The Compound Bow’s Basic Components

The first compound bow was invented by Missouri Bow hunter Holles Wilbur Allen in 1966, and granted a US patent in 1969. A compound bow is a modern bow that utilizes a levering system to pull or bend the limbs with cables and pulleys. Its limbs are made much stiffer than usual compared to the recurve bow or longbow. It is this stiffness that makes it able to shoot arrows faster and with more power due to the greater energy stored in the limbs. The strings are attached to a pulley or cam, with one or both has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. The pulleys turn every time the string is drawn back, which causes the pulleys to pull the cables, and causes the limbs to bend. Once the limbs are drawn back by the archer, energy is stored in the limbs, ready to shoot at arrow towards its intended target.

What a Compound Bow is Made Of

The central riser is the central mount for other parts such as the limbs, stabilizers, sights and quivers, and is mostly made up of aluminum or magnesium. Most risers are made out of aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum alloy, and designed to be as rigid as possible. The limbs are made of composite materials or composites – which are made from two or more constituent materials of different physical or chemical properties engineered to make a stronger and better component, and are capable of taking high tensile and compressive forces. All the energy generated by a drawn bow is stored in the limbs – not in the pulleys and cables.

Common configuration of the compound bow presents a cam or wheel at each end of the limb, which may vary from different bow designs. Utilizing how the cams store energy in the limbs has varying concepts which fall under a category called bow eccentrics. The most common types of bow eccentrics are the Single Cam, Dual Cam, Binary Cam, and Hybrid Cam. The less common designs are the Hinged and Quad Cam.

The compound bow strings and cables are typically made of high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE), a very tough material with very high impact strength, highly resistant to corrosive chemicals and abrasion, extremely low moisture absorption, is self-lubricating, and has significantly lower coefficient friction than nylon. It is comparable to Teflon, and is odorless, tasteless, and non-toxic. This highly-modern material are designed to have minimal stretchability and superior tensile strength, and is what makes the compound bow able to transfer all the stored energy of its limbs as efficiently and durably as possible to the arrow. Earlier models of compound bows had plastic-coated steel cables.

Written by Newport Beach Compounding Center Staff

As one of the most experienced compounding pharmacies in Newport Beach, We provide a valuable service working together with physicians and patients to create medications tailored to specific requirements. We are specialists in the art and science of pharmacy compounding. Our Team of experts can meet all of your unique pharmaceutical needs.

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