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#338202 Welcome to Nerf Engineering

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 12 April 2014 - 02:08 PM in Darts and Barrels

Glad to see you're still at it, Doom. I'll be following this thread carefully.

#329781 Engineering Nerf guns

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 13 May 2013 - 08:45 PM in Darts and Barrels

Interesting work, Doom. I look forward to reading it when I have some time.

Also I'm glad to see that you and a few others are still active as I get back into this hobby.

#316383 Inventables

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 31 May 2012 - 11:22 PM in Homemades

Excellent site, thanks for sharing.

...Though I suspect this thread will be closed.

#310324 Wrist Mounted Flywheel Gauntlet Blaster

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 29 January 2012 - 09:03 PM in Homemades

If you have seen the quick 16, you'll notice how the built in clip is not actually straight. The reason for this is that when you start to stack the sonic darts they curve because of the inconsistent diameter, so if i do build a linear clip i'll have to build that curve too. The reason that i want to build mine around my arm is because it is more stable than having something sticking out a foot in some direction. But again I wont be able to use my other hand very much so thats why i want a large ammo capacity instead of swap-able clips.

I actually meant tube mag. You can cut a slot into the tube and use a finger through the slot to push on the darts from behind. Mount the finger to a constant force spring or even a threaded rod and you can easily get it to travel the length of the tube. Yes, capacity is limited due to the length of stock darts, hence the necessary "quick-change" feature.

For my purposes at least, several small & removable magazines are better than one large & fixed magazine unless you can find a way to reload it very easily. With a drum that will be challenging. You'd have to load one by one while overcoming the spring mechanism. That process may leave you vulnerable.

On a related note this video may stimulate some ideas:

#310282 Wrist Mounted Flywheel Gauntlet Blaster

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 28 January 2012 - 11:15 PM in Homemades

Awesome ideas.

I think the around-the-arm rotary mag will prove cumbersome and difficult to build. There are many challenges associated with rotating and inserting the darts that way. A quick-change linear mag system is probably easiest.

I'm interested to see where you take this. Peering into the mind of another engineering student with similar interests is always fascinating.

#307844 Pimp Your JOLT - Share Your Tips

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 27 November 2011 - 03:41 PM in Modifications

I find that a small barrel shroud is good for storing the jolt in your pocket with a stock dart loaded. It prevents the rubber tip from sticking out and getting hung up on things. Otherwise I don't do much to them. Your improvements are very interesting though.

#307639 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 21 November 2011 - 05:53 PM in Darts and Barrels

@Daniel Beaver: If you go back to my OP, I think I mentioned why I was interested in these in the first place. Basically they're more resistant to axial deformation than foam so they're therefore much better suited for tube magazines. That, plus they're all the same length, means a reliable tube-fed automatic is very possible. The flexibility of the fins still makes them less than ideal for box mags but the unslit variety will probably address that issue.

A rotary breech fed by a tube mag is very simple to build. When time permits I will demonstrate exactly what I intended for these.

#307565 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 20 November 2011 - 12:47 AM in Darts and Barrels

28ga wads are getting 25-30 feet from a Jolt with the AR removed (a necessary modification).

BTW the Jolt is an astounding little blaster and it's worth it to buy and carry several of them.

#307479 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 17 November 2011 - 05:54 PM in Darts and Barrels

Roughly 0.54" at the widest part (tip). The Firefly barrels are two-tiered. The smaller diameter is meant to accommodate the foam while the larger diameter is meant to accommodate the suction cup tip. Sometimes the tip of the wads doesn't make it into the smaller diameter, sometimes it does. Performance is not affected by this. I suspect the Firefly barrels are the source of the inconsistency, but I'm sure the wads play a part too. Either way, they fit well and fly well.

I have no other Nerf guns to try out but I'm expecting they'll be a good fit across all the non-mag-fed spring guns.

Posted Image

Edit: I found my NF and shot myself a few times at 6". The welts attest to the fact that these are NOT on the same safety level as stock darts and they will need to be padded. Ranges from my NF are no better than my Firefly, though my NF usually has a good 20 feet on my firefly with stock darts. I must be hitting that velocity cap again.

Posted Image

#307477 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 17 November 2011 - 05:34 PM in Darts and Barrels

Turns out the red 28ga. wads are a direct replacement for stock darts... In my firefly at least. I now have 500 rounds for $10. I'll need to pad to the tips before using them in HvZ, but I'm thrilled. Flight characteristics are nearly identical to stock darts, perhaps short by 5 feet but pack a more satisfying punch.

Posted Image

#307459 Motor stats

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 17 November 2011 - 12:24 AM in Modifications

First off, I realize that I am probably going to get quite a bit of flack for this post, and if I'm doing anything wrong here I apologize.

I am going to try to make a flywheel gun, and it is cheaper, and more cost effective to buy just the electric motor
does anyone know the stats of any Nerf flywheel gun motor on the market?
Im looking for RPMs mainly, but any information would be useful (or if someone knows offhand where I could find this information).

You can get hobby motors for $1 or less each. The trouble comes when making the flywheels. Balance is important.

It comes down to whether you would rather scavenge from a Barricade or just build your own. I can't see much of a price difference.

#307192 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 09 November 2011 - 11:01 PM in Darts and Barrels

I messed around a bit more today using a rig I had sitting around with a 10ci chamber and a 1" modified sprinkler valve with the same 3' barrel as before. At 125 psi, the velocities from this setup were high enough to induce the same tumbling I observed earlier except this time I used hot glue-filled wads exclusively. After toning the pressure down a bit (no numbers, sorry. I did this by bleeding air through the pilot and the rig I used had no gauge) I was getting ranges from 130-145 feet held flat at shoulder level (I'm 6'1" to put it into perspective).

The tumbling is clearly related to mass vs. velocity so considering you guys have expressed concerns about weight already, I would say 140 feet is about the peak range corresponding to whatever the maximum allowable velocity is for a glue-filled wad. Someone with a chrono could establish that figure but there is, without a doubt, a point at which higher velocity starts to produce poor results.

That said, you could mix in a bb or washer with the hot glue to allow higher velocities and thus higher ranges, but then you'd be toying with kinetic energies unfit for Nerf.

As it is now, they already hit harder than stefans. These wads can only offer the same ranges as stefans if you're willing to accept that.

I was rather excited to see that the wads held up shot after shot and even when they got deformed from hitting a metal plate at 20 feet, they still maintained acceptable accuracy. If you take the time to straighten out the petals first, these things shoot like lasers.

I can see deformation being a problem though. If you step on one, it'll get pretty jacked up and you may not be able to fix it. For me that's no problem; I never intended to pick them up. Their low cost means disposability which appeals to me.

#307144 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 08 November 2011 - 12:18 AM in Darts and Barrels

Another thing to consider is that there are many different designs for shotgun wadding. The part between the petals and the cup is shaped different in different brands and for different uses.

Sample of 20 gauge wads

The unslit cylindrical variety is of great interest to me. If the OD is the same, it would be more suited for an autoloader due to the inherently more rigid structure. But at much greater cost it seems...

#307119 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 07 November 2011 - 10:03 PM in Darts and Barrels

Not the OP but a reply to a comment.

Don't quote me on it but I've been told that 12ga wads work in 3/4" Type L copper and 3/4" sch80 PVC.

I'm also working out the distribution of some samples over PM.

For the record, the tests were done by blowing air into a pipe through a compressor nozzle at 125psi. Typically those blowguns are rated for 11cfm @ 100psi.

#307089 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 07 November 2011 - 03:20 PM in Darts and Barrels

One thing I'm concerned about is getting proper barrel friction for springs. Since these don't deform in the same way which foam does, you can't do the "tight fit" trick with springers. You really need that initial static friction to build up the pressure in the plunger tube. Since the ammo can't deform, we might have to flip our method: deformable barrel. I'm thinking you could probably accomplish that with an internal o-ring, or perhaps some sort of rubber fitting on the inside. The point being, we might need to change our assumptions about what is the "correct method" for accomplishing certain goals.

Keep in mind the petals will press outward against the barrel with backpressure. The effect won't be as great as with foam, but it's something. If necessary the petal section could be plugged with foam to encourage constant outward pressure. But that knocks the weight up some...

#307086 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 07 November 2011 - 03:12 PM in Darts and Barrels

Edit: Langley - once I get some free time, I'll be sure to give these a try. Maybe a local gun store will have smaller bags for less (not that $10 is that much.) I'm sure they'll think I'm nuts if I bust out some pipe and start testing fit. (Either that, or they'll call the BATF because they'll think I'm trying to make a fully non-metallic weapon such as In the Line of Fire. If you don't hear from me for a few weeks, I'm likely in an undisclosed location...)

That's precisely what I did this weekend.

Before anyone gets their hopes up about these I suggest waiting for more substantial tests. The preliminary tests were promising but there is still much to consider. I have numerous test beds with which to evaluate these using different weights, pressures, and barrel lengths. I don't yet know how deformed, bent, etc. they can become without losing accuracy and that is also a big concern.

The trouble for me is that I don't get home from college very often anymore but this Wednesday it's possible.

#307046 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 06 November 2011 - 07:27 PM in Darts and Barrels

I'd like to see these tested in the state-of-the-art blasters to see how they perform compared to traditional darts as well.

This brings up the advantage that attracted me. Being more rigid than foam, these are well suited for linear tube magazines and, with some slight modifications, conventional box magazines. Foam is notoriously difficult to load into any mechanism. These darts would make it easier.

The suggestion of adding foam or otherwise to the impact face should help a lot with safety concerns.

BTW the 12ga wads are said to fit well in 3/4" sch80 PVC.

#307031 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 06 November 2011 - 03:26 PM in Darts and Barrels

I tested the hot glue weighted dart on myself at 10 feet from the the 3' barrel. The pain was just less than your typical airsoft gun. So yes, they hurt, but this was without any felt tip or other padding. The plastic does not compress upon impact the same way FBR does so you experience a higher impulse.

It's not likely these will be accepted in any major wars, but for the informal ones my friends and I have, this is perfectly game. Once again... not for everyone but they will have their specific purposes.

#307028 Alternative Ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 06 November 2011 - 03:07 PM in Darts and Barrels

I understand this hobby is very loyal to its traditions (and often with good reasons) but in any case I'm posting this thread to share a potential alternative to stock darts and stefans for those with who are not averse to a bit of change. If you don't like what I show below or feel it has no place in Nerf, please provide nothing more than constructive criticism or move along. I have no intention of bringing down this hobby; I only want to share an idea which has potential for some enthusiasts like myself.

The alternative darts are shotshell wads. Normally they're used to encapsulate a stack of lead shot and allow it to be fired through the barrel of a shotgun. As darts, they're fired in reverse - that is, with the encapsulating "petals" as the trailing end.

Posted Image

From left: 20 gauge wad with tip filled in with hot glue, 20 gauge wad left alone, 28 gauge wad.

Posted Image
(hot glue filled)

Posted Image
(20ga stock)

Posted Image
(28ga stock)

I've yet to find a good fit for the 28ga wads but the 20ga fit extremely well in 1/2" sch40 PVC. I tested some by loading them into a 5" length of pipe and blowing air through the pipe with my compressor. With that setup, the wads were consistently reached 40 feet flat with no weights or modifications of any sort. Doing the same with a 3 foot length of pipe yielded higher muzzle velocities which made the wads tumble due to their light weight. I took one and filled in its tip (which is concave almost like a hollowpoint) with hotglue. It then fired 80 feet consistently from the 3 foot pipe.

Every single shot had superb accuracy. These things are cheap (500 @ $10), durable, and require zero-to-minimal preparation (depending on how you use them).

Link to purchase.

More on this later...

#306685 Dartsmithing Tips Archive

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 29 October 2011 - 06:34 PM in Darts and Barrels

Sorry, delete this.

#306684 Dartsmithing Tips Archive

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 29 October 2011 - 06:32 PM in Darts and Barrels


Your constructive comment is appreciated. In the past you've commented in regard to my [overly elaborate] creations. I'm making an effort to simplify things a bit and for a few months now I've been nurturing a new idea which should demonstrate that. But, I couldn't move forward with it until I found a good form of recreational ammo that wouldn't be as troublesome for autoloaders as typical foam-based darts. Out with it then.

I just saw on one of the airgun/blowgun forums that 20 gauge shotshell wads happen to have a great fit in 1/2" sch40 PVC. Modified wads of all gauges are commonly used as cones in homemade blowgun wire darts. The wads themselves look like promising projectiles once properly weighted and padded.

Here's a picture to give you an idea: Posted Image

When fired out of a shotgun, the section with the "petals" is actually the front because it contains the shot. I hope to fire them reversed. The petals should offer sufficient drag stabilization and the opposite end should allow easy insertion of a small washer weight and adhesive felt or foam tip for safety. These wads can be had for $0.02 each (500 @ $10) without the aforementioned additions.

Safe? Yes, once you pad the tip.
Durable? At least as durable as stefans.
Searchability? Most wads are translucent white or green as shown.
Cost? $0.02 each plus weight and tips. Under $0.05? I think so.
Accessibility? Numerous stores online, gun shops, outdoor retailers. No major cutting required. Hot glue in a washer, stick on a felt tip, done. Consistent and fast.

Size? Well, I'm not expecting this to be a game changer at all. Only a type of ammo that would meet the demands of autoloading homemades. Feeding soft foam through a mechanism without damage is a hellish task. If I prove that these can work and if the community would accept them, I think they could open up some doors for us if used in tube style magazines.

I'm going to pick up another rifle at Cabela's next weekend so I'll get a variety of wads to try while I'm at it (Yes, I got ahead of myself when I said I was already experimenting, but I promise that's going to happen soon). I'm not getting my hopes up, but their use in blowgun darts is quite reassuring.

#306674 Dartsmithing Tips Archive

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 29 October 2011 - 04:01 PM in Darts and Barrels

Here's a question for all you guys before I anger the mods for creating a new thread:

How would the Nerf Community receive a dart alternative that does not use foam as its main constituent? I'm experimenting with pre-made plastic "hulls" that have been weighted and padded to offer similar performance to stefans but require a fraction of the cost and assembly time. They would be fit to the bore of 1/2" sch40 PVC.

Input is appreciated.

#304687 Epoxy Resin Cast Blaster Parts!

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 13 September 2011 - 07:06 PM in Modifications

Very nice. I'd even implant some music wire or similar "rebar-like" reinforcement to keep things good and strong, especially on a trigger like that.

#304381 New Nerf Series!

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 06 September 2011 - 12:04 PM in General Nerf

So far I'm very disappointed in the performance of the Vortex blasters. I don't see a transition being made anytime soon.

#303547 Homemade PulseStrike

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 19 August 2011 - 09:45 AM in Homemades

I found that you can get a good seal in 2" sch40 using a #9562K48 skirt seal. The fit is very tight, however. If you let the skirt seal sit inside the pipe for a while it might eventually conform. That plus good lubrication should make it work for this. Or, go straight to 2" ID polycarb tube and it'll work immediately.

Buff, would you consider making an equivalent test rig without the spring system to see just how much the spring helps? I think all of us would be curious to see the difference.

#303533 Homemade PulseStrike

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 18 August 2011 - 10:30 PM in Homemades

I never really thought about the possible advantages of pressurizing a spring-loaded chamber like this. I imagine the results would be similar to a chamber made of latex tubing (which may be easier to build). This is a great innovation for air powered blasters as efficiency can be increased while size can be decreased. Nice work.

If you replaced the ball valve with a QEV or something like that, you should be able to get the same power from an even smaller gun while creating a more ergonomic "trigger".

I may make a similar rig with a dual-acting air cylinder to test this concept and find an ideal balance between input pressure and air-spring pressure... On a similar note, I wonder how much performance could be squeezed out of a water hammer arrester.

#303532 Pitbull Shotgun ammo

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 18 August 2011 - 10:18 PM in Homemades

Buck and ball, eh?

I like the idea of faking someone into dodging the big grenade and then getting caught off guard by the followup darts. Problem is, you have to ensure adequate scattering at the intended ranges so that the enemy, despite moving out of the way of the grenade, still gets hit by those followup darts. But if you've gone through the effort to do that, you might as well just fire a whole bunch of small darts and skip the grenade.

#303428 Ammo counter

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 16 August 2011 - 10:00 PM in Modifications

You can always use a multiplexer to free up some pins. That complicates the circuit a bit though. And you might want to check the datasheets for that LED and whatever microcontroller you use to avoid exceeding the maximum current draw when displaying the numbers (like 8) assuming you're powering the LEDs directly from digital outputs. An easy fix would be to power them all from a 5V line and simply switch them on and off with digital outs.

#303400 Ammo counter

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 16 August 2011 - 04:19 PM in Modifications

If you really want to cut back on size, the new PICAXE 08M2 (8-pin DIP) would be more than capable of handling the task. It also uses BASIC. The chip itself is only $3 (of course you still need the development tools) but if you wanted to preprogram a few and distribute them to people for evaluation, that would be cost effective way of doing so.

Aside from basic counters and such, it would be cool if you used some optical sensors or mechanical switches to actually keep tabs on the ammo itself rather than just trigger pulls. That could help with implementing this in full-auto blasters - a factor which would certainly justify the use of a microcontroller over, say, a calculator or pedometer.

Keep up the good work, this is a step in the right direction for Nerf IMO.

#303391 Ammo counter

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 16 August 2011 - 10:02 AM in Modifications

μCs have tons of potential for Nerf as I've demonstrated a couple times. That said, this is a bit over the top, but definitely cool.

#302549 Combustion Power Plants

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 30 July 2011 - 04:01 PM in Homemades

@Tantum- I definitely didn't expect to hear that.

I finally had time to test this out with a 12" barrel and I got just over 100 feet held 2 feet off the ground firing 1.5" washer darts. The flat trajectory amazed me. I will now go ahead and turn this into something usable.

#302420 A2

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 27 July 2011 - 10:25 PM in Homemades

It's certainly possible, but the A2 was purpose-built for fast-paced close quarter engagements in HvZ. Pumping would not have been ideal there. I'm taking a step away from this in my future projects, though. When I come back to Nerfing next year, I'll be bringing something entirely new to the hobby.

#301837 A Nerf gun leads to serious charges for a Quincy teen

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 19 July 2011 - 10:23 PM in General Nerf

It's always a shame when things like this give innocent hobbies a bad name, but I am glad to see the kids are getting punished. That sort of thing is not acceptable.

#301776 Combustion Power Plants

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 18 July 2011 - 03:40 PM in Homemades

Thanks. The duct tape was temporarily holding the two halves of the combustion chamber together to facilitate adjustments to the spark gap. That should give an idea of how weak the combustion pressures are here.

Don't quote me on this, but I recall seeing that typical propane combustion pressures peak around 120psi and of course it's only for a brief time. That said, I feel comfortable holding this in my hand. There are no indefinitely pressurized plastic parts to shatter when dropped. The propane line is regulated to a very safe 45psi and assuming it's sealed properly (which it is) there's no risk of leaks catching fire. Flashback is also impossible. If I ever adapt this to a handheld blaster, I'll take additional safety precautions including containment of the propane (or smaller - butane) tank in a padded case.

The advantages over spring-piston blasters are still minimal, though. If I could automate the firing cycle with actuators and solenoids somehow, I'd be on my way to having a blaster with the A2's abilities at far less operating cost.

#301699 Combustion Power Plants

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 17 July 2011 - 03:52 PM in Homemades

Edit: delete

#301698 Combustion Power Plants

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 17 July 2011 - 03:47 PM in Homemades

I expect this to be shunned but in the event someone here is interested, I'd like to share another one of my projects. Earlier in the summer I spent some time investigating propane combustion power plants for Nerf. My hope was to create something that would provide performance similar to spring-piston guns without the cocking effort and construction time. Using some scrap parts and materials, I built a volumetrically metered test rig to see if the idea had any potential.

Those familiar with spudguns know that a volumetric propane meter typically uses two ball valves connected to a regulated propane supply. The first valve lets propane into a small reservoir of specific volume. That valve is then closed off and the second one is opened, allowing the propane inside the small reservoir to enter the combustion chamber to mix with fresh air inside. The spudgun is then ready to fire. My test rig does essentially the same thing, but consolidates the metering system into one little 3-way valve with some convenient features. It has a threaded portion below the button and it exhausts air (in this case propane) around the button. This valve is mounted at the back of the combustion chamber using those threads such that the button is inside the chamber. The test rig has a floating barrel portion/piston with a rubber seal. When the barrel is pushed back within the combustion chamber, it impacts the valve's button and causes regulated propane to enter a tiny reservoir. When the barrel is pulled forward again, the valve then releases that propane into the chamber to mix with fresh air that enters via a check valve and aided by vacuum caused when the barrel is pulled forward (assuming it has been loaded with a dart). The rig is then ready to fire. The spark is provided by a piezo igniter.

The video should explain this process more clearly: http://s237.photobuc...nt=MVI_2467.mp4

Posted Image

Posted Image
Note: That messy looking pipe nipple sticking out from the valve is NOT the reservoir. The schrader valve is not part of this either. I just put those on there to protect the ports from epoxy when I sealed everything off. The actual reservoir exists between the perpendicular port on the valve, and a hex plug that fits flush inside it. The reservoir is ridiculously small in reality. Propane is injected at 45psi. So far the rig has fired several hundred shots and the propane tank is still quite heavy.

Posted Image
(Actual fittings shown here)

It should be obvious how the firing cycle can be adapted to a bolt-action configuration with that barrel/piston plugging into a barrel extension on the forward stroke and exposing a breech on the backward stroke. When I have time, I will complete the rig and post more pictures. With an effective barrel length of only 3 inches, the rig gets consistent ranges of about 60 feet held horizontally four feet from the ground.

DISCLAIMER: This project involves PROPANE, HIGH VOLTAGE, and FIRE! Be aware of all risks involved when starting a project and DO NOT hold others [ME] responsible for whatever bad things may happen.

#301692 Homemade "Internals" Nitefinder

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 17 July 2011 - 01:36 PM in Homemades

Very nice. Nerf usually manages to do a good job with their toys' ergonomics that can be difficult to copy in pure homemades. Adaptations like this are always cool to see.

#301375 A2

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 11 July 2011 - 07:52 PM in Homemades

40 feet flat with stock darts @ 100 psi. With stefans, a larger reservoir, and some valve time adjustments I expect much more than that. The gun performed very well today. Full-auto proved especially useful. 0 misfires but a few fishtails due to the stock darts. There are 15 barrels btw.

#301332 A2

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 10 July 2011 - 11:50 PM in Homemades

After months of development and weeks of construction, I present the A2:

Posted Image
(picture taken at about 95% completion... there were a few minor changes and some things were tidied up)

The A2 is the next level electropneumatic revolver designed to take the proven ARchangel concept, improve upon it, and apply it to a neater platform. Like before, it features select-fire and runs off CO2. The circuitry and coding are much improved. The layout of the weapon draws inspiration from the Nerf Firefly; it essentially matches the footprint and adds a foregrip.

There will be more details to come, but it's been a very tiresome week getting this thing to work in time for opening day of my town's annual HvZ game tomorrow, and I have to rest for it. Expect a more thorough report as well as some actual battle results in the days to come... assuming I don't get killed off too soon.

#298693 Adventures in Airguns

Posted by PVC Arsenal 17 on 26 May 2011 - 04:48 PM in Homemades

Just a suggestion since you mentioned it: Typical OPRV's from hardware stores can be modified to crack at lower pressures. Just drill out the part that's been pinned, remove the top plug, and switch out the spring for a lighter one and adjust the thread depth until you get the cracking pressure you desire. It could save a couple bucks for anyone looking to incorporate some safety features in their projects (always a good practice).

And what do you plan on using for the fill and pilot valves? (Sorry if you already covered that) Individual valves like the ones shown in the diagram above aren't ideal for a handheld blaster. You can accomplish both filling and piloting with just one Normally Open 3-way valve. They can be costly (and can't be found on McMaster... trust me) but you can substitute in a sleeve valve/slide check valve which works just as well (and can be found on McMaster).

Here's my example: Posted Image

You of course need to improvise with the trigger and prevent the sleeve from rotating, but that's easy. They're cheap too.

The more expensive route can look much neater, though: Posted Image