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VANS Are Not Slugs

Safer and softer metal free slugoids

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#26 mysterio

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:16 PM

I lack felt pads, so I just filled some caps with the silicone acetate, and let them cure. I suppose I should wait longer this next time. Also, I may combine some of this technology with progress made in the oogoo darts thread.

EDIT: After re-reading some stuff, I realized that I'm essentially making oogoo darts, but crafting a tail for them to stick to the foam by injection of silicone acetate straight down a drilled hole. Might try sprinkling felt fibers into the mold to see if it aids hopper-feeding.

Edited by mysterio, 08 March 2012 - 08:23 PM.

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If two powerful is a problem then just go with one powerful. I guess this style of hopper will work even beyond three powerful..


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#27 KatanasPWN

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:19 PM

Random question, could this be scaled up to 1" FBR, with a 5/8" hole? I'm interested in making mungo darts, and I don't wanna use some big-ass washer as the weight.
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#28 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:57 PM

Random question, could this be scaled up to 1" FBR, with a 5/8" hole? I'm interested in making mungo darts, and I don't wanna use some big-ass washer as the weight.

I would expect this to work substantially better with larger bore darts,as there is no super-thin foam wall to worry about, nor (I'm assuming) a hopper. You may find that 1/2" holes are plenty. But you should try it and tell me how it goes.
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#29 hamoidar

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:13 PM

Tried VANS out, with limited success. They do better than single-bb domes out of a UMB, and hurt a lot less. Used a part of a hornet shell [the connectors to the titan] as a mold, and had trouble with molds not curing or air bubbles forming with low viscosity silicone RTV. Still need to create a better mold/felt tips for the RTV. It sticks to drilled out foam amazingly.

Prehaps by pushing the tip of the silicone tupe all the way down to the bottom of the hole, then lifting it out as you filled it, you could eliminate most of the air bubbles.
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#30 mysterio

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:27 PM

Ended up just adding some cornstarch. Made it much more workable, will proceed to test with stems.
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If two powerful is a problem then just go with one powerful. I guess this style of hopper will work even beyond three powerful..


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#31 KatanasPWN

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 11:05 PM

Would these hurt if you used them without a felt pad?
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#32 Y-Brik

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 11:47 AM

I'm guessing not, but the felt is to allow the darts to feed in a hopper.
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As I said I have not not alot of testes yet but I will be once I finish the mod.

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#33 KatanasPWN

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

Well to solve that you could probably use a brithop
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#34 Demon Lord

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

The issue with them not feeding in hoppers is that without the felt tip the RTS has too much friction to allow it to feed.
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#35 hamoidar

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:14 PM

Would this foam from Mcmaster work?(http://www.mcmaster....tubing/=h0qg0b' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>Mcmaster) It already has a hole in it, so that means you wouldn't have to drill you own.
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#36 taerKitty

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:40 PM

It's roughly $1.50 USD per foot, so that's pretty expensive. OTOH, it's about .5g for a 1" blank, if my math is correct (which is usually not the case). It's worth looking if you can find a different source for it.
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#37 Siarnaq

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:03 PM

Would this foam from Mcmaster work?(http://www.mcmaster....tubing/=h0qg0b' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>Mcmaster) It already has a hole in it, so that means you wouldn't have to drill you own.


Kane said that 1/4" holes would lead to the darts being too light. Also, the inside surface of that is probably smooth- the reason for drilling a hole is so that you have a rough surface for the silicone to stick to.

On a side note, I'm making some of these now. If all goes well, I'll be done tomorrow. I'll post my results when I'm done.

Edit: Oops, forgot how long this stuff takes to cure.

Edit again: Apparently I suck at making these. All of them had an air bubble in the middle and ended up too light. Like 0.4g. Maybe I need to drill deeper, but I'm worried about offsetting the weight balance. Hmm...

Edited by Siarnaq, 16 April 2012 - 04:02 PM.

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#38 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:30 AM

Kane said that 1/4" holes would lead to the darts being too light. Also, the inside surface of that is probably smooth- the reason for drilling a hole is so that you have a rough surface for the silicone to stick to.

On a side note, I'm making some of these now. If all goes well, I'll be done tomorrow. I'll post my results when I'm done.

Edit: Oops, forgot how long this stuff takes to cure.

Edit again: Apparently I suck at making these. All of them had an air bubble in the middle and ended up too light. Like 0.4g. Maybe I need to drill deeper, but I'm worried about offsetting the weight balance. Hmm...


1/4" hole darts are too light for most blasters, but their perfectly serviceable for lower powered blasters (Weight is usually close to 0.5g), and the darts are MUCH easier to make that way. So even though 1/4" isn't good enough for me, it might be for your purposes.

As far as the dreaded air bubble goes, I've had much better luck with a polyurethane sealant that I tried recently with Demonlords help (I've been crippled with tendonitis for the last couple months). It's more viscous than standard silicone caulk, but it sticks very well to the foam for some reason, and the viscosity makes it easier to control and less likely to overwick into the felt. Other properties like cure time and final hardness are about the same as silicone, although the smell is different- Much weaker, but more unpleasant IMO.

With these, Demonlords first batch had about a 2/3 acceptance rate, and my first batch had about 9/10 acceptance rate (I have lots of practice with silicone, so I'm good at filling holes with my caulk). The failed darts in both cases were either due to insufficient fill on one side, or the felt not sticking to the polyurethane.
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#39 shmmee

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:52 PM

I tried my hand at these last week, and I learned some stuff that may be helpful.

I made a dremel hole drilling jig:
Posted Image
Remove the outer half of the dremel attachment - keep the threaded nipple,add e-tape to your cpvc till it's a tight fit and insert fully into the nipple (till it's in as deep as it can go - you don't want it to shift further down while the dremel is running - it may expose the cutting bit to your fingers)! You must use the 5/16" football shaped high speed cutting bit (bit #124). The cylinder bit doesn't work. Cut access tabs out of the side of the cpvc - make absolutely sure the tabs do not drop below the level of the bit (for obvious safety reasons!) and WRENCH TIGHTEN THE BIT IN PLACE!

Posted Image

Hole depth consistency is by inserting the blank till it's level with the top of the cpvc guide tube.
Posted Image
Posted Image
Tune hole depth by raising and lowering the cutting bit.

I was able to hole out a dart every 2 seconds with this jig. It does need some tuning as many of my holes were slightly off center. Run your dremel at high speeds, and insert the dart somewhat slowly to lessen this problem.

I used a wire cookie cooling rack as a dart holder:
Posted Image
With the wire spaced at 1/2" apart, it held a ton of darts - no modding required.

I made a trial batch of 10 darts with hot glue, and 5mm & 10mm pom poms (for padding). 9/10 of them fishtailed wildly and only went 35'.

I made the next batch out of oogoo (silicone caulk (use the cheap $3 tube from Walmart) and a little bit of corn starch to speed the cure time from a week, to over night)and mixed in a bakers "icing bag". It's a triangular plastic bag used for piping icing. It worked marvelously well and was able to fill the 150 darts shown above in about an hour. They flew ok, but are probably a little light (5/16" wide x 1/2" deep hole in 1.5" steffans). They were hitting about 20' fewer than the few gumdrop darts I had left. I did not have any hopper misfeeds the entire day - not even from the darts without a felt pad. (plenty of problems with the warm sun softening the bow arms on my marshmallow cross bow and reducing the power though) Nobody noted or complained about a pain difference between darts with the felt disc, and darts without. If a good soft mixture of oogoo is used, the felt pad may not be necessary.

The downside to oogoo - the stench of curing silicone. Work in the garage or some other place away from people.

I know the main goal of this build is to produce metal free darts (it's a goal and passion I share), but I may try dropping a bb or other metal weight down the hole in the next batch I produce to see if I can get more than a sad 60' of range.

Over all these darts were incredibly quick and easy to make - all with cheap materials locally accessible.

One point of confusion though - they are "definitely called VANS", unless they are on Nrev - where they are "definitely called BANS"... Is there any hope of gaining some consistency between the two sites - least they start being referred to as -ANS?

Edited by shmmee, 23 April 2012 - 02:02 PM.

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#40 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:58 PM

I tried my hand at these last week, and I learned some stuff that may be helpful.

I made a dremel hole drilling jig:
Posted Image
Remove the outer half of the dremel attachment - keep the threaded nipple,add e-tape to your cpvc till it's a tight fit and insert fully into the nipple (till it's in as deep as it can go - you don't want it to shift further down while the dremel is running - it may expose the cutting bit to your fingers)! You must use the 5/16" football shaped high speed cutting bit (bit #124). The cylinder bit doesn't work. Cut access tabs out of the side of the cpvc - make absolutely sure the tabs do not drop below the level of the bit (for obvious safety reasons!) and WRENCH TIGHTEN THE BIT IN PLACE!

That hole actually looks very nice, and I like the idea of a ball-shaped bit. A smaller one might be able to create an overhang so that the goo need not actually grip the foam.

I made the next batch out of oogoo (silicone caulk (use the cheap $3 tube from Walmart) and a little bit of corn starch to speed the cure time from a week, to over night)and mixed in a bakers "icing bag". It's a triangular plastic bag used for piping icing. It worked marvelously well and was able to fill the 150 darts shown above in about an hour.
Over all these darts were incredibly quick and easy to make - all with cheap materials locally accessible.

Your speed is impressive to me. Was the tube the kind that goes in a caulk gun or a toothpaste dispenser?

The blue rubber darts also fired fine out of hoppers most of the time with no felt, but I found the level of pain at point blank on my hand to be unreasonable. My blaster may have been more powerful or my goo harder than yours. The blue stuff is certainly harder than most caulking silicone without cornstarch.
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#41 shmmee

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:07 PM

That hole actually looks very nice, and I like the idea of a ball-shaped bit. A smaller one might be able to create an overhang so that the goo need not actually grip the foam.


Your speed is impressive to me. Was the tube the kind that goes in a caulk gun or a toothpaste dispenser?

The blue rubber darts also fired fine out of hoppers most of the time with no felt, but I found the level of pain at point blank on my hand to be unreasonable. My blaster may have been more powerful or my goo harder than yours. The blue stuff is certainly harder than most caulking silicone without cornstarch.


The tube was actually a disposable icing bag - picture a wedge shaped Ziploc bag, fill it with the silicone caulk and a level spoon ful of corn starch, twist the back of the bag, to lock the contents in and kneed till mixed, then clip the tip and twist more to put the contents in the bag under pressure so only a little added pressure squeezes out the oogoo. The fine tip really helps to fill from the bottom of the hole up to avoid air bubbles. Twist the back of the bag as needed to keep the pressure up.

Once done, just throw the bag away.
Posted Image

And... the bag in use - Conveniently, my wife needed to frost cupcakes when I got home from work! Ignore the little plastic/ metal tip, you don't need that.
Posted Image

Mixing about 4" (guessing - I'll check the tube when I get home) of caulk from the caulk tube (mark the plunger location before you start) with one table spoon of corn starch gives you about an hour of working time, (so make sure everything is set up before hand) and gives you cured silicone that's about as firm as a gum drop.

I just wish they performed better. In retrospect the filling process could of forced out the thin retaining wall of the fbr, giving a tighter than normal dart fit - and my crappy ranges. Perhaps a gentle squeeze to the uncured tip would be more beneficial than a bb.

Edited by shmmee, 23 April 2012 - 08:29 PM.

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#42 snickers

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:06 PM

I was making a batch of vans today and found it irritating to pull of the adhesive on each felt pad. What I ended up doing was sticking the felt onto a flat piece of plastic and ripping the felt off, leaving the adhesive backing on the plastic. I hope this tip helps out with the process of making vans. I am with you kane, I can't stand slugs made with exposed washers. I want this "metal free" dart idea to continue and become in-forced at all wars.

Edited by snickers, 25 April 2012 - 08:09 PM.

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#43 Siarnaq

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:39 PM

The tube was actually a disposable icing bag - picture a wedge shaped Ziploc bag, fill it with the silicone caulk and a level spoon ful of corn starch, twist the back of the bag, to lock the contents in and kneed till mixed, then clip the tip and twist more to put the contents in the bag under pressure so only a little added pressure squeezes out the oogoo. The fine tip really helps to fill from the bottom of the hole up to avoid air bubbles. Twist the back of the bag as needed to keep the pressure up.

I just wish they performed better. In retrospect the filling process could of forced out the thin retaining wall of the fbr, giving a tighter than normal dart fit - and my crappy ranges. Perhaps a gentle squeeze to the uncured tip would be more beneficial than a bb.


When I made my batch, I actually tried a few with oogoo, but found it too annoying to squeeze out of the bag. Maybe I'll try those. As to your performance problem, are you sure it wasn't a problem with the weight of the darts? That was my main problem. Even though I didn't really get enough silicone in any of mine, I can't imagine that the little air bubble at the bottom could double the weight to 0.8g. Maybe the scale I was using was off. Or maybe I just need to drill deeper.

One point of confusion though - they are "definitely called VANS", unless they are on Nrev - where they are "definitely called BANS"... Is there any hope of gaining some consistency between the two sites - least they start being referred to as -ANS?


Dunno what you mean, they're definitely VANS. Kane said so.
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#44 shmmee

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:29 PM

When I made my batch, I actually tried a few with oogoo, but found it too annoying to squeeze out of the bag. Maybe I'll try those. As to your performance problem, are you sure it wasn't a problem with the weight of the darts? That was my main problem. Even though I didn't really get enough silicone in any of mine, I can't imagine that the little air bubble at the bottom could double the weight to 0.8g. Maybe the scale I was using was off. Or maybe I just need to drill deeper.

Dunno what you mean, they're definitely VANS. Kane said so.

Using the triangular pointy bag really helps to fill from the bottom of the hole, out. Well worth a trip to the baking aisle.
20 darts weighed 16g =.8g per dart. They still feel light though, and I think the filling process has bulged the tip - changing my barrel fit.

When Kane posted them to Nhq, he called them CANS. When he posted them to Nrev he called them BANS, On NH - Kane called them VANS.

When Soloz1 asked about the discrepancy on Nrev he replied: "They are definitely BANS."

When Chyner asked about the discrepancy on NH he replied: "They are definitely VANS"

Nobody asked about the multi-forum names on NHQ, but he probably would of told them they are definitely called CANS...

I love the concept. Its absolutely brilliant! An elegantly simple solution to a challenging problem, but the name games are driving me crazy.
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#45 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:04 AM

I was making a batch of vans today and found it irritating to pull of the adhesive on each felt pad. What I ended up doing was sticking the felt onto a flat piece of plastic and ripping the felt off, leaving the adhesive backing on the plastic. I hope this tip helps out with the process of making vans. I am with you kane, I can't stand slugs made with exposed washers. I want this "metal free" dart idea to continue and become in-forced at all wars.


Yes, that is awful. Some rolls are worse than others for reasons I don't understand. For the later iterations I've used a sharpened 1/2" x 7/16" stainless steel tube on a drill press to cut felt out of sheets. Brass can work briefly, but after 30-40 holes it will flare in or flare out, depending on the direction of the original sharpening. Still, my felt dots aren't as consistently sized or as soft as the mcmaster adhesive dots.


Using the triangular pointy bag really helps to fill from the bottom of the hole, out. Well worth a trip to the baking aisle.
20 darts weighed 16g =.8g per dart. They still feel light though, and I think the filling process has bulged the tip - changing my barrel fit.

When Kane posted them to Nhq, he called them CANS. When he posted them to Nrev he called them BANS, On NH - Kane called them VANS.

When Soloz1 asked about the discrepancy on Nrev he replied: "They are definitely BANS."

When Chyner asked about the discrepancy on NH he replied: "They are definitely VANS"

Nobody asked about the multi-forum names on NHQ, but he probably would of told them they are definitely called CANS...

I love the concept. Its absolutely brilliant! An elegantly simple solution to a challenging problem, but the name games are driving me crazy.


I'm not sure where your confusion is coming from. They're definitely VANS. And I also posted them on foamuniverse.

I can't imagine that the triangle bag is easier than the caulk gun, but the caulk gun isn't really an option with oogroo unless you know how to refill those cartriges once you've mixed in the cornstarch. I still need to figure out how oogroo is better than silicone by experiment, as the claimed performance is self-contradictory. They supposedly cure faster, but also supposedly take a day to cure and still stink for a week (Still stink = not fully cured). And it's both harder and softer than unmixed silicone depending on who you ask. I get the sense that most of what I hear is from people who have worked with oogroo but not unmixed silicone, which is little better than myself, who has worked with a few different types of unmixed silicone, but never oogroo. I suppose that is a fixable problem.
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#46 Langley

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:53 AM

I don't really expect to hear anyone refer to them on NH as CANS or HANS. Should anyone decide to start calling them 'bans' on this forum, I may have to give them a comprehensive lesson on the meaning of the word, just to remove any ambiguity.
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#47 HasreadCoC

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:23 PM

I don't really expect to hear anyone refer to them on NH as CANS or HANS. Should anyone decide to start calling them 'bans' on this forum, I may have to give them a comprehensive lesson on the meaning of the word, just to remove any ambiguity.

Why would anyone call them BANS (NRev), CANS (NHQ), or PANS (MHA site)? They're obviously called VANS.

But really, they may as well be called ΣANS. Easiest just to call them Not-A-Slugs
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#48 Gears

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:26 PM

Why would anyone call them BANS (NRev), CANS (NHQ), or PANS (MHA site)? They're obviously called VANS.

But really, they may as well be called ΣANS. Easiest just to call them Not-A-Slugs

Or we can just call them Darts-That-No-One-Is-Every-Going-To-Use.
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#49 HasreadCoC

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:48 PM

Or we can just call them Darts-That-No-One-Is-Every-Going-To-Use.

Ever*

Oh, I dunno, if not for the drilling-a-hole-in-the-foam part, and assuming we could have the mix be soft enough that no felt is needed, I could see using them. What with the ease of dispensing with a plastic bag, and the possible low-cost bulk-purchase options of the filling (compared to ordering washers and felt), I could see using them. As with most anything, there is room for improvement.

Edited by HasreadCoC, 26 April 2012 - 01:48 PM.

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#50 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:42 PM

Ever*

Oh, I dunno, if not for the drilling-a-hole-in-the-foam part, and assuming we could have the mix be soft enough that no felt is needed, I could see using them. What with the ease of dispensing with a plastic bag, and the possible low-cost bulk-purchase options of the filling (compared to ordering washers and felt), I could see using them. As with most anything, there is room for improvement.


Definitely lots of room for improvement. Right now I'm experimenting with different types of felt, to see what works best in the blaster and during the manufacturing process. The polyurethane goo is so far much easier to work with than silicone, and cures to about the same hardness. The felt pads are easy enough to make with a properly sized and sharpened tube, but some of my felt pads have turned out inexplicably larger than expected, which can cause problems with the thicker, denser felts I have been playing with. In any case, adding the felt is a trivial amount of work in my current process, and if I have the blank cutting and drilling process automated (Very doable, and probably would have been done by now had I not been crippled for the last couple months), then the remaining steps are less time consuming than making slugs.

I don't really expect these to be adopted as a DIY dart for the majority of nerfers, but I would like safe, metal free, and hopperable darts to be mass-produced for others to purchase. Right now I'm trying to do this myself, but I'd be just as pleased to see someone else pull it off, at which point I'd try to sell them a lot of foam.
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