Boomerang

Materials

Tools

Background

Yes, it really is possible to make a boomerang that comes back when you throw it. Each side of a boomerang has an airfoil shape. These airfoils face opposite directions so the correct edge is always leading while the boomerang is spinning. This is what gives boomerangs lift. A gyroscopic effect causes them to curve in a circular path and return to their origin.

The plywood you choose should have several plys and be around 1/4 inch thick. Birch is an excellent choice because it is light and strong, but others will work also. You can either draw your own boomerang shape or use the link at right to download a .pdf with two premade patterns.

How-To

  1. Trace your pattern onto the plywood and use a saw to cut out the shape.
  2. Use a sanding block (and a lot of elbow grease) or an orbital sander to give each side of the boomerang an airfoil shape. The direction the airfoil faces depends on the hand with which you throw. diagram showing difference between left- and right-handed boomerangs
  3. In the middle of the boomerang blend the two airfoils together. You want the whole surface to be smooth.
  4. Give it a final sanding with fine grit paper then apply a thin coat of spray paint or clear lacquer to help protect the boomerang and make it look nice.
  5. Now you are ready to throw it. Find a very large, open space (at least a full baseball field). Hold only the very tip of the boomerang in your throwing hand. You should throw the boomerang nearly vertical but angled outward sligtly. Aim just above the horizon. Throw it hard and overhand like a baseball and flick your wrist as you let go.how to throw a boomerang
  6. Go fetch the boomerang. It will take some practice and experimentation before you can get it to come right back to you.

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