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Reliably Hoppering Silicone Darts

A quick and easy method to hopper any silicone darts.

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#1 nine

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:11 PM

So I had seen Kane's video of firing darts backwards out of a hopper, where his slug darts fired reliably regardless of orientation. I decided to try a similar test with silicone domes, and my findings may have solved the current problem of wanting safe darts that also fire from hopper clips. As it turns out, one can load silicone stefans with a significantly sized head into a hopper clip and still fire reliably.

The phenomenon can be observed in this video:



I am using a homemade wye, but it does have a close to 45 degree angle that the dart has to bend around.

Again, all it takes to fire silicone tipped darts from a hopper is to load them into the hopper clip backwards. The darts turn around in the air a few meters in front of the blaster, but they seem to stabilize fairly quickly afterwards.
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#2 Kronos Nerf Mods

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:35 PM

And you just single handedly completely destroyed the market for 3D printed wyes.
I'd better start looking for a job.
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#3 nine

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:47 PM

And you just single handedly completely destroyed the market for 3D printed wyes.
I'd better start looking for a job.


Oops, sorry Kronos. 3D printed wyes are still cooler at least.
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#4 He Who Mods

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:11 PM

Wow haha, a year or two of ideas and time consuming wyes and all you had to do was flip the dart around. Is there a decrease in range? Since the dart has to use some extra energy and spin in the air (being less aerodynamic) I would expect a slight range difference, but not a very impressive one.
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#5 Ivan S

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:18 PM

One of my professors used to say that innovative design makes people think "How did I not think of that?". That's definitely what I'm thinking right now. My only concern with this method is accuracy, which is unfortunately difficult to test. Hopefully the dart can do a 180 and keep a straight path.
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#6 Thailyer14

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:06 PM

I've never thought about this great job
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#7 cheerios

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:18 PM

I tested this out briefly at a MHA war last year and found loading them backwards reduced range and accuracy.

Reliability was significantly improved when used with non-corn starched darts, but equally reliable to those that were coated in corn starch and loaded normal.
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#8 nine

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:44 PM

Wow haha, a year or two of ideas and time consuming wyes and all you had to do was flip the dart around. Is there a decrease in range? Since the dart has to use some extra energy and spin in the air (being less aerodynamic) I would expect a slight range difference, but not a very impressive one.


I feel like there is a bit of a decrease in velocity, but a very minimal one. I haven't done any extensive tests with muzzle velocities and ranges, but any difference is quite marginal.

One of my professors used to say that innovative design makes people think "How did I not think of that?". That's definitely what I'm thinking right now. My only concern with this method is accuracy, which is unfortunately difficult to test. Hopefully the dart can do a 180 and keep a straight path.


Haha, thanks. Most of my findings are quite qualitative, so I don't have much support for my observations. However, I do feel like there is not much of a difference in accuracy. I'm having no problems hitting the centre of my maple leaf with the flipped darts.

I tested this out briefly at a MHA war last year and found loading them backwards reduced range and accuracy.

Reliability was significantly improved when used with non-corn starched darts, but equally reliable to those that were coated in corn starch and loaded normal.


I would agree with this, though again, I have not done much range testing. To me, this seems preferable to coating my darts with corn starch, though might be just me.
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#9 KaneTheMediocre

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 11:42 PM

Yeah, I thought I mentioned this in one of my dome writeups, but maybe I forgot. In my experience, some darts fed backwards will fire about 97% of the time, but at a significant cost to accuracy--maybe 5 degrees of deviation, and thats neglecting the "swirl out" behavior that often occurs when domes fly fast. Range is probably also slightly reduced, but the loss of accuracy was the more noticeable effect.

Since you were able to do this accurately I'll certainly re-test tomorrow, because I would like to be wrong. Also, I recall the effect being noticeable at short range, so I would expect you to notice it.
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#10 shmmee

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 08:06 AM

Wow. Great discovery. I'll bust out my chrony the next chance I get and get some hard numbers for speed a few meters out. Very cool discovery. It's a huge *facepalm* for silicone dart smiths everywhere.
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#11 nine

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 04:48 PM

You may want to review your own video, above, frame by frame. Everyone else can. Let me recap the shots for you:
1) white area inches away to the right of the leaf
2) right edge of flag, not even in the white
3) stem of leaf
4) completely missed flag(!)
5) well below leaf though at least still in the white
6) I got bored and don't care any more so let's say that one hit the center (okay, 'centre') of the leaf. One for six.


Okay, that said ... this is a cool innovation. I'm shamed for never thinking of it. Yes, I expect there will be some costs paid in both range and accuracy, but the trade-off for ROF is bound to be worthwhile in a lot of cases. Testing the method and attempting to measure the trade-offs is a great idea.


Okay ... next, who wants to turn their hopper around too, and see if /that/ works?
I claim the name "rainbow unicorn" for a blaster to be constructed later.


Well, maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention while firing. Thank you for correcting me though. Also, rainbow unicorn sounds like a great name, though I don't see what turning the wye around would accomplish.
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#12 Draconis

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 06:08 PM

Well, maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention while firing. Thank you for correcting me though. Also, rainbow unicorn sounds like a great name, though I don't see what turning the wye around would accomplish.



That's the point. Doing it wrong is going to... make it operate wrong. I still don't have problems with stock-length silicone dome darts feeding. i don't know why you guys can't get short ones to work.
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#13 Drev

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:05 PM

That's the point. Doing it wrong is going to... make it operate wrong. I still don't have problems with stock-length silicone dome darts feeding. i don't know why you guys can't get short ones to work.

I don't seem to have problems with feeding dome darts either and my hoppers aren't even Brit-hop. I'm not sure about being able to feed full length darts though, I will check that out later. Still, if this works as well as you say it does, it is an amazing idea and I could see more people shifting to using silicon domes.
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