First off, this arrow “gun” is not a toy. Use it responsibly! Never fire it when a person is down range. Remember dangerous Lawn Darts? You could put out someone’s eye with careless use. The same applies here.
This Instructable is for making a “gun” that shoots real arrows. The propulsion is via elastic, rubber bands … much like a slingshot. The “gun” is made from 1” PVC pipe and pipe fittings. The pipe provides a track for the arrow (like a cross bow). If you want to use broadheads, you may have to use 1 1/2” PVC pipe … and the “barrel” may get scratched up inside
Step 1: Materials Etc.
3’ of 1” PVC pipe (If you have to buy a 10’ segment, you’ll have plenty)
1x 1” slip cross PVC fitting (this may be hard to find)
1x 1” slip T PVC fitting
1x 1” slip cap PVC fitting
≥1x target/field point(s) (for the arrow(s))
1x slingshot replacement rubbers with leather pouch
2x 1/4” x 3 1/2” hex-head bolts
2x 1/4” nuts (for the bolts)
~6” 1/8”-diameter, braided cord (to fit the nock of the arrow; snug, but not too tight; para cord is too thick in most cases)
Hacksaw (for cutting the PVC pipe)
File or utility knife (to smooth off the burrs from the cut)
Wrench (for securing the nuts onto the bolts)
You can get this all (including one graphite arrow) for $25 or less
Step 2: Attaching the Rubber Bands
Drill 1/4” holes on opposite sides of the PVC cross. It helps to drill small (e.g. 1/8”) holes first then enlarge them, if the holes are well-positioned. The holes need to be aligned with each other and at about the mid-point of opposite arms of the cross. Next, insert the 3 1/2” hex-head bolts, and bolt them in place (tight, but not too tight!). Cut off a 2 1/4” segment of the pipe with a hacksaw. Deburr it, prime it and the protruding-bolt end of the cross with PVC primer, coat one of the parts with PVC cement, and cement the two pieces together. Hold the pieces together while the cement dries.
After cementing on the grip and the barrel (Steps 3 & 4, below; see photo 3) slide on the open ends of the tubular, latex rubber bands (with the leather pouch between them) onto the two bolts. Putting on the rubbers will be quite a wrestling match (as it should be; use a little water for lubrication). Try to slide the rubbers on all the way. (You don’t want them to pull off as you shoot the “gun”.)
Step 3: Making the Grip
Prime and cement the PVC T onto the other end of the 2 1/2” pipe segment coming out of the cross. This T must be at right angles to the plane of the cross. (See the photos.) Cut off a 6” segment of pipe. Prime and cement one end of this piece on to the bottom end of the T. Prime and cement the cap onto the other end of the 6” pipe.
Step 4: Making the Barrel
Cut off an 18” segment of pipe. Prime and cement one end of this piece, and cement it on to the cross (into the opening opposite from the grip); see the photos. Voila, you are almost finished!
Step 5: Making the Pouch
Insert the 6” segment 1/8” cord through the openings where the leather pouch joins the rubber tubes. Tie this cord piece off with an over-hand or figure 8 knot. This knot should be snugged up to the back side of the leather pouch. When the arrow is nocked onto the cord and you pull back on the knot, the rubber bands will pinch-together and hold the arrow firmly in place. (See the photos.)
Step 6: Optional – a Sight for the Arrow Gun
When an arrow is fired from the gun, it will naturally drop while in flight. You can compensate for this by aiming somewhat above the target. To make a sight, drill a small hole in the top edge of the barrel, and bolt-on a small (#6 or smaller) 3/8” bolt. At the receiver end (the grip end), drill a small hole in the top of the grip-T, and bolt-on a small (#6 or smaller) 1 1/4”-1 1/2” bolt. Nuts on the 1 1/4”-1 1/2” bolt can serve as sight positions. (See the photos.)