Wooden plastic cap shooter build
I built various Lego contraptions to shoot the caps from baby food pouches that our kids like so much. But eventually I took it apart again to reuse the Lego. But Kurt, our two year old, has been clamoring for the Lego cap shooter ever since.
The caps from the baby food pouches end up with a few burrs on the bottom from how they were locked to the puches. These need to be cut off with a sharp knife before they can be shot.
So I figured I should build a wooden cap shooting device that I won't take apart again. I tested the concept by clamping a few pieces of wood together for the right shape, with a piece of coat hanger wire as the release.
It worked, and from this I established the dimensions for the next one.
I used some old varnished plywood so the caps would slide well on it. I needed to cut a slot in this but without any tear-out for the caps to get caught on. So I pre-scored the edges where I cut the slot.
Then I cut the sides of the slot by making a plunge cut on the table saw. I carefully placed the wood on the saw, then raised the spinning blade up through the wood.
The "trigger" piece is a relatively complicated shape. I modeled the design in CAD, so I just used my BigPrint program to make a 1:1 printout of the trigger, pasted it onto a piece of hardwood and cut it out on the bandsaw.
A piece of metal, with a tab bent onto the end of it, screws against the bottom to push the trigger piece into the wood so that it pops up on the other side.
This photo shows the cap just having been fired. You can see a faint streak to the left of the device from the cap flying away at high speed.
It didn't take the kids long to figure out how to load it. Here is Harriet loading it. Even Kurt, at just over two years, was able to load it by himself. It helps that the contraption sits on the floor, leaving both hands available for loading.
Building a hand held cap shooter (pistol)With the wooden contraption working well, I figured it should build a hand held pistol version of it. And such a device would make a good Christmas present, so I decided to build a batch of ten of these.
Making this many, it was worth it to use a dado blade to cut the channel that the caps are shot out of.
I cut two passes, one from each side, to cut the middle of the slot, them measured its width.
The channel needs a slot where the trigger fits into. Because I was making ten of these, it was worth setting up my slot mortiser to cut these.
I put ten copies of the trigger shape on a piece of paper, pasted that onto some plywood, then drilled the holes before cutting them out on the bandsaw. Though the way I nested the parts together made it difficult to get around the corners between some of the parts.
And pressing down on the wood while I cut it ensured that it made good contact with that strip of wood around the blade. That way, the wood was supported near the blade, reducing tear-out on the bottom.
I cut the pieces twice as long as I needed them and cut the notch in either end using my table saw sled. That way I had a bigger piece to hold with my fingers.
I sanded the corners of these nice and round on my belt sander before gluing them on.
For the first two, I glued both sides on at the same time and clamped them, but getting the pieces lined up and keeping them lined up was difficult. So for the rest of them, I glued on one side at a time, using just a weight to clamp them.
I had to use an extra piece of wood to prop it up when gluing on the second piece.
The trigger can only be inserted from below. Here you can see the slot that I previously cut out has an extra 5 mm of length at the front that is only at half depth. The little "tab" at the end of the trigger fits into this, and that keeps the trigger from pivoting up too far.
And I have a set of plans available for this cap shooter. But I realized, not many people are going to have a lot of caps from baby food pouches, so just to show it can be done, I built a slightly modified version, without using fancy tools, that's made to shoot juice bottle caps. I think water bottle caps, or soft drink bottle caps would also shoot fairly well, but we don't have any of those around the house.
I charge a few dollars for the plans. That's how I make a living with this website, rather than trying to sell questionable stuff like Nord VPN services that have been hacked, mail order mattresses, or razors.
I also shot a video of building a cap shooter without using my fancy tools, that video will be up soon.
Building the cap shooter without my fancy toolsUsing a table saw, bandsaw and drill press.
To my Woodworking website.