View Full Version : Cheap 'n' easy Texas Star

December 28, 2006, 03:48 PM
Lookie what I made!

I used the bearing I constructed in this thread

Attached a hub I fabbed up from a plastic cutting board and 2 1/2" u-clamps

The arms are 4' gardening stakes with binder clips duct-taped to the ends to hold the clays.
It's light, portable (breaks down into manageable chunks), cheap ($80 total) and any parts that get shot are easily and cheaply replaceable.

If anyone is interested in building their own, PM me and I'll explain the details.

December 28, 2006, 04:12 PM
Broken down for transport

December 29, 2006, 11:11 AM
Detailed directions for anyone who wants to build their own:

Here's the shopping list:

Auto Zone:
2 front outside wheel bearings for an '84 Camaro

1 plastic cutting board
1 pack binder clips
1 roll duct tape
1 box clays (rabbits or sporting targets work best)

4 10' lengths of 1 1/2" PVC pipe
4 1 1/2" PVC 90*Tee _I_
8 1 1/2" PVC 45* Tee _/_
2 1 1/2" PVC 90* corner I_
2 1 1/2" male - 1 1/2" threaded female PVC adapters
2 1/2" female- 1/2" threaded male adapters
PVC cement
emery cloth

1 1/2"x 10" carriage bolt
1 1/2" coarse nylon lock-nut
2 1/2" fender washers
1 1/2" split lock washer
1 1/2" coarse nut
4 6-32x2" machine screws
4 6-32 nuts
5 2 1/2" u-clamps

1 pack 4' gardening stakes

Tools required:
Drill with the following bits:
1/2" (auger bit)
cutting tool (I used a grinder with a cutting disc)
yard stick
crescent wrench
3/4" box wrench
Ratchet with 1/2" deep socket
metric ruler
drafting compass
Cost (not counting tools) $80

December 29, 2006, 11:13 AM
To make the mounting disc:

Find the center of balance of the cutting board by balancing it on a knife or scribe and mark it.

Using a compass, draw a 10cm circle from the center.
Set the compass to 11.75 cm. divide the circle into 5 sub-divisions by setting the point on the edge of the circle and marking where the lead point crosses the circle. Some trial and error required to get it perfect. (see attached)

Drill the center for 1/2" hole
Using the plates supplied with the 2 1/2" clamps, mark & drill the 1/4" mounting holes for the clamps (refer to hub pictures)

loosely attach the u-clamps to the disc.

Place a fender washer on the bearing, then the board, another fender washer, split lockwasher, nut and tighten.

The hub is complete.

December 29, 2006, 11:15 AM
Cut each length of PVC as follows:

1 36" length
2 25" lengths

you will end up with a total of

4 36" tubes
8 25" tubes
4 34" tubes

Take one of the 34" tubes and cut 5x 4" tubes from it.

assemble the frame sub-assemblies as follows (do not cement except where indicated)

December 29, 2006, 11:17 AM
The pictures in the thread should show how the whole thing goes together.

Attach a 4" length into the hub and attach the side of the final 90* tee fitting.
Build the entire thing and tweak the shape so it runs smoothly.
cross-drill and attach machine screws at the joints where indicated:

The screws should run as shown in the drawing to help stiffen the frame against sagging. Mark each joint with a sharpie so you don't confuse which section goes where when you re-assemble it at the range; otherwise it won't bolt together again.

Duct-tape the binder clips to the end of the gardening stakes and you're all set to go.

Anything that gets shot is easily replaceable.

Any additional questions or anything I've left unclear, just PM me.

December 29, 2006, 11:40 AM
Bump for effort. Nice job.

Capt Charlie
December 29, 2006, 01:20 PM
Nice job, GoSlash! Thanks for your efforts.

Bump for effort. Nice job.
I'll do you one better :) . I'm going to "sticky" this for a few weeks so that it doesn't get lost in the shuffle. I'm sure there's a number of members here that would like to try this.

December 30, 2006, 08:43 AM
The first question that comes to me is, will it spin when the clays are shot off? The whole idea behind the texas star is that it start spinning when the normally large and heavy plates are shot off. I don't think that the clays are heavy enough that it will spin much if at all. I may be wrong. The other thing is that I think you may spend more time repairing the target holders than actually shooting at the star. I have got to say that you are to be commended for your efforts and I especially like the use of the Lexan cutting board.:D I'll bet your wife will be looking for that soon though.:D

December 30, 2006, 12:01 PM
The first question that comes to me is, will it spin when the clays are shot off?
It spins just fine (pretty maddeningly, actually). It'll even get to spinning just by shooting the center out of the first clay. The center bearing spins as easily as a skateboard wheel. I'll see if I can tape it in action to give you an idea of the rotation speed. I may need assistance to upload it to youtube (no laughing at my crappy marksmanship!).
Can't do it today. Sucky weather.

The other thing is that I think you may spend more time repairing the target holders than actually shooting at the star
Possibly unless you're as sucky at moving targets as I am. That's why I recommend bringing extra stakes, duct tape, and binder clips along with it. It only takes a couple minutes to replace an arm.
I didn't shoot any binder clips yesterday, but I did manage to "kneecap" the frame. It cost me $1.65 to repair.
The biggest problem I noticed is that the clays aren't too light to get it to rotate, but they are very small targets.

Also, I noticed that it's probably safe to forgo the cross-bolting to the frame. It doesn't seem to need it.

January 1, 2007, 07:45 PM
2nd session:

Didn't bother bolting the frame together this time and it stayed up.

We shot off 1 binder clip and had to re-tape a couple arms. No big deal.

I have noticed that the clays don't always like to let go (Remington sporting clays from Wal-mart). Sometimes they'd hole out the center or split but stay attached.
This led to some funky balance situations where none of the clays were visible in the bottom.
Still no video yet (I went to the range by myself and ran into a shooting buddy there).

January 2, 2007, 08:51 PM
Glad to hear that it works well. I hope you forgive my earlier skepticism. How does the pvc stand up to being hit? Do you think that an A-frame type stand would work? I think that it could and it would help in making it more portable. Now you know you've got me thinking about building one. Damn you.:D

January 2, 2007, 10:17 PM
I hope you forgive my earlier skepticism.
No offense taken. Having somebody point out the pitfalls is a plus IMO.
How does the pvc stand up to being hit?
It doesn't. It shatters like porcelain. :( I'd recommend not shooting it.
Do you think that an A-frame type stand would work?
I don't see why it wouldn't, but that wouldn't give you much room to shoot at the bottom. I knocked mine together with the idea of shooting at the bottom ones so it would be more difficult. Also, the long arms preclude shooting at the top unless you have a very high berm or have it set so far away that the clays are difficult to hit when it's stationary. Also, I don't figure it'd swing very fast if you take it from the top.