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slug and ryan's guides now have their own threads in Ds and Bs

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#501 Salmon

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 03:40 PM

How I make my Amazing Stefans

How to Choose the Right Glue Gun for your Foam.
For this, you have to decide what foam you are going to use. I personally use Mile High, which melts easily. Because of this, I had to use a low-temp glue gun. Many low-quality glue guns will get progressively hotter as you keep them on, which meant I had to unplug my glue gun every 10 or 15 minutes to keep it from melting my foam. I now use an Ad-Tech Mini Low Temp glue gun, and it works very well.

How to Cut.
I use a long-bladed hobby knife for cutting my foam. When cutting, "pin" the raw foam down straight with your index and middle finger, and make the cut in between the pinned points. Make sure the edge of your blade is lined up perpendicular to the foam on every angle, and slowly saw into the foam.

How to Straighten your Blanks.
I actually don't have to do this, since the foam I use is dense enough that you can simply "bend" it into shape right off of the roll. However, when I used my old foam, I would just put the blanks in a pillowcase and throw it into a dryer for 10 minutes on medium heat.

How to Make the Hole.
This is pretty simple. Basically, just make sure you burn the hole in the center of the blank, and don't let the hole get too big.

How to Make the Dome.
One of the hardest parts of dart-making for many people. I can't tell you any technique to this really, you just have to practice. I can, however, give you some tips:
-Don't be stingy with the glue, unless you're using a high-temp glue gun. With a high temp, if you use too much glue, it will pour over the sides and make a nasty mess.
-Don't try to correct minor mistakes in the dome by smoothing it with the glue gun's tip or putting more glue on before it cools. Trust me, gravity will make the dome for you if you do things right.
-Have a dart holder of some kind. I use a Magstrike or Powerclip clip. This will ensure the dome doesn't cool poorly, the weight doesn't move around, and lets gravity fix your mistakes for you.
-SLOWLY pour the glue to make the dome.
-Keep a steady hand, and don't move the glue gun around when making the dome.

That's about it. Happy dartsmithing,
Salmon

Edited by Salmon, 11 March 2010 - 04:25 PM.

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#502 Lt Stefan

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 09:51 PM

I just got some slingshot ammo and made some darts with it and went shooting. I was using a singled RFDG with a 14" cpvc barrel. It's quite a powerful gun. I was shooting at a target from 45'.

-Darts went much farther and hit with much more force.
-Darts were sometimes deadly accurate, other times they weren't
-Darts sometimes shot very far, others didn't
-Some of the darts would go completely off of my aim. They would curve in flight and hit things that were 10' away from the target zone, when they had a straight flight path in the first half of the flight.
-Some darts would shoot low, others high.

I checked the head/ weight "centeredness" before each shot, and the crazy performance seemed to not be based on the smoothness of the head or the centeredness of the weight. Some "perfect" darts would shoot terribly and some crappy darts would shoot well.

Is there any explanation for this?

On a side note, is there any way to make foam thicker? I have some red foam and it is slightly too loose in stuff and I want to make it thicker.
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#503 John

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 10:19 PM

I just got some slingshot ammo and made some darts with it and went shooting. I was using a singled RFDG with a 14" cpvc barrel. It's quite a powerful gun. I was shooting at a target from 45'.

-Darts went much farther and hit with much more force.
-Darts were sometimes deadly accurate, other times they weren't
-Darts sometimes shot very far, others didn't
-Some of the darts would go completely off of my aim. They would curve in flight and hit things that were 10' away from the target zone, when they had a straight flight path in the first half of the flight.
-Some darts would shoot low, others high.

I checked the head/ weight "centeredness" before each shot, and the crazy performance seemed to not be based on the smoothness of the head or the centeredness of the weight. Some "perfect" darts would shoot terribly and some crappy darts would shoot well.

Is there any explanation for this?

On a side note, is there any way to make foam thicker? I have some red foam and it is slightly too loose in stuff and I want to make it thicker.

First, I have no idea why some darts went further than others. I guess the Stefan Gods just like messing with you.

For making foam thicker, you may want to try either keeping the blanks in the dryer longer. I normally put them in for about 12 minutes on high, and it works good in my NF. You can also try just getting new foam. I use Frost King, but only because that's all I could find. You could try ordering foam from SwiftNerf, because from what I've heard his foam is fairly tight in CPVC.
Hope that helps, because I'm still fairly new to the Haven.

~J

Edited by -John-, 05 April 2010 - 10:20 PM.

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#504 Ryan201821

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 10:23 PM

Is there any explanation for this?


Your weights aren't centered in the foam. Don't say that they are, because if they were, your darts would fly straight.

Edited by Ryan201821, 05 April 2010 - 10:24 PM.

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#505 Lt Stefan

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:04 AM

The thing is some of them were pretty close and others weren't. And it didn't seem to matter if they were straight or not as I checked them before every shot.

How would you recommend getting them centered then?
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#506 Ice Nine

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 04:38 PM

How would you recommend getting them centered then?


I usually try and keep zero or fewer dicks in my mouth when I make my darts. That seems to be the difference-maker here.

Seriously dude? How do you make a CENTERED HOLE?

Edited by Ice Nine, 06 April 2010 - 04:44 PM.

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#507 Draconis

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 04:40 PM

How would you recommend getting them centered then?


Seriously dude? How do you make a CENTERED HOLE?


I measure each one and bisect it with a tiny compass.
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#508 Ryan201821

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 04:40 PM

How would you recommend getting them centered then?

Lasers.
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#509 Hi Yah

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 05:13 PM

The thing is some of them were pretty close and others weren't. And it didn't seem to matter if they were straight or not as I checked them before every shot.

How would you recommend getting them centered then?


Ninja focus.

Just make sure the hole is centered and make it a bit smaller so that the weight can't move side to side.
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The yellow balls are also slightly smaller in diameter than the green ones.

#510 Doom

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:05 PM

Use a lathe when you need a centered hole. Don't most people put their darts in a lathe to get a perfectly centered hole? I do.
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#511 Ambience 327

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 01:40 PM

I have a problem. I commissioned 450 normal stefans, and they are making their way to me as we speak. However, the rules for Cataclysm state slug darts or stock darts only (if it was there before I ordered my darts, I didn't see it!). I don't have nearly enough stock darts to supply myself and the crew I'm bringing, but I've verified with the organizer that if I can get some felt tips to reliably stick to the front of my darts, I'll be golden. These are standard stefans, i.e. they have a weight (single BB in this case) held in by a nice hot glue dome.


My current thoughts include either:

1) Slicing a bit off the front of each dome and gluing (hot glue? superglue? something else?) a felt pad on to the newly created flat space (probably overhanging the freshly-cut lip by a bit for added saftey).

or

2) Cutting a small wedge out of each felt pad so that they can be wrapped around the "dome" of the dart and glued in palce.


Obviously both of these methods will be tested to see which is easier and/or more reliable. However, I'm asking for input on other ideas or for people to point out any flaws in either or both of my current ideas which I haven't thought of.

Edited by Ambience 327, 08 April 2010 - 01:42 PM.

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#512 Qwear

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 04:49 PM

I am not sure myself, but it sounds like sliting the felt would be better.
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#513 Hi Yah

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 04:52 PM

What I used to do is make the dart normally, but then glue on a 3/8" felt disc to the top. This worked just as good as slug darts, but the materials are easier to get.
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The yellow balls are also slightly smaller in diameter than the green ones.

#514 Lynx

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 11:50 PM

My current thoughts include either:

1) Slicing a bit off the front of each dome and gluing (hot glue? superglue? something else?) a felt pad on to the newly created flat space (probably overhanging the freshly-cut lip by a bit for added saftey).

or

2) Cutting a small wedge out of each felt pad so that they can be wrapped around the "dome" of the dart and glued in place.


Just add a tiny bit of hot glue and place the felt tip on top... I would recommend melting some of the glue that's already there first so it's actually attached.
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#515 SerpentofSet

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 11:10 PM

I usually like to use hand sanitizer to shape my dart tips. I just get a small amount on my fingertips and start shaping the hot glue. The human hand is a lot more accurate than an ice cube, and hand sanitizer has the right level of viscosity to not slide off your hand immediately, unlike water.
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#516 Pri

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:19 PM

With my singled big blast, I was using a stefan weighted with 2 slingshot weights. I was hitting 180ft. consistently, and with my normal stefans I was only getting 130-140. So doubling the weight for higher powered guns (titan, big blast, signal launcher) I find to work better.

And accidentally, while i was making stefans I ruined the tip but saved it by swirling the semi-dried hot glue around the weight. It created somewhat of a spear on the tip, and it actually increased the range of my nitefinder by at-least 5 feet.
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#517 Mr BadWrench

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:13 AM

PRI you are a fucking idiot.

2 slingshot weights is basically a steel bullet with a foam sabot and has no business here... putting points on your stefens is a good way to get your ass kicked at a war...
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#518 VACC

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 07:51 AM

Yeah, I'm with badwrench here. We don't like to encourage dangerous or irresponsible nerf modifications or fabrications on this site, and Pri's suggestions are potentially both.

Double slingshot weighted stefans, and pointed amunition of any kind, are not permitted at any of the larger wars as far as I know. Shit, single slingshot weighted stefans are on the way out all over the country. While crafting these for purely entertainment purposes is understandable, please don't make any such ammunition with the intention of shooting them at other nerfers.
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#519 Pri

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 09:40 AM

Yeah, I'm with badwrench here. We don't like to encourage dangerous or irresponsible nerf modifications or fabrications on this site, and Pri's suggestions are potentially both.

Double slingshot weighted stefans, and pointed amunition of any kind, are not permitted at any of the larger wars as far as I know. Shit, single slingshot weighted stefans are on the way out all over the country. While crafting these for purely entertainment purposes is understandable, please don't make any such ammunition with the intention of shooting them at other nerfers.


I would never bring one of those kind of darts to a war. That would hurt like hell. But I was just saying it to get max range out of your blasters.
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#520 ilzot

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 06:05 PM

Yeah, I'm with badwrench here. We don't like to encourage dangerous or irresponsible nerf modifications or fabrications on this site, and Pri's suggestions are potentially both.

Double slingshot weighted stefans, and pointed amunition of any kind, are not permitted at any of the larger wars as far as I know. Shit, single slingshot weighted stefans are on the way out all over the country. While crafting these for purely entertainment purposes is understandable, please don't make any such ammunition with the intention of shooting them at other nerfers.


I would never bring one of those kind of darts to a war. That would hurt like hell. But I was just saying it to get max range out of your blasters.


This is kind of like saying "I modded my Nerf gun to shoot bullets. It gets more range!"

No shit it does. Everyone knows that this'll happen. That's why slingshots are even on their way to being banned. They're just too damn heavy.
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#521 taerKitty

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 11:12 AM

Here are a few ideas. Some are practical, others not. YMMV.

1. Tagger Stefans

I have lots of stock foam, and still use them for indoor firing. Some of the modded blasters tend to do nasty things to the darts. Small round stickers over the hole keep them from shredding, but the impacts seem weaken the glue so the heads fall off. So, I'm left with more than a few sticks of 2.25", cored-out, neon-coloured foam.

Posted Image


This is more of an aesthetic dartsmithing idea than anything else. It does help in locating the darts, especially outside, but that latter part is more theoretical than experiential for me. I don't end up at (m)any wars, as WA-area Nerfers can attest. Still, orange (or canary yellow) does stand out more than grey against the taupe and other muted hues of American Office colouring.

At any rate, this is 3/4" of FBR, a #8 washer, then 1/4" slice of Nerf foam filled with hot glue. They're just another form of glue-dome stefans, and perform about the same. They sting about the same, too. Let's look at that in the next idea.

===

2. Indoor Stefans

Even from an amped-up NF, glue-dome and felt-tipped stefans can sting a little at close range. For serious Nerfers, that's part of the whole point, but for people just starting out, they may balk at the idea. Here's a simple way to alleviate some of the pain.

The ones on the right are FBR-tipped stefans. Ranges are comparable to my felt-tipped stefans using the same foam. Tested with a 4B, a Pistol Splat, and a modded TTG. As an experiment, I trimmed some of the top to give it a more Streamline profile, but that doesn't seem to help distances any. (This was before I got caught up on this thread, so I acknowledge they're war-illegal.)
  • Take a short length of 1/2" PVC, about 6".

  • Cut slots almost all the way through with a (foo)saw 1/4", 1", and 1.5" from one end. Keep cutting until the blade is in contact with the opposite inner wall of the pipe. Make sure this cut is square to the length of the pipe. Using a miter box is highly recommended here, as is taking your time with the (foo)saw.

    Disclaimer: This is a standard step in making stefans - I'm not saying it's anything new; I'm just including it for completeness' sake.

  • Take another run of PVC, this one about 2". Solvent-weld it against the first pipe under the cuts so the ends are flush. PVC cement and primer will run you $8 to $10, and will last forever. It's well worth it here, because hot glue alone won't cut it. Let it cure for the time stated on the can. Mine says two hours.

  • To stiffen the joint, add a fillet of hot glue on each side. Make sure not to get glue into the slots you just cut.

  • Feed the string of FBR through it, placing the end flush with the end of the PVC with the slots you just cut. Depending on your preference use the 1" or 1.5" slot to chop your FBR into chunks, then stuff them in a pillowcase, air-dry them with a hair dryer or clothes dryer, yadda, yadda.

  • When you have a bunch of foam blanks, take the back of some sort of sticker, such as a bumper sticker. Lay a half dozen washers on it, then dot a bit of hot glue in the center of each, enough for the bubble to spill over the center opening appx 1mm.

  • Press the FBR on it, holding it true for 5 seconds (alternately, devise some sort of rig to hold it true.) Doing it batches of 6 allows the glue some time to cool, but still remain tacky. This will cut down on melted foam, which will keep the ends true.

  • (Optional) If you want single-washer darts, you're done. If you want to double the weight, repeat and glue a washer on the other end of each FBR blank.

  • When you're done, you should have a bunch of FBRs with a #8 washer glued to one (or both) ends. Now drop a bit of hot glue on the washer, enough to form a dome about the diameter of the center opening, and press another FBR (or it's washer) against it. Hold for 10 seconds. Do this sitting down, so you the recent glued FBRs don't have to support the weight of a whole bunch of washers.

  • You now have a long chain of FBR again. Feed it through the aforementioned PVC pipe toward the .25" slot until the washer shows (the chain will end in a single washer, but we're going to take care of that very soon.)

  • Cut the FBR chain through the slot. You should have a chunk of FBR 1/4" longer than your desired length. Glue that one to the other end of the chain, keeping the downrange orientation the same.

  • That's pretty much it - advance the chain until the washer pair shows, then cut it. You should end up with a bunch of FBR-tipped darts with 1/4" of foam at the business end, and 3/4" or 1" of foam 'up-range'.
===

3. Wadcutters

Posted Image


Sorry for the blurry picture, but it's hard to do closeups with this camera.

This is a semi-practical tip, but only if your blaster needs 3 BBs and a slug of hot glue to reach max range. (If that is the case, I don't want to be shot by it.)

Seriously, it is very slow, and probably good only as a 'novelty' stefan, somewhat similar to the tagger stefan, above.
  • Cut a 1/4" ring of CPVC.

  • Get some sticker backing paper, such as off a bumper sticker. Cut a 2" x 1/4" strip of it and hot glue it to the inside of the CPVC ring, slick side inward (otherwise you wouldn't be able to glue it.)

  • Get a flat magnet, such as these, available at Michael's Art Supply stores. Lay the rest of the sticker backing paper over it, slick side upward.

  • Drop 3 BBs on the magnet and nudge them into the triangle if needed. Place the CPVC ring around them and fill it with hot glue. On a full-sized hot glue gun, I gave each one a full trigger squeeze.

  • Wait for it to cool. This will probably take 30 seconds to a full minute. When it's utterly solid, poke it out of the ring.

  • Flip it over. Put a drop (appx 1-1/2 to 2x the size of a BB) of hot glue in the center of the three-BB-triangle.

  • Press FBR blank against it and count to 10.

  • Repeat.
Yes, incredibly slow. The results look good, but the process takes forever. It's good if you need that much mass in your dart, or you like the looks, or you think there's a market for them.

Edited by taerKitty, 06 June 2010 - 11:30 PM.

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Fugly is a feature.

#522 Wes7143

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:46 PM

With slingshots being too heavy, but single .177 bb's being too light for most high powered guns, I bought some 7/32 precision ball bearings from McMaster, just to test out. They're a bit on the expensive side as far as nerf ammunition goes, but they're still far cheaper than stock darts, and only a little more expensive than some of the places that sell #8 washers.

Sizes:
.177 = BB
.219 = 7/32
.250 = Steelshot

Comparison photo:

Posted Image

McMaster #9528K14

Edited by Wes7143, 08 June 2010 - 04:47 PM.

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#523 taerKitty

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 08:59 PM

Found this on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.co...uct/B000BQWOC0/

M-D Building Products 71480 Backer Rod for Gaps and Joints
by M-D Building Products
List Price: $4.29
Price: $0.62
You Save: $3.67 (86%)

...


Product Description
Nonabsorbent, closed cell polyethylene pre caulking material. Use before caulking to fill gaps and openings larger than 1 2" x 1 2". Prevents 3 point bonding. No. 71464: 3 8" diameter x 20' L. No. 71480: 1 2" diameter x 20' L. No. 71506: 5 8" diameter x 2

The way I'm reading this, it's 20' of closed cell foam for $0.62. But...

Shipping is $6.24. However, it appears that's for up to 1lb, and the unit weight is 2.4 oz. because I purchased 20 of them and got charged $18-and-change for shipping. Total is $30-and-change, so that's still $1.50 per 20'.

Arrives 23-28th, which may be after Dayko's war. Oh, well. I'll post about its density when it arrives.

===

Edit: Originally said it was Draconis' War. Thanks TantumBull

Edited by taerKitty, 17 June 2010 - 10:19 PM.

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#524 TantumBull

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 09:41 PM

Draconis' war.

It's actually Dayko's. And awesome find!
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#525 taerKitty

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:27 PM

Draconis' war.

It's actually Dayko's. And awesome find!

Corrected, thanks!

And to keep this on topic, rather than painting the ends of the dart, you can go all Claire's and frilly with shiny labels and all, or just go with round labels glued on - these are removable out-of-the-box, but I couldn't find any 3/8" or 1/2" diameter permanent labels, only 1/4".
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