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Unread 07-17-2011, 11:42 PM   #1
infamous kiwi
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Cosplay Bow (weapon kind)

I was just wondering how everyone would recommend making a Bow for a cosplay, I have read obviously to make it with predefined curve since that will not be achievable without being tensioned otherwise (thus making it a projectile weapon)

i was wondering what would be the best material to make it out of

im thinking wood, i am really good with wood work so i would be able to make a lot of detail in the wood,

BUT idk what kinda of wood would be best for both look (since natural grain will be off) and stability (again worried it might break along grain)

another idea i have is i just saw a method to bend PVC so i could do that and just build up with paper mache or other means for details

benefits are obviously i can make it so it comes apart making it easier to transport and also will be light and strong

so what would everyone else recommend who has successfully built a bow before
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Unread 07-18-2011, 01:56 AM   #2
SirLucius
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Haha, actually I've been wanting to make a bow, and came to the same results, ie. it would break along the grain. I also just saw how to bend pvc pipe and I've decided that I'll be able to use that method with paper mache. I guess what I'm saying is that I've thought through many ideas, but the only I think would work well would be the pvc/pm method. But, that won't keep me from lurking here anyway.
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Unread 07-18-2011, 02:38 AM   #3
Druhzin
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Have you thought about using sintra? Its expanded PVC that you can use heat to mold. You can sand it, cut it, paint, etc. Really great stuff and fairly strong/flexible. Could also reinforce with bondo or something along those lines.
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Unread 07-18-2011, 05:16 AM   #4
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It all depends which kind of bow you would like to make. Reference picture please?
If you consider wood, i can recommend balsa wood. Its really light and easy to cut
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Unread 07-18-2011, 07:23 AM   #5
Melanie
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If it's not a terribly ornate bow, I second pvc pipe. I made this one with pipe -> http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2222460/

I just attacked the pipe with a heat gun, bent it around a biscuit tin to get the curves, and knelt on it to flatten it at the ends. It wasn't a difficult project, BUT... it would probably break if any decent pressure was put on it. I strung it with elastic to make it look like it could shoot on stage.
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Unread 07-18-2011, 10:40 AM   #6
infamous kiwi
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@SirLucious: did you actually make one out of wood and have it break on you or were you just thinking that it is very possible that that would be the outcome of it?

also here is a reference picture
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File Type: jpg bow.jpg (28.2 KB, 0 views)
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Unread 07-18-2011, 12:27 PM   #7
Celyddon
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I used packing foam and paper mache. I can chuck the bow across a room and nothing happens to it; it's difficult to dent or crack (I know because a bellhop crashed into a corner with it--only damage was a small chip in the paint). Pictures are on my DeviantArt page with my Lina Inverse cosplay.

If you go this route, you can tiller it just like normal.
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Unread 07-18-2011, 02:37 PM   #8
SirLucius
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@infamous kiwi: I haven't actually made one, like you stated I thought it snapping would definitely be the outcome. Especially considering the bow I want to make. With the size proportion it would snap like a twig if it got knocked down at all.

Here's a picture so you can see if you want:
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File Type: jpg Arjuna Bow edit.jpg (49.0 KB, 0 views)
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Unread 07-19-2011, 12:18 AM   #9
sanfordcam
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As I'm also planning on making a bow, this thread is amazingly well timed!
Does anyone have links to pvc pipe forming tutorials or anything?
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Unread 07-19-2011, 12:22 AM   #10
SirLucius
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@sanfordcam: This was posted in the tutorial section- it's really helpful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by char99char View Post
http://www.pvcworkshop.com/bendpipe.htm

Not my tutorial -but I found this online and thought it would be helpful to some people!
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Unread 07-19-2011, 12:49 PM   #11
sanfordcam
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is carving expanding foam something that could be considered for this? then masking tape, paper mache, etc?
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Unread 07-20-2011, 01:43 AM   #12
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The real issue with bows is going to be how functional you want them to be.
1- fully functional: erm, I'd recommend not doing this for safety purposes and also because it would be a lot of work. There are people who spent their entire lives trying to master bowmaking.
2- partially functional but non-bending: you could make something rigid with elastic that may be able to fire a foam dart. You could use PVC for this, but nothing that's going to be damaged by shearing/bending-forces
3- non-functional and non-bending: (i.e. most likely to be con-safe) Would be best for heavily sculpted bows such as in the ref above, and I would recomend something like expanding foam, possibly over a thin sheet of plywood for strength. Otherwise PVC pipe again would be good. Wood, as mentioned above would be heavy, and I don't like having balsa in long, thin shapes because it can break pretty easily.
-you can string these with normal string not under tension, heavy cotton, wool, wire, elastic or leave unstrung for a "string is too fine to see" appearance.
4- non-functional, but bending- there are some materials that will have recoil (you can bend and release) but will not have enough recoil to fire a projectile, e.g. some plastics. These will have to be constructed with an understanding of how the draw will deform the shape of the bow, but may be more effective for certain bows where you want to have a normal enough action (pics of drawn and undrawn, etc...)
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Unread 07-20-2011, 01:45 AM   #13
nyditch
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A friend of mine made a bow for his Link costume using polycarbonate plastic (common brand name Lexan, as made famous by Battlebots). It's an inexpensive, flexible, sturdy plastic that can be cut with sheetmetal sheers, coping saw, band saw, or even one of those paper sheers like teachers often have. It can be sanded kinda like wood. It takes a steady hand to carve it, but it's carvable.

A good thickness for a prop bow:
Small bow (1-2 ft): 1/8-1/4 inch thick
medium-sized bow(2-4 ft): 3/16 - 3/8"
Large bow (4-6 ft): 3/8-1/2"

The thicker, the more springy it will be. This plastic can also be glued, taped, painted, bent to shape, etc. you could actually put a recurve-style bend in it if you wanted.

The only difficult part may be cutting out the initial long strip. If you have a band saw, it's easy. An electric sander of some kind would make it easier as well to smooth the edges. Most wood-working tools should cut it just fine.

ebay would be the best place to find it:
http://business.shop.ebay.com/i.html...0.m270 .l1313

[EDIT]
In response to the post that happened while I was typing, this would fall mostly into category 4. You could actually get it to weakly fire a projectile (also varies with how thick and wide it is), as it's very flexible.

P.S. Make sure you don't use Acylic plastic. It's very different and can easily snap or shatter.
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Last edited by nyditch : 07-20-2011 at 01:51 AM.
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Unread 07-21-2011, 07:13 PM   #14
char99char
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I've started making one out of PVC - I'm the one who posted the tutorial mentioned above:

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2979248/

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2980116/

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2980116/

It was really easy to heat and bend after filling it with sand (I bought a broken bag of play sand from Lowes for $1). 1 bend has a tiny kink but the rest turned out great. The overall bow, though long, is really lightweight. I bought some silver elastic cord for a string.
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Unread 07-25-2011, 09:28 AM   #15
infamous kiwi
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@char99char: by any chance how much flex does your bow have? like does it move up and down and kinda flex as you move it around (just as regular section would do when you lift it at the store, how it has a tendency to bend and flop on the sides)? and what size PVC did you use?
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