Jenga Pistol

Jenga Pistol

This article describes my original, jenga pistol 1 which I built back in 1994.
I have since built a more refined pistol: Jenga pistol 2

One christmas holiday back at my folks in northern ontario, we all started playing this game called 'Jenga' a lot. Jenga consists of a large number of blocks with aspect ratio of roughly 2x3x9. These blocks are stacked in a solid stack, three blocks horizontal to a level. The players take turns removing blocks from part of the stack, but not the top, and placing them on top of the stack. Whoever knocks over the stack loses. You are not allowed to move other blocks. These may not be the official rules, but that's how we played it.

Playing this game a bit, I thought a mechanical aid would come in very handy. So I went into the shop, and less than an hour later emerged with my 'jenga pistol', with the glue barely dry enough to use it. This pistol is a very simple design. The 'bolt' of it is permanently in the crossbow like frame. When the trigger is pulled, the rubber bands hurl the bolt forward. The front of the bolt is a piece of wood that goes through a hole in the 'bow', and pokes out about 1.5 cm from the front of the pistol. The impact of the bolt on the piece imparts enough momnentum on it to hurl it straight across the room. Very fun to use!

Jenga tower falls over Although it looks very neat and efficient, the device actually turned out to be remarkably ineffective. The thing is, if you start pulling a piece slowly by hand, you know if its load bearing or not. This pistol removes the piece, wether it is as supporting piece or not. If it was a supporting piece, you know by the fact that the pile came crashing down.

See also: Jenga pistol 2

Back to insane contraptions