Did You Know You Can Turn an Old Piston Into a Slingshot?

Using an old piston, you too can make this amazing slingshot.
Christopher McFadden

If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.

Slingshots are one of the oldest weapons ever conceived by our species. They are also incredibly fun, if not dangerous, things. 

But, most tend to lack that added cool factor that comes with industrial, steampunk-esque design. Well, as it turns out, you can actually make what might be the best slingshot ever made using an old piston. 

Read on to find out how. 

diy piston slingshot complete
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

But, before we begin with the build, be warned. Slingshots, like this one, can be very powerful weapons and should be treated as such. Never, under any circumstances, fire this slingshot at another person or living animal. 

Materials and gear needed

  • Old piston
  • Rubber tubing
  • Metal wire or pipe clamps
  • Acetone
  • Scraps of leather
  • Old ball bearing balls or shot

With all the gear and materials ready, it's time to get on with this great little build. 

Step 1: Make the main slingshot body

The first step, if not already the case, is to remove the bottom half of the piston bearing. It should readily come away once the bolts are removed. 

With that done, you'll next need to remove the main piston head to liberate the main piston connecting rod. This will form the main part of the slingshot. Don't throw away the bolts, you will need them later. 

diy slingshot from piston
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

To do this, clamp the piston in a vice, and hammer away at the piston pin that holds the head to the rod. After a little effort, it should come free so you can remove it entirely. 

Step: Clean up the piston rod

With that done, it is now time to clean up the piston rod. To do this, take some acetone, and rub it liberally over the entire piston rod. 

Grab a stiff, or metal, bristled brush and give the piece a very throughout the scrub. Dirt, grim, and carbon scoring should readily come away. Add extra acetone as needed. 

diy piston slingshot clean
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

Keep working the piece until the clean, bare metal is exposed on all parts of the rod. Once done, clean the entire piece with an old rag to remove excess acetone and grim. 

Step 3: Make the slingshot pouch

Next, take your leather and mark out a small rectangle on it with a pen. It needs to be long enough to fit across the width of the remaining bearing of the piston rod. 

Then using a curved object, mark out curved ends to the rectangle and cut the piece free from the main leather. 

diy piston slingshot leather
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

Line up the leather with the piston, and mark the positions of where the slingshot string will need to run from the leather to the main rod. With that done, punch a hole through the points on the leather strip. 

Next, take the rubber tubing and measure a length of roughly 12 inches. Cut the tubing as required. Rinse and repeat to make a second, equal length of rubber tubing. 

These will obviously form the main slingshot strings. 

diy piston slingshot rubber tubing
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

Step 4: Assemble the slingshot

Next, take the bolts from the piston bearing (you kept them right?). Re-secure them into their holes on the piston rod with the threaded ends remaining exposed at the "top" of the slingshot. You may need to use a ratchet to help you here, they can be quite stubborn.

diy slingshot bolts
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

With that done, take your lengths of rubber tubing, and push them over the top of the exposed ends of each bolt. They should fit snuggly and tightly over the bolts. 

You will then need to clamp them to the bolts using either small pipe clamps or metal wire. Make sure rubber tubes are very firmly secured to the bolts, as they will be under a lot of stress when the slingshot is in use. 

diy piston slingshot tie pipes
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

Step 6: Finish the slingshot and give it a go

Next, take your leather strip and thread the free ends of the rubber tubes through the holes in the leather. This will obviously form the main pouch for holding the sling projectile.

Leave a short length of the rubber tubing exposed past the leather, and double them over to wrap around the leather. 

diy piston slingshot pouch
Source: DiesInEveryFilm Customs/YouTube

As with the other end of the rubber tubes, secure them in place using pipe clamps or by tightly wrapping some metal wire. With that done, give the slingshot some test pulls to ensure the ties are strong. If not, reinforce them or tighten them. 

Once happy, your brand new piston slingshot is basically ready to fire. Find something suitable for ammunition, like old metal balls or marbles.

With that done, set up some targets and place them somewhere with a solid surface to their rear to catch any missed shots. Once ready, practice your slingshot skills at your leisure!

Happy days. 

If you enjoyed this build, and who wouldn't, you might enjoy making some more DIY weapons for your personal arsenal? How about, for example, a working Nerf-style cardboard gun

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board