I bet
October 22, 2001 1:59 AM   Subscribe

I bet you didn't know there was an art to shooting rubber hands from your hand ... well now you know.
posted by h0ney (22 comments total)
Hmmm ... I could combine this with my card scaling and terrorize my cubicle mates at work.
posted by RavinDave at 2:10 AM on October 22, 2001

I like shooting rubber bands at the stars
posted by marknau at 2:23 AM on October 22, 2001

The hard part is finding a rubber hand.
posted by pracowity at 3:23 AM on October 22, 2001

here are some
posted by monkeyJuice at 3:31 AM on October 22, 2001

About 20 years ago I was in an engineering group which was working against a tight deadline and under a lot of pressure. This can manifest in one of two ways; either as everyone getting bitchy, or as strange behavior. The latter is much less harmful and a good manager will tolerate quite a lot for that reason. We got into a practical joke war, for instance, and in the software group we had a lot of rubber band fights down the hall between our cubicles.

The method described in this article as "hand pistol" is actually superb, though it doesn't have to be a one-handed method. The point of it is that when the rubber band is fired, it orients as a rolling circle vertically, which means it doesn't tumble. Since it has a top-spin, it doesn't drop as much as normal; when you get good at it, you can hit a paper cup from 20 feet away -- and some of us got really very good, with all the practice.

I might mention that we brought the project in 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and it had one of the lowest bug rates of any project out of that division.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:14 AM on October 22, 2001

Heh ... I was on a similar project quite recently ... the "hand pistol" technique is good for short range, but takes too long to load for responding to ambush, and is not so good for the really long "howitzer" bands that you could launch the entire length of the office space and drop into the last cubicle. You have to use the "sniper" technique for those.

We actually got really good at dropping them into one guys coffee cup, on his desk. Revenge was not so sweet for us however, since he could see through our open office door to where we sat with our backs facing it (my left ear still stings as I remember it).
posted by walrus at 4:49 AM on October 22, 2001

playing with the bazooka means of firing a band in the science block in the third years science block results in body harm and detention
posted by monkeyJuice at 5:24 AM on October 22, 2001

You know it's possible to fire a rubber band with spin so that when it hits the ground it rolls all the way back to your feet? It's a cool trick - unfortunately my hands are the wrong shape to do it at all reliably.
posted by ledge at 5:48 AM on October 22, 2001

Brings back wonderful memories of elementary school sadism! Thanks! But there are so many other weapons in the arsenal:

- the bic pen blow gun, with the right size spitwad you could get sufficient muzzle velocity do some significant retina damage.

- the old tack on the chair, or its more deadly variant, the tack on the floor preceded by coordinated chair pull.

- a large bobby pin could be bent and twisted so that it formed a spring-loaded "thwacker", activated by contact with the victim. Great for close-quarter combat situations.

At least we made our own weapons. Kids nowadays just bring in dad's .38 and start wasting. No creativity...
posted by groundhog at 6:18 AM on October 22, 2001

There is a MUCH more accurate and powerful way to fire rubber bands, which I can't easily describe. The gist of the technique is to put almost all the tension on just one side of the band, firing from the tip of one forefinger. The resulting flight, while not as fast to start (less potential energy released), flies further, faster and straighter because the band rotates quickly on a plane parallel with the ground, making it's in air shape an elongated eclipse, as opposed to the oscillating wobble of an untensioned band. The cool hissing noise it makes while in flight is an added bonus.

With a thick "regular" rubber band 3"x 1/4" you can easily blow a 1/2" hole through a styro coffee cup at 6 feet, or hit someone 30ft away with some force. A well fired monster band (the type used to hold garbage bags in cans, about 10" x 1/4") flies fairly flat up to 100 ft.

As for accuracy, at the company I learned the technique, it was considered bad form to hit anyone directly, the goal was to snatch a bit of hair off the top of the head. Shooting a dent in the side of a coke can as it was raised to your lips was also acceptable.
posted by jonnyp at 6:41 AM on October 22, 2001

though not as cool or nearly as creative, we just threw stuff at each other in high school. i remember this one kid who kept bugging me in algebra class by shooting spitballs at me. my revenge? i coated a rolled up piece of paper with white out and threw that at him... oh, the hilarity.
posted by lotsofno at 6:44 AM on October 22, 2001

that reminds me of when i used to kill flies with rubber bands - after a while it became almost too easy.

as for other projectiles, i recall getting a guy with a sniper shot using a paper spitball in a bic pen from a distance of about 30 feet, after proclaiming to my buddies that i could do it.

that shot alone made me famous in the tenth grade.
posted by bwg at 6:55 AM on October 22, 2001

posted by newnameintown at 6:59 AM on October 22, 2001

Anyone else out there familiar with the art of bottle cap shooting? There was a technique of putting an edge of the cap between thumb and finger, and by snapping with a little sidearm motion, you could send them zipping like little serrated-edge frisbees. I was never able to master the technique, but I seem to remember major dents in the drywall from the little suckers.
posted by groundhog at 7:18 AM on October 22, 2001

groundhog: Using the same technique, but with change instead of bottle caps, I'm able to stick pennies into drywall.
posted by esch at 8:30 AM on October 22, 2001

Office Supply Weaponry #3021: making caltrops from paper clips.
posted by kahboom at 8:33 AM on October 22, 2001

groundhog.. i think i saw that in a yoohoo commercial.. my motto: if it wasn't in a yoohoo commercial, it wasn't cool.
posted by lotsofno at 8:36 AM on October 22, 2001

During a lazy summer job at an unnamed office, a buddy of mine and I got extremely good at shooting rubber bands. But the lack of mayhem and suffering of the hit party quickly bored us. It was time for a little bit of ingenuity. In the end, we found that rubber bands worked much better if you use them to shoot bent jumbo paper clips. (bent in such a way that the two ends are exposed at the front).

Ah, the terror. You could actually PUNCTURE holes in coke cans from across the room. The projectiles would chip glassware. Skin didn't fare much better, either. We were amazed.

Our sadistic fun ended when complains from the cleaning crew started coming in, cause they kept braking their vacuums on the paper clips.

Anyway, the next time someone tries to shot a rubber band at ya, you know what to do.
posted by Witold at 8:44 AM on October 22, 2001


Don't you know the dangers of rubber band escalation?! This is a race no-one can win, my misguided elastic ammunition brothers!

posted by Kafkaesque at 9:50 AM on October 22, 2001

My high school started using a substance called Parafilm instead of rubber stoppers. The argument was that the kids took the rubber stoppers and just hucked them around the room. We discovered that paraflim wads up nicely and when dropped into boiling water, softens up so you can turn it into a nice, regular sphere. Spheres bounce more predictably than rubber stoppers, meaning we could hit kids on a carom. Sweet! Parafilm was removed the following week.

Disarm? No way!
Stockpile! And as long as you're building up ammunition, you should escalate.

I used to have one of these, and while they were a little slow to load, the gun was very accurate, had decent range, and you could fire off rounds as fast as you could pull the trigger.
posted by plinth at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2001

One and one-half clothespins (the kind with a spring) can be taken apart and reassembled to make a gun that can ignite and launch a kitchen match quite a ways. Outdoors only, kids! (Sorry, no image links.)
posted by skyscraper at 12:08 PM on October 22, 2001

jonnyp: I too am wise to the ways of the 'single-sided tension' launch, and it blows away all other deliver methods.

Here's my contribution to the mayhem.

When I was a teenager, I worked at a small-town newspaper with another guy from my school. We had to work late before each issue went to press the next morning -- mostly shooting film and burning the plates for each page set. One of those nights, we built the most destructive piece of office weaponry we have ever seen.

This was just before Macs become an essential part of desktop publishing, so the advertising production department was stocked with Exacto blades and border tape. We used to arrange 4 blades aimed clockwise and attached at the base, then bind them with the border tape.

Yep, you guessed it -- office ninja throwing stars.

Those suckers were truly dangerous. You could throw them at almost anything with any half-assed technigue and they would stick. Obviously, we never taunted co-workers with them, but they made for great target practice on inanimate objects.
posted by Dirjy at 1:39 PM on October 22, 2001

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