Aluminum Cracker Chucker




This is an Instructable detailing how to make an Aluminum (Aluminium) Cracker Chucker.
Thanks to Kiteman for his original instructable! It can be viewed here:

Q:What is a Cracker Chucker?
A:Well, it's only the best way to turn small 'Ritz' style crackers into skeet!

Here in northeast Ohio, we have the luxury of being able to spend countless hours trap shooting and preparing for the next time a small disk flies over head, so we can shoot it down quickly and safely. (Watch your back E.T.) Skeet shooting and Trap shooting are two separate sports employing the same technology. Namely: shotguns, clay pigeons, and a throwing device.

"Trap shooting has been a sport since at least 1793 when it used real birds, usually the Passenger Pigeon, which was extremely abundant at the time. Fake birds were introduced around the time of the American Civil War as the Passenger Pigeon was nearing extinction and sufficient numbers were not reliably available. Clay targets were introduced in the 1880's." source:

Presently, most commercially produced clay pigeons are made of asphalt pitch. Asphalt pitch is a derivative of asphalt tar, and it is not readily biodegradable. It is also harmful to many animals, though most commonly wild and domestic pigs.

So, searching one day for a more 'green' way to train in the shooting sports, I stumbled upon Kiteman's Cracker Chucker. After building one and successively going through a full box of crackers with it, and a full box of shells, it was mostly duct tape and sticks holding it together. Collaboratively, my brother-in-law and I decided that one made of metal would subsequently last quite a bit longer. We also thought aluminum would be the best choice for weight to strength ratio. Without any further ado, here is the process I used to build The Aluminum Cracker Chucker.

Cost: Very little. (mine was free)
Difficulty: Very easy.

You will need:
1 piece of scrap aluminum 3 inches by 2 feet
Tape measure
Tin Snips
String or rope to use as a lanyard (I used 550 cord)
Rubber or Friction tape
Shrink Tube (optional)
Something to make a 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch bend (I used our shop's brake, but you can use a pair of sheet metal tongs or vise grips, it just takes considerably longer.)

As with all throwing devices and shooting sports, safety is the number one priority. I take no responsibility for anyone injured or killed in the use or construction of this tool.

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Step 1: The Mark

As in everything, put the first thing first. Select your metal.
I chose a scrap of aluminum from our drops bin that was 3 inches by 2 feet.

Next, on the end of the strip that you want to become the top, you will place five marks. I placed one mark in the center, 1 1/2 inches in. Then put two more marks on the top end. From the left, they are at 1 and 3/8 inches and 1 and 5/8 inches, leaving 1/4 inch in between. Then put one mark on each long side 1 and 3/8 inches from the top. Then put three marks on the bottom end that correspond to the marks on the top edge as follows, from the left: 1 3/8 inches, 1 1/2 inches, 1 5/8 inches.

I then used a straight edge to make a line from the marks on the side to the marks on the top. (see photo 4) Next take a pair of snips and cut off the two top corners along the lines.

Step 2: 'Brake' Down

In this step, use whatever means you have to bend a 90 degree angle from the top 1 3/8 mark to the bottom 1 3/8 mark, and do the same from the top 1 5/8 to the bottom 1 5/8 mark.

Anyone who has used an old brake like this will tell you it's difficult to get a tight bend in a 'c' channel like this. The opening will tend to be on the wider side, mine was about an inch open, but the brake gave it some tight straight lines, so I was able to tap it a few times with a mallet to straighten it out.

If you're using tongs or vise grips to do the bending, run a straight line down from the top marks to the bottom, and bend along the lines. Precision is not required, as the whole thing can be a bit sloppy and still perform quite well.

Step 3: Rubber Spine

In this step we are going to give the interior some friction.
I did mine using a piece of rubber flashing. In the event you are not a roofing contractor, you can use friction tape.

What i did was to cut a strip of rubber about 1/4 inch by 2 feet long, then I peeled the backing paper, and used my scissors to force it down into the interior of the spine.

Of course, you can just as easily use a 2 foot piece of friction tape on the interior.

The friction from the spine is very important, in Kiteman's original, the corrugation gave the friction. In ours however, the aluminum is very smooth, so without friction from the spine, the cracker will just slide out of the end. The reason the friction is so important, is crackers are not very aerodynamic, so the friction will give the cracker some nice rotation. The rotation will give us moment of inertia to stabilize the flight path. (like a frisbee)

Step 4: Get a Handle on Things

I have put a couple handles on these, and i find that shrink tubing looks very professional, but nothing beats the grip of rubber or friction tape. That being said, in this one, I used more of the flashing.

I cut two pieces of the flashing, one about an inch and a half wide by 6 inches long, and then a six by six inch square. I first peeled and wrapped the skinny piece from the back side around the bottom, and to the front. (see picture 2) Next I wrapped the six by six square around the handle. (picture 3 and 4)

Step 5: Land Your Lanyard

Now drill a hole in the handle to add your lanyard.

Be sure to use something strong and durable as your lanyard. This is a sharp metal instrument you will be flailing around, so yes, a lanyard is necessary.

I used parachute cord and a small metal bead i had laying around to make my lanyard. I threaded it through the handle with a bent piece of coathanger that I use for knot tying. Tie a nice square knot to close the ends.

Step 6: Start Your Chucking

Now you're finished. Put the lanyard on your wrist, load a cracker into the track, check for people and obstacles, and swing the chucker with a fluid motion. With about a box of crackers, you'll develop a good muscle memory, and be able to throw farther and farther. I hate to say this, but Ritz brand crackers actually fly farther than generics. I think it is because they are harder.

Now, i know the first thing I thought of was throwing washers out of the thing. Let me point out, crackers fly about 50 yds out of these things. You can easily put a steel washer through drywall.
No matter what you decide to throw out of this thing, please be careful.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Kiteman.

Post Script: Here's a video of it in action. The crackers are very hard to see, but if you look hard you can see a couple of them really take off. I think it's easier to infer the flight path from the speed than it is to see them. I slowed the last throw down and adjusted the contrast to make it more obvious. This footage was taken at Top of the World park, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. It was very windy, so we were limited as to the direction of the throws, but we tried it against a few different backdrops so it could be seen. We are currently trying to come up with something dark to throw, we are thinking poker chips, but it becomes a pain having to chase them all over the place. Maybe a washer with a button cell and LED at dusk....

In the first clips, the barn is about 30 yards away. If you can see, it clears the roof almost every time, unless I had a bad throw. In most of the clips after, I was between 25 and 30 yards from the woods. At 30 yards, with a forty five degree throw, the crackers are still climbing. We recommend shooting them on the rise. After they get out 30-40 yards, the odds that a pellet will hit it become virtually nil. Even if you make a dead on shot, the pattern of the shot at 30 yards is highly spread. The plus side is that this really is great training for quail and pheasant hunts, because they explode out of the grass and generally fly out and up very fast. You get to be pretty quick on the target acquisition after a few boxes. Hope you enjoy the vid! Special thanks to Sean for his help filming and editing.

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    26 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    love, Love, LOVED your video - the music gave it (& YOU!) a lot of character. I'm not a hunter, used to target shoot a bit; but am an avid prankster, and you're gizmo has me all kinds of inspired - thanks!

    1 reply

    aluminum rusts easily and it's soft. so you should actually use stainless steel or steel (if you have the proper equipment)

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Step 6

    this looks fun but, can you see the crackers better in real life than in the video, cuz eventhough im from the patron state of shooting stuff (TN) i cant shoot objects which i am unable to see :-) 

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    Yeah, you can definitely see it better in real life than in the video. When we do it we stand in the middle of a cornfield and just rotate as the sun moves until you get the best sight picture. It is definitely as fun as it looks! Sometimes, we throw crackers to the geese and ducks out on our pond too!


    10 years ago on Step 6

    LOL, this is cool! shoot all day for not much. A box of crackers don't weigh much. To be honest, the title made me think it was something racist! LMAO! You're saving the environment and hit or miss, the birds love you for it! KUDOS to you!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks! Kudos definitely goes to Kiteman for the original idea, I just made it a tad more durable. The fun-factor is definitely the same though!

    Usually whatever gun I want to work out with. I have a Mossberg 500, a Savage single shot 12, and a Mossberg 16g bolt action. This is pretty much for shotgun only. I suppose you could use a .22 with rat shot, but I don't run that stuff through any of my rifles.

    I work as a commercial roofer, so we also do a lot of tinning. The pieces of aluminum I used were just some scrap drops we had left over after I made a couple of scupper boxes. I think, however, that at any big box hardware store you can buy small sheets of aluminum, steel, and diamond plating. Otherwise, you could call up your local tinner/roofer or hvac guy and describe the size of the piece of metal you need. Most would sell you a small piece with no markup. Heck, we sell our drop metal at scrap prices, which are very low right now.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    How did I miss this when you posted it?? Thanks for the shout - these look deadly. The wrist strap is an excellent modification.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    No problem on the shout, it's only right that the original idea and maker get well-deserved credit!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I kind of adapted it from the wiimote. After we chucked a box, it was pretty apparent that these would hurt if a mistake was made. Being that I'm so clumsy, I wanted to make sure that if i let one go, it would probably just hit me, and not someone else.


    Thank you for the compliment, the video will be here shortly. I'm adding straps and handles to the ones that weren't lucky enough to get them in the initial construction process. As soon as that's accomplished, and I grab some more crackers, I'll play the cracker chuckin' fool!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet! And I agree with Nacho. We want a video!