If you’ve ever read a Spider-Man comic book or watched any of the movies, you’ve probably dreamed about swinging through the city using Spider-Man’s web shooters. We know JT over at Built IRL on YouTube sure did, and he even created his own version of the slingers.
Back in December of 2020, JT wowed everyone with a grappling gun that was straight out of a video game or movie. Now, the impressive engineer is back and channeling Peter Parker for his latest build. While the web shooter isn’t a screen-ready replica (or shoot web, darn it!), it still gets the job done. Watching Spider-Man do his thing on screen is exciting, but JT’s hands-on approach as a mechanical engineer brings the experience to an entirely new level.
The video below shows JT swinging around the gym with the shooter, along with his clever process and numerous attempts to get it right:
As you’d expect, JT went through several iterations and experiments to hone the launcher into what it is today. Previous versions included wrist-worn launchers, spools of high-strength cable, backpack-centric air compressors, and even touch-sensitive gloves that worked via specific wrist and finger taps.
The final product is a big improvement and seriously impressive. JT created a metal tube loaded with a cable that’s embedded with metal hooks that can launch out thanks to a compressed propane and custom igniter. Once launched, the cable can wrap around a metal beam and secure itself.
But the rig does come with some limitations. Because mild explosives are part of the process, each shooter needs to be refilled before it can be used again, which isn’t ideal when you’re mid-swing. JT built seven launchers in total and attached them from his belt (definitely thinking like a superhero there), grabbing a new one for each new swing. If he needs to go further, he might be out of luck, but it’s certainly an awe-inspiring start!
Without some elements of fantasy or movie magic, however, it’s not likely that Peter Parker’s actual web shooters will ever come into fruition, at least not any time soon. Still, though, the technology is cool and we’re always ready to cheer on anyone willing to try and bring superhero gadgets off the big screen and into reality.