Fetch-Hack: Easy DIY SlingshotApril 24, 2017
Learn How To DIY an Easy Slingshot for fetch-time
Using simple items like a branch and some rubber tubing you can easily make a great large slingshot, which you can use to propel small balls across large distances. This way your arms won’t get too tired when playing fetch and you’ll be able to throw the ball really far, giving your dog a good opportunity to exercise.
Read on for this super easy tutorial, and let us know if you used this guide to improve fetch-time with your furry friend! Reach us on our Facebook page or post a comment below.
Materials & Tools Needed
- Y-shaped tree branch with at least a 30 degree fork
- 1/4″ latex tubing (available in most hardware stores)
- Leather strip
- Dental floss
- Awl (optional)
- About an hour
Step 1: Find Your Fork
The first step in making a natural fork slingshot is finding a Y-shaped tree branch with an adequate natural fork. Look for hardwoods like oak, ash, dogwood, hickory, and (hard) maple. Buckthorn bush, an invasive plant, creates some good solid Y-shaped branches too, and the wood is pretty strong.
Don’t worry if you can’t find the perfect Y-shaped frame. Chances are, you’re not going to find it. As long as the fork forms at least a 30 degree angle, you’re good to go.
Step 2: Dry Your Wood
Branches that have just been cut from trees will have a lot of moisture in them which gives them a bit of flexibility. That’s not good for a slingshot frame. We want something that won’t bend while you’re pulling back on the bands. So we need to suck all that moisture out of the wood.
The natural way would be to just set the branch somewhere and let it dry out for a year. Since we want to finish this project in a weekend, that’s a not a good option. A faster natural drying method would be to start a campfire and set your branch near the flames. As soon as you hear your fork stop hissing, you’ll know the water is all out of it. While certainly faster, this method will still take hours or even a day before the fork is completely dry.
To keep your slingshot project under an hour, we’re going to utilize a bit of space age technology: your kitchen microwave.
Step 3: Carve Notches in Your Fork
With your wood dry, we can now carve the notches where our bands will go. Create one notch on each of your fork’s “prongs” at roughly the same height.
Step 4: Cut Your Tubing
Eyeball how long you want your tubing to be. Remember, the shorter it is, the more oomph you’ll have in your shots. If the bands are too short, though, you won’t be able to pull them back. Once you have your length, double the band and cut it in half into two equal length pieces like so.
Step 5: Attach Tubing to Fork
Wrap one end of the tubing around your notch so that it doubles back on itself like in the photo. Tie the end of the tube to the rest of the tube with some dental floss. Wrap the dental floss as tight as you can, tie it off, and cut off any long ends. Repeat on the other side.
Step 6: Create Pouch
Cut a rectangle in the strip of leather that’s about four inches wide and two inches high.
Create a long octagon shape by cutting off the corners on your rectangular leather strip.
Create two holes at each of the longest ends of your leather strip. Your tubing will attach here. I just used my knife, but you can use an awl or some other puncturing tool.
Step 7: Attach Pouch to Tubing
Slide tube ends through holes
Similar to how you attached the tube to the frame, fold the end of the tube back on itself and tie it off tightly with some dental floss.
You may have to adjust the length of your bands so that you get the right amount of force. The latex bands will degrade after extended use. Replace them as soon as you see any wear and tear. The last thing you want is a band to snap and smack you in the eye.
It goes without saying, but be smart and safe when you or your kids play with a slingshot. At the end of the day, a slingshot is a small weapon that hurls projectiles at fast speeds.
Tutorial extracted from the article: DIY Weekend Project: How to Make a Slingshot, by Brett and Kate McKay