Updated - Make a Boomerang From Pallet Wood



Introduction: Updated - Make a Boomerang From Pallet Wood

About: Happy in wood shavings YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/WOmadeOD Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/WOmadeOD

Have a go at creating a boomerang.

Those of an addictive or compulsive nature probably shouldn't try to fly one!

Of course, you'll need to test fly and make adjustments before you achieve the perfect boomerang performance, but surely that's half the fun!

Included sketches should help you visualize the aerodynamic profiles required.

My YouTube video might help too (https://youtu.be/xffY17fQAws).

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Step 1: Begin the Build

Start by cutting two 13" lengths of pallet slats. Thin slats, about ½" would be good, and about 4" wide.

Cut the ends of your boards at 110° (that works well for me, but to be honest I'm not sure it's that critical!)

Line the angled ends up with the edges, and mark out for the halving joint (half lap)

Step 2: Rough Cut Halving Joint and Outline

Remove the bulk of the waste for the halving joint

Place the joint together and mark out the outline of the boomerang - I'm using my X-Carve boomerang as a template, but you could blow-up one of the drawings (included later) and use that. If you do so, fold the drawing over so the arms line up as best as possible, then cut around one arm outline. This will ensure symmetry, which is unlikely to be present in my sketches!

Cut out the rough shape of the boomerang, leaving a little to clean up later

Step 3: Make a Good Joint

Unless the halving joint is made well, it is likely to fail if the boomerang lands hard on one if it's arms

The secret to a well made, and therefore strong, joint, is maximum contact between the wood surfaces. To achieve this, clean up the two mating surfaces so that they are flat and smooth

Glue, and clamp until fully cured

Step 4: Clean Up the Blank

Sand and plane the glued up boomerang blank until it is perfectly flat both sides, and all the sides are square to the faces and smooth - this makes marking out for the aerodynamic shaping a lot easier

Hopefully the boomerang will balance nicely from the centre of the arms - aim to maintain this during further shaping

Step 5: Mark Out the Aerodynamic Profiles

Use the drawings to help you mark out for shaping the surfaces of the boomerang


These drawings are for a right-handed boomerang - one thrown with the right hand, that should fly a circle in front of the thrower. To make a leftie, you should layout as a mirror image to the drawings

Step 6: Profile the Boomerang

Following the marking out, shape the profile of the boomerang

I found a block plane perfect for the flat chamfers on the flat side, and a mixture of block plane, spoke shaves, rasps, and files, for the opposite side

Smooth everything with abrasive paper

Step 7: Ready for a Test Flight?

Before flying the boomerang, I give it a coat of sealer. This protects it absorbing moisture, and makes it easier to clean if your park is shared by pets!

Find a large open expanse, on a day without wind, and give it a few throws

Flying tips:

  1. Hold like a hammer, vertically, with flat side to palm, and other end facing forwards
  2. Throw forwards, imparting a top spin
  3. The spin creates the lift, and is the most important factor - build up the strength of throw once you've cracked the spin

Note how the boomerang moves in the air

  • The main profiling on the curved face of the boomerang arms should give 'lift' away from the flat side when the boomerang is rotating in an anti-clockwise direction (as thrown)
  • Bevels towards the leading edges of the flat sides (from the middle of the ends to about 1/3 the way to the bend) help maintain a horizontal flight

Decide if you need to make any adjustments. If you do, make them slowly, test flying often to prevent you going too far

The goal is a boomerang that climbs a little as it levels itself, curves around in front of you, and descends slowly as it returns to your hand - Good Luck!

I am in no way an expert in boomerangs or aerodynamics, but this was how I managed to make one that comes back - usually!

Thanks for reading my Instructable. I hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers, Mitch


Step 8: Test Flight and Tweaks

Watch how I adjust after a test flight.

It wasn't completing a full circuit, so I figured it was either too heavy, or didn't have sufficient lift to keep it airborne long enough.

After loosing some weight, it now comes back!

I shall attempt further modifications when Spring arrives.

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