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Expand-a-Blast Modification

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#1 Retiate

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:26 AM

It's definitely about time I get this post up here... This is long, long overdue. Like, I've had it finished since the beginning of this year overdue. Because of this, I have forgotten all the precise measurements and I can't open the gun back up. However, if I can figure this stuff out, then you should be able to as well. At least it taught me to put all important information into the little captions under the pictures in my Photobucket. Anyway, on to the mod.

The Expand-a-Blast... A not-so-popular gun, and at first glance, it's not surprising why. The gun is large, way too large for a sidearm, but it seems to lack the potential to make it a primary. My goal was to change that.

So first is to, obviously, open the gun up. No real secret screws that I can remember, and it's got those nice big screws that the older guns have, I really like those. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the internals, but they're nice and simple. Remove all of that expanding garbage, it's all useless. Keep the black handle though, it's nice to have and we'll be using it later. Just keep the plunger, plunger tube, trigger and the catch.

First, I did a simple spring replacement. I used one of those handyman springs that are real popular to use for Nitefinder spring replacements. The dimensions are 7/8" x 4" x .080". The length might be slightly different, as these are the dimensions to what my Home Depot now stocks, and if I remember right, were a little bit different. The 7/8" width and .080" gauge are what's important.
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Next up, the air restrictor. Get your plunger tube, and make it look like this.
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Alright, here's where things start to change. Take a look at the internals. There's a huge useless barrel in front of a very short but wide plunger tube, allowing for a shorter but faster airflow. To me, this thing just screamed "Inline Clip!". So get a 1/2" PVC coupler and chop one side off, so you have a section for 1/2" PVC to go then the little divider thing. This needs to seal in the big barrel as close to the plunger tube as possible. Wrap electrical tape around it until it fits snug back there. Don't make it too tight or you will stress the plastic. You should be able to push it down fairly easily, but it should be snug.
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Now you need a section of 1/2" THINWALL PVC to be the inline clip. This will attach to your half coupler in the back of the barrel and connect to a full coupler on the front for a barrel. Cut it long enough so you can fit a coupler on top that sticks out about halfway. Glue the half coupler to one end of this.
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Now on the end of the half coupler you need something to keep the darts from falling into the plunger tube. I cut a toothpick to size and glued it on there. Anything will work as long as there's no chance of a dart slipping through it. Note in this picture I was using 1/2" Sch. 40 PVC, not thinwall. It didn't work. I had to switch over to thinwall.
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Now slide that into the plunger tube. If your electrical tape is snug enough, it shouldn't need to be glued, the tape should seal well. Here's a picture of about how far your full coupler should stick out. Mine is almost a perfect size and sits just short of flush with the case when the gun is together. Once you have that measured out alright, glue the coupler to the thinwall PVC. Then wrap electrical tape around the coupler and glue it to the big orange barrel. When you put the case back together, you might notice that it doesn't come together in the front. You need to Dremel it out to make room for the coupler.
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I think mine had trouble catching, so I reinforced it a bit.
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And now it needs a barrel. Cut a length of 1/2" PVC and put a barrel of choice on there. You want it to be tight in the back. Otherwise when the gun is fired, darts will just fly through your barrel instead of stopping in the back.
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In case you don't know how an inline clip works, I'll give a little description. Darts are loaded end to end in the thinwall PVC, then one is loaded in the barrel. When the gun is fired, most of the pressure from the plunger flows around your stacked up line of darts and shoots the dart out the barrel, and some of it pushes your line up, where a dart is then pushed into the back of your barrel, ready to be fired. Pretty neat. Thank Carbon for coming up with and building the first inline clip. It's a brilliant design.

Ok, so now you have your inline clip Expand-a-Blast. And you're not done yet. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to go into a war with just that as my primary.

So I decided to take another step and integrate a SuperMaxx 1500 into it. Yes, I'm sure an Airtech 2000 will work as a substitute. I had three or four SM1500s sitting around at the time, so I decided to use one of those.

I figured right where the black handle is would be the best, and maybe the only, spot where the tank could fit. So bust out your Dremel and prepare to sand. A lot. First, take your black handle pieces that look like this:
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And do this:
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Edited by Retiate, 29 November 2008 - 03:40 AM.

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#2 Retiate

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:30 AM

Then you need to cut and sand the shell. Here's what mine looks like.
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And a more zoomed out shot:
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After a ton of sanding, cutting and testing, glue your tank down. Use hot glue to hold it in place at first, then either load up the hot glue or use a stronger adhesive of your choice.
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After you've got that glued down, you need to connect the firing pin to the trigger. Get out some wire wrap it around the firing pin and and glue it to the trigger. I think I wrapped it around the trigger before gluing it on there to make sure that it doesn't come off. If you don't use a solid wire like I did, I'd recommend replacing the trigger spring with a stronger one.
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In order to get your pump outside of the shell, you need to find a way for the vinyl tubing to come to the outside. Remove the pump from the vinyl tubing. Unscrew the piece that holds to pump and tubing together so all you have to do is pull the tubing off. Don't try to remove the tubing from the tank, it's glued on. Push the tubing through the slot on the side of the shell.
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It should look something like this, just without the black handle. Glue the black handle like that, though. I tried to cover the tank and keep it in a nice comfortable spot to use.
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I glued the pump up on the side of the scope looking thing. The handle on the SM1500 is too big to fit there, so I replaced it with the one off my broken Magstrike. Glue the pump tube down with a generous about of hot glue. It's gotta be sturdy if you're gonna be pumping the tank up to decent pressure.
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You will also need a barrel for the integrated tank, and you might notice there is no hole for a barrel to come out. So we just have to make our own. Dremel out the front so a barrel of your choice can fit out the front. I used the medium wall PETG, and I I probably should have gone with something more stable, like brass. I have to be extra careful with that barrel. The Dremeled case:
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Glue your barrel on to the tank, then to the shell so it doesn't wobble around. Mine came loose and can wiggle around a bit, but it stays straight when it's not being pushed on. Try to keep this barrel straight, otherwise you'll have to adjust to the off center aim. I think mine shoots just a bit high.


Next, I added a stock for several reasons. The stock makes it much more comfortable to hold, it makes aiming easier especially while running, it makes pumping much, much easier because you can brace it against your shoulder, and it just makes it look cooler. So here's the stock. I added pipe insulator to make it softer against my shoulder.
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I used 1/2" Sch. 40 PVC for the stock, no elbows or anything, just glued PVC together. The stock has to be sturdy, otherwise you won't want to use it if you fear it might break. So I found the best spots I could glue it on to. For the top piece, I glued it actually inside the scope looking thing. It sticks in there a bit, then I used pieces of 1/2" CPVC to stabilize it more, then loads of hot glue. I also flipped that little plastic thing inside the scope up to use it for aiming, but it fell off and got lost.
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Edited by Retiate, 29 November 2008 - 07:28 PM.

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#3 Retiate

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:39 AM

The bottom piece is against the bottom of the gun, right above the handle. It's glued inside that little section that the worthless pop out stock used to be, and braced against all sides of the shell it contacts and is glued on heavily. The end result is a very sturdy stock. I push on it a lot, especially when pumping, and it doesn't budge. Another picture of the stock. I added some electrical tape to cover up the ugly hot glue.
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And to keep reload times down, I added some ammo holders which I frequently use when firing pot shots with the SM1500 tank. I cut a slot out of the PVC and cut a piece of cardboard to fit in there. I wrapped it in electrical tape to make it more weather resistant, then threw little brushes of red to make it a little less boring. That is then glued on to the cut section of PVC and then finally pieces of PETG are glued on top of that.
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Lastly, put some foam along the handle to pad it down a bit, especially on the area right below the trigger and below the stock where most of the weight would push on your hand. I just used some FBR and electrical tape. Anything should work, just make it a little more comfortable.


And you're done! You have turned your stock my-gun-explodes-in-my-hands-when-I-pull-the-handle-down Expand-a-Blast into a worthy primary capable of firing one long ranged shot backed by several short ranged shots that can fire off as fast as you can cock the gun and pull the trigger.

And, of course, ranges.
The inline clip EaB shots:
1. 43'
2. 52.5'
3. 65'
4. 55'
5. 50.5'
Average: 53.2'

My inline clip holds four darts, plus one in the barrel, so five shots were fired.
I have had some issues with double shots, I still need to experiment with my barrel a bit. I'm using heavy wall PETG, and I think I need something a bit tighter.

The SM1500 tank:
1. 100'
2. 85'
Average: 92.5'

I only fired two shots with this one, after the two, it was clear that this thing was capable of firing a reliable high 80's shot. If I remember right, the 100' was angled up very slightly, then I lowered it for the second shot.

All ranges are flat and rounded/estimated slightly because it's hard to get exactly where the dart hit the ground. Also, ranges are not including dart skip, they are roughly where the dart hit the ground.

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I had a nice video shot for this, but it took forever to get things required to get it on the computer, and so I gave up on that. It would need to be edited and everything, as it's currently just a bunch of clips. The video was the main reason this took so long to get posted, along with other projects I was working on, one of which is also overdue... I need to get on that.
Anyway, enjoy. Sorry for any blurry photos on here. If I had the choice, I would go back and take clearer ones, but I can't open it up because the stock is glued down to both halves of the gun. If you want any specific picure of the exterior just tell me and I'll see if I can get one uploaded.

And if anyone is wondering, the name "Edge" didn't really come from anything specific. I wanted a short name that sounded nice and wasn't real corny. Edge just kinda came to my mind and stuck.

Edited by Retiate, 29 November 2008 - 07:28 PM.

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#4 Icespartan 1114

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:49 AM

Awesome. Great work. I really like the stock peice that you added, does that increase accuracy at all?
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#5 Connor

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 08:06 AM

I love the idea. But one thing you need to work on is the trigger system. To me it looks like when you pull the trigger the air tank pin gets pulled upward. And then not as much air gets out as fast and will brake the pin after some time. But it is a great mod.

Edited by Connor, 29 November 2008 - 08:07 AM.

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#6 mystefansdontflystraight

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:35 PM

Im happy that you posted this. I bought an eab from coop a few days ago. I thought eabs got better ranges though. CXWQ's mod says 75ft. I think coop got in the 60s. ANyway, good job with the clip, and integration.
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QUOTE(Blacksunshine @ Dec 24 2009, 02:15 PM) View Post

QUOTE(white moonlight @ Dec 23 2009, 01:29 PM) View Post

It's just screaming to be rearloading...

I seen a movie about that once.



#7 BlackFox

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 01:31 PM

The long awaited Edge write-up! I can account for this guns versatility- the combination of rapid shots from the inline clip with the long range of the 1500 make it an amazing strategic weapon. You never know whether he's got another shot with your name on it and which barrel it's going to come from.

I love the idea. But one thing you need to work on is the trigger system. To me it looks like when you pull the trigger the air tank pin gets pulled upward. And then not as much air gets out as fast and will brake the pin after some time. But it is a great mod.

Kinda doubt that. The 1500 tank is pretty solid. The most common problem I've encountered with the tank-wire set up is the wire being too short and holding the pin open, but that's not the case here.
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#8 Dayko

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 01:39 PM

Thats pretty cool. I still need to find a EaB. Dang my local thrift stores for not having them!
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#9 Renegademilitia15

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:26 PM

Wow, finally! I remember you perfecting this when I first started nerfing.

/nostalgia

I hope you eventually get the video up, I remember the clips we took being pretty cool.
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#10 Retiate

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 07:23 PM

Awesome. Great work. I really like the stock peice that you added, does that increase accuracy at all?


The stock really helps steady aim while running, bracing it against your shoulder helps keep it steady while your hands are wobbling around.

I love the idea. But one thing you need to work on is the trigger system. To me it looks like when you pull the trigger the air tank pin gets pulled upward. And then not as much air gets out as fast and will brake the pin after some time. But it is a great mod.


Because of how stiff the wire is, it doesn't really pull up on the pin much at all. It opens the tank as much as it can and you can hear the pop of the air rushing out rather than a slower, hiss kind of sound.

Im happy that you posted this. I bought an eab from coop a few days ago. I thought eabs got better ranges though. CXWQ's mod says 75ft. I think coop got in the 60s. ANyway, good job with the clip, and integration.


The reason this only gets mid 50's is because the inline clip adds more dead space and the darts in there bock some of the air flow.

Wow, finally! I remember you perfecting this when I first started nerfing.

/nostalgia

I hope you eventually get the video up, I remember the clips we took being pretty cool.


A video for this is pretty unlikely. I'd have to take more shots, then edit and put together the whole thing. I think I'm just going to save the video ideas for another mod.

I forgot to add in the write up that the handle should definitely be padded. All the added weight really makes your hand ache after some use. Going to add the into the write up now...
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#11 nerfer34

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 10:20 PM

That's the best eab I've seen. Nice.

But you're setup has a ton of dead space... But there's no way to prevent that if you're using the inline(which was a good idea).

Nice work.
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#12 mystefansdontflystraight

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:48 AM

Hmm thats odd. I have a RSCB AT2K and it gets the same range as a singled one... Well I guess that the darts are in front of the air source here, while the AT2K holds the darts on top. Good job. 50ft is still good when you have a 100ft shooter on the bottom.
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QUOTE(Blacksunshine @ Dec 24 2009, 02:15 PM) View Post

QUOTE(white moonlight @ Dec 23 2009, 01:29 PM) View Post

It's just screaming to be rearloading...

I seen a movie about that once.



#13 Kid Flash

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 10:11 AM

Now to search the thrift stores some more for an expand a blast...
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#14 Groove

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 01:19 PM

That's a very interesting and unique concept you've got there. The EaB is a very underrated blaster in my opinion. Nice work.


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#15 TantumBull

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 03:00 PM

Nice job, man! Can I expect to see this any WA state wars?
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#16 Oni Kadaki

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:50 PM

That has got to be one of the most impressive mods I've ever seen. The balance you've struck between ROF and range is wonderful, and I can only imagine this gun is very versatile as a result. Great job.
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#17 Retiate

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 01:05 AM

That's a very interesting and unique concept you've got there. The EaB is a very underrated blaster in my opinion. Nice work.


-Groove


Thanks. I totally agree EaBs are real underrated, and that's one of the main reasons I decided to mod it this way.

Nice job, man! Can I expect to see this any WA state wars?


I have brought this to a couple wars here in Washington, but never used it outside of just local wars just with my little group. I need to put down my PAS and give it a try sometime.

That has got to be one of the most impressive mods I've ever seen. The balance you've struck between ROF and range is wonderful, and I can only imagine this gun is very versatile as a result. Great job.


Thank you. I love having the back up inline clip, it works real well at keeping people back when I need them to.


I also forgot to mention in the write up somewhere a little feature I didn't intend, but has helped me a bit. Because the wire connecting to the pin has some extra space before it's pulled, I can fire off the inline shot without the 1500 going off. It acts somewhat like a Splitfire, but with a big range difference between shots.
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