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Red Fbr: Reviewed


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#1 cxwq

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 01:45 PM

Note: All comparisons are made with respect to my usual gray FBR, purchased from loghelp with size variations between 1/2" and 33/64".

First Impressions

So I got an envelope in the mail yesterday with some red foam in it. Apparently USPS is now doing door to door overnight service in the greater LA area for the price of a first class stamp. Two 3.5" pieces of 1/2" red FBR sent by ShortShit for review purposes. I might as well state here that, while I know ShortShit from his (occasional) YANO attendance, I'm not in the business of shilling for people so I'm going to give you my straight take on this stuff.

The red FBR is lighter than usual and appears to have slightly larger 'cells' visible in the cut end. It is less resiliant than gray FBR and seems to be easier to straighten. Dart construction was a little more exciting than usual both because I only had two chances to get it right and because this foam requires a steadier hand with the knife and glue gun to avoid deforming the dart. I found the surface of the dart to be tougher than usual and ended up cutting it by inserting the tip of my knife blade first, then expanding the cut in either direction. Hot glue seems to adhere to this foam better than usual which should be nice for dart longevity.

At first glance the red FBR seemed exactly the same size as my loghelp foam but on closer examination it is very slightly (~1/64") smaller diameter. Combined with the slightly smoother surface the barrel fit characteristics are slightly looser than what I'm used to.
  • 17/32" K&S brass: Not a smooth sliding fit, but can be simply pushed in rather than twisted in. Possible to blow a dart through a short length of tubing.
  • 9/16" K&S brass: Slightly loose sliding fit. Dart falls down the tubing when held vertically.
  • PETG: Perfect sliding fit. Dart does not fall down tubing when held vertically. Dart can be easily blown through tubing.
So have some pictures...

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The shots with my Tiny Toon Adventures ruler are intended to show that the foam is really close to .5" diameter and the darts I made are 2.25". I've adjusted the levels somewhat in order to correct the color washout from my overly-close flash and render the colors as accurately as possible.

Range Testing

I tested the darts in three guns that should give a decent impression of the overall performance of the FBR. Some of my guns aren't at typical maintenance levels so overall ranges are slightly low but the dart comparison is still valid. I fired 4 shots with each FBR type from each gun for a total of 24 shots. All shots are fired level on a flat concrete walkway. Keep in mind that the differences in range between the two FBR types mostly fall within the margin of error of a 4-shot average so don't read too much into a one or two percent difference. Interestingly, while it's a little more fragile, the red FBR held up to the abuse better than my regular foam. At the end of testing, 100 foot shots onto concrete from a Max Shot blew the tips off two of my regular darts (not atypical) but the hot glue adhered better to the red FBR and they remained intact. The red FBR darts also enlarged to fill the barrel slightly more after the first shot or two, giving them a kind of custom fit. All darts are 2.25" and weighted with 1/4" steel shot.

Expand-a-Blast: 12" 9/16" K&S followed by 2" 19/32" K&S

Gray Average: 63.85'
Red Average: 63.96'

AT3000: 6" PETG

Gray Average: 75.44'
Red Average: 78.38'

Max Shot: 2" 17/32" K&S followed by 7" 9/16" K&S

Gray Average: 101.28'
Red Average: 103.67'

Observations and Analysis

The identical performance in my EaB was expected. Because the dart/barrel fit in that gun was already a slightly loose sliding fit and the air volume is so large, the minor size variation had no effect on performance. The roughly 4% increase in range on the at3k would probably have been more except that I've been stretching my gray FBR a little these days so that it has a better fit in PETG. The red FBR fits perfectly in PETG without stretching and makes a perfect choice for PETG use in pump guns. The difference between the Max Shot ranges is probably not statistically significant but what's interesting is how it got there. The red darts seemed to have a slightly lower barrel velocity, probably because the constriction in my Max Shot is set up for my slightly wider FBR. Once the darts were in the air however, the red FBR seemed to straighten out faster and have a 'cleaner' flight. Every time I fired a red dart from the MS it went slightly farther than I expected it to and continued a few feet past where my gray darts would start to drop rapidly. I expect this is because the lighter foam causes the dart to track straighter and have better aerodynamics. It would be interesting to see how the red darts perform in a MS or Xbow with a slightly tighter constriction - perhaps 1" of 1/2", 1" of 17/32, and 7" of 9/16".

Pros
  • better fit for PETG use with pump guns
  • hot glue adheres better
  • lighter weight improves flight characteristics
  • nice bright color
Cons
  • lower elasticity makes dart construction harder
  • may require barrel change for best performance in spring guns

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#2 ShortShit

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 01:53 PM

fabulous!
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#3 Hunter

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 02:40 PM

Here is my question, though, Cxwq.

Would you use it?

PS. Your blobs of coloured glue are.. beautiful. Perfectly round, slight dome, happily coloured. :huh:

Edited by Hunter, 29 July 2004 - 02:47 PM.

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#4 neonerfer

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 02:45 PM

Nice review Kev, this stuff sounds like ShortShit's found a winner. I'll have to try different barrel setups (probably a tighter fitting one) once I get my foam.
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#5 cxwq

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 02:51 PM

Would you use it?


For some applications, yes. The only reason I qualify that is because I already have 600' of gray FBR.

I'm ordering 25' as soon as he gets it in, and another 100' hand delivered at the next war. If I didn't already have an insane amount of FBR, I would probably completely switch to the red foam and re-tool a couple of my guns to take better advantage of it.

It opens up some completely new opportunities for PETG use. I'll probably replace the barrels on my 5k and homemade with PETG and use this foam. I'll definitely use it in my at3k which is my main primary.
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#6 VoLT

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 02:53 PM

Great! Tiny Toons rules. :huh: Gotta get me some of that stuff as soon as I can.
P.S.: Cx, where do you get colored hotglue? I'm assuming it's hotglue...
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#7 cxwq

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 02:59 PM

The colored hot glue is from Michaels or your friendly neighborhood arts and crafts store. I usually swap colors back and forth because it amuses me. The baby blue melts into the pink and I get a little lavender in the middle. The silver glitter melts into the purple and leaves shiny swirls in it. You get the picture...

The perfect tips are due to the fact that I've made about a thousand darts to date and the fact that I use ice cubes to shape and harden the tip after applying the glue. A little extra care in your dart construction makes you a lot more likely to hit what you're aiming at.
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#8 xedice

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 03:25 PM

Are you sure the slight decrease in range of the gray FBR, isn't because your gray FBR darts are slightly curved (My only notion of this is from viewing your jpgs, don't know if those are your actually testing darts)

In my experience, the more curved a dart is, the less range it gets compared to an equal weighted and constructed dart. I just thought I would ask you since soley from your pictures, my inital opinion before reading your text was that the red darts are definately going to outperform the gray.

I would also like to try this fbr, prestraightened right? If so, this would help me a bit because when I straighten, I use heat which causes the fbr to enlarge and has problems getting out of 17/32 on low output guns like sm250. Red fbr's little perks sound enticing to me.
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#9 The Infinite Shindig

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 03:46 PM

News Flash guys:


You can find that red FBR at any Leslie's Pool Supplies. They are nationwide, so there is a pretty good chance they are in your area, considering California is essentially its biggest area. When I get back to work, I'll get the Leslie's product number so you can call them up for it. One key fact though, the stuff sold by Leslie's is 5/8". The stuff is used to be put in between the concrete slabs on the side of the an inground pool. Take the info as you please.
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#10 TheHaze

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 03:54 PM

News Flash:

We already know, we talked about it....

Here read, is that your brother?
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#11 LDM

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:03 PM

I've found this place to be a good source of colored hot glue. I've ordered from it once or twice, the glue is pretty.
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#12 CynicalSynapses

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:07 PM

News Flash guys:


You can find that red FBR at any Leslie's Pool Supplies.  They are nationwide, so there is a pretty good chance they are in your area, considering California is essentially its biggest area.  When I get back to work, I'll get the Leslie's product number so you can call them up for it.  One key fact though, the stuff sold by Leslie's is 5/8".  The stuff is used to be put in between the concrete slabs on the side of the an inground pool.  Take the info as you please.


That's good if you want the larger darts.

Edited by CynicalSynapses, 29 July 2004 - 04:28 PM.

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#13 TheHaze

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:09 PM

News Flash, my bad, but no one cares, I'm sure they are both not as nice.
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#14 cxwq

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:10 PM

I'm glad there is a source for 5/8" since some people are still using mega stefans. The manufacturer ShortShit is sourcing his foam from does not make 5/8" in this material so he would not be able to supply the old school guys. On the other hand, the pool supply place would be unable to supply California nerfers since we have all (to my knowledge) switched to micro stefans for all guns.

Thanks for the tip, how much do they charge for the 5/8"?


Edit: Settle down on the attitude, guys. TIS is providing info - that's good, right?
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#15 ShortShit

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:23 PM

FYI they are made of a different material, so I wouldnt expect the same results with whatever your 5/8" is to be the same as with our Rod. I just called in the order for the 1/2" and expect orders to begin sometime next week.
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#16 CynicalSynapses

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:26 PM

I'm not trying to show an attitude, it's just irrelevant because if you do want 5/8th inch, than ours doesn't matter at all, and this pool place has been mentioned multiple times before in other threads.

Perhaps he should make a new thread about the 5/8th inch, that way anyone that wants to make the larger darts can talk about it there and we can keep the discussion here pertaining to the half inch darts.

Thanks.

Edited by CynicalSynapses, 29 July 2004 - 04:27 PM.

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#17 moosenukem

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:30 PM

I've found this place to be a good source of colored hot glue. I've ordered from it once or twice, the glue is pretty.

Awsome there are glow in the dark glue sticks! I'll have to get some.
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#18 cxwq

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 04:46 PM

Are you sure the slight decrease in range of the gray FBR, isn't because your gray FBR darts are slightly curved (My only notion of this is from viewing your jpgs, don't know if those are your actually testing darts)

I have yet to find a way to permanently straighten the gray FBR without changing the diameter. In my experience with my foam, the amount of heat required to make it permanently straight is greater than the heat required to permanently enlarge the diameter. Before testing, I always unbend them though, and they do stay straight for an hour or so.

The red FBR has less of an elastic 'memory' and stays straight quite well once you unbend it.
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#19 NinjZ

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 05:50 PM

Plus if your darts are only slightly curved, theyll straiten while they sit in your barrel and be strait for the 3 seconds they are in the air.
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#20 IronRhino

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 05:43 PM

Guys, the PETG is running out. Like C said, the red gets great results with it, so when you get some red FBR, I recommend you pick up some PETG from me. This red stuff looks awesome, props to ShortShit
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#21 okto

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 06:48 PM

time to restock, IR :)
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#22 AirApache

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 07:11 PM

Hey cx, you posted that you used ice cubes for hot glue formation. You told me to do this a while ago, but every time I try, it leaves weird marks inside the hot glue tip, and it almost always ends up being a demented flat-ish looking tip, instead of your perfect round tips. Do you mold the tip with the dart facing down, or up? Is there a certain temperature of hot glue that you use? I'm stuck with praying every time I glue, that it ends up dome-like, and ice cubes seem to hate me.

Sorry for the off-topicness.

AA
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#23 cxwq

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 09:31 PM

You don't need a dome, flat works just as well. Mine actually tend to be more flat than dome.

Tip up, squash the hot glue blob with ice cube till it's almost to the edge of the dart. Adjust the size of the blob till you have it right, practice practice.
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