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Most of us remember the simple pleasure we derived as children from launching a rubber band from our hands. There were a variety of ways for us to achieve the effect, from the simple act of draping one end of the band over the edge of our index finger and pointing it our target while pulling back on the other end with the of-hand to a more complex looping style that turned one hand into the non-lethal equivalent of a pistol. Like most things in life, the rubber band launcher has become ever more complex down through the years, and now includes a number of styles available for sale at retail outlets and hobby shops. If you want to try one of these more modern launchers, however, there is no need to buy one since you can make your own with little effort.
What you’ll need
The goal here is to make a rubber band launcher that resembles those you can find in the stores. That means that it will be in the form of a pistol, which is the most popular style of launcher sold today. To accomplish your goal of building a pistol-shaped launcher, you will need several different things. First of all, you will need two wooden blocks. These can be any size and shape you would like – either simple, square blocks or even blocks that you carve in a more elaborate style. In addition, you should have a hammer and nails, felt and glue, sandpaper, and a chisel.
Working the wood
The first step is to connect the two blocks of wood together by nailing them in the shape of a pistol. Be sure to use enough nails to ensure that the two pieces do not move against one another when you are holding the gun. Feel free to whittle or carve the handle end of your launcher to give it more of a pistol-grip feel if you s desire. You can also retool the barrel top so that the underside of the barrel is round. Alternatively, you can simply leave both parts square. Wrap the handle with your felt, and use glue to fasten it to the wood. This will prevent you from getting splinters when holding your rubber band launcher.
On the barrel of your pistol, use your chisel to dig out a groove along the length of the gun. This small trench should be wide enough for the rubber band to lie in. Be sure to sand the surface of the barrel and groove so that it is completely smooth with no jutting pieces of wood or splinter. Even the smallest splinter can rip through your rubber band.
Testing the gun
Once these steps are complete, you should be ready to fire your rubber band launcher. To prep the band for firing, simply insert the rubber band into the groove, and use your off hand to pull on the end closest to you until the band is stretched and ready for firing. Release it and watch it fly!