Make a ping-pong ball gun
Here's an instructables project I came across that is ideal for boys aged 8 upwards. This simple wooden gun is designed to use ping-pong balls as ammunition. Large enough not to take out an eye and soft enough not to cause bodily harm, kids can play for hours and you can even make up a target for them.
I had heard about ping pong ball guns before but I never saw one. So I decided to do a little research and then come up with my own design.
I quickly learned that a PPBG (ping pong ball gun) works like a crossbow. I also found that many people drilled holes in their guns so they could stock extra ammunition.
To cut out the shape I knew that the ping pong ball holes would need to be 3,5 cm wide, so check the diameter of the balls you will be using. From there it was just measuring and check with your hand on the wood if it would fit right. Use common logic if you are making this for an 8-year old. You can check if it'll fit by just scaling it down cutting it out and seeing how it fits in your childs hand. Also note that when you scale it down you probably can't have that much ping pong ball storage, as these will scale down too. If you can, try and find smaller balls to fit the smaller design.
Clamp a suitable piece of pine, supawood or plywood to your workbench to start cutting. You will need to unclamp and move the board around to cut all the angles. Sand everything so it's nice and smooth. Now it's time to attach the rectangular piece of wood. But before we can attach it we must cut a piece out of the gun so it will fit nicely.
Drill two pilot holes for the two eye-bolts to go through. Make sure they are in the middle and at least 1cm from the side. Bolt them on the piece of wood by using one nut on the top and one on the bottom. On the eyes of these bolts you will tie your rubber band that will fire the ping pong balls.
Having a place to store extra ammunition is a great idea, since you'll probably be on the move the whole time trying to avoid other projectiles, and keeping them in your pocket is not very handy for fast reloading.
Use a hole saw in the same diameter as the balls - it should be a hole saw that has a drill bit in the centre. If you can't find the exact size you may have to use a smaller hole saw and do some sanding for the balls to fit.
Clamp down the project and start drilling on one side. Don't go all the way through. When you get just over half way, turn the project over and complete the drilling from the other side. This helps prevent the wood from splitting and gives you a nice smooth finish.
Use wood glue and 2 small nails or screws to attach the rectangular piece of wood to the frame. Make sure you nail it nicely in the middle. Make sure your nails/screws are not to long or they'll come out from the other side.
Disassemble the clothes peg and attach the piece with the spring still attached with wood glue and two small nails. Then re-attach the other side. Now you simply need to tie a rubberband on each of the eyelets and you are ready to go!
Thanks Michel for sharing this great project...!