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Help making stefans


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#1 Heatblast016

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 11:51 PM

I was wondering if I could replace the felt on slugs with a thin layer of foam so that they would hurt less
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#2 Birch

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 06:19 AM

Yes, that is how I make mine. What I do is take 3/8 foam backer rod and cut in into 1/4 inch lengths and then use it instead of the felt. I would also recommend not using washers. With the foam tip, you will definitely get exposed metal. Everyone uses washers for slugs while small ball bearings are far easier to use, and much safer. To make slugs with these, burn the hole as you would, put some hotglue in the bottom of the hole, place the ball on the still hot hotglue, then put some hotglue of top and quickly place the foam pad on top whilst the glue is still hot. These are the safest and most efficient slugs you will ever build, and maybe of all dart types.

Edited by Birch, 12 October 2015 - 06:20 AM.

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#3 shmmee

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 08:37 AM

There are a few things to consider when capping a dart with more fbr. 1) fbr compresses quickly, especially when it's sitting between your weight and the target. Your darts won't live very long and you'll have to replace them more quickly. 2)the more foam you have in front of your weight the further back your center of gravity will be. Its the reason airplanes don't put the flaps on the front of their planes. A little shift on the front makes a big difference in the flight path. The tradtional felt pads provide a long term, durable cushion without adding much material in front of the weight.

I'm going to have to disagree with birch. Theirs no way I would allow someone to use ball bearings as weights in their darts at a war I hosted. Even if the bearings weighed the same, theirs the very real possibility that the bearing will punch through a dart head and hurt the target. In my early dart making days I tried dropping a few pellets in a dart head and encased them in hot glue and capped it with a bit of FBR. The first test shot against a cabinet door, and the pellets punched through the hot glue and fbr tip. The pellets still had enough momentum to dent the oak cabinet. The fbr quickly and simply became a sabbot to accelerate the pellets. Washers are used due to their flat surface area. So long as they're well made, and they don't have any metal edges exposed, theirs very little chance of drawing blood. since they spread their momentum across the entire face of the washer. I would also worry about small ball bearings weighing too much. The last thing you want flying around a field is a dart heavy enough to take out a tooth.

I have seen people use a craft foam punched disc to cap their steffans. That worked well and had a longer usage life than a FBR cap since it's a denser foam. If you really want an alternative to felt, I would suggest craft foam.
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#4 Meaker VI

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 01:06 PM

Yes, that is how I make mine. What I do is take 3/8 foam backer rod and cut in into 1/4 inch lengths and then use it instead of the felt. I would also recommend not using washers. With the foam tip, you will definitely get exposed metal. Everyone uses washers for slugs while small ball bearings are far easier to use, and much safer. To make slugs with these, burn the hole as you would, put some hotglue in the bottom of the hole, place the ball on the still hot hotglue, then put some hotglue of top and quickly place the foam pad on top whilst the glue is still hot. These are the safest and most efficient slugs you will ever build, and maybe of all dart types.


To make this style dart properly, you'd need to essentially be making a stefan instead of a slug and then putting foam on the front. Slugs were made to replace stefans to prevent the exact situation shmmee describes - foam/glue saboting of a bb.

If you want darts that are less painful than slugs, look into the various cast-silicone head darts, various wrapped-darts, or buy them online from one of the ebay dealers.

But I've decided that making my own darts is no longer economically viable - the time it takes alone is reason to just pay the <$0.10/dart from ebay (I think I've seen $40/500, which would be $0.08/dart). Dart making materials alone cost nearly that last I checked - the materials for 500 dart heads from Mcmaster would run you ~$0.03/dart shipped, the foam and glue are probably another $0.02/dart. To make minimum wage around here, I'd need to make the darts perfectly at a rate of one every 10.8 seconds if I'd want to just break even with the ebay darts.
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#5 Maniacal Coyote

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 01:54 PM

I don't use stefans.

I use JSPB Magnums.
How do I make my darts? I take a 12.7x35 mm piece FBR, wrap a piece of wire/solder around it 7.5 mm from the tip, and then wrap electrical tape around the tip twice.
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#6 Birch

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 06:42 PM

To make this style dart properly, you'd need to essentially be making a stefan instead of a slug and then putting foam on the front. Slugs were made to replace stefans to prevent the exact situation shmmee describes - foam/glue saboting of a bb.

If you want darts that are less painful than slugs, look into the various cast-silicone head darts, various wrapped-darts, or buy them online from one of the ebay dealers.


The way I make my darts the hot glue is well blinded to the foam. If you use a foam with small cells, such as mha foam, the glue does't stick as well, but because I use either Best Materials Hot rod, or Log home store white, the glue adheres to the foam so well that I have never experienced any splitting up of the dart.

Also, I have run into quite a few different types of silicone dome darts, and in my opinion there is no reason to use them over well-made slug darts. Silly domes hurt as much as a bb weighted hot glue dome, which is really annoying compared to slugs. I don't go out to nerf to get hurt or hurt other people. If I did, I would go play paintball. Non-washer slugs are, in my opinion, the best dart design available, in terms of cost efficiency, performance, and most of all safety. Using foam instead of the felt helps to further improve the dart in all three categories.
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#7 Birch

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 06:47 PM

I'm going to have to disagree with birch. Theirs no way I would allow someone to use ball bearings as weights in their darts at a war I hosted. Even if the bearings weighed the same, theirs the very real possibility that the bearing will punch through a dart head and hurt the target. In my early dart making days I tried dropping a few pellets in a dart head and encased them in hot glue and capped it with a bit of FBR. The first test shot against a cabinet door, and the pellets punched through the hot glue and fbr tip. The pellets still had enough momentum to dent the oak cabinet. The fbr quickly and simply became a sabbot to accelerate the pellets. Washers are used due to their flat surface area. So long as they're well made, and they don't have any metal edges exposed, theirs very little chance of drawing blood. since they spread their momentum across the entire face of the washer. I would also worry about small ball bearings weighing too much. The last thing you want flying around a field is a dart heavy enough to take out a tooth.

I have seen people use a craft foam punched disc to cap their steffans. That worked well and had a longer usage life than a FBR cap since it's a denser foam. If you really want an alternative to felt, I would suggest craft foam.


What you have to understand, is that there is glue on top of the weight, thus there is no way the weight can punch through the felt. In your experience, did you put hot glue on top go the weights? If you didn't your results make sense, if you did, I have no Idea what is going on.
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#8 Heatblast016

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 11:58 PM

Could I make rregular slugs and then glue fbr over already made slugs?
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#9 The2ndBluesBro

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 06:47 AM

Could I make rregular slugs and then glue fbr over already made slugs?


Probably but honestly just realize that Stefans will hurt a bit and deal with it. Up here in Canada we use glue domes almost exclusively, be lucky you aren't up here.
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#10 shmmee

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 08:15 AM

What you have to understand, is that there is glue on top of the weight, thus there is no way the weight can punch through the felt. In your experience, did you put hot glue on top go the weights? If you didn't your results make sense, if you did, I have no Idea what is going on.


Granted, they were my very first attempts at dartmaking. I burned a hole, added glue, put in a bb, added more glue and capped it with foam. Not sure why the bb's punched through, but they definitely did. I've had little trust for bb's since.
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#11 jaybo1996

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 01:47 PM

Gotta agree with Birch here, nothing hurts less than a stefan, but if you want to make a dart cheaper, you absolutely can cap the weights with more FBR. Just be very careful to add glue on top of the weights as well. Worst case scenario, the weight entirely encased in glue will go flying, but won't be as deadly as old school darts with slingshot weights.
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#12 Maniacal Coyote

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 02:39 PM

Gotta agree with Birch here, nothing hurts less than a stefan,


Not even JSPB Magnums?
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#13 Heatblast016

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 05:13 PM

Probably but honestly just realize that Stefans will hurt a bit and deal with it. Up here in Canada we use glue domes almost exclusively, be lucky you aren't up here.

I don't want to use stock darts but I am not an older nerfer(I'm not even a teenager yet) and neither are my friends so I don't want them getting really mad at me but I still want to be overpowered as hell

Edited by Heatblast016, 13 October 2015 - 05:16 PM.

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#14 The2ndBluesBro

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 05:16 PM

I don't want to use stock darts but I am not an older nerfer(I'm not even a teenager yet) and neither are my friends so I don't want them getting really mad at me but I still want to be overpowered as hell


Honestly then I would stick to slugs. They will give you the best price to performance ratio, while still being relatively safe. Definitely a lot better than a glue dome.
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#15 Birch

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 07:54 PM

Not even JSPB Magnums?


Bro, Jspb magnums are a total joke. No offense to the omnipotent 3DBBQ or anything, but I made a couple of those darts and they traveled half the distance of a slug out of my rainbow, and were about as accurate as a stock streamline. Rubber's density is nowhere near the density of steel or even hot glue for that matter. They are super safe, yes, but honestly, id rather spend a hundred bucks on koosh darts and not waste my time building crappy darts.

Edited by Birch, 13 October 2015 - 07:55 PM.

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#16 Maniacal Coyote

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 08:27 PM

Bro, Jspb magnums are a total joke. No offense to the omnipotent 3DBBQ or anything, but I made a couple of those darts and they traveled half the distance of a slug out of my rainbow, and were about as accurate as a stock streamline. Rubber's density is nowhere near the density of steel or even hot glue for that matter. They are super safe, yes, but honestly, id rather spend a hundred bucks on koosh darts and not waste my time building crappy darts.


Rubber, yeah, but solder?
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#17 Birch

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 05:39 AM

Rubber, yeah, but solder?


Albeit lead does have more mass, but in your first post, you said you put the solder 7.5 millimeters away from the tip. This centralization of the weight leads me to believe that even your variation won't work as well as slugs or china ammo. I am not one to judge however, so to each his own, I guess.
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