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NH Homemade Contest: Design and Write-up a Noob's first Homemade

homemade contest rules

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#1 Langley

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 05:28 PM

Goal: To promote the creation of homemade designs and tutorials that are accessible and easily understood by new members.

As evidenced in this thread, new members can feel intimidated by the sheer volume of information about home made nerf guns on this site. Most of the write-ups are out of date, or assume you already have an understanding of the terminology and techniques involved. While this site encourages self-reliance and research, you shouldn't need to spend hours poring over dozens of threads before you start building your first homemade. And if you don't really care about the technical part of the hobby, you should still be able to slap something together to get you through your first war. To that end, we will be hosting a "Noob's first homemade" write-up contest.

Your mission is to borrow, steal, mix and mash any existing homemade designs combined with your own original ideas to create something that any new nerfer can build. Then write up your design, keeping in mind that this may be the first thing someone reads when they come to this site, looking for a weekend project.


There will be two categories of submission:
The 'Plusbow' class: Does not have to be based on the Plusbow. Assume that the noob following your guide has some disposable income to spend on materials and some commonly available tools (like a tap-and-die set, or a hole saw for example). Feel free to include parts that need to be ordered online, but try to limit this to one or two suppliers. If you can, try to avoid using less common tools, but you can assume there are some power tools available. Definitely assume some common handheld power tools like a drill, a dremel, maybe a handheld jig saw. Less likely: a drill press, a scroll saw. Out of the question: a mill, a lathe, a 3D printer.

The 'SNAP' class: Does not have to be based on the SNAP. Assume that the noob following your guide has a few weeks worth of lunch money, some hand tools and a cordless drill. This person is a teenaged nerfer version of Tony Stark in that cave, but without all the cool toys. Huge bonus points if all of the parts can be acquired in one or two ubiquitous stores (Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, or other national chains). Also major bonus points for not explicitly requiring a dremel.


Write-ups should meet the following criteria:

  • Use terminology that people outside of the NIC can understand. Look at it as an opportunity to teach someone new the acronyms and lingo that we take for granted. Make a diagram if you have to.
  • Have a comprehensive list of steps, with images. Don't lose someone in the details because you forgot to photograph a step. Mark up your photos or make a cut-away diagram if it's hard to express with photos alone.
  • Provide a clear list of parts and where to get them, and do the same for any tools that newbies might have to buy.
  • Make sure the blaster is at least competitive at an NIC nerf war. It should be pump-action or similar and capable of firing with a hopper.
  • Make the design relatively idiot proof. Keep it simple, and if there's a tricky part, break it down. The blaster should ideally not be likely to fail or break, even if the builder's skill is not very great.
  • Provide alternatives. If you are requiring an uncommon tool, show how someone might be able to work around it. For the 'SNAP' class entries, provide work-arounds for odd parts. If a pipe with a specific inner diameter is required ('Magic' PVC or thinwall), or a fitting with an unconventional shape (flat 3/4" endcap), or a particular style of clothespin, make sure you provide an alternative.
  • Test your design. You can run hundreds of rounds through a blaster and it can still malfunction or break under actual war conditions. Put your gun in the hands of the guy who's gear breaks in the first round of every war.


Deadline:
You have until June 1st, 2014 to submit your final draft, but don't slack off. You are expected to design, test, and revise your design, and write the most detailed and complete write-up since the plusbow, so if you've got an idea rattling around, you should get started ASAP.


Submission Thread:
http://nerfhaven.com...showtopic=24323


Tips:

  • Feel free to make it ugly, clunky, and not especially comfortable. It's going to be someone's first homemade. It needs to work reliably, keep them from getting picked last, and not frustrate the hell out of them.
  • Link to other people's work. The write-up should stand on it's own, but if you want to provide alternative options for things like plunger heads, hoppers, barrels, etc. you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Don't forget that this is someone's first homemade, so you have to provide everything needed short of a dart making guide.
  • Steal. Use someone else's design, or even someone else's writeup as a jumping off point. Don't plagiarize the text itself, but don't spend a lot of time coming up with a new design. Focus on the writeup, and making it work for the new guys. Just remember to credit the originator of the design. You can come up with your own original design if you want, but be prepared to test the hell out of it.
  • For the "SNAP" class entries - Ideally someone should be able to go out to the hardware store at lunch and be done by dinner. If you can do this without a k26 or a wye and still come out with a reliable, moderately competitive blaster, you've pretty much got this in the bag. Look into bungies, bow-arms, latex surgical tubing, extension springs, <cough>screen door closer springs</cough> etc for the mcmaster spring alternative (don't depend on everyone having a good selection of springs at their local true value, or be prepared to write up a spring buying guide and provide an alternative). You'll earn points if you try to provide an alternative to a wye, but it's safe to assume this will be the first thing they'll replace.
  • For the PlusBow class entries - Feel free to build a design around one weird part, like an obscure bushing from flexPVC, or an expensive pnumatic cylinder from mcmaster or a 3D printed rainbow catch from shapeways or whatever. This is totally worth it if it saves the noob from having to have a lot of skill with a dremel or a scroll saw, or an uncommon/expensive tool like a scroll saw or lathe.


Judges:
The pool of judges will be drawn from the NerfHaven Moderation Team and the Apoc Round Enforcer Crew. The final vote will be made public (unlike the recent mod contest) and judges will be encouraged to provide feedback before the end of the contest to help participants revise and improve their submissions. Some members of the aforementioned groups may provide a submission of their own. This will disqualify them from judging, however they will still be included in the discussion leading up to the final scoring. Judges may enlist the help of actual noobs to evaluate the noob accessibility of certain designs.


Prizes:
The first place winners in each class will earn a standard NH prize pack including a wristband, bandanna, custom avatar, and custom title. I will also provide free web hosting at yourname.nerfers.com and e-mail forwarding at yourname@nerfhaven.com . You will also receive a gift card to a supplier listed in your writeup, (such as lowes, mcmaster, etc.). The gift cards will start at a $50 value which may increase over the duration of the contest depending on the number and quality of entries and the amount raised by various NH fundraisers.

A second and third place winner will be selected from the combined remaining entries in both classes if there are at least 8 and 12 submissions, respectively. They will each get the standard prize pack, and first and second choice from whatever is in the NH prize pool (which will be similar to the 2013 mod contest including various stock blasters and other Nerf-brand or NerfHaven-brand swag)


Terms
By entering this contest you grant NerfHaven permission to reproduce your submission in other formats and/or on other sites for noncommercial purposes (you will be credited as the author). You grant NerfHaven permission to host images and other resources which are included in your submission. You grant NerfHaven permission to make (mostly minor) changes to your writeup after the contest has concluded and winners have been announced. All contest winners outside of the contiguous 48 states must pay the difference in shipping prizes to their location. All submissions must be written and created by you, the contestant and you must post your submission on this site. You must be an active member in good standing (not banned or suspended) during the contest submission period and judging period.


Resources:
Ring Catch Blaster (more forgiving of different diameter springs than a SNAP: http://nerfhaven.com...showtopic=21503

Rork's Pump Action Snapbow: http://nerfhaven.com...showtopic=20409

Beaver's Homemade reference thread: http://nerfhaven.com...showtopic=22561


Edited by Aeromech, 23 November 2015 - 01:22 AM.

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#2 BuffNerd

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:32 AM

I didn't see anything in the original post, but would making full homemade internals for a blaster count for this contest?
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#3 Langley

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:49 AM

I didn't see anything in the original post, but would making full homemade internals for a blaster count for this contest?


I think I would at least consider it, as long as the blaster is something that will be available in stores for the foreseeable future. Keep in mind that cost is a factor. But if you can put together easy to follow instructions for a new nerfer, and the blaster is war-legal and competitive at an NIC war (high rof, fires out of hoppers) I think you might have a shot.

I'm getting a lot of questions about ideas that haven't really been done effectively in the past. I would recommend starting from a reliable, tested design and making manageable changes rather than reinventing the wheel.
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#4 Tangerle

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:10 PM

June is a long time. I already have an idea I could try. The only problem is coming up with the simplest catch design I can.
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#5 Langley

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:46 PM

June is a long time. I already have an idea I could try. The only problem is coming up with the simplest catch design I can.


In the past, contests have been set up over just a couple of months in the hopes that people will suddenly come up with innovative new ideas where they wouldn't have otherwise. I figure that many of you would come up with new or modified designs over the next year anyway, and I want to give you an incentive to write them up thoroughly and present them in a noob friendly context. Also giving you until June gives you plenty of time to actually test your designs. If someone slips in a last minute submission and the judges are skeptical of it's reliability or durability, you loose the chance to prove yourself. Finally it gives you time to get feedback on your writeup. I want you to do well, because it's better for the site if someone really earns a win in this contest. I'm willing to help you get there if you've got the potential.
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#6 DartSlinger

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:19 PM

Are non-springers allowed?
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#7 Langley

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:49 PM

You're not explicitly prohibited from submitting an airgun, HOWEVER, you have to submit something that would be accepted at most NIC wars, something that is reliable and tested, and something that a noob could build. So if you've got a new airgun design, by all means post it, but it probably won't meet the requirements for this contest.
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#8 Exo

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 05:48 PM

1. Can we have multiple entries?
2. Can we resubmit old homemades?
3. Do they EXPLICITLY have to have a trigger mechanism?
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#9 Langley

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 06:45 PM

1. Can we have multiple entries?
2. Can we resubmit old homemades?
3. Do they EXPLICITLY have to have a trigger mechanism?


1. Yes
2. Yes, but the writeup should be new, or at least extensively updated (if it is your own)
3. No, it's not required but it is strongly recommended. It's going to hurt you in the performance category if you don't have a trigger. A pull and release bow style blaster that does really well in all other categories might squeek through but it's going to be tough.
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#10 nerfbetter

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:26 PM

Does it need to be a snap or +bow design catch and trigger mech can we come up with a new design of catch to enter with.
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#11 Naturalman7

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:39 PM

From what I understand from the OP is that your homemade design doesn't have to be a SNAP or +bow oriented design, but the two catagories refer to difficulty of building for new members. SNAPs are easy to make and +bows are fairly complicated, giving examples of the two different "classes".

The two separate classes are two separate competitions within the contest.

Edited by Naturalman7, 22 August 2013 - 07:46 PM.

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#12 Tangerle

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:35 PM

In the past, contests have been set up over just a couple of months in the hopes that people will suddenly come up with innovative new ideas where they wouldn't have otherwise. I figure that many of you would come up with new or modified designs over the next year anyway, and I want to give you an incentive to write them up thoroughly and present them in a noob friendly context. Also giving you until June gives you plenty of time to actually test your designs. If someone slips in a last minute submission and the judges are skeptical of it's reliability or durability, you loose the chance to prove yourself. Finally it gives you time to get feedback on your writeup. I want you to do well, because it's better for the site if someone really earns a win in this contest. I'm willing to help you get there if you've got the potential.


That makes sense. The reason I say how long of a time it is is because I don't have a scroll saw and most of my money is either going towards building a computer or nerf. Seeing that you can enter in multiple things, the fact that I built a snap two days ago with ease, and fixed up another, I'll probably try to come up with a few designs. I already have a few ideas but me knowing what it's like being a noob can make something really easy to build. This is a great idea and will really help out early homemade building.

Edited by Tangerle, 22 August 2013 - 10:36 PM.

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#13 Langley

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 08:17 PM

I think there may be some people who are intimidated or confused by the tips I've provided. I just wanted to say that pretty much anyone who posts a guide for a homemade who at least tries to remain accessible to new nerfers has a shot at this. I want to provide an incentive for people to take their new ideas, or even other peoples' designs and find a way to present them to someone who's never modded before. That having been said, here's a list of things I would love to see come out of this contest:


Langley's Wish List:
  • A pump-action plusbow writeup with step-by step instructions, photos, printable stick-on templates, and a mcmaster parts list. Should not require any tools beyond what is required for the original plusbow.
  • A writeup for a pull-back SNAP (or SNAP-like blaster) that you could build with a hacksaw and a cordless drill. Break it down and make it as easy as possible to understand, including everything you need to know about making the trigger work and getting a decent low-friction seal.
  • A writeup for a pump-action snap that can be built entirely using parts from brick-and-mortar stores.
  • A writeup for a Rainbow Pump or similar blaster. Writeup should address common points of failure and pitfalls. McMaster parts list, extensive photos and instructions, diagrams, cutting templates (if applicable) are expected.

There are two main problems that I am trying to solve here:
  • The average person will have to read multiple threads and/or make at least one failed attempt before they really understand how to build a SNAP. Most people aren't going to 'get it' until they read the clothespin trigger thread, maybe a thread or two about plunger heads, and a couple different snap designs before they arrive at something that they can use at a war that won't break on them.
  • With few exceptions, people aren't making 'Open Source' homemade designs anymore. There are a lot of people making 'commissioned' blasters, but Ryan is pretty much the only one who posts full writeups anymore when it comes to the more complicated 'Plusbow' class homemades.

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#14 andtheherois

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 09:17 PM

Langley's Wish List:
A pump-action plusbow writeup with step-by step instructions, photos, printable stick-on templates, and a mcmaster parts list. Should not require any tools beyond what is required for the original plusbow.


The biggest problem here is the templates. Most of the important parts I have, but the parts for the pump I need to make using graph paper. My experience with uploading templates using a scanner haven't been to great. Usually they come out too small. The is the big issue for me. I'm about to begin building a new bow , so if you have any ideas on how I can fix that problem I'm all ears.

Edited by andtheherois, 04 September 2013 - 09:21 PM.

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#15 Zorns Lemma

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 09:51 PM

The biggest problem here is the templates. Most of the important parts I have, but the parts for the pump I need to make using graph paper. My experience with uploading templates using a scanner haven't been to great. Usually they come out too small. The is the big issue for me. I'm about to begin building a new bow , so if you have any ideas on how I can fix that problem I'm all ears.

Take a picture from a high enough vantage point that perspective distortion doesn't screw with the grid lines, then import the photo into sketchup, scale the grid lines to real scaling, and then trace out a model.
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#16 Carbon

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 11:38 PM

My experience with uploading templates using a scanner haven't been to great. Usually they come out too small. The is the big issue for me.

What software are you using?

Offhand, it sounds like you have a resolution consistency problem. If you scan something at, say, 72 DPI, and then bring it into software set at 300 DPI, your relative image size will shrink.
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#17 NerfOfSteel

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:14 AM

Do CAD designs count for plusbow-class blasters? Or does it have to have been already made?
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#18 Naturalman7

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:05 AM

Do CAD designs count for plusbow-class blasters? Or does it have to have been already made?

This whole contest is about write-ups, so no, virtual blasters wouldn't count. "Does it have to have been already made?"; yes, but ideally you should make it again. Take pictures as you make it to show someone else how to make it. Again, just make a write-up.
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#19 Meaker VI

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:49 AM

The biggest problem here is the templates. Most of the important parts I have, but the parts for the pump I need to make using graph paper. My experience with uploading templates using a scanner haven't been to great. Usually they come out too small. The is the big issue for me. I'm about to begin building a new bow , so if you have any ideas on how I can fix that problem I'm all ears.


OPEN OFFER:


Contest is closed; offer over! Feel free to PM me if for help with designs not in the contest & CAD, but no guarantees.

For anyone entering this contest; get me a sketched image and dimensions and I'll CAD it up for you. I did the Lambda shot, [ed: and now, my own submission] if you need examples of what I could do. I'd rather not need to make whole 3D models of blasters [ed: and I won't do your write up for you], but if you think you need a 3d model for your design I can do those too. I'll do that for anyone entering this contest, provided you give me a few weeks' lead time and I'm not swamped.

 

Do CAD designs count for plusbow-class blasters? Or does it have to have been already made?


As someone who does a ton of work in CAD, unfortunately the trouble isn't designing the blaster, but turning it into reality. Something that looks good on paper always has flaws - my last several CAD projects turning out to be too complex, for example, when something simpler worked just as well (if not better, due to the machining requirements of most CAD projects).

Edited by Meaker VI, 02 June 2014 - 10:02 AM.

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#20 232524z

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 08:42 AM

I just built my first home made, and it is just amazing. I used TheNerfOmania's tutorial, can I link his tutorial instead of making a writeup? He showed the process, step by step, and that just can't be beat.
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#21 Exo

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 08:55 AM

I just built my first home made, and it is just amazing. I used TheNerfOmania's tutorial, can I link his tutorial instead of making a writeup? He showed the process, step by step, and that just can't be beat.

Sure, and we'll give NOM the prize if "you" win.
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#22 Langley

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:35 PM

Only a little over a month left. Let's see some more entries.
Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
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#23 Langley

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 12:07 AM

Going through the submissions, and there's (arguably) only one entry in the "Plusbow" category. I know people are still making pump-bows and rainbows, nobody wants to share their designs?
I'll up the "Plusbow" class prize to $100 in your choice of gift card if you post a write-up that meets the following criteria:
1. Has to be a pump-action spring powered homemade
2. Has to be as good as Captain Slug's original plusbow write-up, with step by step instructions, photos, Mcmaster part numbers, and cutting templates.
3. Can be built with tools from original Plusbow writeup
4. Can be built with materials from McMaster or national chain stores.
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#24 Meaker VI

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:03 PM

For anyone wanting to take me up on free cad work, you're going to need to ask soon with the deadline for entries approaching. Be aware that my own entry took me about a week and a half (between other stuff) to draft, lay out, and write, so you've got about two weeks to ask me to have any chance of it being finished in time.
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#25 Langley

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 03:38 PM

To clarify, you can submit an entry until 11:59PM PDT on Sunday June 1st, which should give everyone the whole weekend to finish what they are working on. At that time the submission thread will be closed and no new writeups will be accepted. You must post your writeup thread, and then link to it from the submission thread by that time.
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