Crossbows - Everything about Building, Modding, and Using your Crossbow Gear

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    Newbie Questions

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    Franklin29
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    Newbie Questions

    Post by Franklin29 on Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:53 pm

    So I am new to the forum, and for several years I've had a burning desire to build a medieval crossbow and hunt deer with it. 
    (It's kind of like that guy in 'Close Encounters' who just had to build a model of Devil's Tower.)

    So, I've been doing some reading on here, and I have a few questions.

    - I was going to make the nut out of steel, but I see Delrin is way better.  I found a source of Delrin at an airplane supply company near Toronto.
    - In a lot of the designs I see, it appears the nut is just rotating in a round hole, with no axle - is that correct?  If so, wouldn't it be better for it to spin on a 1/4" steel axle?
    - I don't see any kind of spring to rotate the nut back to a starting spot - how to you get it back to the starting position to cock the bow?
    - Does anyone here use flattened PVC for prods?  
    - Are there any good plans and patterns on here?
    - I want to start with a light target crossbow, and then make a heavy hunting bow.  Any ideas on this - just change the prod, or make two bows?

    c sitas
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by c sitas on Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:58 pm

    Hello FRanklin29; Welcome you are at the right place. The nut, delrin "will work", as long as you make a metal sear for it. An all metal nut is the best. Delrin is easier to work, there fore would not be the worst idea for the first one.Also I would say you would be best off mounting on an axle to start. After you get your feet wet and maybe more research you could go another direction. You can google pvc bows. I've made some that are quite respectable. Would be leathal , no doubt in my mind , but not for deer hunting.When you fire the bow , you have to thumb the roller into position to cock again. I have tried stops on the nut, but they shear off after a while from the force. The companies that sell iron prods also have plans.  The people on this site are some of the most knowledgeable on the subject. I'm home bound at the present, thats why I'm the first to answer. There will be others as time goes on. I am glad to help ,but like anything two heads are better than one.There are locks simpler than the delrin nut , just thought I'd mention.

    Onager Lovac
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by Onager Lovac on Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:26 pm

    Hello and welcome, i have made PVC bows before and 1 prod, it was a 34 inch ntn 3/4 pipe with a 1/2 pipe inside it, i could not flatten it because of how thick it was, it took a big set and it was only drawn 11 inches, i dont think flattened pvc would take such a set but i would recommend you make it bigger, and whitout another pipe inside, a single 3/4 inch flat pipe would be pretty weak so make it at least 1 inch, "Backyardbowyer" made a prod like that and it pulled 100 pounds if i remember correctly, as for how to set the rolling nut, well you just rollit back into place  Razz, its really that simple, if you understand the design you can make a nut that sets itself pretty easy, its not as hard as it sounds, there is a book called "The Crossbow by Sir Ralph Payne Gallwey" it has some good illustrations, i also recommend you make 2 bows, have fun.

    kenh
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by kenh on Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:02 am

    Flattened PVC does make pretty good prods -- not 200# draw, but plenty for lots of fun shooting.  I suggest you check out the Google+ community PVC Archery and Crafting: 
    https://plus.google.com/communities/115443350092709812365?partnerid=gplp0

    where we give lots of good advice on making bows, crossbows and a variety of other things from PVC.  You don't need a 34" long PVC prod;  28" is more than enough.  You can make a reinforced PVC prod but need to know the proper techniques for heating/bending the doubled thickness pipe.

    You can also make cheap prods from fiberglass Chain Link Fence Tension Bars (under $10) and Boat Cover Bars -- for holding canvas cockpit covers up -- about $25.

    Sometimes a roller nut has a central rigid axle, sometimes it's just loosely bound in place with a few turns of cord.  You can create return springs, but most folks just spin them back by hand until the sear catches.

    Franklin29
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by Franklin29 on Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:25 pm

    Thanks for all the good advice fellows.  I think I'll make a target/plinking bow to get my feet wet, with a PVC prod, and get the kinks out of my building technique. 
    Interesting to hear that steel nuts are the best - I thought I read on here that they cause misfires because they're too heavy.  Maybe if I drilled lots of holes in it to lighten it, it would be strong and light.

    kenh
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by kenh on Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:53 pm

    "all metal"  I believe he said, not "steel".  Steel, IMHO is too heavy and soaks up energy at discharge; as well as some people experiencing misfires.  Nothing wrong with a Delrin roller nut, but you for longevity you do want to put a 'face' of steel (an imbedded screw) where the sear meets the Delrin.  Antler was the material of choice back in the day, but it's harder to find in appropriate size.

    As mentioned, there are a number of locks mechanisms that are less "fussy" than a roller nut.

    Franklin29
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by Franklin29 on Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:07 am

    'there are a number of lock mechanisms less fussy than a roller nut'  - Oh, now you've got my attention!  What can I search on to find information on alternate mechanisms? 

    If I search a bit I might be able to find some old moose antlers around here. Lots of them hanging on woodsheds and garages in these parts.  Aluminum sounds like a good alternative, but I've seen posts about avoiding that too.   I think I might start with Delrin for the target bow, and try to round up a moose antler for my hunting bow.  Seems appropriate somehow. 

    Unless, these alternatives to a roller nut are feasible for me. 

    Thanks again guys!

    Frank

    c sitas
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    Re: Newbie Questions

    Post by c sitas on Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:33 am

    Aluminum works fair as long as you would install a steel insert. The only thing I've heard against them is they will oxidize after a while of setting. Know bigge though.My self ,I really like the delrin. Easy to work with ,but, there again ,it needs an insert of steel also.

    Franklin29
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    Minimalist Steel Nut

    Post by Franklin29 on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:51 pm

    Ok, so I've been thinking about nuts, just like a squirrel I guess.  But steel ones.  

    What if, a person made a steel nut that was more like a strip of metal with an axle in the middle and no 'sides'.  I drew one and scanned it, but I don't see how to attach a file to this. Kinda like this rough thing below ...

        [  ]
      [[ o ]]
        [  ]

    That's the side view, the other way it would look like a normal nut.  It doesn't really have to be round if it's on an axle, right?  This way it would be strong and fairly light, and not that hard to make.  

    If someone tells me how to attach a file, I'll draw it out for you guys...

    Frank

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