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Copyright:   Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Tools
4. Construction

Title photo of a homemade plumb-bob appearing template to aid in making cones for Blowgun Darts

1. Intro

A plumb-bob with a nice angle is a very handy aid when rolling cones to use as fletching for blowgun darts. Without an aid you can still roll cones although each one will be just a bit differently shaped. Variances in cone shape will result in variable performance.

This tutorial will show you how to make a template that you can use, as if it were a plumb-bob, to assure that each cone has exactly the same shape and therefore the same air catching capacity.

There are plenty of photos in this tutorial to make it easy to understand.

Before you jump right in and start you should read the entire tutorial and review the photos to get a good idea what is involved and how to begin.

This project is reasonably easy and the parts are practically free.

2. Materials

A roll of clear packing tape. The wide, good quality type. I use Scotch brand clear packing tape.
A piece of regular writing paper,
A long regular pencil,
Patching plaster or Plaster of Paris,
Some scotch tape.

3. Tools

Razor blade,
Empty pop bottle.

4. Construction

Attach a small piece of scotch tape to a corner of a piece of writing paper approximately 2 X 2 inches then attach the tape to the wood ramp of the sharpened part of the pencil. The angle of the sharpened part of the pencil is perfect.
Roll the paper around the sharpened ramp.

Make sure when rolling on the paper to maintain the angle of the sharpened part of the pencil.

Photo of two of the parts needed for making a plumb-bob template. Writing paper, a sharpened pencil and a piece of scotch tape.

A piece of scotch tape is used to attach a 2 X 2 inch square of writing paper to the sharpened end of a pencil.

Photo of first piece of writing paper wrapped around pencil point.

First layer rolled onto sharpened pencil point.

After the first layer of paper is on the pencil roll on another layer. After two layers of paper have been rolled on apply a layer of packing tape. About a 3 inch length will do.
The layer of packing tape can be seen on the left in the photo below. The cone should be sturdy because you will be putting wet plaster in it.   If you think another layer of tape will help, do it.

Photo of cone that has two layers of paper in preparation for first layer of packing tape. The tape is attached to the cone tip at left.

Packing tape strip is attached at tip of cone and is ready to be wrapped over the two paper layers.

Here is the cone with two layers of paper rolled on followed by two layers of packing tape. It just needs trimmed now.

Photo showing plumb-bob cone with two layers of paper and two layers of packing tape rolled up and ready to be trimmed.

Cone is constructed with two layers of paper and two layers of packing tape.

Cone all trimmed up and ready to receive plaster.
Note the the tip of the cone has been trimmed off. It's important to have a small hole in the bottom so the plaster can run down into the cone. Without the hole there you will probably trap air in the cone when pouring the plaster in the cone. ( Battery is there only for scale )

Photo showing cone all trimmed up, ready for receiving plaster.

Cone all trimmed and ready to receive plaster.

Mix the Plaster of Paris or patching plaster in a dixie cup to a semi-runny consistency and then pour it into the cone. Tap it slightly on the sides and jiggle it a little to get the plaster to run down to the bottom of the cone. That assures there are no air pockets inside.

Photo showing cone filled with plaster.

Cone filled with Plaster of Paris ready to be dried.

Let the plaster sit overnight. I let it sit in the neck of a pepsi bottle. Most pop bottles will work fine. Set it in gently.

Photo showing plaster filled cone resting in a pop bottle neck, drying.

Cone is filled with plaster and is allowed to dry. Pop bottle provides a handy resting spot.

The next day take the cone of plaster and trim it up real nice. It will be your template whenever you need to make more cones for darts at some later date.
Future dart cones can be of various calibers. I use the same template for three different calibers of blowguns.

Photo showing finished plumb-bob-like cone template

Finished cone template all trimmed and cleaned up, ready to be used.


A Template For Making Cones Used on Blowgun Darts.

I sell these on a regular basis for $2.00, plus $2.00 shipping in the U.S.A.

You can buy one from me or make your own using this tutorial.

Feel free to copy the information for your own use.

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Even a dollar would be helpful.

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