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Printed Nerf Gun

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#1 tskaze

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 08:46 PM

So participating in Humans vs Zombies at my college has inspired me to get back into nerf and nerf modding. I've got a few mods I want to work on, but I'm planning something new now. I bought and assembled a makerbot 3D printer this summer, which, if you haven't heard of it, prints out an object in ABS plastic (same as legos) from just about any 3D model you can make. I'm hoping to build a simple nerf gun with it, and release the designs publicly so everyone can make derivative designs or print their own. But while I've done a few mods I don't have any experience with homemade guns, so I thought I'd solicit some advice.

I'm thinking of doing something kind of like the nitefinder, just a simple body with a barrel to put the dart in, a handle, a trigger, and a cocking mechanism. I'm wondering what parts of the body need to be airtight, and what parts of the gun will need to be the most sturdy, and I'm also interested if anyone has any design ideas.

If anyone posts a file (preferrably .stl or .skp format; the printer takes .stl and I'm hoping to use sketchup to design the thing) I'd be happy to print it, test it, and give you credit when I release the final design. The max object size I can print right now is roughly 100mm^3, but any design could probably be split into pieces and assembled with abs cement or screws. Additionally, any overhangs of more than 45 degrees may not print right, so keep all that in mind if you're desigining something.

I'll be updating this topic as the project moves forward. I'm not sure if anyone has ever printed a working nerf gun, but any advice, suggestions, or links to previous efforts would be much appreciated.

Update (10/8): I'm going away to a cabin with my family this weekend, and I have lots of midterms next week, so I might not be able to do much work on this for a little while, however, here's what I'm working on so far.

Posted Image

This is just a prototype to see how everything fits together, its not meant in any way to be functional. For the final design I'm going to fill in the walls on both sides, and use PVC for the air chamber (not shown because it doesnt fit) and the barrel. I'm also going to completely redesign the trigger mechanism, because right now it doesn't make any sense as to how its going to work. I'm thinking of doing something along the lines of a clothespin trigger, but I'm not really sure how it'll work in the end.

Edited by tskaze, 08 October 2010 - 09:28 AM.

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#2 TantumBull

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 09:16 PM

It says you can only do 4"x4"x6". Were you planning on printing the night finder shell in segments? I'd also be a bit worried by the fact that its not going to be injection molded ABS, so I'm guessing its going to have some sort of chemical hardening process. It looks like one of those printers that prints in layers and needs to be treated to make it more durable. I could be wrong, though. I only glanced at your site for about 30 seconds.

Even if this doesn't work out for nerf, that's still pretty damn cool. Congrats.
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#3 Chadpuff

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 09:28 PM

I think its a pretty cool idea. I can't wait to see what you come up with.
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#4 k9turrent

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 09:46 PM

I've been wanting to get a 3d printer for a while but I don't have the $700 to dish out for one.

Give a week and I'll send you a design to try out
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QUOTE View Post

That's about it. And thanks Angela who helped me with these pictures.. It looks huge in her hands.


HOLY CRAP!

FU ALL

#5 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 10:28 PM

Good luck finding one that does better than 12x12x6 models.
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#6 magnesium22

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 05:00 PM

Dang!
$700!
You've got some serious guts(and money) to buy that.
Also, I would be more than happy to make you a design on google sketchup.
Check your PM inbox in 2-4 weeks and there will probably something there from me.
EDIT:Never mind, all my sketchup files(including those to run sketchup itself) were corrupted, and I'm too lazy to reinstall it. :)

Edited by magnesium22, 14 October 2010 - 05:27 PM.

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#7 utahnerf

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 05:25 PM

I poked around on the site, and I found that they sell a 3d scanner. I wonder if it can scan Nerf gun parts, and then you could print them in ABS.
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#8 k9turrent

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 05:43 PM

I poked around on the site, and I found that they sell a 3d scanner. I wonder if it can scan Nerf gun parts, and then you could print them in ABS.


Well thats only for the laser cut pieces, you still have to supply the other $250 equipment.

Any who I've almost finished the mechanics of the pistol
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QUOTE View Post

That's about it. And thanks Angela who helped me with these pictures.. It looks huge in her hands.


HOLY CRAP!

FU ALL

#9 Galaxy613

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 06:25 PM

Good luck finding one that does better than 12x12x6 models.


That isn't a huge restriction unless I'm missing something. :)
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#10 utahnerf

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 06:53 PM

Any who I've almost finished the mechanics of the pistol


Sweet, I can't wait to see the end result!
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#11 k9turrent

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 09:28 PM

I'm thinking of doing something kind of like the nitefinder, just a simple body with a barrel to put the dart in, a handle, a trigger, and a cocking mechanism.


Do you really want this setup?
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QUOTE View Post

That's about it. And thanks Angela who helped me with these pictures.. It looks huge in her hands.


HOLY CRAP!

FU ALL

#12 LotusNerf

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 09:56 PM

I hope you are thinking of making your blaster look wicked sick or utilizing some kind of innovative design, because otherwise, using this to make blasters is quite unnecessary.
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#13 utahnerf

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 10:15 PM

I disagree. With one of these printers and someone skilled on CAD, you could make personalized nerf guns. For example, a Nitefinder with someone's name raised on the handle.
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#14 Langley

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 01:38 PM

I disagree. With one of these printers and someone skilled on CAD, you could make personalized nerf guns. For example, a Nitefinder with someone's name raised on the handle.



Good luck printing parts that are air tight, don't curl up on the sides, have overhangs, or are actually as tall as 6". I could see using one of these to print a trigger, or a catch plate, or part of a handle. Maybe a rail or a sight attachment, if you've got it printing really well. But printing out a whole nerf gun or even large portions of a nerf gun is very difficult/unlikely. I've found that it's really only good for printing junky plastic toys and puzzles. Oh, and expect to have to drop some more cash on their heated build platform.

Here's an example of something you can print on one:
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3249
Note the problems with leakage, and the simplicity of the desgin (and how easy it would be to make the same thing with some pvc and a little polycarbonate sheet) That design probably took hours and hours to print. Also, because of the way the plastic is deposited, the barrels will be ribbed for her pleasure.

If you do have any luck with it, let me know. It would give me something to do with this damned thing other than printing out starfleet comm badges.
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#15 SorrowX

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 01:45 PM

Ah the Rapid prototyper built nerf gun, one of many dreams. Just a tip: don't bother. I have tried and even go to the point of assembly, with lost, and lots of troubles on the way. The RP machine at my school can make anything out of ABS as long as it fits in a 8"x8"x12" area. I used strong materals for things such as the shell, plunger tube, etc. It doesn't work. The way the parts are made make them very weak. the layers of plastic seperate and snap very easily. Its just a waste of money to even attempt this.
I take this ALL back. After all, a $26,000 machine has to be good for something right? I'll have the details up by the end of the week, hopefully.

Edited by SorrowX, 31 January 2011 - 10:42 PM.

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#16 k9turrent

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 02:19 PM

I hope you are thinking of making your blaster look wicked sick or utilizing some kind of innovative design, because otherwise, using this to make blasters is quite unnecessary.


Posted Image

So this is my personal design so far, no rendering or prettified edges yet.
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QUOTE View Post

That's about it. And thanks Angela who helped me with these pictures.. It looks huge in her hands.


HOLY CRAP!

FU ALL

#17 tskaze

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:01 PM

Well I'm printing out my first few prototypes now. It's ugly and probably nonfunctional, I'm just working on getting the sizes right so everything fits together. If I get time to work on it this week I should have some idea of whether or not this is going to work by the weekend.

Do you really want this setup?


nope, that was just my original concept, I'm interested in anything that works and can be printed.

edit: just saw the post with your design. Though I'm not 100% sure how its supposed to work, I kind of get the idea and I like it so far. It seems different than the concept I'm working from, but thats why I posted here; I just want a working printable dart gun, and I'm interested in trying as many ways to reach that goal as possible.

Good luck printing parts that are air tight, don't curl up on the sides, have overhangs, or are actually as tall as 6". I could see using one of these to print a trigger, or a catch plate, or part of a handle. Maybe a rail or a sight attachment, if you've got it printing really well. But printing out a whole nerf gun or even large portions of a nerf gun is very difficult/unlikely. I've found that it's really only good for printing junky plastic toys and puzzles. Oh, and expect to have to drop some more cash on their heated build platform.

Here's an example of something you can print on one:
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3249
Note the problems with leakage, and the simplicity of the desgin (and how easy it would be to make the same thing with some pvc and a little polycarbonate sheet) That design probably took hours and hours to print. Also, because of the way the plastic is deposited, the barrels will be ribbed for her pleasure.

If you do have any luck with it, let me know. It would give me something to do with this damned thing other than printing out starfleet comm badges.


well printing the housing, trigger, slide, etc would be a pretty good start, even if I have to use pvc for the parts that need to be airtight (only the barrel and air chamber as far as I know). It would let me make some cool custom guns, and for people with an automated build platfrom, it would allow easy mass production of nerf guns.

But I think the airtightness problem might be solvable. These instructions for finishing parts with enamel paint might help, and I think I've seen some other ways to make things water tight kicking around the internet.


Ah the Rapid prototyper built nerf gun, one of many dreams. Just a tip: don't bother. I have tried and even go to the point of assembly, with lost, and lots of troubles on the way. The RP machine at my school can make anything out of ABS as long as it fits in a 8"x8"x12" area. I used strong materals for things such as the shell, plunger tube, etc. It doesn't work. The way the parts are made make them very weak. the layers of plastic seperate and snap very easily. Its just a waste of money to even attempt this.


glad to see someone has the same dream as me :D

fortunately, since I already own the printer and the plastic for it is cheap as dirt, I'm only wasting time working on this and not money.

could you elaborate on what didn't work for you? I've found makerbot and reprap parts to be remarkably strong if you print them the right way with regard to the kind of force they're going to be put under.

Edited by tskaze, 05 October 2010 - 08:07 PM.

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#18 Chessler

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:21 AM

How about something like this, but with Recon Internals?

Posted Image
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#19 eddieoctane

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:12 AM

Strength is definitely an issue in any FDM part, but there's always a solution. I know metal FDM parts can has extra liquid metal wicked into the spaces. I'm wondering if some kind of resin could be used in an ABS part that could reinforce the air spaces. It's a theory, but it might be worth looking into if that's the direction you're going. I'm not too familiar with FDM, so I don't know what the options are.

What were you considering in terms of capacity, barrel arrangement, trigger placement, and overall shape? If you have some kind of baseline design, I can throw together something in SolidWorks and email it to you.

One last thought: have you considered putting joints at the points where individual parts connect? I feel like gluing the surfaces in the mock-up you showed alone wouldn't hold up under any half-decent spring, but even a simple joint just to increase the glued surface area would improve the strength of the blaster significantly, assuming the part itself can handle the stress.
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#20 tskaze

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 09:51 AM

Strength is definitely an issue in any FDM part, but there's always a solution. I know metal FDM parts can has extra liquid metal wicked into the spaces. I'm wondering if some kind of resin could be used in an ABS part that could reinforce the air spaces. It's a theory, but it might be worth looking into if that's the direction you're going. I'm not too familiar with FDM, so I don't know what the options are.

What were you considering in terms of capacity, barrel arrangement, trigger placement, and overall shape? If you have some kind of baseline design, I can throw together something in SolidWorks and email it to you.

One last thought: have you considered putting joints at the points where individual parts connect? I feel like gluing the surfaces in the mock-up you showed alone wouldn't hold up under any half-decent spring, but even a simple joint just to increase the glued surface area would improve the strength of the blaster significantly, assuming the part itself can handle the stress.


I'm not quite sure how the final design is going to function, but I'm moving toward a pretty simple "box shape with a pressure chamber and a clothespin like trigger" design. If airtightness becomes an issue I probably will use resin or some other kind of finishing method. But if I use PVC for the barrel and the pressure chamber I don't think I'll have too many issues.

As for the connections, my current design does have a joint connecting the two parts of the body. It may need some redesigning, but I'll have to see what kind of stress its under when I get a working prototype put together.
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#21 Meaker VI

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 04:17 PM

Well I'm printing out my first few prototypes now. It's ugly and probably nonfunctional, I'm just working on getting the sizes right so everything fits together. If I get time to work on it this week I should have some idea of whether or not this is going to work by the weekend.

Good luck printing parts that are air tight, don't curl up on the sides, have overhangs, or are actually as tall as 6". I could see using one of these to print a trigger, or a catch plate, or part of a handle. Maybe a rail or a sight attachment, if you've got it printing really well. But printing out a whole nerf gun or even large portions of a nerf gun is very difficult/unlikely. I've found that it's really only good for printing junky plastic toys and puzzles. Oh, and expect to have to drop some more cash on their heated build platform.


Ah the Rapid prototyper built nerf gun, one of many dreams. Just a tip: don't bother. I have tried and even go to the point of assembly, with [lots], and lots of troubles on the way. The RP machine at my school can make anything out of ABS as long as it fits in a 8"x8"x12" area. I used strong materals for things such as the shell, plunger tube, etc. It doesn't work. The way the parts are made make them very weak. the layers of plastic seperate and snap very easily. Its just a waste of money to even attempt this.


fortunately, since I already own the printer and the plastic for it is cheap as dirt, I'm only wasting time working on this and not money.


While I haven't gotten to use a RP machine yet, I did have a class or three in industrial design and using those kinds of machines, and I do have a pretty stout idea as to what you could use the thing for: Sweet-awesome shells. Not for making the shells with the machine, but for making models to make molds off of with the machine. You'd need to clean up the models after printing, but then once you'd taken the molds you'd use the molds to make real shells, which could be solid (and drilled out to fit parts), or hollow (as is teh case with Nerf guns), or could have PVC/other parts embedded, or whatever. Doing that you can get some complex geometry with little to no skill in carving/modeling (Stealing sketchup models from the 3d warehouse for use as shells, anyone?).

It is a rapid prototyper, after all, use it for prototyping!
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