There are several ways to make a boomerang, but on this page I will discuss the
way Imake boomerangs. If you have a better/easier way to make
them, please feel free to let me know your thoughts on the subject. There are
some links at the bottom of this page with information
on making a boomerang with minimal tools.
Boomerangs can be made from several different
materials, but the most common boomerangs are made from marine or aircraft grade
plywood because; 1)
it is relatively easy to work with, 2) there are now better quality
plywood types available which are suitable for making boomerangs, and 3)
it just somehow seems proper to make a boomerang out of wood (but maybe that's
just the nostalgia talking.)
This method uses a Jigsaw or Bandsaw to rough-cut the blanks, a
Router or shaper to shape the blank to the exact pattern, a Belt sander to
smooth the airfoils, and a Finish sander to prepare the boomerang for
painting or staining.
boomerang blanks with a Router
First you will need to make a pattern with some 3/8
inch (9mm) material (plywood or hard-board [masonite] works well.) Cut the
pattern out with a jig saw or band saw and sand the rough edge to a smooth
shape. This will determine what the edges will look like on the finished
product. (A good way to start is with a 100 degree elbow-shaped boomerang, about
15 inches from tip to tip with wings just under two inches wide. I have a basic
drawing you can use to get started.
on the link to download the pattern to your computer. (choose "save target
as..." from the pop-up menu - may be different for your browser.)
Now that you have made your pattern, drill three 1/16 inch holes for holding
screws (noted in the drawing.) Drill one hole at the elbow center and one in
each wing about two inches from either end - in the center of the wing. (Each
pattern will have different holding-screw positions.) Now set a 1 1/2 inch screw
in each hole so that it sticks out the opposite side about 1/16 of an inch.
These will hold the boomerang blank in place while it is being shaped on the
router. You may opt to use longer screws to mount knobs on for easier holding of
the pattern while shaping the boomerang. I have found that you can use
plastic tubing with 1/8" inside diameter to slip over the screws so they are
easier on the hands. Here are a few of my patterns so you can get an idea
of what your pattern should look like.
To the right is a drawing of my setup with a
router. It is a little crude, but you should get the idea. I use a 3/8"
round-over bit which isn't all the way through the table. This way, I don't have
too much "round" on the front of the boomerang. You can
also use a straight cutter bit to make square-edge blanks which give you more
flexibility in shaping the final airfoil.
Rough drawing to show detail...
Here are a couple pictures of the real thing. The
picture on the left is a close-up of the router bit. The red line shows the
depth (or possibly height, in this case) of the bit protruding
through the table. The picture on the right shows the pattern up against the bit
and the resultant shape it gives to the blank.
Creating the Trailing
Edge of the Airfoil
You can shape the trailing
edge of the airfoil with a rasp or upright belt sander.
like to use a 1x42" upright belt sander that I purchased at Menards�
for about $100. I took off the backing plate to allow for belt deflection
so the airfoil could be slightly rounded. The generic picture to the right
is a 1x30 belt sander which can be used, but does not have the capacity of the
larger version. If you get one of these (or have one already), I recommend
you take the table and the backstop off. This will allow you to move the
boomerang around better, and also allow the belt to flex more.
This is the general airfoil you will want to achieve. The block end view
will need to have the corners
slightly rounded - depending on what performance
you need or desire.
Special Shaping with an airfoil bit
The drawing below is a router bit which my Father-in-law shaped from a
Grizzly Large Thumbnail bit. The gray bearing is a collar which is slipped
over the existing bearing (blue). The blades were reshaped to create the
desired slope of the airfoil. A picture montage of the original bit is seen
on the right with
the added bearing collar before it was
retooled with a green wheel.
A person with machinist skills can retool a bit for this purpose, but it is
not for the faint-of-heart. Sears used to sell a bit which was made for
raised panels, but they no longer seem to have them in stock. Contact me
for more information about shaping the airfoil with a router bit. I may
have better information than what is provided here.
Of course, once a
boomerang is shaped, and sanded, you have to put on the finish. I usually use spray
cans with stencils to get artistic designs. (Not exactly as depicted in the
graphic to the left. I actually have a less complicated process.) If
you ever get a chance to visit the Quad Cities, don't hesitate to contact me.
I would be very happy to show you my shop and teach you how to make boomerangs
for yourself. NO CHARGE!!
This is a short video of the above crafting process.
This page is always under construction. If I have left something off,
contact me. I work on it as I get a chance.
Back to the Top of the
page... <Disclaimer>To make a boomerang, all you really need is a coping saw (to cut out the blank),
a wood rasp (or similar tool) to shape the airfoil, and some sandpaper to smooth
out the rough edges and surface.
This page is devoted
to making boomerangs a little quicker with power tools. This process will also
produce boomerangs which will have a more consistent flight than what can be
achieved with hand tools - unless, of course, you spend more time doing some
fine-tuning. I will not argue about which way is better - that would be a
waste of time for both of us.
A very good discussion of a simpler way to make boomerangs can be seen
by looking at the link below.