A giant slingshot is a creative way to put an old and worn out inner tube to good use. Given an old inner tube and some other surplus materials, you can engineer a slingshot as big as you want--you could even design one to be portable.
On his personal website, Norris Chambers recounts how he built a giant slingshot by attaching a bicycle inner tube to both sides of a forked tree. There are other possibilities, such as using planks or fence posts, but the "tree" method is the sturdiest.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2 inner tubes
- Forked tree
- Flathead nails
- Steel washers
- Measuring tape
- Duct tape
- Felt-tipped marker
- Nylon or polyester fabric
- 1 rock
Find a tree with forked branches. These branches should be wide enough to stretch the inner tube to around 50 per cent of its capacity. Select one strong enough to be stable when launching the slingshot's payload. You may need to break off some smaller branches to keep from obstructing the slingshot.
Wrap one inner tube completely around one branch of the tree, allowing a bit of the tube to overlap. While holding the tube in place, slide a washer onto the shank of a flathead nail, then hammer the nail into the tube and tree. The number of nails you will need will vary with the size of tube you're attaching. This tube is the top band for your slingshot.
Stretch the tube to the other side of the fork then attach it to the branch the same way you attached it to the other side. Nail the second band into the tree about five inches below this tube.
Measure the distance between each fork of the tree branch. Record it then divide by two. Measure the width of the swatch of fabric, record it, then divide by two. Mark the centre points on the fabric and on each inner tube.
The fabric comprising the canopy from which the slingshot will launch its payload can come from several sources, such as an old mesh backpack or worn-out clothing.
Layer the fabric until the launch canopy is as thick as necessary, keeping the marked one on top. Bond the layers together with duct tape.
Align the centre point markings on each inner tube with the centre point marking on the topmost layer of fabric. Place the fabric between the inner tubes, centring it between the two bags as much as possible. Secure the canopy carefully with duct tape.
Place the rock inside the plastic-bag basket. Holding it, pull back on the inner tubes, take a few steps backward then release the rock.
Tips and warnings
- If a good tree is hard to find, try using fence posts, large planks or any other sturdy objects to which you can secure the inner tubes.
- Plastic grocery bags may be substituted for nylon or polyester which create the launch canopy; though the bags will wear out quicker than fabric, they are most likely easier to source.
- Be certain everything is properly secured before using this slingshot. There is no such thing as too much duct tape. Were something to come unattached, someone could be seriously injured.
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