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How To Make Your Own Boomerang
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How to Make Your Own Boomerang

One really wonderful thing about my kids is that they keep me hopping. My 7 year old son recently became fascinated with boomerangs. He has made several out of paper. He uses several layers of paper with either glue or tape as his adhesive. His designs are improving with each model. Some have arched back toward him, but never made it back to his hand.

Today, he said he wanted to start making them out of wood. My husband, who is in the mood to do some wood work, wanted to use wood from around the house. He wanted to know which angle the wood needed to be and if there were any patterns available. So, I decided I better research it.

Materials:

According to my research, it is recommended that airplane birch plywood from Finland be used because it is especially durable- think about what the boomerang will be hitting and at what speeds. That makes sense. However, before you go out and buy some of this special wood, you might want to know that it runs in excess of $100 US dollars for a five foot by five foot sheet. OUCH!

So, I don't have that kind of money to support the experiment this way. I decided to look for other ideas. I found a site that explains step by step how to make one out of cardboard. Not just any kind of cardboard, but cereal box cardboard. I think I'm looking at the extremes- too expensive, but durable vs cheap, but flimsy. Maybe the cereal box version could be used as a prototype to a better, wooden model?

There must be a happy medium!

I found one site that recommended 1/4th inch birch plywood and it wasn't from overseas. I found several stencils online. Some are V shaped with a 107 degree angled curve, but there are many other shapes to experiment with. You'll also need a band saw and some sandpaper. We don't have a band saw, so we're going to use our jig saw and/or table saw. If you'd like to decorate it, you may want spray paint.

Procedure:

  1. Find the stencil online that you prefer and print it out.
  2. Cut out the stencil and trace it onto the plywood.
  3. Put on safety goggles.
  4. Cut wood on the band saw following the pattern drawn- children should not do this. If you allow your child to watch, make sure they have goggles, too. Take your time to cut it out smoothly.
  5. Sand the boomerang edges until smooth.
  6. The surface of the boomerang should be sanded so that it slopes like you see in the picture.
  7. Practice throwing it to see how it works. You may want to sand some more to get the curving just right
  8. Decorate and/or paint, if desired, but only after the sanding is how you want it.

Conclusion:

Doing experiments with kids is a lot of fun, especially if you can find a way to avoid spending an arm and a leg doing it. Make sure that your child leads the way during the experiment and chooses a project based on their own interests. Be prepared to do the same experiment multiple times since kids will want to find out if there is a better way to do it.


Street Talk

OK, I admit, I have never tried one. Do they really work? I really like your website.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I've only tried cheap boomerangs- like NERF. I've been assured that with the right aerodynamics and proper throw, they do work. I can't wait to get this project underway and write about it. Thanks for the compliments!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Please keep us updated? I think your niche is awesome.

  
  about 9 years ago

Thanks. I plan to :)

  
  about 9 years ago

I remember loving to play with the boomerang when I was a kid. My kids have never gotten into it. Hmmmm....

Reply
  about 9 years ago

To be honest, I don't know how my son got interested in them. I don't know of any other kids who like them. However, my kids do have aerobie discs (special frisbees that go really far).

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Rebecca, Your kids are indeed blessed to have you and your husband for parents. Your colorful picture catches attention! blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Cynthia, Thanks on both counts. Have a blessed day! Becky

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks! Hope you'll share how it goes -- and how it's colored! -- once your next steps happen...

  
  about 9 years ago

I do plan to follow up. It may take some time as our car is in the shop, making it harder to get around. I know my son won't let me forget any time soon :) Thanks!

  
  about 9 years ago

Whoops! Hey, how about the color RED?

  
  about 9 years ago

That would be a fun color and might be easier to find if it goes somewhere unexpected!

  
  about 9 years ago

True! Unless you live in a cranberry bog red would be easily found again.

  
  about 9 years ago

Hi Rebecca, sounds like you go to a lot of effort to keep your childrens' minds active and in a cost effective way too!.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

It can be challenging, but totally worth it. I love watching their faces light up when they figure it out.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
C4rmen  

Nice Article. I laughed that to make a boomerang it was necessary to source the wood from Finland. But the message here I feel is to give it a go, especially where kids are concerned - because everything can be fun and educational :)

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Yes, I found some sites that said the wood from Finland is particularly strong. If he's still interested in boomerangs after making a few, I may go for the more expensive wood. I'm going to start with the less expensive stuff just in case he isn't interested for very long.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Great article, I like that you thought to add the "Goggles" (safety first where children are involved) so many people forget this important point. How you have me thinking this early morning, how important is the cross-section shape to aerodynamics and flight? Can this influence the return factor? Great article you now have me on a research this morning.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

From what I understand, the aerodynamics is very important. I'm willing to do this project with my son because it is an experiment in itself. We will probably make a few so that he can learn what the effects of the aerodynamics are on the return rate.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Interesting, a tool from so many years ago, now a challenge in aerodynamics. They weren't all stupid back then. I have got so interested that I went looking for a nice piece of solid wood today.

  
  about 9 years ago

You'll have to let me know how yours turns out!

  
  about 9 years ago
Lemuel  

Nice article. I think I'll have to make one for my daughter. Thanks for the easy-to-follow procedure.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

You're welcome. I think kids appreciate what they have when they find out how much effort goes into them. I wouldn't make everything with my kids, but making one thing they're interested in goes a long way.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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