02/15/07

 

How to build a Slingshot

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how to build your very own GIANT slingshot.  If you ACTUALLY plan to build one, I recommend the companion document, "How to build a Slingshot and NOT Hit Yourself in the Face".

Step 1: Go to hardware store, medical supply store or any place that sells surgical tubing by the foot.  Surgical tubing, for the uninformed, is super stretchy, yellowish tubing that can be used to make giant slingshots!  Buy about 10 feet of tubing, more or less depending on how big your sling shot will be.

Step 2: Improvise a "cup" to hold your payload for launch.  I recommend a flat soccer cone such as this taped to a rope that has been doubled over and made into a kind of rope basket.  Put a "pull" on the back to allow you to draw the slingshot back.

Step 3: Cut the tubing in half and tie one end to each side of the cup (the rope).  Ensure that you do not double the surgical tubing up and attach it to TWO points on each side of the cup, as this would inevitably make the slingshot SAFE.

Step 4: Find two long, tall, upright supports (fence posts, 2x4s attached to something, telephone poles, etc) that are sturdy enough to withstand the pull of the slingshot.  Attach the free ends of the tubing to the poles.  Try to get it so that there is a small stretch in the tubes when the slingshot is at rest, and so the cup is centered between the poles.

Step 5: Test fire the slingshot with nothing in it to ensure the poles are sturdy.  Try next with some sticks and pine cones to ensure proper flingage is obtained.  Once you run out of light, safe stuff, you can move on to step 6.

Step 6: Find some rocks, shoot them out into the field.  Try big and small, light and heavy.  Too small, and there won't be enough mass for proper flinging.  Too big, and it will overwhelm your tubing.  Here is a good size:

Step 7: After a number of successful launches, find a rock of the size in Step 6.  Clear other people away, and pull back for the definitive launch.  As far as you can stretch it.  Release the rock, if you have constructed the apparatus correctly, the cup should flip over in mid-launch, stretch out the opposite direction, and launch the rock directly back into your face.

Step 8: After finding the source of the torrent of blood, go to emergency room for stitches (and maybe more).

 

Some examples of a giant slingshot:

VIDEO CLIP (NEW!)

 

Read my Slingshot story here!

 

This site was last updated 12/13/05