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Tampon Darts (yes it is true)


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#1 andistardust

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 03:27 AM

Hello Nerf folks,

I am a performance artist who has been commissioned to do a piece that requires me to shoot tampons out of a gun. Naturally, nerf guns came to mind. I have been on many forums (and variations of google searches) to find out if shooting tampons out of a nerf gun is possible and I haven't found any solid information on the matter. I have also looked through some of the homemade ammo pages out there, however, I don't necessarily want to make ammo, I would rather load the gun with tampons.

The tampons I plan to use are actually smaller in diameter than standard nerf darts, although shorter. Does the length of the ammo have an impact on the gun's ability to shoot? Are there certain guns that are better suited for alternative ammo, like a tampon? Is this plan crazy because it would require too many gun modifications that is impossible for a nerf newbie like me?

Any and all information/suggestions and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!
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#2 archangel24

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 05:07 AM

Hopefully some of this will make sense, not exactly sure myself as I've been drinking sake..

Anyway, generally something like this wouldn't be attempted because for a blaster to fire of a projectile (dart) there needs to be a weight to help stabilize the dart and allow it to fly as opposed to fishtail out of control or just flutter away. With something relatively crazy as trying to use tampons as a projectile for a nerf blaster, it is highly impractical due to the nature of tampons. For one they are relatively lightweight and balanced out therefore there is nothing to carry it. In addition, they can expand (to absorb of course) and they most likely will if you even attempt to shoot them out of a blaster. Honestly your best bet as far as barrel material goes is brass and an airtank set up of some sort. Can't guarantee that they will fly straight(highly unlikely) or even fly at all, but it is a starting point if you are serious about wasting your time with trying to accomplish this.

TL;DR It is pointless to attempt this but if you do, go with a brass barrel, maybe 15/32 depending on the tampons and use a small output airtank, like perhaps a panther.
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#3 HasreadCoC

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 07:30 AM

Also, most likely you will need a relative long barrel for them to accelerate properly before leaving. Perhaps between 1ft and 2ft.

Not a lot of experience with tampons personally, so I can't be of much help here. You might try asking TED, he always seems to be on his period.
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#4 Exo

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:27 AM

Dimensions: How thin and short are we talking? We've seen darts go down to 1/2" LONG and shoot accurately. It's all about headweight.
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#5 Shoopy

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:40 AM

You might try asking TED, he always seems to be on his period.


Tis the master on female hygiene.

What I think would be the easiest would be to use a super basic homemade, possibly a snapbow. They can be created with limited tools, skill, and money (about $30).

With a homemade such as a snapbow, you can use various barrels easily. With the 1" x 1/2" bushing you can swap various barrels with ease. The thing is, you need to find a piping at your local hardware store that will have a snug fit on your tissue vampires. Then, you have to figure out how to get that pipe to 1/2" pvc. It will take a little bit of messin' around. It will also provide you with the maximum nerfing power.

I don't know how informative this is but maybe it will spark a conversation. And I know you want an actual nerf gun but that might be a tad tricky.

Nerf-o-mania has a easy to follow guide on youtube.

Edited by Shoopy, 06 July 2013 - 09:42 AM.

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#6 Draconis

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 12:04 PM

You guys are all overthinking this. Brass barrel? Why? They just need to fit. Tampons will certainly have stability issues because of their relatively uniform density. Darts are always built with a weighted head to help keep them from tumbling. One thing that may actually help you in this regard is the string. It should act like a streamer and should add drag to the back end, helping to keep it heading straight.
Andistardust, do you already own the tampons? If not, I would find some that are a closer fit in stock type barrels. I'm thinking that a flywheel blaster might work really well for this as long as the strings don't cause problems. I am interested enough that I'm probably going to go raid the medicine cabinet.
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[15:51] <+Noodle> titties
[15:51] <+Rhadamanthys> titties
[15:51] <+jakejagan> titties
[15:51] <+Lucian> boobs
[15:51] <+Gears> titties
[15:51] <@Draconis> Titties.
[15:52] <+Noodle> why is this so hard?

#7 andistardust

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 01:54 PM

Wow! Thank you all for the information!

I don't already own the tampons I plan to use. I was considering using OB's because they are small and compact and they are wrapped in plastic so there wouldn't be the risk of them absorbing anything and expanding in the barrel. However, if the string will help them fly then the wrapper bonus is moot. They come in a variety of sizes, but I think the Regular or Super are probably the closest in diameter to nerf darts. Here is a link to a photo of this tampon.

Just to be clear, this is a performance piece so I don't need the tampons to fly that far, I would say 6-10 feet is fine. It is more for the effect of shooting tampons into the audience.

Also, although I appreciate the tutorial on making my own snapbow, which I find intriguing, I would rather use an existing nerf gun because the performance piece references Rambo and I looking at nerf guns that look like machine guns or similar.

Another question- rather than modifying a gun, could I modify Nerf darts? I noticed the darts have little plastic pieces on the tip. Could I remove the foam and attach a tampon that are a similar diameter and length? Obviously this loses some of the effect of shooting just tampons out of the gun, but if it is otherwise impossible than could this be an option?

Again, thank you all for your time and helping me troubleshoot this

Edited by andistardust, 06 July 2013 - 02:09 PM.

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#8 mr trouble

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

I second Draconis given the additional information. A flywheel blaster would be the best bet, that way the tampon diameter wouldn't be such an issue. You may need to replace the original barrel with something a little larger but that's not really such a big deal. If your only trying to launch a projectile 6ft or so into a crowd of spectators I doubt accuracy will be an important issue. Although you may want to increase the voltage going to the motors to give it a little more distance. You will most likely need to modify the magazine of the blaster you will be using so that the tampons won't jam or get caught.

Edited by mr trouble, 07 July 2013 - 10:02 AM.

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#9 spencerak

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

You may be able to use a dart blank as wadding in a CPVC barrel and then put the tampon in over that. The dart blank will make the seal and then push the tampon forward when the blaster is fired. I've done this a few time putting airsoft bbs as the object to be shot as a sort of shotgun and that worked quite well. I've also shot a pencil with this method and it didnt actually fish tail.
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#10 Langley

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:49 AM

It would require a lot of work to get a new, store bought nerf toy to shoot multiple tampons and still look anything like a machine gun. I would build a HAMP (Original and Hoppered) and spray paint it black. Maybe get a toy gun and use it to put a handle or a stock or something on to make it look more like a gun. With a HAMP you can use any size pipe for the barrel, so you can match the pipe to your 'ammo', and there's so much airflow that you don't have to make a perfect seal. You could make the barrel much shorter than the ones pictured in those links, since you're not worried about range. They are also much easier to make than anything else you will see on this site. You can make a basic one with the right sizes of pipe, some cardboard, duct tape, and some yarn. I definitely think the best thing to fire tampons out of is a HAMP. I would even say that the best thing to fire out of a HAMP is tampons.

I'm going to give this thread another 48 hours at most. I wish you the best of luck with your performance piece, but we really don't need a long drawn out discussion of tampon launching, where everyone weighs in with their clever jabs. This isn't really the sort of thing we do, and you would probably have better luck at your local hackerspace. If you're anywhere near Noisebridge I would recommend checking them out.
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#11 Draconis

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:12 PM

I tried a couple of "regular" tampons in a stock Rayven, worked fine. Got about twenty feet of range. They did seem to be a relatively loose fit in stock, depegged barrels, though. If you use an air powered blaster, you may want to try a slightly larger version.
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[15:51] <+Noodle> titties
[15:51] <+Rhadamanthys> titties
[15:51] <+jakejagan> titties
[15:51] <+Lucian> boobs
[15:51] <+Gears> titties
[15:51] <@Draconis> Titties.
[15:52] <+Noodle> why is this so hard?

#12 ozn rfnerd

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:49 AM

You could call it the splattershot.

Sorry...couldn't resist it.

And its already been done.

Edited by ozn_rfnerd, 08 July 2013 - 08:50 AM.

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#13 shmmee

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:58 AM

I don't think flywheels would be the way to go here. Strings + spinning wheels? Really?

It's a rare day that you can recommend a Vulcan for anything, but it might be a good fit for this kind of wackiness. Just rip out the stems from inside the ammo chains, and put a half inch of foam in the each chain link to act as a sabot (creates the seal you need, also keeps the string from falling out the back). Wrap the strings around the back of the tampon to bulk them out a bit, (the strings - in theory should bulk the smaller diameter enough to keep them in the chain link and unravel mid air stabilizing the projectile) trim your projectiles to length and cut loose some semi auto battery powered feminine hygiene. Any modifications would be strictly limited to the ammo chain and could be accomplished in just a few minutes.

The ridiculously oversize and masculine blaster might also be an interesting juxtaposition with whatever point you're trying to make.
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#14 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:57 PM

It would require a lot of work to get a new, store bought nerf toy to shoot multiple tampons and still look anything like a machine gun. I would build a HAMP (Original and Hoppered) and spray paint it black. Maybe get a toy gun and use it to put a handle or a stock or something on to make it look more like a gun. With a HAMP you can use any size pipe for the barrel, so you can match the pipe to your 'ammo', and there's so much airflow that you don't have to make a perfect seal. You could make the barrel much shorter than the ones pictured in those links, since you're not worried about range. They are also much easier to make than anything else you will see on this site. You can make a basic one with the right sizes of pipe, some cardboard, duct tape, and some yarn. I definitely think the best thing to fire tampons out of is a HAMP. I would even say that the best thing to fire out of a HAMP is tampons.

I'm going to give this thread another 48 hours at most. I wish you the best of luck with your performance piece, but we really don't need a long drawn out discussion of tampon launching, where everyone weighs in with their clever jabs. This isn't really the sort of thing we do, and you would probably have better luck at your local hackerspace. If you're anywhere near Noisebridge I would recommend checking them out.


Unless there's something I don't understand about tampons, this is the only sound advice in the thread so far. It doesn't sound like you need anything sophisticated, and it doesn't sound like you have the experience to do anything sophisticated. So just go with something that is easy and pushes a lot of air. If you found a large volume manual air pump, you might just be able to tape a barrel onto the air output and be ready to go. As long as you have a surplus of air, the barrel diameter can be quite loose fitting.
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#15 Carbon

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 11:15 PM

And on that note, I think we're done here.
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