The bow in question is this one that the girl is using.


The setting is steampunk. The idea behind it is that the common enemy of the world are Zombies that have skin that is tougher, especially in the heart, which is the area they need to aim in order to kill them without them standing back up.

Since they can't penetrate the hearts, they develop these steam weapons, devised to do exactly that, basically to add more power to each bullet it is fired, and in the case of this bow, to add more power/speed to each flying arrow.

There's more to it but this is the TL;DR of it, and trust me, if you want to question it more the world will start falling apart, so don't even bother.

The questions here are:

  • Is this bow possible?
  • If so, would it work as it was intended, adding more power/speed to each arrow?
  • If so, how do you think it would work?
  • If it is a feasible bow, ergo, it can work by real world physics, what would be its pros and cons? would it be better than a normal bow?
  • What would you need to keep in mind in order to safely use this bow without harming yourself?

Just found this question in another site, but I think this is the site were a more proper answer can be given and I was interested in it myself, mostly for the rule of cool than anything else, and may add something like this in my world if the answers prove positive and make my imagination run wild :)

Hope you have fun answering these questions too!


closed as too broad by L.Dutch, Frostfyre, Aify, sphennings, Mołot Jan 23 '18 at 18:17

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Ceci n'est pas une pipe, and the moving picture of a bow is not a bow. Are you seriously asking how the moving picture of a bow would work in real life? If you are asking about how a bow made after some technical design would work in real life you must give the technical parameters (how much steam, at what pressure, what is the bow made of, the string, the arrow etc.) Then, if you want more than a ballpark estimate, there is an Engineering Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 23 '18 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Too many questions in one. Don't be afraid to split this one into multiple, single question, posts. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 23 '18 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ It looks like people trying to design something that looks cool and maybe inspired by modern compound bows. But it doesn't look functional at all and I have no idea what the spinning and gas release is suppose to signal. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Jan 23 '18 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Guys, guys, don't take it too seriously. @AlexP I thought that we are here in "worldbuilding". Things that don't look practical often are proven they are, and in many of these cases there aren't images provided in said questions. I think a moving image is enough to deliver the idea. I would like for you to provide an answer to the question instead of just writing it off. I will give it though that maybe I would get a more complete and profound answer in Engineering, but I expect answers with full math on and I wanted a picture in my mind on how the mechanism could work more than raw numbers. $\endgroup$ – Emmanuel Gonzalez Caseira Jan 23 '18 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I considered it, but since if people answer with just no will only answer one question, I think it is ok to have it all in one post, no need to put in multiple queston posts. $\endgroup$ – Emmanuel Gonzalez Caseira Jan 23 '18 at 18:06

The device as pictured is a bit backwards.

What you really need is the steam device to power a "spanning" mechanism to draw the bow, rather than the human archer trying to draw it. Steel crossbows in the middle ages could have draw weights of up to 200lbs, needing a crank or other device to actually draw the bow. Once it was drawn, the archer places the quarrel in place, aims and releases.

enter image description here

Steel crossbow with cranking mechanism attached

So the "steam" device powers the cranking mechanism, and the archer does the rest of the work. For balance, and to prevent the heat, steam and smoke from the combustion from disturbing the crossbowman, the device should probably be mounted in the middle of the stock, with a gear train leading to the drawing mechanism.

enter image description here

Some artists have already thought of this


This can be made work (not by steam, unfortunately) by having the string to be very loose and having the trigger mechanism to power a very fast tightening spool.

Arrow would be literally teared from archer's hand, but that wouldn't be a problem since there would be little to no tension before trigger is pulled.

Depending on the winch mechanism this can have a very strong force with a relatively short bow.

  • $\begingroup$ It almost looked to me like steam-powered blocks. $\endgroup$ – Oleg Lobachev Jan 23 '18 at 20:50

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