Introduction: Professional Blowgun Darts From Scratch.
In this instructable I will show you how to make lightweight darts for any blowgun that hit hard and fly straight.
// Warning! Please be advised this is a dangerous activity.//
Note: Inhale BEFORE putting your mouth to the blowgun. Accidents have occured where people have inhaled blowgun darts. Most places you read about blowguns don't mention this.
Step 1: Tools/supplies.
You won't get very far without the materials to make these, so I have made a list of what I used and wrote it down here for convenience. Feel free to skip to the procces and come back to this later for your build.
2)stiff wire cutters
3)hot glue gun
4)hot glue refills
6)cold root beer
8)gallon jug(must be hdpe#2 plastic, but most are)
9)0.0625 music wire(or those mini wire flags sold at hardware stores for construction)
12)plaster of Paris
13) skewer or popsicle stick
14) your blowgun (needed to size the dart cones and straightener big)
15)A lighter or heatgun
16) patience, and persistence
(super glue in picture not needed)
Note: The wire I use is great because it is light and stiff, but may not be available to you. Other supsitutes include, but aren't limited to: wire coathanger, large finishing nails(very heavy, but if you are a scuba diver then this may be good for you), pen ink cartriges(if you're desperate), and bamboo skewers(great for disposable one off darts or if you want bio-degradable darts, but may require different cone for that one to completely degrade).
Step 2: The Dart Cone Makers Tool.
This tool could save your life.....
But it will make the cone making much easier and the cones will all be uniform.
Start by making a cone out of paper roughly the angle you want your cones to be. Get the point tight so no plaster will drop out, then use tape to hold the cone together and to seal the paper up so no water will seep though it.
Now mix enough plaster (according to instructions on the bag it came in) to fill the cone about 3 inches from the point. Place the cone filled with plaster on the rim of a water bottle or milk big to hold it and keep it round till it hardens. Push a popsicle stick or skewer into it while it's wet to give you a handle.
Move on to the next step, but when this dries remove the tape and as much paper as you can.
Step 3: The Centering Jig!
This unique tool is to keep the cones you make from being off center by being cut angled. This helps with sealing the dart cone in the blowgun, keeping the darts tip from scraping the inside of the blowgun, and improves accuracy.
Start by tracing the inside of your blowgun onto some milk jug plastic to make a disc(I placed the plastic on the end, and used light from a window to see the inner barrel and traced it), punch a small hole in the center.
Now that you have one disc, you can trace that one to make another.
Hot glue these discs a few inches apart on a short length of stiff wire as shown in the pictures above.
Step 4: Dart Cones
Now we start the process of making the dart.
Take your milk jug and heat up an area a few inches around with a lighter or heat gun till the translucent plastic becomes almost clear, don't heat it to long or it will melt, and be sure to heat up a large spot or the cone's wall will be to thin from stretching the plastic to much. Then take your cone tool (assuming it is now hardened, otherwise wait longer) and press it about two inches into the plastic, and hold still while the plastic cools down, you can see it as it does because the plastic becomes it origonal white/translucent color.
Repeat this step as much as desired then cut the cones out and continue to the next step.
Step 5: Cutting the Cones to Size
Let's get chaos back in order!
First you want to puncture the tip on the cone by pressing the wire through it. Fit the cone onto the jig and slide everything inside the end of the blowgun. After checking that the cone is centered in the gun, and that the rim of the gun contacts the cone, go ahead and mark where you want to cut the cone with the marker.
Onward to step 6!
Step 6: Assembly
The big reveal!
//Warning! Hot glue is (obviously) hot, and sevier burns could occur.//
Cut to size a section of stiff wire, I recemend 5-1/2 inches as a good length but you could make it as long or short as you want...... Rule of thumb: within practical reason.
A 10 foot long dart might be to big for hunting squirrels.
Back to the action, cut the cone right at the bottom of the marker line so almost none is visible, then slide the finished cone onto the wire you cut to size. put a glob of hot glue about 3/8 an inch down from the cone end of the wire and pull it into the cone, drop some more hot glue in the cone on the wire and fill about 1/2 an inch up, then line up the cone with the wire (may be off a bit, but looking down from the top of the cone the stub of wire can be straightened inside to keep it uniform), and let the glue solidify.
Now you have a professional looking dart, that lives up to its name.
You can go even further by sharpening the end to a point(see picture) for better penetration. You can use the lid of milk jugs as well for colored cones that are easier to see, or to color code different sizes of darts.
I found that of all glue, hot glue is the best to use for several reasons.
1) the glue is fast to harden so less down time.
2)the glue is strong
3)the glue gives it more mass in the back so the distance and penetration is better. (the difference is like that of throwing a small rock or a ping pong ball, the rock will go further, and hit harder)
4)the cone is weak. If you use just a dot of super glue, the cone collapses in when you shoot at cardboard or sodacans because there is nothing inside the cone to help hold its shape.
5)hot glue is cheap, and sold nearly everywhere.
Note: If you used a skewer, it needs to be more front heavy, make the dart longer and add less glue. If you don't, the dart won't fly straight.(Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.)
Test the dart by throwing it up in the air in front of you and let it fall to the ground, if it lands sticking in the ground pointed down every time then you have a good dart. Make sure that no persons or pets are around, and that the dart lands away from you.
Step 7: Final Thoughts
I have made other versions of this dart (as seen above). This instructable is of the dart I consider the best of all I have made.
Please be careful with your blowgun and darts, the poor decisions people have made with weapons in the past have resulted in bans of the use of the weapon, making every one else (those that use weapons approprietly)with the weapon very sad. This weapon is to be used responsibly. Have fun, and be safe.
Pro tip: Avoid shooting multiple darts at the same target, instead set up multiple targets. This is because it is not uncommon to hit a shot dart with another dart and tear up the cone.
I am not responsible for what you do with your blowgun or darts.
If you liked this insctucable checkout my others!
Instructables on the blowgun, and leather ammo bag to come!
Thanks for reading!
3 years ago
Great idea. I've seen plenty of ideas for paper cone darts but hadn't come across any from self-recycled HDPE (#2 plastic, like empty milk jugs) until your 'ible. Excellent ideas for making components precisely.
6 years ago