A little while ago my kids* (*wife) got me a small plastic rubber band gun which was great fun for everyone, but unfortunately was cheap plastic and only lasted about 15 minutes.
So today, Im going to make my own version from ply board and some other things that are easily available around the house/workshop.
Step 1: You Will Need:
Plyboard - I used 6mm thick pine ply, its only a toy, no need for hardwoods here
Screws (I used 5)
A nail - I used 3mm x 70mm, Or,
A babmoo skewer
PVA glue - I used exterior, with kids you have to accept that it will end up left outside at some point
Wood stain & rag/brush
Saw - I used an old scroll saw, but a jigsaw, bandsaw or even a coping saw would work fine
Drill - powered or hand
A pencil, masking tape and plain paper
Step 2: Picking a Trigger and the Test:
Before I went all in, I decided to make a smaller version from 3mm ply, just to make sure the trigger idea I had actually worked.
As you can probably see from all the lines on the wood, I had to trim, trim and re-trim everything until it all fit and worked smoothly, but this 2 piece trigger is what I eventually came up with.
The top piece is pulled forward by the rubber band which holds it in place ready to fire.
Pulling back on the trigger releases the top piece allowing the rubber band to fly.
After a few adjustments I was happy with the result and decided to move on to the real project.
Step 3: Decide on a Shape:
After a google image search I decided on a rifle(ish) shape. I used some paper to make a template of the trigger space in the little test gun and marked it onto some ply, then added some length to the barrel and drew a trigger guard in too.
The ply piece I had wasnt long enough for the handle and barrel, so I cut them separately with a notch in the middle so they joined up neatly.
I forgot to take a pic of the separate pieces, but you can see the join line in the above pic when the first glue & clamp has been made.
I then traced the outline of the centre (over the trigger space) onto some paper as a template and added in details for the cover pieces. Once done, I cut two of this piece (one for each side) and glued & clamped ONE side in place.
Dont throw the paper template away, you'll need it again in step 6.
Step 4: The Bigger Trigger
Using the small trigger pieces as templates, I cut them again out of a 6mm ply offcut but didnt drill the holes straight away. Different handle shapes mean a slightly different alignment.
With the glued handle from the previous step, I layed out the trigger pieces to check placement, then traced a faint pencil line around each and using a small clamp to hold them in place drilled the pin hole through the trigger bits and out through the side of the handle.
once these two holes are done, take the trigger out and attach the other side of the handle using screws.
I decided against glue on this side as theres always a chance Ill need to open it up and replace something later on.
Step 5: Almost There...
Now you should have a completed looking gun, just with no trigger.
With the two holes drilled earlier, poke your drill bit back through, making sure everything lines up properly and drill half way in, making sure you dont drill right through.
When thats done you can slide your trigger into place and secure them with some pins.
Originally I used a bamboo skewer cut down for the pins, but eventually changed them out for new ones made from a stainless steel nail.
Step 6: Holding It in Place.
Remember that paper template from step 3?
I used that here to mark where the two pins needed to be covered, then trimmed it down to make a smaller cap piece which is held in place by 2 screws.
When thats on, it's ready to fire and after a quick sand to get rid of any splinters/ sharp edges it will be good to go.
Step 7: Staining
To finish I just used an oil based outdoor decking stain and rubbed it in with a rag.
After it had dried I used some paper towel to buff it up one last time.
Step 8: Finished!
I also made some little targets to go along with the gun by cutting 3 6x4cm pieces of 3mm ply and gluing 6mm x 6mm pieces of wood to the back.
For the fly image, I did a google image search, put some white masking tape on my smartphone and traced it.
Then moved the tape to the plyboard & cut it out before spraying and sealing with the same oil as the gun.
With the gun and targets are also a mix of different sized rubber bands.
The smaller rubber bands go on very tight and shoot further.
The bigger rubber bands have less tension, so dont shoot as far. (better for smaller kids)
To load, push the trigger forward & attach the rubber band to the trigger hook then pull it forward to the notch at the end of the barrel.
As always, common sense should be used, so dont point it at people/animals.
Unless its an annoying house fly.
I hate those guys.
Step 9: Update:
After the young guy got ahold of it I was surprised that he didnt need any instruction & was loading and shooting like a pro in about 5 minutes.
(and yup, got left outside a few times, even under the sprinler.. pretty glad I gave it a finish)
When the initial enjoyment was up though, he decided to start showing me how it could be even better/cooler looking, and so began build 2 (to Felix's specs) but have been told that its okay that the first isnt as good, because his mates can use the average one when they're over.
The second used the exact same trigger, I just slimmed it down a bit and used some dowel as a barrel.
Gotta love kids honesty, sometimes..