But all of the other blasters use the same formula: six or seven round inline clip, inverse push-pull plunger about 2" in diameter. They all perform the same, too. Ranges about thirty feet, and no effective modifications for them. So I decided to change that.
From the beginning of this project, my intent was to convert the inline style clip to an RSCB type. Mostly for simple space savings, but also in preparation for other projects. I began with a Buzzbee Ball Blastzooka, which I had acquired broken at Goodwill for $1. Here she is posing with her friend Stream Machine looking up her skirt.
It was a perfect Jaime Sommers for this project. By the way, in stock form this blaster is less expensive than the Reactor or Cosmic Thruster *snicker*, and holds seven balls instead of six. The original plunger tube had been broken out the back by a somewhat overzealous child.
I started by removing the handles, the broken tube, and the plunger head, as they are unneeded for this project. Then I filled the holes in the back plate, and began reinforcing what will become the new air inlet. I found that a short section of Sch40 2" PVC fit perfectly around. Cut the section and solvent welded it to the tube.
After drilling the air inlet port to 5/8" (mainly because it was the biggest bit I had handy, but also because it fits very nicely), I trimmed the elbow slightly and solvent welded the whole thing together. I also added two extra strips of PVC for extra strength, and then turned my attention to the second part of the project....
I picked up a Stream Machine water cannon at Goodwill for $2, expressly for this project. Because it's just a simple, huge plunger, with an excellent seal. Just a bonus that it is orange. :)So I started by taking a chisel to the front cap. Turns out it has threads, though, so I could have made it easier on myself. Oops.
These tubes have a nearly identical dimension to Sch40 1.5" PVC, which means that the 1-1/4" to 1/2" reducer bushing fits in nicely with a couple turns of electrical tape. I also trimmed the bushing a little in the back, but that ended up intruding on the open space inside. Easily fixed with some more pipe weld and the addition of some foam padding on the back.
Glue in the bushing, and lastly I added a 1.5" to 2" reducer bushing around the outside to make sure that the inside bushing can't pop out.
And there you go! Load it up with seven balls and start firing!
Oh, but shoot... Pump away and we get the same abysmal range, but twice a many projectiles. Crap. Back to work then.
I had been hoping to be able to keep the sprung follower just for convenience. Unfortunately, it was too much for the air flow, and would push the next ball in to place regardless. The upside is that when we remove the spring and follower, we have enough room for eight balls in the clip! Well, that eliminated the double fire issue, but we still aren't getting full use of the increased plunger volume.
Right! Longer barrel, that's what we forgot! Okay, so we want this blaster to remain compatible with stock Nerf/ERTL/Buzzbee/Lanard balls, so we need to use thinwall 1.5" PVC. Turns out that it is a nearly perfect fit inside the front of the Blastzooka tube. I gently heated the end of the pipe with a heat gun and expanded the outside slightly, just until it fit snugly inside. Then added some pipe weld, and let the whole thing dry until the next day.
Success! The ranges now are consistently 50-60 feet, and we've increased the clip capacity to eight rounds. I will be performing this same modification on a Cosmic Thruster *snicker*, and a Reactor in the near future, at which point I will update this article with any variations.
EDIT: Cosmic Thrusters, in spite of their humorous name, suck. The restrictor ring inside the barrel area is too wide and floppy to operate well with even the green Nerf balls. This whole thing will need to be rebuilt.
Edited by Draconis, 02 February 2010 - 03:21 PM.