Covered Topics

Please see the list of the topics I've covered. It's located near the bottom of the page. Thanks for stopping in!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More on Blowguns

A while back, I wrote a post about making and shooting a homemade blowgun. Shooting blowguns is becoming quite a popular sport - both in the United States as well as in Japan. And it's inexpensive and thus affordable by nearly anybody. It's also one of the safest of the shooting sports if one uses some common sense.

My previous blowgun post may be found here:

Recently, I have found some other web sites on blowgunning that I think are well worthwhile to check out. A couple general interest ones are here:

This one is a great discussion group that covers all aspects of making and using blowguns.

The guy who did this site has an engineering background, and offers some interesting analysis as well as some construction ideas of his own.

Here is an organization devoted to furthering blowgun shooting as a sport.

Measuring Performance
Anyone seriously pursuing the shooting sports will at some point want to measure the velocity of their projectiles. Velocity has a direct impact (no pun intended) on both accuracy as well as, in the case of hunting, how effective it is at killing the intended game. Relating to blowguns, velocity measurements also give a quantitative measure of how one's lung power is developing over time.

Regular readers of this blog have also seen my "Poor Man's Ballistic Chronometer" plans. This definitely follows the old adage that "necessity is the notherhood of invention." I did not have the money in the family budget to buy a ballastic chronometer for measuring dart and arrow velocities, so I did some research and built my own out of about $15 in electronic parts. The article, done in two posts, starts here:

The engineer I mentioned above had a somewhat similar idea, though he did things a bit differently. He has written some cool looking software that is free for downloading. Looks like a viable idea, though I doubt it would work well outdoors or in environments with a lot of background noise. Here's his setup:

A Word of Caution:

This should be common sense, but in view of how rare a commodity it is in this world today, the following bears mentioning:

NEVER aim a blowgun at, or shoot at, another person or any animal you don't intend to kill and eat!
There have been some news stories about people who have shot at ducks and geese in municipal parks with blowguns, resulting in darts still being lodged in their bodies. Do NOT do a stupid stunt like that! This gives ALL of us who engage in blowgunning as a sport a bad name and could result in blowguns being made illegal EVERYWHERE - as they already have in Kalifornia and Massachusetts.

If you want to hunt small game with a blowgun, as some folks successfully do, make sure you have the right type of equipment and comply with all local laws!

Children and teenagers should be well supervised when using this or any other weapon.

Sport blowgun shooting can be a fun and safe activity for people of all ages and from all walks of life. Blowguns, darts, or the makings for doing your own, are available just about anywhere and are quite inexpensive. I did mine and the darts for about $10 worth of supplies found at the hardware store and/or around the house.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

An Experimenter's Site Worth Checking Out

Occasionally, I find a truly unique website posted by a fellow experimenter. This one, by Nyle Steiner K7NS, definitely fits that description. Indeed, it shoes that remarkable things can be done WITHOUT modern devices. Some of his stuff definitely has a sort of Jules Verne-esque "steampunk" feel. VERY COOL!

This site features homemade vaccuum tubes, homemade semiconductor devices, several schemes for broadcasting speech and music over a light beam, and more.

Some of the technologies featured date back to the early 1900s, but are doable by the amateur scientist today.

Fascinating stuff!! My only caveat is if you decide to replicate Mr Steiner's experiments in which small pieces of galvanized metal are heated, I'd suggest doing this OUTDOORS with a small fan to blow the fumes away from you - said fumes are highly toxic.

As always - Have fun and stay safe!