While doing some of my own research, I came across a fantastic article for all of you archers out there that have wondered about manufacturing your own arrows.
This article is reproduced from Edersbows.com, take some time to check them out 🙂
Building your own arrows allows you to save about 5 to 1 0 dollars per dozen, but there’s an even better reason for building your own. You can experiment with all the components, with the various fletching styles and shaft sizes until you find the perfect arrow for your bow and your hunting or 3-D shooting requirements.
Building arrows is easy and fun, not to mention the satisfaction you’ll gain from taking game with arrows you’ve crafted yourself. Anyone can do it – and do it well. Armed with only a few basic tools and the information offered here, you’ll have no problem turning raw shafts into top-quality hunting arrows.
Year’s ago nocks were all glued on, now most arrows offer pressure-fit nocks that fit snugly but are turnable. Tunable nocks are definitely the way to go. These systems will make tuning a lot easier, and they hold up to more hard shooting than will glue-on nocks.
Assuming you aren’t going to paint (crest) your arrows, nock installation is the first step in the arrow building process. Use hot melt glue or epoxy when installing bushings into aluminum. When installing them in (or over) carbon shafts, use a rubber-based epoxy such as that available from Beman or Arizona Archery Enterprises (AAE).
Regular glue-on nocks should be pressed firmly into place (without glue) until after the fletching has been attached. When the arrow is finished you can rotate the nocks to the proper orientation so the fletching clears your rest and then glue them in place. Bohning Fletch- Tite works fine for this.
Apply The Fletching
You need a fletching jig, but it doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve had good luck with the $20 plastic Martin jig I bought more than 10 years ago. Other good ones are made by Bohning, Bitzenburger and Grayling. You have three clamp options: left helical, right helical and straight
(no helical). For hunting and 3-D shooting, right helical is the most popular choice. If you’ll be using feathers, make sure to order feathers from the same wing as the clamp (right helical takes right wing). Vanes are manufactured straight and can be used with any clamp, so you don’t have to specify left or right when ordering.
One of the best fletching adhesive I’ve used for vanes is Fast-Set Gel made by AAE. This is a super-glue product that sets up in only 10 seconds allowing you to use a single-clamp jig and still fletch a dozen arrows in mere minutes. Fast-Set Gel will work on all shaft styles except AFC’s film-dipped carbon arrows, which require a traditional cement such as Bohning’s Fletch-Tite. Of course, Fletch-Tite will also work on aluminum arrows but takes about 10 minutes per fletching to set-up before you can remove the clamp. Fletch-Tite is still the best choice for feather fletching, however.
Place your fletching in the clamp so that its back edge will be about 3/4 inch ahead of the nock taper or nock bushing on your arrow. Adjust the back of the magnet on your jig (the magnet holds the clamp in place while the glue dries) inward or outward until the tail of the fletching sits squarely on top of the arrow. Next, adjust the forward end of the magnet to achieve the desired amount of helical. Easton’s technical representatives recommend four to five degrees of helical. I use a bit more myself – probably closer to seven degrees – but this is only on large diameter aluminum arrows. On smaller diameter carbon arrows I stay closer to Easton’s standard.
When using a straight clamp, (as opposed to a helical clamp) you don’t have as much lee-way and must either install your fletching perfectly straight or with a very slight off-set.
After your fletching is installed, apply a small dab of adhesive to both ends of each for a little added insurance against tearing loose.
You have more freedom to experiment with your fletching style and degree of helical than with any other aspect of arrow building, but it’s still best to observe a few general ground-rules. When making aluminum arrows for hunting, stick with four to five inch fletching. Five inch is a bit better because (in theory at least) it offers a small amount of added stability which can make a difference when shooting broadheads.
Carbon arrows, because of their smaller diameter, work best with shorter fletching (four inch is a good starting point) or you can run into a contact problem when trying to pass long helical fletching through the narrow gap in your rest. You can also experiment with various fletching orientations, such as 70/110 degree four-fletch, (you make this change by inserting a different indexing template into your fletching jig). But the basic 120 degree, three-fletch will do just fine under almost every shooting situation.
Cutting Arrows To Length
Draw an arrow and have someone mark it about a half to 3/4 inch in front of the rest. Cutting arrows is easy with the right equipment, but with the wrong equipment it can be a real headache. For limited quantities of aluminum arrows you can get by with a small rotating pipe cutter. I’ve done it a few times, but I’ve also made some pretty rough cuts, and basically ruined some arrows, in the process. You’re far better off pooling your money with a couple of buddies and getting an electric cut-off tool. You can also take your arrows to a pro shop (that’s equipped with an electric cut-off tool) to have them sized – usually for a price.
Installing Inserts and Outserts
Inserts and outserts (outserts are used with some types of carbon arrows) shouldn’t be taken for granted. Consistent accuracy with broadheads can be difficult to achieve when these components fit loosely. Inserts and outserts should install without any free-play. Usually you don’t have too many options with outserts – you get what the arrow maker offers – but you do have options with inserts. I’ve had good luck with aluminum inserts from Easton and Saunders and composite inserts from AAE. Inserts should have a light press-fit with the inside of the shaft so that each broadhead you screw in will line up perfectly with the shaft.
Aluminum inserts used in aluminum or ACC carbon arrows should be installed with hot-melt glue. Composite inserts in aluminum work best with a rubber-based epoxy, and the same applies for aluminum into carbon (Beman ICS or Gold Tip Graphite XT arrows) or when installing metal outserts on conventional all-carbon shafts. When you’re finished you can install a broadhead and spin test your arrows to make sure the inserts are properly aligned.
Take some time to visit http://www.eders.com/ to view their catalogue of parts and equiptment to assist you in your build.
Armed with the information above, you could now have a weekend hobby 🙂