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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a number of the lovely Snipersling slingshot darts and they are superb, but they are also quite costly at around £3.70 each.
I started thinking about a cheaper alternative, made from pistol crossbow bolts, I bought a pack of these cheapies from Amazon, 36 bolts for £15.99
I cut a string groove into the metal tip and when I first tried to shoot it, the plastic flights popped out and the metal front part shot off towards the target. Crossbow bolts are designed to be pushed from the back, whereas slingshot darts are pulled from the front!
It was an easy fix, I just peened 4 detents into the aluminium tube to grip the shaft of the flights and I also peened 2 detents to retain the tip (which is just glued in, not threaded).
The darts worked well enough at that, but the plastic flights are made from a very smooth and quite slippery plastic, meaning it was hard to pull the dart far enough back to get good power. So, copying the Snipersling dart I designed and 3D printed (from PLA+) a pull knob which fits over the back of the dart. There is a 1mm hole through the knob, I fitted it and cross-drilled through the shaft of the flights. Then I hammered through an 8mm piece of 1mm diameter steel pin stock - this secures the knob.

They shoot very well and fly true with good accuracy. They are almost cheap enough to be considered disposable.
They are not a replacement for the Snipersling darts, which are exquisite and penetrate better (despite being more or less the same weight).
I have 90 Snipersling darts and I will be ordering more, but these cheapies are good for knocking about and practice. I'll keep the Snipersling darts for "Sunday Best".
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like that love shooting darts where did you get the bolts at do you have a link
If you look on Amazon for
"ELONG OUTDOOR Aluminium Crossbow Bolts" they should come up. I'm in England so they may or may not be available where you are.
Really though the take-away from this is that you should be able to convert pretty much any aluminium shaft crossbow bolt for use with a slingshot.
Some of the more expensive ones have screw in tips and flights, in which case you won't need to bother with the peening to retain them under tension.
My solution for grip was the 3D printed knob, but it wouldn't be hard to come up with another way of doing it.
I'd avoid the plastic shaft types which only have a metal tip because I expect that the heat generated when grinding the notch into the metal tip would melt the shaft and I think that the metal tips on those bolts are only a thin skin applied over the plastic anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That wouldn't work - the end of the plastic shaft isn't hollow. My first attempt with the plastic knob was just to glue it with cyanoacrylate but it didn't stick at all to the dart, I think they use the same type of plastic as for the screw on cap of the cyanoacrylate glue!
In the end I pinned the knobs on because as I found out, if the knob comes off it will do so under tension and then the dart goes off when you weren't expecting it to - very dangerous. The knobs must be securely attached.
 

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I have a number of the lovely Snipersling slingshot darts and they are superb, but they are also quite costly at around £3.70 each.
I started thinking about a cheaper alternative, made from pistol crossbow bolts, I bought a pack of these cheapies from Amazon, 36 bolts for £15.99
I cut a string groove into the metal tip and when I first tried to shoot it, the plastic flights popped out and the metal front part shot off towards the target. Crossbow bolts are designed to be pushed from the back, whereas slingshot darts are pulled from the front!
It was an easy fix, I just peened 4 detents into the aluminium tube to grip the shaft of the flights and I also peened 2 detents to retain the tip (which is just glued in, not threaded).
The darts worked well enough at that, but the plastic flights are made from a very smooth and quite slippery plastic, meaning it was hard to pull the dart far enough back to get good power. So, copying the Snipersling dart I designed and 3D printed (from PLA+) a pull knob which fits over the back of the dart. There is a 1mm hole through the knob, I fitted it and cross-drilled through the shaft of the flights. Then I hammered through an 8mm piece of 1mm diameter steel pin stock - this secures the knob.

They shoot very well and fly true with good accuracy. They are almost cheap enough to be considered disposable.
They are not a replacement for the Snipersling darts, which are exquisite and penetrate better (despite being more or less the same weight).
I have 90 Snipersling darts and I will be ordering more, but these cheapies are good for knocking about and practice. I'll keep the Snipersling darts for "Sunday Best".
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Great essay and info Bob, many thanks.

Here is a fishing dart I have designed and turned on the wood lathe, I make them from scraps of hardwood from my woodturning scrap bin.
This paticular one is made from Purpleheart, the tine or front shaft is made from a stainless steel bicycle spoke 2.00mm dia which make up roughly half a dozen per spoke, simply bend over one end and sharpen the front of the curve to a semi point for better penetration.
The body is one section and the tine is glued in place over an inch, they can be made to any length and width up to a foot long which is about the optimum when turning by hand before things begin flexing, and being wood they float back to the surface if you miss the target, and are cheap to make and are uber fast into the water.

They take about five minutes to make each.

P1030176 by apprentice 01, on Flickr

P1030177 by apprentice 01, on Flickr

P1030178 by apprentice 01, on Flickr

No need to have flight vanes due to the front heavy shape and teardrop mechanics whilst passing through the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great essay and info Bob, many thanks.

Here is a fishing dart I have designed and turned on the wood lathe, I make them from scraps of hardwood from my woodturning scrap bin.
This paticular one is made from Purpleheart, the tine or front shaft is made from a stainless steel bicycle spoke 2.00mm dia which make up roughly half a dozen per spoke, simply bend over one end and sharpen the front of the curve to a semi point for better penetration.
The body is one section and the tine is glued in place over an inch, they can be made to any length and width up to a foot long which is about the optimum when turning by hand before things begin flexing, and being wood they float back to the surface if you miss the target, and are cheap to make and are uber fast into the water.

They take about five minutes to make each.

by apprentice 01, on Flickr

by apprentice 01, on Flickr

by apprentice 01, on Flickr

No need to have flight vanes due to the front heavy shape and teardrop mechanics whilst passing through the water.
That's nice - I have a 6 blade whittling knife and I've been looking for things to make with it and I had thought about whittling some darts. They wouldn't be fishing darts, just general use - I've been trying to think of a design that could be all wood, but that would fly true. The problem is you need a lump up front, to cut the string slot into and to give some mass to the nose, but that lump would also generate air resistance, meaning that there would have to be a large tail to pull it straight. It the tail fins were also wood then they would add a lot of mass too. Interesting engineering problem.
 
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