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Stefan Machine

Will make them for you

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#1 Dyxlesic

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:29 PM

Has anyone made a machine that will take the raw matereals and make stefans? I've been working on one for a while, but wanted to see if someone beat me to it. Ive spent a good deal of time looking around, but the closest thing I found was a Lego robot that cut fbr.
If im correct, The worst part about Stefans isn't the price of materials, it's the labor. This machine I'm making will cut, burn, weight, glue, and set them out to cool. Has anyone built/attenpeted to build one of these before?
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#2 Coop

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:35 PM

Hereticorp made a foam cutter: http://nerfhaven.com...opic=13259&st=0

Edited by Coop, 26 January 2011 - 11:36 PM.

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On the other hand, the guy who posted before me used the word 'fuck' a lot so he probably knows what he's talking about.


#3 Dyxlesic

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:48 PM

Hereticorp made a foam cutter: http://nerfhaven.com...opic=13259&st=0

This seems a little unnessessarly complicated (not nessessarly a bad thing), but also pretty useful. Thanks. Anybody else know of anything else similar?
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#4 Split

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 01:13 AM

Ryan and his rainbow clan have been working towards the idea, as have Draconis and I. Exactly how far are you?
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#5 Darksircam

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 01:45 AM

You could also make stefans much easier to mass-produce. Set them in a dart holding rack (PETG or sanded-out CPVC stuck onto a piece of cardboard would probably work) and work without holding onto the darts.
And it'd be faster than most machines. I make my darts by hand - while watching tv or studying or whatnot in order to multitask.

I am assuming you're making slug darts, which are easier to mass-produce through the rack method simply because you don't need a dome.

But machines... I will leave the making of machines to others.
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#6 roboman

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 02:35 AM

I have thought quite a bit about this, and I might actually make a prototype sometime soon, once I get a milling machine.

I am assuming you're making slug darts, which are easier to mass-produce through the rack method simply because you don't need a dome.


Actually, assuming you wanted a fully-automated machine, making slugs would be considerably more difficult, since you'd have to come up with some sort of a mechanism for removing the felt discs from their backing sheet, then positioning and placing them on the head of the dart.

Edited by roboman, 27 January 2011 - 02:36 AM.

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#7 Nerf Gra

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:42 AM

I would think that the hard part would be going from a coil of foam to straightened blanks. Possibly some way of automatically blowing on them with a heat gun or hair drier. I think it would be easier and it would eliminate some unnecessary complexity by making 2 different machines. One to make blanks from a roll of foam and a second ne that you would load with striaghted blanks and other materials. Over all I think it would be a very interesting project.
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#8 lionhawk

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:44 AM

I've thought of a mechanism before, but haven't made the prototype yet.
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#9 shmmee

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:59 AM

I hooked a wet dry/vac to the end of my cutting guide. After the cut is made, and the new steffan blank is released the wet/dry vac sucks it up and collects them. Using a band saw to cut them, gives me square edges cut to a precise length, without sacrificing production.

I've been thinking of replacing the band saw with just a razer blade, and a stop wire placed at the length of the steffan being cut. The guide slides up and down under the razer blade and stop wire. After sliding the guide up beyond the reach of the razer blade, the fbr is pulled out to the stop fence by the wet dry vac. As the guide slides down past the stop wire the fbr is cut by the razer blade. Once the guide is completely past the stop wire, and the cut is complete the steffan blank is released to the vac, while the razer blade holds the fbr back. and the process repeats....

Posted Image

Perfecly uniform, perfectly square cuts, mass produced by sliding a tube up and down about an inch. And without feed wheels, or artificial intelegance. Good luck with the rest of it.
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#10 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:05 PM

The wet-vac is a good trick for making blanks, but it would be difficult to use if you were combining it with a dart head process. I'd still use this trick if I had a clean shop vac. Your choice of a bandsaw for cutting foam seems unfortunate, although I admit I haven't tried it. I'd try for a razor system. It should be cleaner, although straightness may require some work to get.

I hooked a wet dry/vac to the end of my cutting guide. After the cut is made, and the new steffan blank is released the wet/dry vac sucks it up and collects them. Using a band saw to cut them, gives me square edges cut to a precise length, without sacrificing production.

I've been thinking of replacing the band saw with just a razer blade, and a stop wire placed at the length of the steffan being cut. The guide slides up and down under the razer blade and stop wire. After sliding the guide up beyond the reach of the razer blade, the fbr is pulled out to the stop fence by the wet dry vac. As the guide slides down past the stop wire the fbr is cut by the razer blade. Once the guide is completely past the stop wire, and the cut is complete the steffan blank is released to the vac, while the razer blade holds the fbr back. and the process repeats....

Posted Image

Perfecly uniform, perfectly square cuts, mass produced by sliding a tube up and down about an inch. And without feed wheels, or artificial intelegance. Good luck with the rest of it.


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#11 nicholasy11

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 12:08 AM

I like that ms paint diagram. I've got some time tomorrow, I think I'll try that. If I do I'll post some pics up here :)
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#12 shmmee

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 09:36 AM

KaneThe Mediocre:
For comparison, i tried a razer blade to cut some steffans yesterday. Their isn't much difference in cleanleness between the two. Guess it doesn't matter much. Though it is nice to be able to use the groove in the band saw table to keep the guide sitting square. Guess it all depends on how OCD you want to be about your steffans.

Nicholasy11:
That would be great! i haven't had a chance to integrate the stop wire into my system, i just have an adjustable wood scrap screwed down for refference. Releasing the new steffan requires me to "back off" the fbr a hair so the wet dry vac can pick it up. The stop wire should fix that.

In progressing the machine; instead of sucking the blanks into the tank, perhaps with smaller diameter tubing like 1/2" pvc (to keep the blanks pointing straight) could be used to suck the blanks into a capped off tube (like how we use a wye to auto load steffans, but in reverse: loading instead of unloading. Once the tube is full of blanks, it could be disconnected, de-capped, and plugged into the next stage for getting weighted, and tipped. As long as the vac attachment is longger than the steffan and there are enough vent holes drilled in the tube, air should be able to move around the blank, loosing suction, and allwoing it to fall to the bottom. That would still require some human intervention, but it would keep blanks organized for whatever future steps there may be. With that concept, a normal household vac could be substituted for the more specialized wet/dry vac.

I've also wondered if placing desk lamps or a hair dryer close to the guide tube (if brass) in the first part could be used to warm and straighten fbr as it passes through to be cut. That would take some experimenting though.

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#13 Dyxlesic

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 01:28 PM

I am using a 1st gen Tommy 20 (semi auto flywheel) to make it. I have reversed the charge, so it pulls instead of pushes. The motors are weak, so it can pull it in, but when it hits the front of the turret, it stops because the motors are weak. (there is a guide pipe between the flywheels and the turret). A razor blade is in-between the guide pipe and the turret, but on the edge of the guide pipe. A motor will slowly pull the trigger. When the trigger is all the way pulled, the turret barrel lines up with the guide rail, and the flywheels will suck the fbr into the barrel. When the trigger is released by the motor, the fbr is pulled across the razor blade, cutting it.
What is the advantage of this? The dart is held upright in place where it can be fed to the next steps across the assembly line.
A hole will be burned in the top of the blank with a piece of hot metal that bobs accordingly. The fishing weights will be poured in a funnel, and a mechanism Im working on will drop one at a time in the same place (I'll explain that later). A turning wedge will pull and release the trigger of the glue gun for the tip. I will explain and put up diagrams when I can
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#14 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 06:46 PM

I am using a 1st gen Tommy 20 (semi auto flywheel) to make it. I have reversed the charge, so it pulls instead of pushes. The motors are weak, so it can pull it in, but when it hits the front of the turret, it stops because the motors are weak. (there is a guide pipe between the flywheels and the turret). A razor blade is in-between the guide pipe and the turret, but on the edge of the guide pipe. A motor will slowly pull the trigger. When the trigger is all the way pulled, the turret barrel lines up with the guide rail, and the flywheels will suck the fbr into the barrel. When the trigger is released by the motor, the fbr is pulled across the razor blade, cutting it.
What is the advantage of this? The dart is held upright in place where it can be fed to the next steps across the assembly line.
A hole will be burned in the top of the blank with a piece of hot metal that bobs accordingly. The fishing weights will be poured in a funnel, and a mechanism Im working on will drop one at a time in the same place (I'll explain that later). A turning wedge will pull and release the trigger of the glue gun for the tip. I will explain and put up diagrams when I can


You may also want to reduce the voltage. Motors draw much more current when stalled than they do when moving, so your application could cook the motors.

Also, Shmmee, I'm not worried about the cleanliness of the cut blank so much as the amount of polyethylene dust you spray into the air each time you make a cut. Admittedly PE is an exceptionally non-toxic plastic, but I'd still rather not breath it.

Also, the revised plan of sucking them into tubes looks good if you can get it to work.

Edited by KaneTheMediocre, 28 January 2011 - 06:47 PM.

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#15 nicholasy11

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 12:53 AM

Acctually, shmee, I'm thinking I'll just have the wood stopper too. also, insted of the wet/dry vac, just a little button beneath the stefan blank that will push the foam out.
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