Miniature Compound Bow

by DonStick3l Jan 21, 2018
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what do you need to keep it all in place??

Like screws for assembly? A list of all required parts is attached in the gallery as well as the manual.

i cant get the limbs to print for nothing the way they are on the build plate i get one arm of the limb and the printer prints in thin air on the second arm with supports ive tried several times and the print fails no matter how i lay the part ..after a few fails it printed!!!

Dude do your research before 3D printing yourself

Thanks for sharing this cool project. Check your tip jar.


I'm having trouble removing the supports, specifically for the cam, idler and counterweight hull. the last one is going best, but i can't remove the supports for the cam and idler the way you specified in the instructions. what can i do about this?

You mean from the notch in the idler wheel and cam? You basically have to punch a hole, get behind the support (which should only be a single wall) and then pry it out with a needle or similar thin and rigid tool.

Great design Don and it works great. Thanks, Giving it to my grandson for Christmas.

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where can i find arrow info? this is on my list fir after i finish xmas gifts andi don't see arrow info. am i blind?

I used bambo skewers, masking tape for the fletching and dipped the 2 ends in epoxy for strength.

I put some info on how to build arrows in the instructional document PDF in the download section.

Quick question: I have a guy wanting to pay me to print this for him, and was wondering if you would be OK with that. ( I would only be charging for filament basically) thank you!

It is your work and materials that go into making this thing so of course I encourage you to charge for these expenses.
I only put the design under non-monetization license to at least try to hinder anyone from stealing it. It simply happens to often designs/models are downloaded from the public domain only to be re-uploaded on TurboSquid or some other paid platform.

thank you, I appreciate it!

I have a MP select....do you know if I can scale it down slightly to fit my bed? The riser had to be scaled to 85% to fit....do you know if this would work?

No you won't find any fitting bolts and nuts at this scale. M3 bore holes would be scaled down to 2.55, a non existent standard. The goto solution here would be to break down the riser into two parts to be printed separately and reattached later on.

By quick research your print volume is 4.7" x 4.7" x 4.7" (120 x 120 x 120 mm) correct?
I actually went back to my design and divided the riser at the only feasible location, the grip. The two parts will be reassembled by means of the four holes in the grip which already allow for M3 bolts.
The upper larger part now has the dimensions 124 x 39.5 x 26.3 mm. Oriented diagonally, it should fit on your printbed just fine.

Remember this technique is untested and I don't know if the riser will be as sturdy as printed in one piece (probably not)!

Have problem to understand how to put the string.
Can some one make video of it how it is put on.
The guide is just not helping me and on pictures you can't see anything

Please help

I didnt read Don,s instructions but found the stringing wasn't to hard if you got the wheels in the right place and turned right. Stringing will only work if those wheels are right.

No worries, you are not alone there!
I finally gave in, took some time and published an instructional video (https://youtu.be/lR2IHDQ0kf0). Turn on subtitles for a step-by-step guide.
I hope this will clear things up a little. If you have further questions, please feel free to ask!

the quality of the instructions images is too low, i can't read it

You mean the preview images of the part lists?
Click on the fullscreen icon and then "View Original" on the top left. This will take you to the full resolution image.
By the way the lists are also included as PDF in the thing files.

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What is the bigest thing of this bow.?

The riser has the largest dimensions. It measures 161.5 x 39.5 x 26.3 mm.

hey, i wanted to ask you a some things. will the limbs bend over time and lose their power? if i do a 160% scale bow, which screws i have to use?

or maybe i could just make it 133% so i can just use m4 screws

In my experience limbs made from a fairly elastic material like PETG or ABS do hold up very well and keep their power after an initial drop. My PETG limbs had to bear several hundred shots at this point and I still use the first pair.

Regarding scaleup of the model I think there are already two or so makes by users who had this exact same idea (I cannot seem to find them now though). As metric ISO bolts and nuts scale up linearly you should be able to substitute M3 for M4 @133%, M5 @167% and so forth. Keep in mind you also have to scale the lengths accordingly. A well sorted hardwarestore should provide everything you need.

Thank you, im printing the 133% one right now. I already did the 100% one and it's fabulous, really well made model, it shots further than 20m but I wanted to try something more powerfu, and that's why I'm printing it 133%l One last question, why doesn't the model have two cams like normal compound bows? (Sorry for my bad English :3)

With the design I went for a so called single cam compound bow. As the name suggests it requires only one cam and a primitive idler wheel on the other limb. The advantages of this design are: You only have to print one cam which is by far the most delicate part. Stringing the bow is way easier plus you do not need to worry about synchronizing two cams (which you have to do for standard compound bow designs). The major disadvantage is the "nocking point" (where you put the arrow on the string) shifts quite a bit while tensioning the bow.
At least that is my understanding of the technology so far. I'm no professional archer and this design was my first attempt at making a compound bow.

Just posted my Make, thanks again, it was great fun and quite a challenge.

Only problem I have is that my string tends to skip the wheels while pulling. Especially the string from the idler wheel is leaving in a very steep angle towards the cable guide. Any idea if iI missed something or what I could do to improve?

This is just plain sick, I can't wait to print this out!

Hey Don, I designed this Arrow Holder to go with your bow:

...just felt wrong hanging the bow for display in my garage without it. ;)

Arrow Holder (for Miniature Compound Bow)

Very nice! Definetely going to print this as soon as I'm back home.

This might be the most well-documented 3D build I've ever come across on here! Thank you so much for all the work you put into the docs and the model! Can't wait to finish this and shoot it with my daughter! :)

Can I please get a measurement from the center of the idler to center of the cam (before the string is installed)?

Also, if it's printed scaled up, how would I find the proper string length needed? Same scale increase?

Distance between idler wheel pivot and cam pivot is 238 mm in tension-free condition.

Theoretically the string length should scale linearly together with the bow. But I'm not 100% sure due to the complex geometry of the cam.


Very cool design. It works very well. I am using a 0.4 fishing line as string on it and I clocked it at 15m/s. I am currently printing it at 225%. Can't wait to see the result when done :) .

I have a issue with the cable guard. It is pulling the cord to the side a bit to much and after I shoot there is a 50% chance that the cord will jump from the wheels. Is this something that happens to anybody else? Or maybe I did something wrong that causes this?

I've heard of the string jumping from the wheels for two reasons:
A: Too rigid or thick string. If the string is not flexible enough it does not cling to the tight curves of wheel and cam too well. The result is a tendency to jump off when releasing a shot. Do you use the solid, transparent type of fishing line or the colored braided one? I switched to the latter lately and it appears to work a lot better.
B: The cable guard should not pull to the side too much. Yet if this is the case there might be a slight mistake in the stringing. Could you post a picture from the side with the guard for me to check it?


first of all, awesome design! It looks amazing :) I am about to print on of these. I hope it will shoot just as well as it looks.

But I still have a question regarding the aux-limbs. In the instructions you mention that the aux-limbs should be printed from rigid pla to provide more strength. However, the parts list recommends PETG for the aux-limbs (just as for the regular limbs). I am currently printing the aux-limbs with PETG as I did only look at the parts list until now. Is that still okay for the bow or should I re-print with PLA?

PETG should be fine too. I have tested both PLA and PETG for the aux-limbs and there was no significant difference from the specific materials I had in stock.
You should try with the PETG ones first as they will definetely work. If you are not satisfied with the bow's strength, reprint them in a more rigid material. But I bet as long as you do not plan on taking it for a hunt, PETG will be powerful enough :)

In theory PETG is stronger than PLA, so it should be ok. I printed in PLA and it works just fine.

What exactly you mean by "fine" :p What range you can shoot at?


Just checking, what do you mean by wall thickness? Do you mean the outline shell? Or do you mean the extrusion multiplier?

Wall thickness is the outline shell basically.

how do i string it and put it together?

You can find detailed instructions on the assembly in the thing download section

I would like to see a bow in action, could anyone upload a video on youtube?

Has anyone tried printing this at 200% scale ?

I don't think so. Only 160%

Miniature Compound Bow

I'm doing one at 200% as we speak on my Taz5. I'll post the results here.

Yes!!! Keep us updated please! :) and also bols size jaajja I think I may use carbon fiber or long sticks from Leroy Merlin

What arrows do you use at 160%?

great work on this model! would you happen to know if mirroring only the riser would make this work for left handed people or is there more i need to do?

Good point! Haven't thought about you lefties till now :)
If I'm not mistaken, there is actually three parts that need to be mirrored for left handed usage:

Riser (as you mentioned),
ArrowGuide (else the opening would be on the bottom -> arrow falling out) &
Cam (cables might collide otherwise)

All remaining parts should be ambidextrous by design, can be flipped or swapped (e.g. IdlerWheel & CableAnchor).
The whole process of stringing has to be mirrored too of course. Which might turn out a little complicated but is totally feasible.

great. ill try that out. i didnt think about it myself until i finished printing the Riser today and realized i couldnt hold it correctly haha. print went well so i dont mind mirroring it and trying again. appreciate the input!!

would printing all parts mirrored not work? just a thought i had.

It sure will and you would be on the safe side this way.
Still most parts or their assembly are symetrical, thus mirroring them will yield the exact same result.

great! thanks you once again for the input. one more question, do you happen to have a good recommendation for arrows? didnt see what anyone was using for those.

I use and recommend skewers made from bamboo (or some other wood?). The ones used for BBQ, fondue etc.than come in packages of 100 pcs or so. About one foot (30 cm - perfectly fits the bow's draw length) long, 3 mm in diameter with one flat and one pointy end. Simply cut a string notch in the flat end and you are ready to go.
In the last chapter of the instructions I included in the download section, you can find further tips on adding a needle tip and fins for flight stabilization.

Very impressive. Noticed you included .dae (collada, I think) files, but they're a low-level 3d format. Do you have any CAD files for this? Would be fascinating to see just how you designed it.

Yep, an other user requested Collada files for modifying parts in SketchUp.
The bow is my original design so I do have a complete Fusion 360 model. I'm not too sure about publishing the CAD files though. Do you plan on modding any of the parts? In this case I could give you the respective STEP file.

No actual plan to mod it. I'd love to CNC my own (actual size) bow someday, but that's a LONG way off. I just found the design complexity with the curves etc. very interesting --- particularly the fit between the red limbs and white riser, and the 3-dimensional curving of the riser & grip --- and wanted to study how it was done from the CAD designs. A video on the techniques used would be equally welcome.

Printed this on our SLA machine, very impressed with the design.

I used nylon string, made a simple knot and used a flame to seal the string loops. This thing shoots amazingly well for such a small bow

Has Anyone tried printing this in ABS? Just curious if it would still work and function correctly.

In my experience with abs this should work fine. Might want to increase the infill slightly as abs is more flexible than pla

Great model! Do you have recommendations for creating the loops of the bowstring? I've looked at videos for creating a flemish knot, but I don't think that applies to this bow. How did you bind the end loop of the string?

Actual bow string is no to different from multiple strands of dental floss i think. get a board and put screws 720mm appart and put a few wraps on it with the floss to make a custom length string, use the ends to tightly wrap a noose like knot at the end, I forget how to make it twist together in the center though. maybe by twisting the floss before you wrap it with a drill.

Thanks! Bowline (aka Palstek) worked pretty well for me. Requires a fairly flexible string though. The 0,7 mm nylon cord I used before was too stiff and would not fasten at all. I got some braided 0,5 mm Polyester predator fishing line off Amazon. Now knots are absolutely secure.

I will try the fishing line. I tried some simple .7mm nylon string but it stretches too much. I followed your PDF for string assembly using metal gate latch wire for holding the nylon in place. That seems to hold so I'll give it a go with the fishing line. Thanks!

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Wrong video linked?

Original comment has been deleted.
Someone posted a tutorial video by a guy with Indian accent on doing sweeps in in Fusion 360 here for some reason.
(Keine Ahnung was das sollte hab auch keine Antwort darauf bekommen.)

du bist deutscher? cool!

Can I print "Limb" and "AuxLimb" with normal PLA ?

I think so as others have printed the whole bow from a single material.
The types of PLA I own are a bit too stiff. And I'm afraid main limbs made out of it might snap. But my auxilary limbs are actually printed from this PLA to provide more power.
Every brand/make of PLA appears to have different mechanical properties. So yours might be a little more elastic thus perfectly suited for the job. I would recommend first printing one limb from your PLA. If you can barely bend it with your hands but feel there is a slight amount of flex, it should work like a charm.

just finished making 2 of these, awesome design. i used nylon serving thread for the string

sorry if this is a stupid question but which model(s) do I need multiple of?

You need two of
AuxLimb (optional),
and LimbCap
each. You can find a part list with the required amount in the download section as well as in the sample images.

thank you so much for pointing that out i completely missed that lol

I made a video about this bow, included a credit for you of course ;)

Great video! Thank you very much!

Echt klasse Anleitung! Aus was machst du die Miniaturpfeile? oder wo gibt es diese zu kaufen?

Danke! Die Pfeile sind alle selbstgemacht. Ich nehme normale Schaschlikspieße aus Holz. Gibts z.B. von Fackelmann (https://www.fackelmann.de/de/haushalt/show/food-more/produkte/schaschlikspiesse-30cm-holz-sbbtl/) oder oft auch noch günstigere aus 1€-Läden. Dann einfach hinten eine kleine Kerbe reingeschnitten, Heckflossen aus Tesa drangeklebt und fertig. Wenn der Spieß halbwegs gerade war fliegen die ausgezeichnet.

Sorry for this...I feel like I'm clogging up the comments with all these questions and requests...but I feel like this will help everyone because I just can't figure out the stringing method. I own 5 compound bows, so I thought it would be easy to copy their method...but none have the same cam design. I think a high resolution picture from each side of the bow so you can zoom in would make it easy to figure out the correct way. Just like the 2nd picture from the left on this Thingiverse page, but from the opposite side (side of the cam with two attachment points)...but also includes the top idler so you can see where everything goes. I've read the instructions at least 10 times...but I think just that one picture that's missing would snap everything into clarity.

No problem! I'm always happy to be able to help a dedicated maker in distress. Just added detail shots of the cam from left and right. Hope that clarifies things a little.

Thanks! In my haste to try this thing out I used cord with just a little too much diameter and it split the idler, cam, etc..when I applied the first pressure...so back to printing again :)

How did everyone print this? Are you using dual extruders with a support filament? I've never had any luck with Simplify3d's support generation.

No dual extruders here. Simply breakaway support structures. Personally I like to use Support Interfaces. Generates a solid barrier between the actual support pattern and the model's surface leaving two layer heights gap. This way the bottom of the model comes out perfect but is easy to separate from the interface (most of the time).

Can't really say anything about Simplify as I'm not willing to pay for a Slicer. But support in Cura and Slic3r works like a charm 90% of the time.

What specific part are you having trouble with?

The limbs. I figured I'd start with what appeared to be the most difficult to print first that way I don't waste a bunch of printing only to find I can't make the final piece.

The adding of supports always leaves a little gap from model before printing the support...but then it's just printing into thin air and turns to spaghetti everywhere and ruins print. I suppose if I change that gap to zero it would solve...but then I'm just adding to the model at that point. I guess I could cut away with a saw or dremel later.

By gap you mean in z-direction between the layers? Because the support generation is supposed to leave one or two layers gap (see screenshot). This way it is easier to remove later on. But as soon as the support is printed after the skipped layers it should stick to the top of the model nevertheless. When producing spaghetti, something else has to be messed up.
Lowering the gap distance to zero will most certainly give you fused model and support. And I don't expect it to be easy nor clean to remove, even by machining with a dremel.

Could you send me the print settings you have tried unsuccesfully?
The only alternative that comes to my mind is to try a different slicer. Cura and Slic3r are both free, so why not give it a shot.

Would you be willing to upload the files after exporting them from Fusion360 to Sketchup format? I understand if you don't want anyone changing your design...I'm just having no luck with several of the parts and think with just a few small mods in Sketchup I can get them printing fine.

Just converted and uploaded every individual part in Collada (.dae) as well as a Blender file with a collection of everything.

Thanks, I'll get this thing printed at some point...lol. Just a curiosity, is there a purpose besides weight, to have the wheels with "spokes"? I was getting very brittle results, and was going to make them solid...wasn't sure if there was a function the particular shape or not though.

Legitimate question. No the skeletonized structure of idler wheel and cam serves no specific purpose in this scale. Of course on a life size bow you would want to cut down on weight. Especially for moving parts as mass comes with inertia and negative impact on the performance.
On a model that small the components in question could simply be made solid. Would be much easier in fact.
I just wanted to keep as much of an original bow's look and feel as possible. And skeletonized always looks damn tactical to me!

You did well, it looks almost identical to my Diamond bow.

Believe me, I didn't want to pay $150 for software that is inferior to free ones out there. Unfortunately I purchased my Dremel Idea Builder when I knew little about 3D printing and proprietary software...and unfortunately Simplify3D was the only software I could find capable of producing the proprietary file my printer needs to print. I honestly think it's a bug with Simplify3D and specifically how it generates the support because I've watched hours of tutorials online and played with all support settings and it just never works out right.

I have had good success drawing my own supports in Google Sketchup when I design my stuff to print...but never with Simplify. I might give Meshmixer a try...or some similar software that can add support and then generate a new .stl file.

Thanks for the help...I haven't given up yet. :)

EDIT: Also the support your slicer generates looks way better than what S3D outputs. I've always wondered if designs can be uploaded to Thingiverse with supports as part of the stl file? Do you know if your slicer will generate an .stl as opposed to a gcode file?

I have found Meshmixer does a really nice job creating easy to remove supports and then exporting a usable stl. But when using Meshmixer, I found, you will want to flip the model over to look at the bottom of the model. Sometimes it will add support where bridging is adequate. You may also want to reduce cell size in the support generator settings. This helps to prevent unnecessary support from being generated.

I just started printing this bow, fairly new to 3d printing.. I was given Cura 15.1 thought it sucked. Used idea maker, even paid for Simplfy3D. Hate it, used every free one I could find. Just before starting printing this I switched to Cura 3.1. I thought printing with supports no matter the setting sucked. I almost didn't print this due to that.

Attached is a pic with Bow so far and the 4 limb pivots. the scrap is just how the limb pivots popped out of the supports. there was zero post processing with those and almost none on the other parts so far.

This is a great model and a big THANKS to DonStick3l. My strings is being made by a custom string maker. when done I will post a made it. the guys around here are big archery fanatics. have already redesigned a few files. Looking to add a bushing in the cam and idler or make a dual cam with bushings. heck this maybe the new darts!!!

Heyya. Made this last night. Works like a champ after I printed the riser like the arms. 2kg draw (if i understand correctly how to measure) (arrow drawn to full with a scale on the tip)


Nice shot!
Hard to tell from the clip for sure but I think the cam might be flipped. Not a real problem, but this way arrows can't be inserted from the left as easyly.

Ah, yeah, I really couldn't work it out from the pictures..

Also where the string/s go, I've only got one in there - as you've got 2 in the instruction manual.

Do you have any videos of this thing in action?

Not yet unfortunately. I wanted this up and shared as soon as possible. I might find some time and upload a demonstration video in the near future. But trust me, this thing works almost too well! Have been testing it extensively on like every day for the past two weeks.

yes, this works very well, Im using fishing nylon and is enough powerful. Very nice design