How to make a PVC Rubber Band Machine Gun Gatling Gun
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In this video I will show you how to make a PVC Rubber Band Machine Gun. This is not a hard project but it does take some time to build it correctly.
Here is a list of everything I used:
PVC (1/2 inch pipe):
4 – Corner 3-way connectors
3 – Elbows
1 – T connector
6 – 11” long
3 – 12” long
6 – 3” long
2 – 1/2” long
PVC (2 inch pipe):
1 – 11” long
2 – Knock out tabs
CPVC (1/2” pipe):
2 – Elbows
1 – 16” long
1 – 4.5” long
1 – 1” long
Other Needed Items:
- PVC cement
- Hot glue gun
- 550 Paracord about 11 feet long
- Files (round, flat, curved)
- Measuring tape or Ruler
- Black marker
- Zip ties
- Drill with 1/2" bit
- Breathing mask
- Assorted packs of rubber bands
- a knife
- a Dremel tool
Let us first look at the barrels because they are the most time consuming.
But first everyone should wear a breathing mask when filing or sanding PVC.
Take one of the 12-inch pipes and surround it with 6 of the 11-inch pipes and hold them in place with zip ties at both ends. The barrels like to move around, so I had to make sure they were straight and not twisted before adding a layer of hot glue down each of the outside valleys. After the glue dried, I was able to remove the zip ties. The barrels should be able to spin freely around the center pipe. If it is a little tight, that is okay but your should be able to spin it by hand.
I then had to file both ends of the barrels. They have to be even and smooth or there can be interference problems when shooting.
Next it was time to make the notches. Using a measuring tape, I made a mark at 1/2-inch intervals along the outside of each barrel leaving about 3-inches at the front.
With a saw I cut a notch at each mark. The notch only needs to be about 1/4 of the way through each barrel. I then took a file and enlarged each notch. The side closest to the front needs to be slightly sloping inward, and the rear side of the notch needs to be sloping outward at a sharper angle. This will make it easier to load. I made 16 notches in each barrel. Be patient, this is a long process.
Next I added notches at the front ends of each barrel for the rubber bands to rest in when they are loaded. I only made these about a 1/4 of an inch deep, but a 1/2 inch notch may work better depending on the type of rubber bands you use.
Now is a good time to put together the frame and check tolerances. I connected two of the 12-inch and 3-inch pipes together using the corner connectors. I then inserted the remaining 3-inch pipes in the four open slots. Two of the elbows will hold the center barrel pipe and slide over the left side 3-inch pipes. The barrels should still be able to spin freely.
The T-fitting should be placed on the other rear 3-inch pipe and the last elbow on the remaining pipe. These two connectors will hold the CPVC pipe and the larger 2-inch pipe. But first I had to use two small 1/2-inch long pieces of PVC pipe as bushings. From the store they are too tight around the CPVC, so I had to remove some material from the inside. A file and sand paper will work, but I used a dremel tool to save time. I inserted one piece into the elbow and the other into the t-fitting.
It is now a good time to test fit the larger 2-inch pipe. (The larger pipe was needed so one revolution of the handle would fire about 6 rubber bands.) To get the larger pipe centered on the CPVC pipe, I needed ‘knock out tabs’ for the ends of the larger pipe. I used a drill and a file to make a hole just large enough in the center of each tab. The tabs were then glued in place. I test fitted the larger pipe and then glued the tabs to the CPVC pipe making sure there was enough clearance between the glue and the connectors.
Finally using the remaining CPVC pieces, I constructed a simple handle and cemented it in place. The handle needs to be cemented or glued or it will continue to fall off like it did in early testing.
For the rubber band release, I discovered early on that thin kite string will cause a bunch of issues with rubber bands not releasing. But when I switched to 550 paracord, the problems stopped. The larger cord helps to lift the rubber bands completely out of each notch. The cord also helps to hold the rubber bands in position.
I also burned the tip of the paracord with a lighter to make it hard so that it would fit in one of the notches tightly. If done correctly, you will not need any thing to hold it in place. This technique also prevents over twisting of the handle because the paracord will just slide out of the slot when the end is reached. I found that a simple piece of tape can hold the paracord to the larger 2-inch pipe, but you can drill a hole if you prefer.
The Rubber Band Machine Gun is now ready to load.
With the paracord wrapped around the large pipe, insert the end of the paracord into one of the notches and slightly turn the barrels to tighten its hold. Starting with the first notch on the second barrel, begin loading the rubber bands one at a time. The barrels along with the paracord must be twisted after each notch is loaded.
Once a full revolution of the cord is reached on the barrels, move the cord to the next set of notches and continue loading.
Make sure to load the smallest rubber bands first or they will not have much range. If you do not have very small rubber bands or want more power, I was able to tie 2 knots in a single band and cut it into 2 pieces.
And there you have it, a PVC Rubber Band Machine Gun Gatling Gun.