Henry's Bent-Rod Slingshots
A Short Tutorial
This is how I make bent-rod slingshots. As you can see, not many tools are needed and the process is quite simple. Here are the basic tools. You will need a vise, a hacksaw, sandpaper, a file, and a length of 3/8 inch inside diameter steel tubing. I also recommend making the simple bending jig shown in the next photo. It is a short length of flat steel stock that I bought at Lowes with three holes drilled in it. The bolts are 3/8 inch stainless steel, and you can change the length of the grip by varying which two holes are used for bending.
I buy 5/16 inch aluminum rod in 4 feet lengths and cut that into three 16 inch pieces. If you want short
handles, you can get 4 frames from one 4 feet length. Here is one piece with the first bend made. I mark the center, then place the rod in the jig and bend about 45 degrees, then flip it over and bend from the other end. This gives a more uniform bend.
Now I'm ready to make the first fork bend, using thesteel tube. After bending one fork, flip the frame over and bend the other.
Once the basic frame is bent and you are satisfied with the shape and dimensions, you can bend the fork tips. Make sure that the fork is vertical in the vise and don't forget to protect the soft aluminum from the steel jaws of the vise. Then just bend at a 90 degree angle.
Next cut the tips to length.
Now your basic frame is cut and bent to shape. Get out your sandpaper and clean up any marks you may have made and pay very particular attention to the fork tips for at least as far as they will be covered by the tubes. ANY sharp point or roughness here can cut the tubes and cause a painful face or neck slap, even the loss of an eye. I sand with 400 grit and then polish with a good rubbing compound. The tips should also be rounded to make it easier to slip the tubes on. At this point, you can install a set of tubes and start shooting, but you will probably like your new slingshot more if you wrap the handle or build it up a bit with Fima. More on that later. Here are the 18 bent-rod slingshots that I took to Texas for Christmas.