I make my stefans with liquid nails, #8 steel washers, and adhesive-backed felt discs.
THE cheapest source for these materials is http://www.mcmaster.com
The liquid nails adhesive is part# 7534A57
The felt disc stickers are part# 8771K22 but they are available in 3 other colors (green, brown, and black)
The washers are part# 91083A009 and come in a 1-pound box of 585 pieces for $4.37
They weigh roughly .8 grams each (1 pound = 454 grams. So 454g \ 585 = 0.8g)
The size 7 fishing weights that seem to be the generally accepted standard weight by comparison are heavier than these washers. Size 7 split-shot tin fishing sinkers are 1.16g (See this chart), these washers are .8g dry, and 1.2g with the felt disc attached. The resulting dart weighs exactly the same, unless you accidentally purchased lead fishing weights, which weigh 0.6g more than the tin fishing weights.
Weight is not the reason I chose washers. It will become quite obvious why washers are preferable in a second.
Here's how I make felt-tip stefans
1. Cut foam to length (2" generally)
2. Straighten foam using a pillowcase and hair dryer
3. Squeeze liquid nails tube to get a small bead of glue then rub/spin the dart tip on the tip of the liquid nails tube to apply a thin layer of glue. You don't need very much of it to keep the washer secured to the foam.
4. Attach washer to dart making sure to center it.
5. Apply adhesive-back felt disc to washer
6. Use finger to remove any excess glue from the edges of the dart, then wipe glue on a paper towel.
7. Place new dart face down and continue with the next dart
Liquid Nails sets after 5 minutes and cures completely after 20-minutes to an hour (depending on room temperature). While workable it has a consistency of peanut butter, but after 5-minutes of drying becomes the consistency of chewing gum. After an hour of curing it should be as hard as a pencil eraser.
As long as you keep the liquid nails tube tip clean and don't allow it to dry out you should be able to make them as quickly or faster than you would darts with hot glue.
Here are several questions that have been asked already.
1. Do these darts put dents in walls? (is suitable for indoor wars?) If the dart flies funny and goes to the side, will the washer cut into the wall from the side?
2. How many darts can you make with a tube of liquid nails?
3. Are they better than regular stefans?
4. Are the washers and disks that you use thin enough to fit into cpvc?
5. How accurate are they?
1. They are 1/16" smaller in OD than the felt tips and upon impact the felt deforms around the outer edge of the washer. The darts made with this method do not weigh enough to damage drywall, and I have confirmed this by making test shots of darts that lack the felt tips. The felt tips are there to cushion the front of the dart so that they hurt less and don't have the risk of scratching wood furniture or chipping glassware.
2. I've made over 200 darts with this method and have yet to noticably deplete the 4-oz tube of liquid nails. You really won't be applying much glue to each dart.
3. Better in performance? Not in an appreciable way I've been able to notice since they have basically the same range. Their advantages are practical ones since these darts are cheaper and easier to make in bulk.
4. The washers are 3/16" Id, 7/16" Od, .036" Thk. The felt discs are exactly 1/2" OD. Therefore both parts have a smaller OD than any kind of 1/2" foam backer rod.
5. They're just as accurate as meticulously crafted stefans, but are much MUCH easier to make with more consistency.
- Significantly lower cost per dart. If purchased through mcmaster, the washers are $0.0074 each, and the felt discs are $0.01 each. The liquid nails cost is too low per-dart to calculate.
Fishing weights, even if purchased as low as $1 per bag of thirty, cost twice that amount ($0.03). And that cost is not including the hot glue you would need to attach them.
- Much easier to make with high consistency.
- Higher foward-loading since the weight is distributed even closer to the tip of the dart
- More unique and visually appealing. Felt discs are available in white, black, green, and brown.
- Does not require the application of hot glue
- Tips can dry in any orientation without affecting shape/performance of finished dart
- They hurt less. The felt is a much softer tip than hot glue, and personally I think these hurt less than streamline or dart tagger darts which tend to leave hickey marks because they deform on impact.
- Supplies not as easy to obtain in a cost effective way on a local basis (but that's true of most things). Unless of course you can manage to find a hardware store that sells washers by the box full and felt bumper dots in quantities higher than 20.
Edited by CaptainSlug, 28 October 2006 - 01:53 PM.