Pallet Rubber Band Gun




About: My Grandpa got me into wood working when I was five years old. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love creating something out of nothing, making something old new or using trash to make something beautifu...

The rubber band gun is a classic toy. I have awesome memories of all the rubber band guns that my Dad made for me when I was young. They were always different styles made of different materials. I had so much fun pretending I was a cowboy, and from shooting my sisters.

So when I saw a rubber band contest I instantly knew what i was going to make. An old west style rubber band gun for my son.

This rubber band gun was made with pallet boards because... Well because I really like to use pallets. Hope you enjoy this instructable!!

Step 1: What You Need

Two pallet boards( different colors make it look nicer.

5/8 oak dowl & 1/4 dowl

Jig saw

Bench sander

Various grit sand paper

Drill press

Fostner bits

Miter saw

Dremel with sanding drum

Brad nailer

Step 2: Plane and Prep Boards

Start off by preparing you pallet boards. When working with pallets you have to remove all nails before running them through the planer. I use a small punch to get the nails started and then flip the board over and pull out with a hammer.

Once the boards are ready, run them through the planer to get a nice even surface. Doing this first makes the rest of the job easier.

I wanted the gun to look like a rugar vaquero so I traced one and cut out a pattern. Then use that to trace the pattern on to your pallet board in two spots.

Step 3: Cut It Out

Now if you have a scroll saw or nice band saw I would use those for this next step. But I don't have one of those so I had to use a jig saw.

You really don't have to be perfect when you cut these two out because you can shape later. You need two pieces cut in the same pattern so you can put them together. After you cut out the pattern, cut out a spot for your trigger. I used a fostner bit to start and then a jig saw to finish.

For the trigger I looked at some pictures on line to find the shape that I wanted. When you have two pieces that look similar you can move on the some shaping.

Step 4: The Trigger Spot

So I wanted a working trigger so I had to hollow out a spot. First just pencil out where you want to carve out. Then I put it on my drill press and drilled it out with a fostner bit.

Then use a chisel to smooth out the sides and your good to go. You have to do this on both sides of the pattern. Just make sure that you drill out opposite sides so they will fit together. I did not do this the first time and k had to make another piece.

Step 5: Shape Up

This took quite a lot of shaping. First I nailed the two pieces together with a brad nailer. I did this because I want to shape the pieces before the trigger was in. Because they are brad nails you can just pull the pieces apart when your ready.

I started on the bench sander to even up the sides. I also rounded over the Handle and the top.

After the rough sanding was done I started with a dremel and a 60 grit drum. I did a lot of shaping with this. It worked awesome because you could really take a lot off in a short amount of time. I looked at some more guns to see what to take off.

Step 6: The Trigger (updated)

First I cut out a I" by 3" piece of pallet. Then I took it to the bench sander to start to give it some shape. I made it a little longer than I needed it because you can cut it to size later.

I put it in the hollowed out spot and used my finger to figure out a good pivot point. When I thought I had it right I drilled a small hole and inserted a finishing nail to act as a pivot. I tested it to make sure that it was going to release the rubber band.

I drilled through the other side of the gun so I could push the pivot all the way through.

I got a lot of comments about not having any resistance on the trigger to hold the rubber band. Luckily I am working on my second gun now and I redesigned the trigger. It was a very small change but it made a big difference. For this step you need a very small eye screw a small spring and another finishing nail.

All I had to do is hollow out another small channel running perpendicular to the first one. I use this as a channel for the spring. Then I screwed the eye screw close to the bottom of the trigger, but still in a spot that will be hidden by the body. Make sure that you make the channel long enough that you can put some tension on the spring.

I drilled a hole at the end of the channel to secure the other end of the spring. I used a finishing nail just like I used for the trigger. You want to be sure that you have quite a bit of tension on your spring so the tension of the rubber band isn't greater than the tension of the spring. It is a very simple fix and works really well.

Thanks for all the encouragement to do this spring better. I really like that way it turned out. Hope you like it.
After I dry fit it, I glued and clamped the body of the gun.

Step 7: Chamber

When you're ready to do the chamber and the handle, find a pallet board with a different color and grain.

For the chamber I cut out a small square that was 3" by 2 1/2". Then I rounded it over on the bench sander. Then I used the dremel to make the groves on the chamber.

Step 8: Handle

For the handle I cut out a pattern and used the same pallet as the chamber. I used the jig saw again and then used the bench sander to round it over.

Step 9: The Barrel

I drilled a 5/8 hole with a fostner bit for the barrel. Then because I want the lower barrel to be slightly offset from the main barrel, I used a 1/4 fostner bit for the lower barrel. Use wood glue to set them.

Step 10: Glue It Up

Time to glue the handle and chamber. I glued one side at a time. This way there is less of a chance that they would slip. I clamped them on for about two hours and then moved on to the next side.

Step 11: Sand and Poly

I did the rough sanding with the bench sander and the dremel but I wanted it to be really smooth. So I started sanding by hand. I used 80-400 grit sand paper.

When that was all done I used minwax spray poly to finish everything off. I used spray because of all of the small spots I had to get into. I did three coats and it turned out very nice.

Step 12:

So there it is. A really fun project that my son really likes. It actually shoots really well. Pretty accurate too. Hope you have an awesome Time making your own rubber band gun. Thank you so much for reading this and have fun.

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50 Discussions


1 year ago

when i finished reading i was like wow this so amazing, awesome instructable :D


2 years ago

Trying to make it, thanks guys!


3 years ago

Love this, if it wasn't so cold outside I would be making one right now.


3 years ago on Introduction

That looks great!!!! I have been thinking of making some, even at 47 I am still a kid ....haha.

Do you have the templet you used?? If so would you upload it as a jpeg so I could copy it?? tanks for taking the time to show us yer nice work. Keep it up

1 reply

Thanks for the great compliment... Unfortunately I do not have a templet. I traced a gun that had a slimilar style that I wanted and I kind of just winged it from there. Most of my projects unplanned. The outcomes are always more exciting that way. Sorry I couldn't have been more help but o hope your gun turns out fantastic


4 years ago on Introduction

I recently read that 70% of hard wood trees harvested in the US get turned into pallets. That is a lot. Now as pallets they do lead a productive life and fill a need so I completely understand that. The sad part is that most of the wood just goes to waste at the end of their life as so many end up in landfills. Well, I, like you am reusing as much of that wood as is practical. Maybe a bunch more projects like this and we can make a little dent in the waste.

I was just thinking about my projects and as far as I can remember I don't believe I have bought a single piece of wood for any of them. It has all be either salvaged or taken from the trees themselves. And that gives me an idea to suggest for another contest, none of the wood used can be purchased but instead must come from either salvage or home cut wood. That would be interesting.

By the way, your instructable is well written and documented with lots of good pictures and of course the project is great too. It is a good example to any new people of how make a quality instructable.

I do wonder though if you got chewed out for glueing things up on the lace table cloth.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the kind words. I love working with pallets as well. Like you said, I feel that it is such a waste to let these pallets with beautiful wood just go to waste. I think the all salvaged wood idea is awesome. We should talk to someone about that. And as far as working on the lace table cloth... I make sure to work in the spot where my 2 year old eats. That way if I make a mess it will be assumed that he did it. It's so great to have kids!!


4 years ago on Introduction

Congrats, man! This thing DESERVED to win! And to think it was built from an old pallet, yet looks better then a store bought RBG.


4 years ago on Introduction


1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction



4 years ago on Introduction



4 years ago on Introduction

Awesome. My only disappointment is that the hammer is not involved in cocking the gun.