playso they won't accidently put someone's eye out. I advice sunglasses, it makes you seem a lot cooler and that's always a plus ;)

Step 10: Creative Possibilities and Afterthoughts

Creative possibilities

You have a lot of creative possibilities with this gun. Here are some I came up with:
  • Paint it: You can paint it if you want (I didn't however, I like my gun the way it is)
  • Shorten / lengthen the barrel (if you want less / more rubberbands to be fired)
  • Shorten the gun part (if you want a compacter gun without giving up on ammo capacity)
  • Add an ejection port (this will make the gun look more realistic, you can carve it in)
  • Add a sling and attatch a rubberband reserve on it (will make carrying the gun around a lot easier plus the ammo is easier to take then if you should hold it in your pants). (I'm planning on making one of these, it'll probably be an extra step in this ible in the future)
  • For more possibilties look at the pictures I have attatched.

Well this was one of the coolest guns I have made to date. It's big, it holds a lot of rubberbands, it's semi automatic, fully automatic or single shot by just adjusting the speed you pull back. It's easy to reload and shoots really far. This is nearing my view of a perfect rubberband gun. I can always make more improvements ofcourse and this is probably not the last rubberband gun you have seen of me.

The total cost of this gun is exactly zero dollars for me as everything that was used in this 'ible  was laying around my house. I think this will be the same for many people but if you should buy everything new, including quality wood (unlike my pallet wood) I guess you would be around 15-20 dollars or so. Note however that you can get the price down to 10 dollars if you use some cheap wood like I did. I recommend pallet wood because it is usually made out of strong wood as it has to carry a lot of weight.

I'll definitly make some more of these guns (my sisters boyfriend is crazy over them) and I have some ideas to decrease the reload time so click the "subscribe" button to get notification of my new ibles :)

If you should have a question, comment, remark anything at all... Please leave a reply. I'm partly fuelled to make new great ibles by the response and views I get on already published ibles :)

Also note that English is not my first language, it's my fourth... So if you should come across any spellingmistakes or weird sentences leave a reply and I will correct it as soon as possible.

This is an entry for the "DadCanDo Family Fun"contest so if you think this ible is a winner please rate and vote for me :)

Special thanks to Lithium Rain for checking my instructable for spelling errors :)
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