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Stefan Trouble

Need help with stefans

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#1 wdcalabr

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:15 AM

OK so ive been lurking for a while and finally made an account because I used to paintball and airsoft and neither of them comes close to the cheapness and home modding/painting potential of nerf. And because when you make something cool you wanna show it off so i joined NerfHaven. However i have tried to make my first stefans and they are your basic caulk saver hotglue dome 1bb stefans. Ive made a variety of different sizes from 2.5 inch down to half inch and fired them out of my nitefinders, mavericks, longshots. The nitefinders and longshots both have 11kg springs in them. Some work great others SUCK they just kinda go like 10 feet and spiral all over the place. Do i need to make them heavier or does the "domeness" of the dome affect it or is it just something that gets better with practice? Any help or comments will be appreciated also if ive broken any rules please let me know i dont wanna get banned.
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#2 MattTheSasquatch

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:33 AM

The biggest thing would be do your blasters give the stefan a tight fit. If you're using the stock barrels/breeches then you're not going to achieve the results you want. The second issue would be that some of the tips you made may not be made well, and with the bad tips they will spiral out of control. Making good stefans takes much practice. No one makes an amazing batch the first try. I also find that 1bb (depending on how heavy it is) is usually a bit light. I put 2 in my stefans. But keep trying and eventually you'll get the hang of it.
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#3 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 07:34 AM

Could you post some pictures of your darts? That might help us target our advice. What MattTheSasquatch said about dart fit is critical. ANeeds to be tight.

Your first 100 darts will suck - that's a given. Your next 1,000 will probably be mediocre. But after that, everything is groovy.
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#4 taerKitty

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:09 AM

Could you post some pictures of your darts? That might help us target our advice. What MattTheSasquatch said about dart fit is critical. ANeeds to be tight.

Your first 1500 darts will suck - that's a given. Your next 1,000 will probably be mediocre. But after that, everything is groovy.


FTFY :)

A few thoughts:

- I've had a difficult time centering BBs, especially 2BB darts. 3BB is ~1g, which seems to be a 'magic number' as far as dart mass goes. However, 3BB often leaves exposed metal.

- You didn't mention your foam source. Sad news is, just about every over-the-counter FBR I've purchased in a brick-n-mortar store sucked.

- I've found FBR to be too flexible for darts longer than 1.5". After all, it's designed to be pliable.

- I've found CPVC (not PVC CPVC) to be excellent barrel material.

- 17/32" brass is also good, but very expen$ive.

- Your blasters are all springers, so PETG will likely be too loose. If your darts are snug in PETG, they won't work with anyone else's barrels. FTL

- Personally, I'd recommend #6 washer + felt tip heads, called 'Slugs' after its creator, CaptainSlug. Much easier to make.
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#5 TagMaster247

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:31 AM

Making sure that you center the bb is critical. I hardly ever make domed darts. I would definitely recommend Slugs. Here's what I use:

1/2" Foam Backer Rod from Lowes

#6 Washers from Walmart

1/2" Adhesive backed felt pads (Green seems the best color. It isn't as fluffy) from McMaster.

Also, my Slugs are 1.25" long. I personally think 2.5" is WAY too long for stefans.

Edited by TagMaster247, 27 March 2012 - 03:45 PM.


#6 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:07 PM

It occurs to me that there are no decent writeups for stefans. Maybe IceNine should step up to the plate:

Posted Image
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#7 Ivan S

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:12 PM

It occurs to me that there are no decent writeups for stefans. Maybe IceNine should step up to the plate:

Posted Image

Langley made a very comprehensive one many years ago. I recommend it to anyone trying to make glue dome stefans for the first time, but like so many above, I prefer slugs.

Ice's look fantastic though, so I definitely wouldn't object to a write-up from him too.

EDIT: Rereading the guide, it does have some dated conventions, like drilling holes in the backs of darts and making them 2" long. Not to say it's bad, it just wasn't made in the age of the hoppered homemades. So maybe a whole new write-up would be useful.

Edited by Ivan S, 27 March 2012 - 02:56 PM.

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#8 Exo

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:23 PM

Well, to start off, you should use apostrophes and capitalize the "I"'s. A few commas would add to readability. I'm not trying to BSM, I just want to let you know.

Now that the required dickishness is out of the way, the recommended length for darts is between 1" and 2". Anything below 1" is usually illegal, and once you get colse to and beyond 2", nasty things happen to range and cost. Those domes shown are of magical quality, but I have a few tips to get close to that.

#1: Get a container of cold water.
#2: Make a dome, then hold it upside down. This will push the glue into a less-flattened shape. With a bit of practice, they will become a bit smoother and more predictable.
#3: Once the dome is in the shape you want it to be (nicely domeish) dunk the dome (try not to get the foam) in the water for a second or two. Symmetrical shapes for the somes are required for accuracy. If they are lopsided, they will act like streamlines and curve all over the place, maybe even more than streamlines.

Edited by Exo, 27 March 2012 - 02:24 PM.

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#9 Guitarzan

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:46 PM

It occurs to me that there are no decent writeups for stefans. Maybe IceNine should step up to the plate:

Posted Image

How did you make such beautiful glue domes without the glue spilling over?
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#10 TagMaster247

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:57 PM

#1: Get a container of cold water.
#2: Make a dome, then hold it upside down. This will push the glue into a less-flattened shape. With a bit of practice, they will become a bit smoother and more predictable.
#3: Once the dome is in the shape you want it to be (nicely domeish) dunk the dome (try not to get the foam) in the water for a second or two. Symmetrical shapes for the somes are required for accuracy. If they are lopsided, they will act like streamlines and curve all over the place, maybe even more than streamlines.


That's what I have done whenever I make domes. They are great and cheap, but if you mess up on the dome part, you might as well throw it out, because it will more or less curve whenever you fire one with an improperly made dome. As I've mentioned before, I personally think Slugs are the way to go. They are pretty cheap, easy to make, and are very good range and accuracy-wise. Really it's personal preference, though.

#11 Daniel Beaver

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 05:04 PM

How did you make such beautiful glue domes without the glue spilling over?


I make them my bitch. And bitches know better than to spill over.

Posted Image

Edited by Daniel Beaver, 27 March 2012 - 05:05 PM.

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#12 wdcalabr

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:42 PM

OK thanks guys thats pretty helpful. SO basically make slugs until Ive managed to perfect my glue domes and use more than 1 bb and make my stefans shorter thanks for the help Im gonna make a new batch tomorrow. Also Ive solved the pliability problem with most FBR that you get from ACE, Home Depot and the like, I use a soldering iron and make a hole in the back all the way through then glue a plastic drinking straw in that way it has a straight rigid plastic center.It works pretty well.
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#13 taerKitty

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:28 PM

Please do that in a well-ventilated space. The fumes from melted FBR can't be good for you.

I tried the drinking straw, but be warned that higher powered blasters such as 4Bs will cause the dart to eject the straw.

Another method to making glue domes is to glue a #6 washer to the FBR, set it aside until it's cool, then form the dome atop the washer. You can also use #8 washers, but you'll likely still be able to see the metal edge.
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#14 TagMaster247

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 11:06 AM

Please do that in a well-ventilated space. The fumes from melted FBR can't be good for you.

I tried the drinking straw, but be warned that higher powered blasters such as 4Bs will cause the dart to eject the straw.

Another method to making glue domes is to glue a #6 washer to the FBR, set it aside until it's cool, then form the dome atop the washer. You can also use #8 washers, but you'll likely still be able to see the metal edge.


I believe these are not allowed at some wars, though. Also, make sure that you *make a hole in the "blank" before you slap the washer and felt pad on!* This increases the life of your Slugs.

Edited by TagMaster247, 28 March 2012 - 11:08 AM.


#15 LT DAN ICE CREAM

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 11:58 AM

Ryan McNumbers posted a comprehensive guide to making slug darts. Follow the guide, you can't go wrong.
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