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Weekend Workshop: Build a semi-automatic snowball launcher

Need something to keep you busy this weekend? Look no further. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column where we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials on the Web, and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage — it’s time to start building!

In the instant Christmas classic Elf, Will Ferrell plays a human-turned-elf who possesses the uncanny ability to throw snowballs as if he were firing them out of a Tommy gun. Obviously, this is Hollywood we’re talking about, so Ferrell’s magical ability to huck snowballs a dozen a second was merely a pipe dream when the film released. However, thanks to some ingenious engineering from an ex-NASA employee, anyone with a cordless leaf blower, some ABS piping, and an abundance of neighborhood snow can construct their very own semi-automatic snowball launcher. Better yet, even amateur DIYers can up their snowball game to Buddy the Elf levels in a matter of hours.


In a video posted to his YouTube channel, San Francisco’s Mark Rober details the build process for a snowball machine gun of which he calls a “must have in any self-respecting Uncle’s arsenal.” Though the video doesn’t delve specifically into the materials needed or necessary steps, he did acknowledge that — with the help of his brother — he posted a PDF of the snowball launcher’s build instructions with a step-by-step walkthrough. To make things easier, we went ahead and deciphered the exact materials and tools needed to pull of the build, listing each component required for construction. Here’s everything you’ll need before beginning:


  • Metric wrench or ratchet set
  • Duct tape
  • Table saw or jig saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Electric drill or drill press


Once you’ve amassed the necessary equipment, it’s time to get started on actually putting together the launcher. Simply head over to the published PDF for a complete rundown on how to turn a simple leaf blower into a neighborhood-dominating snowball shooter in a matter of hours. Happy building!

The full instructions on how to build this semi-automatic snowball launcher can be found here.