Rubber Band Engineer: All-Ballistic Pocket Edition
From a Slingshot Rifle to a Mousetrap Catapult, Build 10 Guerrilla Gadgets from Household Hardware
by Lance Akiyama
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Feb 2019 | Archive Date 20 Mar 2019
Quarto Publishing Group – Rockport Publishing, Rockport Publishers
In its new pocket-size format with a rubber-band closure, Rubber Band Engineer: All-Ballistic Pocket Edition is a fun-filled book of backyard projects that's perfect for gifting.
Shooting far, flying high, and delivering way more exciting results than expected are the goals of the gadgets in Rubber Band Engineer: All-Ballistic Pocket Edition. Discover unexpected ways to turn common materials into crafty contraptions that range from surprisingly simple to curiously complex.
Through vivid color photos, you'll be guided to create slingshot rockets, unique catapults, improvised darts, and a clever crossbow. Whether you build one or all 10 of these designs, you'll feel like an ingenious engineer when you're through. Best of all, you don't need to be an experienced tinkerer to make any of the projects! All you need are household tools and materials, such as paper clips, pencils, paint stirrers, and ice pop sticks.
Oh, and rubber bands. Lots of rubber bands.
Grab your glue gun, pull out your pliers, track down your tape, and get started on the challenging, fun, and rewarding journey toward becoming a rubber band engineer.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
I've posted before about my constant hunt for books with projects that will interest the boys. Rubber Band Engineer: All-Ballistic Pocket Edition: From a Slingshot Rifle to a Mousetrap Catapult, Build 10 Guerrilla Gadgets from Household Hardware by Lance Akiyama looked like a good possibility and, after reading through the electronic review copy the publisher sent me through NetGalley, I'm convinced that this is a book for us. What do I love about it so much? The projects use things that we have around the house -- and the instructions include a list of suggested substitutes. So if you don't have a long enough rubber band, you can chain several together. There are a lot of paint stirrers and paper clips and pencils involved, as well as duct tape and a hot glue gun. I've got those things and the extras I'd have to purchase for some of the more complex projects (if they're not already out in the garage or barn) aren't that exotic or expensive. The book includes lots of clear pictures that show how the pieces go together and the projects range from very easy to what looks like a reasonable challenge. There are tips for adjusting the trajectory and force, and suggestions what to search online to learn more about what's involved, like "The Archer's Paradox." This one looks like a great choice for our household.
Wow! Know any teens or tweens who love to create or tinker? I do. I have one of my own! I also love to tinker! As an engineer and homeschool mom (and also visual artist...photography) I have to say I love the project concepts in this book, the educational value, and the layout! I think you get a lot for the money. I recommend it! The projects look challenging but not so complicated a child and adult couldn’t do them. I was given an eARC copy of this book. Now I want to buy the full-sized book for my son and I to work on together!
A friend of mine built a trebuchet at the family farm and tested it the week I visited. Building machines to shoot stuff around has never been my passion, but what the heck. Here Mr. Lance Akiyama presents 10 launchers made from wooden paint stirrers, small blocks of wood, pencils, duct tape, PVC pipe, binder clips, and mousetraps. The launch action is powered by rubber bands. I haven't played with paint stirrers for a while but I don't recollect their having much flex, and I am not overly fond of duct tape. But then, I was never one to build my own toys. The PVC slingshot, though, looks like a slick substitute for the metal slingshots I use (ineffectively) against feral tomcats in my garden. "Rubber Band Engineer" was first published in 2016 and "Launchers, Lobbers, and Rockets Engineer: Make 20 Awesome Ballistic Blasters with Ordinary Stuff" came out in 2018. This pocket-sized, hardcover book with rubber band closure is intended to be a gift edition for someone who might want to carry this kind of book around in a pocket. If you know someone like that then here's your gift.
When you see a rubber band, you almost always start thinking of uses for it. Sure, you could just wrap it around a stack of papers to hold them together, but shooting it across the room is much more fun. However, you could try bigger projects, and really stretch the uses of rubber bands. In Rubber Band Engineer, Lance Akiyama provides instructions for 10 projects that take the simple rubber band to new levels. From a shooter that can fire many different projectiles to a trebuchet, you can find something to make and have some fun. Each project includes clear instructions and materials lists, so you will know what you need and how to do it. There are pictures that show you the steps, and he provides alternatives in case you don't have the same materials on hand. With the proper supervision, the projects can be made by older children and used as ways to teach them about physics and the math involved in building things. Even people who are kids at heart can use the book to turn free time into a fun activity. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Although I quite liked this book, and was pretty impressed with the designs, there was one thing I found that made it difficult to give a high rating for in the UK: the reliance upon paint stirrers for many of the projects. They may be common, or even give-aways in the US, but here in the UK they are not stocked by either of the main DIY chains B&Q or Wickes, or by Screwfix. I appreciate they are available online or from art shops, but a driving part of the projects seems to rely on their ubiquity.