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Another Simple 3D Printed Blaster

homemade 3D printing pistol

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#26 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:04 PM

Cool, I'll try printing this out once I get my printer built. I have a couple recommendations and questions:

1) Use a [k26] spring. You'll get the most out of your blaster.
2) How strong to you think the plunger rod is? It might be worth using square nylon rod for that piece, and then print out a plunger head and priming handle to screw onto the nylon

Edited by Daniel Beaver, 01 February 2012 - 06:05 PM.

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#27 Landru

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:20 PM

That spring looks perfect. Are people using the full length or cutting it down? I could see using a 6" piece for a 'smaller' pistol and full length for a rifle.

The plastic is quite strong, and the filament paths can be 'aligned' with he direction of the force if carefully done. Since the length is limited I assume some other material is necessary for the plunger rod anyway. No sense wasting print time on something easily acquired elsewhere.


Cool, I'll try printing this out once I get my printer built. I have a couple recommendations and questions:

1) Use a [k26] spring. You'll get the most out of your blaster.


2) How strong to you think the plunger rod is? It might be worth using square nylon rod for that piece, and then print out a plunger head and priming handle to screw onto the nylon


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#28 Z64052187

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:03 PM

Forgive my ignorance of 3d printers...but would it be possible to make a design that wasn't a clamshell design? It would increase what the blaster can handle (without separating at the seams), and, if designed right, could provide easier access to the internals (think M16/AR15 pin system/upper and lower receivers).

Again, pardon any ignorance I have on this topic, just trying to help.
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#29 Landru

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:20 PM

Forgive my ignorance of 3d printers...but would it be possible to make a design that wasn't a clamshell design? It would increase what the blaster can handle (without separating at the seams), and, if designed right, could provide easier access to the internals (think M16/AR15 pin system/upper and lower receivers).

Again, pardon any ignorance I have on this topic, just trying to help.


You could certainly do this. The design does become somewhat more complicated due to the increase in support material it would require, though.

I've even seen an AR-15 lower 3d Printed by a few different people (though not with a low cost printer, yet)

I really don't think it would be necessary for springers though, as you can just add material to the critical clam-shell parts to reinforce any weak points (and add more screws if necessary)
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#30 Z64052187

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:40 PM

You could certainly do this. The design does become somewhat more complicated due to the increase in support material it would require, though.

I've even seen an AR-15 lower 3d Printed by a few different people (though not with a low cost printer, yet)

I really don't think it would be necessary for springers though, as you can just add material to the critical clam-shell parts to reinforce any weak points (and add more screws if necessary)



Not necessary, perhaps, but I feel it could be beneficial if a part breaks to pop it open, swap the part out, close it up and reinsert the pin.

Also, I have a couple of ideas that a clamshell wouldn't be as good for, but those are just concepts at the moment. Hopefully a write-up on them, if they succeed, but until then...

And thanks, for clearing that up. I'm a little new to a lot of things.
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#31 Landru

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:44 PM

Not necessary, perhaps, but I feel it could be beneficial if a part breaks to pop it open, swap the part out, close it up and reinsert the pin.

Also, I have a couple of ideas that a clamshell wouldn't be as good for, but those are just concepts at the moment. Hopefully a write-up on them, if they succeed, but until then...

And thanks, for clearing that up. I'm a little new to a lot of things.


As an addendum to that, you can always design the part to be a clam-shell case, and also have a pin to remove any particular part that may need replacing. Neither has to be exclusive.
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#32 Langley

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:23 PM

Looks awesome. I wish I could put one of these together, but it looks way beyond the scope of a Cupcake. At least the shell would be.
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#33 Pause

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:50 PM

The first time I heard of "3D Printing" I was thinking exactly this!
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#34 Z64052187

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:59 PM

As an addendum to that, you can always design the part to be a clam-shell case, and also have a pin to remove any particular part that may need replacing. Neither has to be exclusive.


You make a good point, I concede.

Though I will be working on designs that aren't clamshell because I like them.
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#35 proplus

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

Crossbow shells?!


If this guy were to make crossbow shells they wouldn't be that sturdy due to layering
We might as well factory mold them for stability, (cough orangemodworks ,cough). :rolleyes:
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#36 Landru

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:43 AM

If this guy were to make crossbow shells they wouldn't be that sturdy due to layering
We might as well factory mold them for stability, (cough orangemodworks ,cough). :rolleyes:


That's not entirely accurate for the process this printer uses. Some 3d printer technology makes parts only suited for non-functional models , but FDM (aka FFF) is not one of those.

The parts aren't quite as strong as injection molded parts, and it's true that the parts are weaker in the Z axis. However, they are still very sturdy. The parts can also be made to whatever thickness you want, so could easily be designed to be have more strength than a 1:1 crossbow copy. Also,for what it's worth, all the major loads in a crossbow would be distributed along the strong directions of the print (not that I want to print crossbows)

Really, the thing preventing me from running out and designing a pile of stuff to sell, is the time it takes to print things. To make a reasonable rate given the cost of the printers, it's still $10/hr to make parts. That is still a bit out of reach for many hobbyists.

If you have got/bought one to play with and don't have to support yourself making money off it, that is an entirely different story.

But as I said before, once these become more popular all the costs will decrease further and within 5 years they will probably be as common as band saws and drill presses
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#37 cmeej

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

I can definitively see a composite, uber-comfortable shell, with snap style internals! Would you consider commissioning 3d printed blasters in the near future? How much will the Fablicator be selling for?

Edited by cmeej, 07 February 2012 - 06:43 PM.

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#38 Cannonball

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:31 PM

I think there is something to the idea of having printed lower and upper receivers. You don't even need to print them as functional blasters. you can just print shells that join in the middle via pins (like an AR15). The lower could just be a trigger and or a stock, and the upper can just be a plunger tube and a catch. How they are customized could be left up to the end user. You can make uppers with plunger tubes just large enough for pistol rounds, or ones large enough to be considered primaries. I guess the advantage to the system would be you have a dedicated lower with features you are already used to, with interchangeable uppers you can use to adjust to different scenarios. That way you are used to the ergonomics of the blaster regardless of the round. This should help with your aim. But I guess this doesn't matter too much since we are dealing with nerf darts here.
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#39 Landru

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:49 PM

I think there is something to the idea of having printed lower and upper receivers. You don't even need to print them as functional blasters. you can just print shells that join in the middle via pins (like an AR15). The lower could just be a trigger and or a stock, and the upper can just be a plunger tube and a catch. How they are customized could be left up to the end user. You can make uppers with plunger tubes just large enough for pistol rounds, or ones large enough to be considered primaries. I guess the advantage to the system would be you have a dedicated lower with features you are already used to, with interchangeable uppers you can use to adjust to different scenarios. That way you are used to the ergonomics of the blaster regardless of the round. This should help with your aim. But I guess this doesn't matter too much since we are dealing with nerf darts here.


Definitely something to consider.

I just ordered a pile of springs and other parts so I can start playing and get some better ideas about what size/power I need.

Maybe I'll take commissions in the fairly distant future, but they would be pretty expensive. I'm going to try and do a bunch of open source blaster designs right now for advertising purposes (to show off the printer) and I'll be investing a lot of time into those. Hopefully something there will meet your needs.

Since it was asked, the Fablicator will be selling in the $2500-$3000 range.
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#40 Z64052187

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:39 PM

I think there is something to the idea of having printed lower and upper receivers. You don't even need to print them as functional blasters. you can just print shells that join in the middle via pins (like an AR15). The lower could just be a trigger and or a stock, and the upper can just be a plunger tube and a catch. How they are customized could be left up to the end user. You can make uppers with plunger tubes just large enough for pistol rounds, or ones large enough to be considered primaries. I guess the advantage to the system would be you have a dedicated lower with features you are already used to, with interchangeable uppers you can use to adjust to different scenarios. That way you are used to the ergonomics of the blaster regardless of the round. This should help with your aim. But I guess this doesn't matter too much since we are dealing with nerf darts here.


It'd still be pretty groovy if you can swap out internals that accept Stefans for internals designed for stock darts, given that some places don't allow anything but stock darts...and that way you don't need to have a slew of different blasters...
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#41 evilbunnyo

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:57 PM

What software do you use to make these models. I have a 3d printer at my school and we use autodesk inventor for it. I like the fact this one doesn't need the base stuff to print since that requires acid to get off. The only drawback I see is if you want to print say an E standing vertical would it not be able to do it since they're is no support material?
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#42 Pause

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 04:50 AM

Since it was asked, the Fablicator will be selling in the $2500-$3000 range.


HOLY MOLY! :blink:

There goes my dream of never having to go to the store again.
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#43 dapperrogue

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:45 PM

HOLY MOLY! :blink:

There goes my dream of never having to go to the store again.


The Makerbot Thing-o-Matic (http://www.makerbot.com/) goes for about $1000, if I recall. I don't know how much a RepRap (http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page) goes for, since it is a diy sort of thing, but I would guess possibly as low as half that if you are resourceful.

I personally want a CNC mill. It's like a 3d printer, but it carves material away instead of slowly adding it (think glorified robot dremel instead of glorified robot hot glue gun). Mainly, I want to be able to machine parts out of aluminum. I've priced having a few custom blaster parts built locally, and, uh, they didn't get past the quote stage. I'm thinking about getting crafty and making my own though: http://www.instructa...com/id/DIY-CNC/

The neat thing is, the only difference between the two is that a 3D printer has an extruding tool head, and a CNC mill has a cutting tool head. The rest of them work the same.
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#44 Landru

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:22 PM

The Makerbot Thing-o-Matic (http://www.makerbot.com/) goes for about $1000, if I recall. I don't know how much a RepRap (http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page) goes for, since it is a diy sort of thing, but I would guess possibly as low as half that if you are resourceful.

I personally want a CNC mill. It's like a 3d printer, but it carves material away instead of slowly adding it (think glorified robot dremel instead of glorified robot hot glue gun). Mainly, I want to be able to machine parts out of aluminum. I've priced having a few custom blaster parts built locally, and, uh, they didn't get past the quote stage. I'm thinking about getting crafty and making my own though: http://www.instructa...com/id/DIY-CNC/

The neat thing is, the only difference between the two is that a 3D printer has an extruding tool head, and a CNC mill has a cutting tool head. The rest of them work the same.


The Makerbot Thing-o-Matics are fun kits, but they do have their drawbacks (print size, part quality). They usually run for about 1300 and I believe they are begin discontinued for a new printer costing 1750 (but I don't know for sure)

You can certainly make your own printer from scratch, but it takes a looooong time and a lot of knowledge to get it working well. That's how I started, actually (www.reprap.org)

A cnc mill and 3d printer share a common principle, but things purpose built for either are not ideal for conversion. CNC mills generally are pretty slow for 3d printing, as rigidity is far more important than speed when cutting aluminum. Also, 3d printers require a heated printing surface and temperature control for the extruder which makes CNC conversions a little tricky.

As for support material, my printer can auto generate sparse support with the same material it prints the object with, which just gets broken off after the print is done. It takes some effort and leaves less than ideal surface finish, but it works for most things.

I make all my models in Solidworks.
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#45 TxNerfer

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:49 PM

Great work. Looks really solid. Also, I don't understand the hype over crossbow shells. They kinda suck, not sure why the first thing that comes to mind when they see this is zomg crossbow. Anyways, keep up the work. You could make some really interesting stuff with this shit.
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#46 arfink

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:21 AM

This is really a very cool design, and just looking at the PT I imagine it could be a pretty badass blaster with a proper barrel.

However, if you have the time, I'd like to ask a few more questions about the actual printout. I understand if you can't answer some of these questions because of your business model, but I'm gonna ask them anyway:

-What size filament did you use for this print?
-What do you estimate your printer's resolution to be, for this print?
-Did this print require alot of support material?
-What software are you using for slicing and g-code generation?
-If you are using Skeinforge, what settings did you use?

And then a couple purely nerd-driven questions about the Fablicator:
-How are you driving the axes on your printer? Steppers and lead screws? Linear actuators?
-How much power does it consume?
-How often do you have to change that cool borosilicate build bed?
-Is the build platform heated?
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#47 Landru

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:41 AM

This is really a very cool design, and just looking at the PT I imagine it could be a pretty badass blaster with a proper barrel.

However, if you have the time, I'd like to ask a few more questions about the actual printout. I understand if you can't answer some of these questions because of your business model, but I'm gonna ask them anyway:

-What size filament did you use for this print?
-What do you estimate your printer's resolution to be, for this print?
-Did this print require alot of support material?
-What software are you using for slicing and g-code generation?
-If you are using Skeinforge, what settings did you use?

And then a couple purely nerd-driven questions about the Fablicator:
-How are you driving the axes on your printer? Steppers and lead screws? Linear actuators?
-How much power does it consume?
-How often do you have to change that cool borosilicate build bed?
-Is the build platform heated?


-The printer uses 1.75mm filament.
-The 'resolution'for this print is .25mm layer height, .4mm extrusion width.
-This print required a moderate amount of support, but only for the curves on the exterior of the case. Anything less than a 45deg angle does not require support. I could have designed it so no support was necessary, but it would make the blaster far less comfortable to hold.
-I used skeinforge, Pronterface, Marlin for the tool-chain that made the blaster in the photo, but are moving to kisslicer/pronterface/marlin as it is way faster.
-Oh god, there are too many skeinforge settings to list. If you really want to know I'll pm you my config file. There is nothing particularly unique about it.

-Axes are driven by Nema 17 stepper motors with 1/4in mxl belts.
-The printer uses about 400W. Most of that is to heat the bed.
-The bed never needs to be changed unless you drop something on it....
-The build platform is heated to 110C for ABS and 70C for PLA. It can get hotter, but we limit it because at higher temps the ABS can actually stick so well the bed will chip when you try to get it off.
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#48 Langley

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:41 PM

Sorry for the necro (not sure who I'm apologizing to here, hehe) but why did you use PLA for the catch? Also, any word on when you're posting the files for these parts?
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#49 arfink

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:23 PM

Yes please, post the files. Oh yes. :)

BTW, I did link this on Hackaday and it got featured briefly, so I apologise to the staff here if the forum got hit hard.
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#50 Landru

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:57 PM

Langley, I replied to your pm a bunch of times but kept getting errors. Hopefully one made it through.

I used PLA for the catch since it is a lower friction material and a a bit stiffer than abs for better wear.

I got a few hundred hits to my website from the hack a day feature just from Google searches so I'm assuming NH got a fairly high load of traffic.

I swear I'll post the files asap. They are all done, just have been forgetful :)
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