Introduction: The Snow-Bow

Have you always wanted to gain an advantage in your next snowball fight?  If so, then the Snow-Bow might be the answer.  The Snow-Bow is a simple weapon of snow warfare made from PVC pipe, surgical tubing, a key ring, and an eye screw.  The Snow-Bow can be built for about $50 with extra PVC pipe to spare.  The Snow-Bow is a versatile weapon.  Not only can it launch snowballs, it can also launch tennis balls, various food products, and practically anything else you can think of.  The snow bow can be built in about 4 hours for many more hours of fun.

Step 1: Tools and Materials


     2 foot long piece of schedule 40  1 1/2"  PVC
     5 foot long piece of schedule 30 3" PVC
     Key Ring
     2 to 3 feet of Surgical Tubing
     Large Eye Screw (12" long works well)
     PVC Primer and PVC Glue

     PVC Fittings

THREE 3 in. x 1-1/2 in. PVC DWV Hub x Hub x Hub Sanitary Reducing Tee
TWO 3 in. PVC Cap
ONE 4 in. x 3 in. PVC Sch. 30 DWV Hub x Hub Sewer Adapter
ONE 3 in. PVC DWV Hub x Hub x Hub Sanitary Tee


Miter Saw
Power Drill with a 5/8" and 1/4" drill bits
Measuring Tape

Step 2: Cutting the PVC

Using a miter saw, cut the PVC to the following lengths

     3" PVC

     1-1/2" PVC
Three pieces at 8" long.

Step 3: Drill Holes in the PVC

10" from the end of the 27" long piece of 3" PVC, use a power drill with a 5/8" drill bit to drill a hole through both sides of the PVC.

Next, take the 8" long piece of 1-1/2" PVC and using a 1/4" drill bit, drill a hole 1"  from the end of the PVC.  Drill only through one side of the PVC.  Repeat with one of the other 8" long 1-1/2" pieces of PVC. 

Finally, take one of the end caps and take a 1/4" drill bit and drill through both sides of the cap.  Then, drill two holes on the end of the cap that are both 1" from the edge of the cap and are in alignment. (See photos)

Step 4: Assembly

Take the 27" long piece of 3" PVC and put the undrilled 3" end cap on the end nearest the holes you drilled earlier.  Then, take a 3" X 3" X 1-1/2" PVC reducing tee and push it on the other end of the 27" long piece.  Press the 8" long 1-1/2" piece that does not have any holes drilled in it and press it in the 1-1/2" opening on the tee.  This will be the handle for the Snow-Bow.  Next, take 12" long 3" piece of PVC and press it on the other 3" opening on the reducing tee.  Take the 3" X 3" X 3" sanitary tee and press the bottom of the tee onto the other end of the 12" long piece of PVC.  Because the sanitary tee is offset, the 2 pieces of that branch off of the tee are different lengths to keep the tee balanced on both sides so the Snow-Bow will fire straight.  The side of the sanitary tee closer to where the tee branches off to the long barrel of the bow, put the 8" long piece of 3" PVC.  On the other side of the tee, put the  9" long piece of 3" PVC.  Take the remaining two 3" X 3" X 1-1/2" reducing tees and put them on the opposite sides of the tee, making sure both sides are mirror images of each other to make sure the Snow-Bow will fire straight.  Finally, press the remaining two 8" long pieces of 1-1/2" PVC with holes drilled in them into the 1-1/2" openings on the reducing tees with the holes faced toward the center tee.  This step sounds complex, but it is quite easy if you pay attention and follow the pictures posted above.

Step 5: Gluing

Check to make sure that all of the pieces are in the correct position and dissasemble to prime and glue the pieces together.  This step is very important if you do not want Snow-Bow to break apart and possibly hit some one.

Step 6: String the Surgical Tubing

Since surgical tubing has a 3:1 stretch ratio, cut a piece 24" long for maximum launch range and power.  Push the surgical tubing through the  1/4" holes drilled in one of the 8" long pieces of 1-1/2" PVC.  Pull the tubing through and tie a knot in the end of the tubing.  Don't worry, this knot will not come undone.  Then, take the 3" end cap with holes drilled in it and maneuver the tubing through the one of the holes on the side of the cap and then from the inside, through the nearest hole drilled in the top of the cap.  Then, slide the keyring on the surgical tubing, and threading the tubing through the top of the cap and out through the side of the cap.  Finally, thread the tubing through the other 8" long piece of PVC with a 1/4" hole drilled in it and tie another knot, securing the surgical tubing. 

Step 7: Finishing Up

Take the 4" by 3" adapter and press the 2" long piece of 3" PVC into the adapter. Using the 2" piece of PVC, connect the adapter to the end cap with surgical tubing strung through it.  This will create a pocket to hold your projectile.  Prime and glue the two pieces together and you have finished the Snow-Bow!  To fire the weapon, simply pull back the key ring and slide the large eye screw through the key ring and the two holes drilled in the body of the Snow-Bow.  When ready to launch, pull the eye screw out and watch that snowball fly.  Using the simple design of the Snow-Bow, you can modify it for different uses.  Make smaller Snow-Bows or make a giant Snow-Bow to launch pumpkins.  The possibilities are endless.

Snow Challenge

Finalist in the
Snow Challenge