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2008 Revised Pool Noodle or Javelin Tip Design for Ballista Missiles

Master Jean Paul Pierrepont, OL -- Great Household of the Dark Horde (GDH) Permission is given to copy as long as credit is given to the author.)

Bolt plan

Hrelgar wrote up the original changes, I rewrote them. As long as the missiles meet the standards put forth by the society, you can use other materials.

This design below has been tested.

Materials needed to make (1) Ballista Missle
  • ONE -- SOLID Pool Noodle Blank--roughly  5.5 to 5.75 inches long (I sell mine in sections approximately 28 1/2ish inch sections that are "UPS'able  Each section can be cut into 5 pieces )  Don't EVEN think of using those that have the hole thru them! Not Allowed
  • ONE—2 ½ inch OD x 1/8 inch thick leather washer disks. The special disk to add the support for the shafting.
  • ONE-- 1-5/16 / 1-3/8 inch – 1/8” thick leather washer disk (The rules say, yellow poly pipe is normally 1 5/16th in diameter.) (You can use 1-5/16th disks BUT the larger diameter is for safety if you want it)
  • ONE-- half of a cutup tennis ball (optional) It makes a nice "THUMP" as it hits without hurting (adds 1 oz of weight) When you see the tape.. All of it is 2 inch wide .  NOT the 1 3/4 inch width tape, it does make a difference in the way the taping, layers, and weight goes.  NOTE: 1 foot of tape adds .1

Take a section of Pool Noodle and cut it into 5 equal pieces  (a full Pool Noodle you will get 10 pieces) and each "noodle" will vary in length, so measuring is a GOOD thing.  Noodle color may vary and  does not mean a thing.  Pool Noodle Cutting
You now have 10 pieces of foam abot 5.5 to 5.75 inches long. Cut Pool Noodle
Next you cut 1 3/4" to 2" off one end of the pieces you cut. This will be your collar.  Leaving a piece over 3 ½  to 4 inches long for the nose. Cut Pool Noodle

Here is a picture of the shape you will need if you use a half tennis ball for a tip.  I use a belt sander to shape the foam so the tennis ball fits over the tip.

remember you need to have 4" distance from the tip of the FOAM, not the tennis ball, to the bottom of the 1.25 inch hole you will cut next.

(Society minimum is 3")

Make sure it is a snug fit so it will NOT slide around or it may rip off. The extra time and care will make a better tip and they will last longer.

Cut Pool Noodle

Cut an 1 ¼ inch hole thru the center of the collar section for a snug fit over the shaft and near the leather washer using a 1-1/4" SHARP forstner drill bit. (NOTE:  I do mean center!)



Somewhere along here I might tell you if you cut 3 inches off your ballista shafts, you may save .8 of a pound (that is if you are using 160 psi yellow.)

On the top of the shaft, you will need to place one or two 1-3/8th inch diameter by 1/8" thick minimum (1-5/16" diameter is Society minimum) HARD leather disks. Yes the hole in the foam is smaller, but will stretch to allow the disk to go to the bottom and then wll be a  snug fit on the shaft when taped. image8

Use two pieces of strapping tape seal the tube 1st before attaching the washers to the siloflex shaft. it keeps water from getting to the washers.

(Showing mine with two washers)


Sand a bevel from ¼ inch from the 1 ¼ hole thru to ½ to ¾ inch up the side of the collar to help allow the tip to have a good fit and aerodynamics

(as good as a plastic pipe with foam can get.)

Ok – Slide the beveled collar up the ballista shaft and make sure it is flush with the leather disk. image11
image12 image13

Ok – Put the 2 ½ X 1/8 inch leather disk on top of the collar assembly and secure it by (2) crossed strips of strapping tape. Then take a (2) short strips and wind it up from just below the collar on the shaft toward the 2 ½ leather disk squeezing it down slightly to secure the collar to the shaft.

image14 image15

I put the tip on top of the collar assembly and use 6 short strips to secure it overlapping by ½ inch. Then do the strips over the top of the tip to the bottom of the collar and about 2”more making sure it’s snug.

I put the tip on top of the collar assembly and use 6 short strips to secure it overlapping by ½ inch. Then do the strips over the top of the tip to the bottom of the collar and about 2”more making sure it’s snug.

And a small strip (not shown) over the bottom of the tape and up the collar securing it.

There are 3 wraps of strapping tape that start about an inch below the junctions of the two sections and overlap each other about ¾ inches toward the tip to keep it from bulging at impact.

Now add strips over the top of the noodle tip with yellow "duct tape", making sure you overlap on the top and sides. image16

image17 image18

Add 1 to 2 small strips of yellow "duct tape" starting from the bottom of the tape and go up to to the bottom of the foam locking the first layer of duct tape onto the shaft. I add (1) strip around the middle to help the strapping tape keep it all from bulging out.

I may not need it, but will see over time.. 

Please Note: Fins are OPTIONAL as of this date. (6/1/2008) but the following Society rule applies.“Javelins (bolts) must be stable in flight or have fletching made from flexible material to make them stable in flight.” If they fly really out of control, you really may need fins or you may not be allowed to shoot!!  They are a good thing.

CLICK HERE To see article on "How to make Balilista Fins": 

Make sure they DO NOT weigh more than 16 oz or they will FAIL!!!
Weigh & check them BEFORE you go to an event,  so you don’t look foolish!
Check them each time you pull them out!!
Make sure all of your bolts are identified in readable English with your name,  group, and kingdom.

See you on the field!   “JP”


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