DIY PVC Survival Compound Crossbow




About: Dad, Maker, biker, trekker, I like sciences, technology, martial art and wild.

For this survival ready contest, I will make a compound crossbow in PVC pipe.

Why a crossbow? Because when I think to survival equipment present since the beginning of the series The Walking Dead, I see the Daryl's crossbow. And I find it really cool. Silent and precise it is also a good melee weapon if necessary.

To make this crossbow, I will use common materials that can be found everywhere, and does not require any electric tools, except to save time, in order to stay in the survival mind.

Ready? Watch out for the walkers!

Warning! This is not a toy, be careful. Never aim directly at a person or animal.

Only walkers.

My youtube channel:

Step 1: Components and Tools Needed:


- hacksaw

- blowtorch

- Drill or manual borer

- Cutter

- Gloves

- knife

- meter and pen

- a clamp (optional)

- Metal file (optional)


- 1 PVC pipe - 1m - diameter 32mm

- 1 PVC pipe - 1,5m - diameter 40mm

- 1 PVC bend - diameter 40mm

- 3 PVC bends 45° - diameter 40mm

- 1 "Y" pvc connection - diameter 40mm

- 1 PVC tee - diameter 40mm

- 3m of rope

- 2 pulleys

- 8 screws with bolts and ring

- tape (optional)

- PVC glue

- protective foam or rubber

- 5 PVC collar - diameter 40mm

- 2 Toothbrushes

- wood trunnion - 60cm - diameter 8mm : 1 by arrow

- A strap of 1 m

Step 2: Make the Bow

- To begin, insert the pipe diameter 32 in the tee diameter 40.

- Place the tee in the center of the pipe and make a mark on each side to keep it centered during handling.

- Heat the pipe with the torch to soften the plastic, and then flatten the pipe to shape your bow.

Proceed by small sections of 15 to 20 cm and move the torch well so as not to burn the pipe.

Leave 7 cm on each side so that the pulleys can be inserted afterwards.

This part is the longest, but the rigidity of the arc depends on it. Be patient.

Step 3: Installation of the Pulleys

- Draw the pulley locations at each end of the arc, and then cut them out using the hacksaw.

- Drill a hole in the tabs thus created.

- Put the pulleys in place by fixing them with a screw and a bolt, tighten by hand so as not to deform the tabs.

Your 2 pulleys must face each other.

- Pass the rope through the pulleys, attach the end to the screws, and stretch there.

Step 4: Housing of the Rope

- Insert the diameter 40 pipe into the tee.

- Stretch the rope as if to arm the crossbow, and make a mark where the rope stops.

- Drill 2 holes leaving a sufficient distance to place your arrow

- Insert your 2 screws head by down and tighten the bolts. You must be able to secure the rope to the screws.

Step 5: Make the Stock

- Assemble the stock without sticking it to fit your size.

- Cut pieces of pipe diameter 40mm in order to assemble the elbows.

- Once it is properly adjusted, glue the elements together but do not stick the stock to the crossbow: It will be easier to transport or store.

Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes.

Step 6: Make the Trigger

To make the trigger, cut a strip of 20 cm into the length of a pipe.

- Heat the piece obtained with the torch to flatten it and give it its shape as in the photo.

- Drill a hole 1 cm from the rope housing and insert a screw. This screw will allow to make lever with the trigger.

- Make a slit in order to make cross the trigger.

Step 7: Cable Pass

To limit the friction and avoid cables getting tangled, make a slit perpendicular to the rope in the center of the pipe forming the body of the crossbow.

- To make this slit, drill a succession of small holes.

- File the angles of the slot so as not to damage the rope over time.

Step 8: Arrow Guide

- Cut the toothbrushes into 2.

- Clip a pvc collar on the body of the crossbow

- Glue the brushes on each side of the PVC collar in the shape of a "V" inside out.

- Clip a second PVC collar 10 cm before the trigger.

You must be able to drag an arrow between the 2.

Step 9: Make the Quiver

For the quiver, I used pipe leftovers and a foam piece that was on an old sports device.

The remainder of the piece of pipe used to make the trigger will serve for the tip side of arrows.

- Insert foam into the piece of pipe and make smaller holes than the diameter of your arrows to plant them in.

- Take a second piece of pipe and cut it in half lengthwise.

- Make incisions in the foam so as to be able to wedge arrows in it.

Glue the foam in the hose if necessary.

- Heat a 40 cm piece of pipe to soften it and flatten it. This part will serve to connect the two elements of the quiver .

- Fix this part on the 2 elements of the quiver (glue or screws).

- Attach a diameter 40 PVC collar on the quiver so that it can be snapped onto the body of the crossbow.

Step 10: Crossbow Camouflage

To finish the crossbow, I cover it with black adhesive tape. I think the finnish will be very nice with camo color, but I haven't camo adhesive tape. And it's apocalypse!

Step 11: Make Arrows

I use wooden trunnions long of 70 cm and diameter 8mm for the barrel.

- Make a notch on one side of the arrow the size of the rope.

- To replace the feathers, glue pieces of adhesive tape at 45 ° in double thickness.

- For the tip, carve the other end of arrows with the knife.

Step 12: Add a Shoulder Strap

To carry the crossbow, with free hands, a shoulder strap will be welcome.

- Drill the strap at the 2 ends.

- Pass a screw through each hole and screw the PVC collars.

- Clip PVC collars on the crossbow.

Step 13: Bonus: Concealed Blade

When the arrows are missing, a melee weapon is always welcome!

- Surround the handle of your foam knife. - Insert the knife and foam into the stock by forcing.

If necessary extract the stock and plant her in walkers head's.

Step 14: Kill Walkers!

Now, you have a real survival crossbow. You are ready to survive to the apocalypse!

Don’t forget: shoot in the walkers head! And if you run into Negan... You know what to do!

My youtube channel:

Survival Ready Contest

Third Prize in the
Survival Ready Contest

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Participated in the
Glue Challenge 2016



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49 Discussions


Question 7 weeks ago

If I make custom arrow heads does the toothbrush head contraption work on a regular triangle arrow head? How about a three bladed arrow head?


Answer 7 weeks ago

You can use a hot air blower alternatively it works just as well


Question 7 weeks ago on Step 5

You tell us not to make the stock to fit our size so could you be so kind as to include the stock piece sizes in the instructions?


2 years ago

I happen to make pvc bows too. A hint on heating your pvc, get a heat gun. Most pawn shops carry them quite cheap. The heat of that blow torch will make the plastic brittle and it will snap on you from the force of the pull. Also make sure to rotate your pvc as you are heating it and keep your heat source a good 8 inches away from the pvc. This takes longer however makes for a stronger bow and a cleaner look in the end.

13 replies

Reply 1 year ago

If a heat gun is not readily available, would pvc concrete sealant work or do you have another suggestion?


Reply 2 years ago

Thank you for your feedback! I will make a spare arc with a heat gun, as soon as I have bought one. Thanks again!

I've read somewhere in some book: "The crossbow could fire 305 metres or more, but the bolt had to be cranked slowly back. Normal archers were so skilled, they could turn the crossbow-man into a pincushion in to time - unless he bolted first." Funny, but is the first sentence correct, in relation to your crossbow?

The crossbows you are reading about are very powerful and machined. thefrenchmaker's design is just for fun and looking awesome. I think you could seriously hurt a person with it, but as the author said, they aren't taking it into the forest. This isn't a hunting crossbow or one that could shoot that far. But it is something that could hurt someone. A grownup's toy.


Question 1 year ago on Step 2

What is the radius of curvature of the bow?


1 year ago

I think that the design of your crossbow is a stroke of genius I love how inserted a hidden blade into stock I think that is an amazing idea. I used your instructions to make a crossbow for my school project. I also wanted to talk about how you modeled this crossbow after the Horton Scout HD 125 is a nice homage to the crossbow Daryl uses in the show it's great. I hope you make more stuff like this keep up the great work.