Glowforge Laser Cutter Project: Q-Tip Crossbow
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- Glowforge Laser Cutting
- SVG File Included
- Cut and Build your own Q-Tip Crossbow
- It is suggested to first take my beginner course: Inkscape for Glowforge.
I wanted to expand on my first Udemy course, Inkscape For Glowforge by offering advanced projects. I will share some of my favorite JEMTOY designs by providing the actual SVG Inkscape file, along with detailed video instructions on how to laser cut and put each project together.
The first project I have for you is my nifty Q-Tip Crossbow toy that shoots cotton swabs. This toy is so much fun I feel the need to suggest parental supervision if you give this to the wee ones. There is something so thrilling about creating a working gadget like this. Sure there are all kinds of educational things you could focus on, like mechanical advantage, engineering a trigger, interlocking design concepts, but who cares about all that when you can shoot Q-Tips around the room!
If you are new to laser cutting, have access, or just purchased a Glowforge, you can learn a lot from working with these advanced designs. If you are a seasoned pro (or a comic book super villain), you can adjust and update the SVG file and make the design your own. Feel free to open the SVG in Inkscape to customize the design and do whatever comes to mind to make it more fun or functional.
To complete this build you will need:
Access to a Glowforge or other laser cutter that uses SVG files as cut paths.
Proof Grade Medium Plywood (I use Maple, but any 1/8" thick wood should work).
220 Grit Sand Paper.
Glue (white glue or super glue).
Paper Towel to wipe up any glue blobs.
3 Rubber Bands. Thin, about 3 inches long.
Cotton swabs to use as ammunition.
Scissors to cut swabs.
The JEMTOY Q-Tip Crossbow is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, which means you can do whatever you want except sell it. Feel free to adjust, modify, change, share, post... just don't sell the design, svg file, instructions, laser cut parts, or any finished product made using the resources found in this course.
Original JEMTOY prototype designs are intended for ages 15 and up, and are provided here for fun and educational purposes only. Parental supervision and participation suggested.
I'd love to see what you make. Tag photos @JEMTOY on instagram ~ PLEASE do me a favor and leave this course a review - I thank you in advance!
- Anyone with access to a Glowforge or other laser cutter that uses SVG files for cut paths.
Send the crossbow.svg file to the Glowforge App and laser cut all the pieces. Look in the Resources Folder along the right side of this page for the file: crossbow.svg and follow along with the video to upload it to the Glowforge App.
This laser design is intended for 1/8" Medium Proof Grade Glowforge Plywood. I am using the Maple Plywood, but you can use any of the Medium size plywood that Glowforge sells to create this project.
Other stuff you'll need to complete this project:
Cotton Swabs as ammunition projectiles
Scissors to cut off one end of swab
220 Grit Sand Paper
Glue (white, wood, or super)
Paper Towels to wipe glue
3 (or more) thin rubber bands about 3 inches long
Only a few parts require glue. White glue or super glue will do the job. I have included a photo of all the parts along with their names. I use the part names when I reference them during the tutorial how to build video. Look for the file: Q-tip-crossbow-parts.jpg attached to this lecture.
Wait for all the glued parts to fully dry before moving on. The rubber bands put a lot of pressure on the wood, so you have to wait until all the glue is dry before you complete the build.
Referencing part names in the photo that was included with the last lecture (look for Q-tip-crossbow-parts.jpg back at Step 2 if you missed it.) I will help guide you through the build of the toy crossbow. I have also included an image with this lecture titled: pin-placement.jpg so you can see how the trigger mechanism should look just before you slip the shaft into place.
Here is a breakdown of the steps:
Sand the 4 Washers using 220 grit sand paper.
Place 3 Rivet Pegs in the top 3 holes in the Slotted Handle. Be sure the groove in the pegs are all facing UP.
Slip a Washer on top 2 pegs.
Put a rubber band on Pin.
Put Trigger and Pin on the top 2 pegs with Washers. Let rubber band hang down Handle.
Put last 2 Washers on top of Trigger and Pin.
Put Spacer Pegs (grooves facing UP) into slots on bottom of the Slotted Handle.
Carefully put the other half of the Handle onto the Spacer Pegs and work it onto all 5 pegs.
Double check that all grooves are pointing UP on those pegs!
Slip the Handle Lock onto all 5 pegs, then carefully push it down so it locks into all those grooves that are pointing UP. Hold it in place as you finish the build.
Slip the Bow and Box Top onto the front of the Handle.
Insert the Space Invader under the Bow.
Check to see if Pin is horizontal over the Trigger.
Slide the Shaft into the Handle, under the Box Top, into the small hole in the Space Invader.
Slide the Razor Blade over the JEMTOY Shaft and connect to pegs on back of Handle.
Connect first Guard Rail to the side with the Handle Lock to lock everything in place. Then connect the second Guard Rail on the other side. Be sure the long part of the rail is in the back, and the JEMTOY Shaft is above it, not jammed in between.
Last piece! The Eagle slips in up top holding the Guard Rails together.
Now, grip the Pin's rubber band and pull it down into the Handle grooves, pull back, and over the entire thing until each side of the rubber band rests in the little cut away slots found in the Guard Rails. Slip the rubber band over the Eagle's head to hold it in place.
Connect a second rubber band to the 2 holes on the front of the crossbow. Once connected, stretch the rubber band behind the Hot Seat. Pull the JEMTOY Shaft back, and pull the trigger. It should shoot! If it does not shoot, you must return to step 13 above, set the Pin correctly, and try again.
To shoot Q-Tips, cut one end off a cotton swab and slide it into the Box Top letting the cut end rest on the Hot Seat. When you pull the trigger, the Hot Seat flies forward and will blast the Q-Tip out.
This project is intended for folk age 15 and up. Parental supervision suggested if you give this toy to the wee ones! Great family project to do together. Everyone enjoys small functional weapons they can make themselves. Please don't ever shoot at people or pets!
Troubleshooting the Q-Tip Crossbow. The most common issue is not having the pin horizontal when you put it all together. The little place where the rubber band slips into the Pin should be over the trigger, so the top of the Pin is horizontal over the trigger. If you pull the rubber band by mistake, the Pin will point straight down, and it will need to be lifted above the trigger and put back into place to work.
I also show you how to add a third rubber band to support the front of the toy crossbow and make it work better. Then we will adjust the rubber band pressure on the firing pin so that it's not too tight or too loose.
Check out the next video to see all the different prototypes I built, and the process it took to create the JEMTOY Q-Tip Crossbow.
See hundreds of different parts I made in order to work out the kinks in my 27 piece design. Each part is functional, but brings its own dilemma. The design process goes like this: fix a problem, create a new one. After many different prototype versions I present to you the JEMTOY Q-Tip Crossbow, a fun toy crossbow you can laser cut and make yourself.
I also discuss different places where you can find a Glowforge laser cutter, because you don't have to own a Glowforge to design for one. Craft places like Joanne Fabrics now has Glowforge service, you just bring your SVG file on a thumb drive, buy the proof grade wood there, and bring home the laser cut pieces for fabrication. Do a local search to find a maker space or laser cutting service near you.