If you are a weapon enthusiast, you will enjoy the sight of ancient weapons in action. Weapons like ballista, trebuchet, arbalest, medieval artillery, etc. are a sight to watch. But a crossbow holds an advantage, especially when it comes to close, man-to-man combat weapons.
Basically, a crossbow is nothing but a bow and arrow. It has a bow mounted on a grooved wooden stick (also called stock or tiller) and a pulled bow string, known as trigger. It arrow-like projectiles known as bolts, which can be a lot smaller, but heavier than arrows. The bolts are mounted on the grooved part of the stock and the drawn bow string can be released with a triggering mechanism. As the design of a crossbow is simple, it's quite easy to make it.
Making a crossbow, depends on what you want to shoot, and how far. Wooden crossbows are the most common and almost any quality of wood can be used to make them. But, the answer on how to make a stronger crossbow lies in the use of high quality wood.
Making a crossbow doesn't require lot of money or too many sophisticated equipments. You can easily start by making a simple one out of household items. Here are the basic things you will need to get started: 2 wooden blocks about 2 inches in width (one piece about 2 ft long, and the other 3 ft long), nails, hammer, chisel, a strong elastic tape or band.
We'll start with the cross. Take the two pieces of wooden blocks - one long and the other short. Hold the longer piece straight and place the shorter piece of wood closer to your body, so that the two pieces of wood form a T-shaped cross.
Perforate nails into the intersection to hold the two wooden pieces together. Now drive one nail each on the two ends of the shorter wooden piece, leaving the nail sticking up by about 1/8th inch. Here fix the elastic band to be used as a catapult. Make sure that all the nails are stable and secure, so that the wood pieces don't slip. This brings in sturdiness, which is crucial for performance.
Now attach the elastic band to the protruding nail, that was left at the ends of the smaller wooden piece. While stretching, make sure that it is taut. If this is not done, it will not be able to launch the projectile properly, as the band would be too slack to do that. Moreover, straightness of the band is important to ensure that the projectile goes in the desired direction.
Making the crossbow trigger is probably the only difficult step. To start with, you need to cut out a rectangle of 1 inch by 1½ inch through the stock at an appropriate point, where you wish to mount the trigger. Now, let's see how to make a simplified version of the trigger. You'll require a lever like a gun butt. The top of the lever will be holding the stretched elastic band in front while the back should be held by a hook attached to that end of the rectangular cut which is closer to you.
Now add a trigger button which when pressed should release the hook holding the stretched elastic band. This can also be done by adding some kind of a button trigger, where pressing the button will release the hook holding the band.
Now, with the bow ready to fire, you need to make crossbow arrow or bolts. Crossbow bolts can be made of a variety of materials. Aluminum or carbon are the preferred materials for endurance and consistency in size and mass, and can have feathers for enhanced aerodynamic capability. Start by buying the basic structure for the bolt and then altering it by adding feathers and sharpened tips to enhance performance. That's because the basic aerodynamic ability is embedded in the core structure, which cannot be achieved by a rookie. Arrows can be made by toothpicks and sticking flags-tips on one end as well. These can be covered with paper and duct tape.
Now it's time to use your bow and have fun. The working is so simple, and must be fairly clear to you after seeing the illustration above.
Making crossbows can be an entertaining exercise to do. However, if kids are engaged in this activity, adult supervision is a must. It is easy and does not require a lot of time to complete. Now that you know how to make a crossbow, even if you break one, wouldn't it be great fun to make another one?