Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Hammer Grip "PFS"

A gent with the nickname "dgui" designed a so-called "pickle fork shooter", essentially a simple board cut frame with really low and narrow forks, OTP attachment.  It shoots because of the flipstyle effect. Much like a stickshot, but without the need for a paracord loop.

I always liked the simplicity of the design, plus the effectiveness. However, I am a firm believer in the superior power of the hammer grip shooting style, simply because it allows you to draw out stronger bands.

So I combined the low, narrow fork with my favorite hammerhead handle. Carved it out of a single piece of European Dogwood (cornus sanguinea).

It shoots fantastic, of course you have to flip it (automatically happens with strong bands). 

I must say that some day, I will have to make myself a knife with that handle. It is simply the most comfortable design I came up with (so far).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The "Zombie Hammer" Slingshot

I watched the first seven episodes of AMC's "The Walking Dead", season 2.


I really like Zombie flics, and this stuff is as good as they come. But one thing was getting more and more clear: Firearms are weapons of last resort in a Zombie apocalypse. They are simply too loud. You need silent weapons to make dead things deader (cudos to ZS for the cool motto).

Most Zombies in the show are disposed off with machetes, crossbows, rocks, even a screwdriver. Not very efficient, if you ask me. So I thought about how to make a more capable Zombie skull cracker. The solution: A hammer with a spike! But then again, what if you can't get the spike out of the skull fast enough to deal with the next undead attacker?

I devised a Zombie skull retraction lever. You can simply pull and the spike comes free. Works really great.

Also, I added a boule ball (what else) as a weight, but also as means to finish off the spiked Zombie. The force of the steel ball is unbelievable. And it is a great stabilizer for the slingshot!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmas time... The Slingshot Channel too!

Have a great one.

Guess and win!

One Panther slingshot will go to the first commenter who guesses what my next big project will be.

I will wait until the video is finished and uploaded. Then I will decide who came close enough first.

Here you see a photo of some of the parts that I plan to use.

Hint: The RC car will only used in parts, some of it will go straight into the trash.

Hint 2: One part that is still missing is a car door window lifter complete with the motor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"The Olivehammer"

Did another variation of the Hammerhead design.

I used an aluminum core, and well matured olive wood. Then I added some dark walnut for the palm swell.

This came out great! So smooth in the hand. I like it a lot.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Christmas Slingshot Giveaway!

OK, you can win a handmade "Jörg Sprave" slingshot! Even better, the winner can choose from three different models.

All you need to do is to go to my forum, register (if you haven't done that yet) and post which slingshot you would like (should you win), and why you like that one the most.

This brings you directly to the thread!

Drawing will be in the morning of December 25, 2011! Until then, the thread is open.

Good luck!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Double Ought Buckshot?

I am revisiting the multiple ammo issue.

Not so long ago, I designed the shotgun pouch made from Kydex. A good thing, really - but I have moved on to far heavier ammo in the meantime.

So now I will be shooting 8mm steelballs - 30 of them at a time. That is right, THIRTY. Makes a total of 60 gramms, just under the weight of a 25 mm steel ball.

I am testing Bill Herriman's report that you can use tissue as bags. He says the tissue opens and drops to the floor.

I think he is correct, but the trick is to find the right material for the bags. A single sheet of kitchen tissue works in general, but some of the balls come back and hit your shooting hand. Ouch!

I am using my octa-slingshot for the tests, as it protects my hand 100%. I even added a leather "skirt" to protect the back of my hand.

The wood already got a few hits... my hand is fine.

Will test paper, aluminum foil and maybe toilet paper later on. There must be one that opens, but late enough so no balls come back to the shooter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Selected photos for 2012 calendar

I have selected 13 images for my photo calendar 2012 and thought I'd share them with you. I consider these slinghsots the nicest ones I made this year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More work on the Lead Launcher Design

I did the Lead Launcher design a while ago for John the "Gamekeeper" Webb. I had to work under constraints.

- Hammer Grip (my specialty, John prefers the finger support style)
- Multiplex in 18 mm (that is what John uses)
- Secure fork height (in other words, OK for beginners)
- Not too much filework required (John's products are very inexpensive)

It came out very very well. To this day, I believe this simple design is one of my best.

However, the better is the natural enemy of the good.

I added finger grooves to the slightly altered handle shape, and adjusted the fork accordingly.

Then I used car body epoxy putty to smoothen all edges and surfaces, then added a delibaretely coarse camo paint job. This looks like it has been carved from a single piece of wood, no seams. And it gives a lot of purchase due to the rough surface.

"Mashable" covers The Slingshot Channel


I think they did a great job! Very professional presentation.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bihander Release

That is right, I made a slingshot release in the tradition of a medieval bihander sword.

This is a release that you can use to shoot cannon balls (max. caliber 80mm = 8cm = 2.15").

You simply need a length of Thera Band, and either two poles or two fearless assistants that hold the ends of the rubber bands. Then you clamp your ammo into the release and walk backwards as far as you can.

Then you press with both thumbs on the release and the shot falls.

This can be as powerful as the cannon I made a while ago. You have to use a lower draw weight, but you can compensate by using a longer draw length. Use bands that are three feet long, and you can stretch them to 15 feet easily.

A dangerous little thingy, in fact. Suppressive governments (and Zombies) beware. A new breed of slingshots is approaching.

(Slingshot has been included into the pic just to show the dimensions)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Will visit Hogancastings!

That is right, I have just booked the flights. Will arrive on Feb. 9th. I will bring my latest hammerhead frame with me and film Peter Hogan and his team casting it in bronze and aluminum. That will be truly interesting, for me anyway and hopefully for my audience as well.

Peter Hogan and his sons are in the business for longer than 35 years. They do fantastic work. I have reviewed some of their products in the past, top notch quality. Documenting the procedure is a honor and I am very much looking forwards to the trip.

I will give Peter full permission to produce more Hammerheads for customers if he so wishes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two new videos

Yes, I made two new vids this weekend!

First, I always wanted to know how deep various ammo types penetrate into ballistic gel.

Then, it was high time for a review about Flippinout's slingshots.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

38 mm steel balls - awesome!

Did some shooting today.

The 38 mm steel balls (224 gramms, a solid half pounder) are just amazing. I cut a pouch and a quadruple TB Gold band set, full butterfly,  for it. Shot from the Panther, I get 32 m/s - that is 114 Joules of energy, 84 ft-lbs.

7,2 N momentum, twice as much as a .45 ACP! Enough to topple over my steel catchbox.

It takes courage to shoot such a heavy monster from a handheld slingshot. But after a dozen shots, I found my confidence!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New ammo arrived

I want to make a huge block of ballistic gelatin tomorrow, for the next video.

In order to compare the penetration of various ammo, shot at the highest possible speed, I ordered some ammo types I either ran out of or never had. 10mm, 12mm, 20mm, 30mm!

Kugel-Winnie, my trusted supplier, surprised me by adding (at no charge) some 38mm and even some 60 mm steel balls.

I still have enough 8mm, 15mm and 25mm steel balls, plus some .54. .62 and .75" lead balls. So I should be rather complete.

I don't really know yet how to include the 38 and 60 mm ammo... but I will find a way!

Monday, November 28, 2011

On bands: The Break-In-Effect

In order to further clarify the advantage of tapered bands, I re-watched the slomos done with Destin's camera.

I noticed that the elongation of the rubber close to the pouch was a lot higher than the factor 5,5 (which is the way the band was cut). It was more like 7.

So it seems possible that the extreme overstretching is responsible for the speed advantage, as that does not happen on untapered bands.

In order to test this, I made a stretching stick. I put on a 2cm wide strip of TB Gold and markered the 10 cm length point. Then I attached a hand grip, with a karabiner in order to draw with the scales.

The first interesting finding: TB Gold can be stretched to the factor 8! That is right. But the draw weight increases steeply between 7 and 8.

Second interesting finding: The relaxed length increased. After stretching it out to the 80 cm, the relaxed length was 12 cm instead of 10...

Of course there is hysteris, means, if you keep the rubber drawn out it looses power swiftly. But it recovers, and fast. After 10 minutes, the relaxed length was 11 cm.

Third finding: Stretching the rubber that far breaks it in, means, changes it forever. The rubber did not go back to 10 cm. It stayed at 11, even after a few hours.

Fourth finding. Once broken in (stretched out to 80 cm and held there a bit), the rubber permanently looses draw weight.

See the attached graph - after the break in, 80 cm draw can be achieved with the draw weight needed for just 70 cm in unbroken in condition.

What does this mean? Well, the next experiment must be to cut a much shorter and thinner band set than usual, without tapering, that can be stretched to factor 8. The chrony will tell what the effect will be.

Great fun at the "Basement Tournament" again

Last Saturday night, I participated (for the third time) at Tobias's basement tournament. I fetched Wladimir (aka "9Gramm") in Nuremburg, not much of a detour from my home.

Wladimir is a well know shooter, he participated for the first time.

As always, the fun started with a great dinner. Homemade "Fleischkäse" (meat loaf) and "Nudelsalat" (pasta salad) plus the last bottles of the homemade beer Tobias and Jochen sometimes brew! Excellent.

Then the shooting started. The setup is hard to beat, a 300years plus old rock basement, well heated so the bands have great performance. The current shooter is in the neighboring room, the others sit on armchairs in a protected corner with great view of the target.

The disciplines had been well thought out, as always. A great mix of precision target shooting and destruction! We had to shoot a golf ball off the neck of a beer bottle, with minus points when the bottle got damaged... and we had to destroy three beer bottles that stood behind a thick particle board. You had to destroy the board first...

Tobias won, with just a few points between him and Wladimir. Actually, I think Wladimir had one beer too much, at a strategically important point. He shoots 10 mm steel balls at blazing speed (full butterfly bands). A lot of velocity, but not much impact! He had to hit the particle board at least three times at the same spot to crash through the board, but he failed. Tobias (20mm steel) and myself (25mm steel) had no such problems. In fact, I had destroyed all three bottles after three shots, and the remaining seven weren't needed.

Wladimir paced the beers better afterwards, and his groups got more tight again.

I came out number four, not so bad if you keep in mind my hand is still not fully recovered. Just three weeks earlier, I hit it with a 25mm steel ball from the rooftop slingshot... I was lucky.

When the tournament part was over, we switched to the destruction part. Tobias had an old printer and a radio. We smashed it into pieces! Then Jochen, who is a butcher by profession, brought some cattle bones. Man, those are something - looks like Dinosaurs to me. The 25 mm steel smashed through the shoulder blade easily, and even cracked the cow thighbone.

We went to bed at four in the morning, exhausted but happy.

What a great way to spend Saturday night! I brought Wladimir back home, and his wonderfull wife has prepared a fantastic breakfast. When I got back home, I went straight to bed for a nice nap, well fed and happy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

ECST 500 Dollars Slingshot Arrived!

I am sooo glad.

Another impossible slingshot

I know what people will say once I show off the hammerhead frames. "You will hit your hand". I know the fork is low, but of course I won't hit my hand with it.

The rooftop slingshot, a far more dangerous design, really hit my hand. Or, rather, I did, not using it correctly.

But a normal fork is a different issue. In order to show the safety, I made a version of the hammerhead that has a 40mm "wall" above my hand. The fork is only 25mm high! So it seems impossible that the ball can fly over the wall.

And yet it works. Flipping does that. The safety margin is a good 100mm.

Will show it in a video soon!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Who needs science?

 I have received lots of praise, but also some negative comments about my latest video.

People said that is shows the effect of tapered bands, but that it does not explain the fact, and it does not say how a better band can be derived from it.

Of course the video does not explain what happens, simply because we don't know yet. But it provides reliable data for those who want to explore the issue. This data was not available beforehand. Destin (who is a rocket scientist) has given the data to his professors, and they say they want to find out what is going on... it is clearly a challenge for these guys now.That's fantastic!

Dan has used the video intensively to study various effects. I find it quite fascinating.

Read his blog entry here

Science works that way. I can only contribute to the solution, not provide it.

One of my other fields of interest is the history of contagious diseases. When the first microscopes came out, scientists had been able to see the bacteria and viruses for the first time. Fascinating. but it was useless at first, as seeing what was going on did not mean that a cure was immediately available. But it enabled other scientists to come up with vaccination and effective treatments.Microbiology ultimately found cures for some of the worst killers in the history of mankind.

My little video won't save lives of course, but I believe that it will ultimately lead to better slingshots.Science works that way.

Having said that, witch doctors are still in business today, trying to cure cancer with goat poop and stuff! I guess that likewise, some guys will always insist that office rubber bands is all you ever need to make a good slingshot. Which is fine, if you don't care for progress.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First slingshot after the accident

OK, after 16 days my hand is healed enough for some light slingshot making. Boy, have I missed my workshop!

I used some moor oak leftovers and some plywood, made a new variation on the Hammerhead. Slightly smaller fork tips (18mm dia, so they can be made from the single multiplex board), a slightly thicker "throat" so the pressure on the webbing between index finger and thumb is distributed better, and a "butt tail" at the rear lower end.

I feels really good in the hand, but I need to do some shooting to streamline it. Too bad there is so little daylight now, it is dark when I come home from work.