NES Duck Hunt Game Made Out of Wood | Woodworking Project and Plans


Learn how to recreate the classic Nintendo Duck Hunt arcade game out of wood. This is a one of a kid arcade game that fits inside a wooden box. The box is designed to look like the classic Nintendo Entertainment System console from 1984. This Duck Hunt game is a single player game that uses a Nerf gun as the NES Zapper to shoot ducks down to score points. Each duck is worth one point. If the player shoots down both ducks the duck hunt dog retrieves the ducks and pops up out of the grass! Estimated Cost to Build This Project is $250 and about 20+ hrs to build.

Watch the Video to See How I Made This Classic NES Game





To make this project you will need to follow these basic steps. It is important to know that these are not all the steps need to make this Nintendo Duck Hunt wooden game. The plans I have made provide you all the cut dimensions you need to make this project. In order to complete the project you will need to be familiar with intermediate and advanced woodworking skills.  In addition you will need to have some illustration skills to create the game graphics.


The first step you should take is to print off the digital plans. Once you have everything printed, I recommend that you start by cutting out the material for the bottom of the NES box.


Review your blueprints carefully to see what sizes you can cut all at once. You want to minimize how many times you need to reset your table saw’s fence. This will ensure that your cuts all match up when you go to assemble everything.



After you have used your table saw to cut out your shapes it is now time to use your tape measure and squares to find and place the line work and hole cutouts on the top, and bottom sections of the box



Now that you have located and marked all the cut out lines and details of the box you will need to prep your table saw to cut out the air vent section of the NES. This is where I would recommend using a dado blade to cut everything out. Make sure to set the depth of your table saw blade correctly before cutting


Take your time in cutting this section out and be sure to use a Micro Jig Gripper to keep your hands safe. If you are not sure if you are cutting deep enough use a test scrap of wood as a test. You can always take more wood out later if needed.



The next step is to cut all the line art. To do this you will need to use the Dremel and Dremel Plunge Router attachment. You will also need to set up a guide or a fence to keep the lines straight. You can use a scrap piece of wood and clamps to do this.


I would recommend aligning all your panels on a table and clamping them down before you start cutting the lines, if clamping is too difficult you can use double sided sticky tap. It is best to align all the art work at one sitting so that everything lines up correctly when you have to assemble everything.



Making the push button requires patience and precision. Be sure to take your time when you cut out all the components and parts. Most of the assembly is done with 60sec glue.


Be careful when cutting small parts on your table saw and miter saw. I would recommend cutting one side to the exact size you need and then use a miter saw to cut the small part off. This will give you a larger space for you to clamp or hold down as you cut the smaller part out and keeps your fingers away from the saw blade.



Now you are ready to start assembling your NES Duck Hunt Game. This will require several clamps and lots of glue and brad nails. When building the box be sure to use your square to ensure all the angles are true and nothing has slipped out of space. This is important because you are making a box and boxes need to be square and you want to make sure the mechanics we are going to be building next are set correctly.


I would recommend assembling the base first. Starting with the front of the box and working your way to the back. The angled sides are going to be the hardest to assemble and be sure to take advantage of your clamps and work bench to get this to hold its position as it dries overnight.



Next you will want to assemble the top of the box. This is one of the easiest sections to assemble.



Now that you have the top box assembled it is time to install the mechanics that make this Duck Hunt Game work. You want to start with figuring out the exact location of the supports. I used spacers to ensure I had everything where I wanted it before I nailed and glued it up.


Be sure you double check your measurements before you install the mechanical supports. I accidentally installed everything backwards and had to rip mine out, thankfully I was able to save the top box and didn’t have to rebuild it.



You are almost done! You now need to cut out the artwork and install the front panel. You can cut this out by hand or use a flush trim bit in your router. If you did not create or print your own artwork for the game screen you can purchase the printed version here.


I recommend building a template to ensure you are cutting in the right location. You can use the measurements in the blueprint or from your box by dry-fit everything in and getting your exact measurements. This is what I did because I have learned nothing ever comes out perfect. You can use 60sec glue and 3M double sided tape to secure the template to your art board and then cut everything out on your router table.



Now you are ready to install the art board and hook up all the mechanics to the Duck Hunt game. I recommend using cabinet magnetic latches so that you can remove the art board if needed. I used 60sec glue to install the metal plates to the back of the wood.


You may need more or less magnetic latches to pull in the 1/4in board in specific areas. I ended up using several in my build.



Next you need to fill in all the holes with wood filler and sand the box to prep it for painting.  


I use 220 grit sand paper and after I have sanded everything I use a dry cloth to wipe any fine particles way from my material before paint.


 STEP 12

You are almost done, we now are ready for painting. I used Rust-Oleum Spray paint for most all my projects and found colors that were close. I did not do an exact match to the NES colors because of the additional cost, time and effort required and I just wanted to be done with this build.


Spray out doors or in a well-ventilated area. Make sure the humidity and temperature is within the optimal range for spraying and drying. This will affect how the NES paint job will turn out and how much you may or may not have to do repainting etc.



The Next to last step to this build is to install the hinges and apply the vinyl stickers. I was able to find a neighbor who had a Silhouette Cameo 3 to print the vinyl stickers. This saved me from purchasing one, however I really like what you can do with a Silhouette and may have to get one for myself. I can see lots of uses for this type of tool.


Make sure you print extra vinyl stickers in case you mess up the transfer.



The last step was to mask sections of the Nerf gun with masking tape and spray paint it the NES gray colors to match the classic Duck Hunt Zapper from 1984.  


Make sure you use good masking tape and cover every little crack or hole as the spray paint will find its way in.



This was one of the longest, challenging and complex builds I have ever done! I honestly don’t even know how many hours I spent working on and designing the box game. If I had to put a number on the design time I spent it would be over 40 hours. The prototype build took me about 40-60hrs. I captured over 150 GB of video footage for this project and spend about 40 hours editing the video.

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If you feel like supporting me in other ways check out the other wood working plans I have available and/or support my work by becoming a Patreon Supporter. 



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