Covert Altoids Dart Gun




Okay, so this is really going to be an incredibly simple build. I was just bored, enjoyed making my last instructable, and decided to see if I could throw something together with (guess what?) an Altoids tin and a Bic Pen. Naturally, my mind went to fire, but I didn't want to start a theme, and I couldn't see the Bic Pen being good for multiple flame related uses. So the next best thing, 'Wonder what I could make that you could put your eye out with?"

And thus, the birth of the Altoids Dart Gun.

Ever have a problem with that annoying neighbor that always borrows your stuff and doesn't return it? Perhaps the office mate that always seems to get the promotions that you deserve when they spend 80% of their day playing solitaire and the other 20% at the water cooler talking about the boat they're going to buy with their new raise?!?! But I digress...

Now, with the use of this new weapon, and some curare (this you'll have to find a recipe for on your own... If found, please notify me) you can take care of these pesky individuals. Or at least put your eye out for spite.

Don't let the simplicity of the build fool ya. This thing has some range.


Step 1: Collecting the Materials

You will need the following:

  • JB Stik
  • Bic Pen
  • Thin copper wire (I used magnet wire.)
  • Wire Hanger
  • Bead (As close to the inside diameter of the Bic Pen as you can find.)
  • Rubber Band
  • Dremel

Step 2: The Barrel

As I only have the already assembled Altoids Tin, and no spare Bic Pens, Tins, or even rubber bands for that matter, you will be forced to deal with my drawings of the device.

For the first step, you will want to create the "barrel" of the gun. To do this, after removing the guts (read: ink tube) of the Bic Pen, cut it to the inside length of the Altoids tin.

Once cut, use the Dremel to cut "channels" on opposite sides of the barrel as shown in the drawing (image 1).

Step 3: Prepare the Tin

Using the Dremel, cut a small hole in one end of the tin the exact diameter of the inside of the Bic Pen. Make this hole centered, and approximately 1/8th of an inch above the bottom of the tin. On the other side, approximately 1/2" from the edge, cut a small "line" hole in the lid. See Image 1.

Step 4: Assemble the Hammer

The "hammer" for the gun will be a bead threaded through the slice in the barrel. Use the thin copper wiring. Sliding the bead into the barrel, take one end of the wire, and twist a loop onto it. I used the end of a drill bit to make the loops large enough that I could easily feed a rubber band through them. Then, slip the wire through the slit in the barrel, through the bead, and out the other side. Now create your second loop on this end.

All said and done, from loop to loop, it should be approximately one inch wide, as seen in Image 1.

Step 5: Create Rubber Band Hook

Next, you will want to take a piece of hanger, and bend it into a hook that can be used to hang on to the rubber band. As it would be too difficult to draw, I'll show you an image of the finished product, and hope you can wing it.

The hook will be stuck above the barrel with putty, so it should have the ability to sit flush against the tin so the putty can stick to it. Other than that, it just has to stick out enough that it can hook a rubber band, but not too high so the tin can't close. See image.

Step 6: Assemble the Barrel

Using the JB Stik, attach the front of the barrel to the "front" of the gun, making sure that the hole lines up precisely with the end of the pen. The hook for the rubber band should be puttied directly above the hole in the tin (and the barrel) and the other end of the barrel should also be puttied to the back of the tin to keep it from slipping.

The simple assembled "gun" can be seen in the image. Note that I have also taken a small section of rubber band here, and looped it through the copper wiring, then used a small twist of copper wiring to secure the rubber band on.

Step 7: Create the Trigger

The trigger mechanism is nothing more than a bent piece of hanger (Image 1) and a loop of copper wiring (Image 2) that has been attached to the end of the hanger so you can pull on it. (Image 3).

The length of the hanger "trigger" should be just slightly (about 1/8"-1/4") shorter than the length of the Altoids Tin.

Step 8: Create the Dart

The entire inspiration for this gun came from the dart, actually. Earlier today I saw this instructable on how to make darts out of toothpicks:

Amazing Toothpick Darts

Mine (as you can see in the image) had to be modified considerably so the fletching would fit in the barrel. I also just took the easy way out and used a piece of wire for the tip of the dart. Either way, you need the weight at the tip in order to keep the dart flying straight.

This is not limited to darts, however. I also found that the beads used to make the hammer make pretty good ammo.

Step 9: Lock, Load, Fire When Ready

To arm the weapon, you use the trigger mechanism to push the hammer back. Once pushed all the way back, push the trigger down (behind the hook) to lock it into place. As you close the lid to the Altoids Tin, feed the wire through the slice in the lid. Now, load the dart/ammo into the barrel, and when you're ready to fire, give the wire a tug. This is best explained with a video:



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    56 Discussions


    Reply 9 months ago

    If it's the last couple pictures regarding the trigger mechanism that confuse you, I'll do my best to explain. It's not very well explained, and I had to rewatch the video a couple times to understand it. The two-pronged bent end of the coat hanger trigger bit either fits into the copper rings connected to the bead, or just pulls back on them. The other end is placed underneath the rim of the altoids tin on the other side so that it snaps in place. The copper wire bit attached to it is inserted through a slot in the top of the altoids tin on the side away from the end of the barrel. When you tug on the copper wire loop, the back (bent) end of the coat hanger trigger is yanked up, and it releases the bead with the tension of the rubber band. It shoots forward, firing the dart. Have fun!


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    If i have read this right.. he glued/ puttied a smale wire hook to the end of the gun (shooting end i believe?) which is large enough to hook onto the rubber band, but small enough so the tin can close.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I certainly wouldn't recommend it. Gorilla glue pretty much sticks to nothing but human skin (and that it binds to on contact, forever). It takes *FOREVER* to dry, and when it dries, it becomes so brittle the slightest pressure will break the "seal."

    I honestly haven't found anything that Gorilla Glue is actually good for, which is why I'm not entering the contest.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Gorilla Glue is actually a marvelous art medium. It can be drizzled, blobbed, etc onto a canvas or board, left to set up, and then painted to create wonderful movement and texture in a piece.

    However, I once found out the hard way that gorilla glue does not work to mend plastic eyeglass frames. Trust me, you don't want to know.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Perhaps they should rename it to "Gorrila Art Medium?" Because as glue, it's fairly useless.

    It didn't bond to my glasses, but it bonded to everything else... the bamboo skewer I was using, my hands, etc. It was... interesting, to say the least!

    Hm, wierd. I always use it when my glasses ear piece walls off. i just stick a dab of glue on and set it on a paper towl to dry overnight. then i cant close that side of the glasses, but it works :)

    Do you mean the Gorilla Glue Super Glue or just the regular Gorilla Glue? I meant the original, expanding, wet-each-surface-and-clamp glue. It wasn't good.

    im... not sure. I dont break my glasses anymore, but im pretty sure it was just "gorrilla Glue" so... idunno.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice instructable, i might build one if i can find the parts lying around
    an extra touch could be a small laser pointer next to the barrel to act as an aiming device. =)


    7 years ago on Step 9

    It would be col if you could modify it to shoot altoids- then you could put altoids over the piping inside and noone would know!