Pistol Crossbow (steampunk or Military Style)


Introduction: Pistol Crossbow (steampunk or Military Style)

This step by step guide shows you how to make your very own pistol crossbow out of wood and PVC. I made 2 styles, a military style and a steampunk style. Both have the same basic building plan. The only power tools you'll need are a drill and an electrical jigsaw, making this project ideal for someone without expensive machinery. However, it does require a little bit of woodworking experience so I wouldn’t recommend it as your very first project. But don’t worry, you don’t need a woodworking course to pull this off.
The draw weight of this crossbow is about 13 pounds (= 6.5 kg), which is on the low side, but it shoots straight for about 10 meters (approx. 10 yards). It was designed to shoot at close by targets, so it does the job well. If you wanted to make a more powerful version, I mention some suggestions in the video.
Measurements are in metrics, so convert centimeter to inch by dividing by 2.54 and convert millimeter to inch by dividing by 25.4.

Disclaimer: I cannot be held liable for any injuries that may result from making or shooting this crossbow.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Everything is explained in the video. The building plan is linked below. These are the materials you'll need (without the obvious ones), in order of appearance:

- pine wood of 4 x 9,5 x 50 cm
- wooden dowels of 8 mm diameter
- drill
- wood glue
- clamps
- pvc pipes: if you can get your hands on 25 mm pipe with 3 mm wall thickness (in US, that would be 3/4 inch schedule 40), that would be perfect. If not, take 2 pipes and fit them into each other, with the bigger pipe 25 mm diameter 2 mm thick and the smaller pipe 20 mm diameter 1 mm thick.
- heat source e.g. heat gun, barbecue, stove top
- electrical jigsaw
- wood rasp
- hand saw or table saw
- wood chisel(s)
- high quality plywood (without voids between layers)
- sandpaper (80, 120 and 400 grid)
- nuts and bolts (bolts should be at least 4,5 cm long)
- small spring (for example from a pen)
- polyester body filler or another kind of filler (e.g. bondo)
- 3 mm thick polypropylene rope (or other strong rope that doesn't stretch)
- tent peg or big nail (for bolt tips)
- strong glue e.g. construction adhesive
- duct tape

Good luck!! Let me know if you successfully made one.



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    11 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Super ontwerp! En best veel views op je Youtube filmpje.

    4 replies

    Bedankt! En inderdaad veel views op Youtube, ik schrok er zelf van. Misschien moet ik maar eens die reclame terug inschakelen $$$

    hihi, ik weet niet of je daar genoeg views voor hebt ;P
    Ik heb eigenlijk geen idee wanneer het geld op gaat leveren.

    Dat varieert sterk, maar kan bv. $1 per 1000 views zijn. Dus in mijn geval misschien 50 dollar :-)

    Dan kan je bijna stoppen met werken ;P

    This is a great looking homemade crossbow! And a very clever design too. Nicely done!

    If you felt so inclined, this would be excellent to have as written step-by-step instructions to accompany your video. Just a tip! :)

    3 replies

    Thanks! Good advice to make it more step-by-step. I'll definitely do it on my next instructable, which is going to be a more powerful pistol crossbow of a different design.


    You seem to have all the stills you need - many people find it easier to follow a step-by-step set of instructions; they can be printed out to use in a grubby workshop, and flicked back and forth through much more conveniently than a video.

    Thanks! The 3 piece trigger works like a charm and I'll use it on a more powerful version of this pistol crossbow. I know, my childhood would have been totally awesome if I could have build then what I can build now :-)