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FDL-1: Fully 3D Printed Robotic Blaster


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#1 jkovarovics

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 09:39 AM

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Hey everyone,

 

I wanted to introduce you guys to the FDL-1. Some of you may have seen a prototype version in a Drac video a few months back and anyone who was at DartCon during NvZ this year probably saw it in person. It's a fully 3D printed Mega blaster controlled via an Arduino like microcontroller running brushless motors. I've also open sourced it so people can print their own if they're up to the challenge. I have a website setup with a webshop. It's http://www.fdl1.com. If this perks your interest, check it out, there are more pics and info there. There are also links to the Thingiverse page and Facebook page.

 

Just to be clear, I am not here to market the FDL-1. If you want to buy something, cool, but I mostly want to show this to Nerfhaven. I entered the Nerf community from the maker world. I had no idea the stuff you guys were making. My first war was a Nerf culture shock. There was 3D printing all over the place, blasters mashed together, painted, hydro dipped, the works. I was impressed to say the least. The point being, I had never had anyone tell me you couldn't or shouldn't print an entire blaster or use brushless motors or make the thing robotic so I just did it. I spent over a year revising the entire design over and over based on my experiences of using it in the office then on the field. In the maker world, bigger is almost always better so I went with Megas. I also hadn't seen a flywheel mega blaster released by Nerf at the time so I took that on as a challenge. Anyway, I posted about this on reddit a few months back and got slammed with criticism. I just came on here looking for a NIC blaster design for NomNE and saw someone talking about 3D printing a full blaster. Some of the first comments were you shouldn't and that you can't print flywheels. It pains me every time I see those responses. In the maker world we ask ourselves what if? I feel like the NIC does a lot of asking why. I never asked myself why would I print an entire blaster, I just asked myself what if I did and did it. What if I took the motors off my drone and stuck them on there? What if I want to operate the thing remotely? Use a microcontroller. What if a revolver is clunky? Load it from the back with a button to advance it and throw in an IR sensor so it doesn't dry fire empty chambers. All what ifs. The NIC is full of brilliant minds and makers at heart. I'd hate to see a cool design not created or a mod not done because someone asked you why you would do it or told you it was impossible. Just try it.

 

Anyway, here's a pic. Let me know what you guys think. My next design will be mag fed before that comes up. Nerf, make, print on

 

aPLCSN4.jpg


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#2 Wisecrack

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 12:33 PM

Quite impressed you pulled that off, I think it'll be much better when its mag fed though. 


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#3 Langley

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:07 PM

 

Anyway, I posted about this on reddit a few months back and got slammed with criticism.

 

That's a shame.  I think you'll find we're a lot more receptive to people who actually try to build things here.  We get a bad wrap because we can be a little hard on new members, but never when they lead with a post about something they have built.  I expect that if you get any criticism it would be of the constructive variety. 

 

As far as making it mag-fed, I think mags are waaay overrated.  People who only play stock/superstock don't know what they are missing when it comes to hoppers and being able to reload on the fly without swapping out mags or carrying a bunch of extra plastic and tactical gear.  I would recommend something like a hopper, but it sounds like you already have a configuration where it's easy to load on the fly, which is great.  Having a little more capacity would be nice, but that's a given.

 

For people who are looking for the writeup:

FDL-1 on Thingiverse:
http://www.thingiver...m/thing:1651854

Direct link to assembly instructions:
http://www.fdl1.com/...g-started/yt6sq


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#4 mysterio

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 02:00 PM

This blaster reminds me of 3DBBQ's old posts. Fantastic inventions, out of nowhere, already pretty refined. jkovarovics, you should look at the some of the old homemades posts if you want any inspiration for other propulsion types/ideas.

 

The only point of criticism by me would be that you don't have enough rear-loading holes. Or maybe swappable drums?


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If two powerful is a problem then just go with one powerful. I guess this style of hopper will work even beyond three powerful..


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#5 Snoop Doggy doge

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 03:22 PM

As far as making it mag-fed, I think mags are waaay overrated.  People who only play stock/superstock don't know what they are missing when it comes to hoppers and being able to reload on the fly without swapping out mags or carrying a bunch of extra plastic and tactical gear.  I would recommend something like a hopper, but it sounds like you already have a configuration where it's easy to load on the fly, which is great.  Having a little more capacity would be nice, but that's a given.

 

^that. I use mags and shit for superstock, but everyone is so inclined to have a shit ton of mags and carry lots of stuff around. Fuck that shit, and the shitspamming, mags work well for nerf but are annoying IMO.

That being said, to appeal to masses you probably would have to put a magwell conversion. That wouldn't be too much, it's just a guide, a catch to hold the mag in place and thats it. You don't need a top port or a guide, which is a cool thing about flywheels since you can top them off, (even though I dislike them)

The thing with 3D printing, while I do dislike it heavily, (they aren't very stress resistant. I take my blasters in the cold winter, hot summer, out in the wild and probably more places than your average nerfer, but I don't want stuff to break that doesn't have to. I'll admit it is easy, and if done right it's fine for most casual players) 
Most people think just because you ca, doesn't mean you shouldn't. While I prefer springers, I think it's entirely cool you can build something stock. There's more potential working outside of clamshell blaster, because now you can add on more things. You also have something unique, and you can build your blaster from the ground up, so if you want you can change the axis of the flywheels like you did. You can make it very modular, which is fucking cool. I love the variable speed switch


A few improvements I would say though, is to cover the vents with another layer of plastic or something because I would worry about getting dust or something in there. It's still cool as fuck though
I probably would've like a bit of a line of sight, or ability to see the barrel because it looks a little bulky. 
An auto/burst feature for the lols wouldn't be too hard, (right?)
Also, I'm unaware if there is an elite dart conversion, it'd probably be useful to use standard ammo.
Finally, something cool to see is if you add a hopper instead of a magwell, maybe like a turreted hopper system because hoppers are sub-optimal.
that or some gravity fed thing so you can just pour handfuls of darts from above and spam a feed. 


Overall I think what you did is pretty cool. Welcome to NerfHaven, building and posting shit belongs here so you'd fit in.
#fuckreddit and the cancer clusterfucks there. 

 


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#6 jkovarovics

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 03:38 PM

Thanks guys. I figured Nerfhaven would be more receptive to this and I understand being hard on the new guys. It's a common forum thing to weed out people who don't search for stuff before asking.

 

Like I mentioned, I'll do an alternate design that takes mags and shoots elites. The FDL-1 was an exercise in making a revolver work. It plays much like Langley describes. You fire off enough shots to hit a target or two and fill the gaps. I wear a bandolier full of megas and pull them out as I need them. The IR sensor makes firing off a single shot super fast too. Given a single dart on the ground in front of you, I can get a shot off extremely fast. That's probably more of an office situation than out on the field but still. Removable drums would be cool. I thought about that early on but the way the revolver mounts to the stepper motor makes it tough. Maybe I can come back to that later after I get the turret base up to snuff again.

 

3DBBQ's stuff is wild. I dig it. I'm not sure what that style is called that he leans towards with the pump on the bottom and a kinda s-shaped body but that's actually what I was looking for for an NIC blaster.


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#7 roboman

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 03:57 PM

This is pretty slick. I'm not generally a fan of throwing a lot of complicated electronics and shit on homemades where a mechanical system could work just as well because it tends to be less reliable (at least when I build that kind of thing) and more expensive, but I like what you've done here quite a bit. From what I can tell, the design looks pretty modular, and that's definitely a plus if you want to get people to build off of what you've done here.

 

I know electronics in general tend to scare people away around here, for what it's worth. 

 

I'd love to see a version of this built that can be integrated into a primary, because a semi-auto flywheel mega blaster underneath a longshot or something would be really fucking cool. Shouldn't be too tough to do if you can come up with a solid mounting system, and I suppose that kind of flexibility is one of the main benefits of 3D printing everything.


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#8 Justin Andrews

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 05:11 PM

This is a very clean build, I like it a lot.

I've not got round to even thinking about home building a flywheel blaster yet, but using brushless motors is a nice idea, good spin up time and lots of torque.
I could see a blaster like that going down well at a sci-fi based LARP as well as NERF wars. I certainly know a few people who might be interested it.
 


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#9 Draconis

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:30 AM

I am happy to see that you are still around. I backed the Kickstarter campaign, and was disappointed when the goal was not met.
Personally, I like the idea of a rear-loadable drum for flywheel blasters. I would love to print one of these up, for use with different motors, though.
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#10 CaptainSlug

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 08:30 AM

Are you using a regular push-type solenoid as your dart pusher?


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#11 jkovarovics

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 10:01 AM

Got locked out from making new posts. Gonna tackle these all at once.

 

I am happy to see that you are still around. I backed the Kickstarter campaign, and was disappointed when the goal was not met.
Personally, I like the idea of a rear-loadable drum for flywheel blasters. I would love to print one of these up, for use with different motors, though.

 

Thanks man. Much appreciated. I'm not goin anywhere, just had to regroup a little and figure out how to proceed. I'm actually almost ahead of the schedule I laid out in the kickstarter excepting the fact that I intended on having the turret version ready by now too. I decided to focus on the blaster first. The turret is a whole other ballgame. Most of the interest in that comes from makers wanting to get in there with a Raspberry Pi and get facial recognition going. I'm wanting to do some of that myself.

 

 

Are you using a regular push-type solenoid as your dart pusher?

 

I'm actually using stepper motors for both the revolver and pusher. The pusher mechanism looks a lot like the rapidstrike mechanism minus the gearing. I hadn't even torn one of those apart. I just sat down in front of AutoCAD and started putting together the most simple mechanism I could think of.

 

I could see a blaster like that going down well at a sci-fi based LARP as well as NERF wars. I certainly know a few people who might be interested it.
 

 

I've thought the same thing and this was actually one of the reasons I decided to open source the project. I live right next to Dragoncon and I have a few friends that are into cosplay and LARP. I wanted to make sure someone in that crowd could make a cool sci-fi version if they wanted.

 

 

Also:

I love the interest in the modular design. That came from getting parts to fit on my printer but ultimately made the whole thing modular. I could swap out the revolver with a belt pretty easily and now that I'm looking at it, I could make a mag slot as well. If only mega mags were easier to come by. It would take redesigning a good portion of the blaster to make it elite compatible though. Too much of it is based around the diameter and length of the megas.


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#12 Meaker VI

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 10:31 AM

I love the interest in the modular design. That came from getting parts to fit on my printer but ultimately made the whole thing modular. I could swap out the revolver with a belt pretty easily and now that I'm looking at it, I could make a mag slot as well. If only mega mags were easier to come by. It would take redesigning a good portion of the blaster to make it elite compatible though. Too much of it is based around the diameter and length of the megas.

 

A belt-fed blaster would be pretty awesome (I've been kicking ideas for one around for years), but I know I'd rather it be elite caliber. There are rumors that mega may be dying off, and it isn't an ammo system I have any interest in getting into.

 

Have you seen the falconer mk I/II? It's also a 3d printed flywheel blaster.

 

I'm not 100% sure I understand your goals for this, but for me, it is way over-complicated. You've got a microcontroller run blaster? That feels like overkill when a switch between a run from the motors to batteries will do the job; but I'll admit you've got some cool bonus features in as a result (empty chamber detection/avoidance).

 

 

Some of the first comments were you shouldn't and that you can't print flywheels. It pains me every time I see those responses. In the maker world we ask ourselves what if?

 

Since I was in the other post on 3d printing a blaster (Something I'm largely supportive of, in case it didn't come across that way), I feel like I should clarify one or two things:

 

Printing flywheels just *sounds* like a bad idea. I've got a printer, I've printed parts for blasters, I largely got the printer to do that. The "What if" includes not only "what if this works great?" but also "what if this fails catastrophically?". And the 10's of thousands of RPMs flywheels spin at make me nervous. Especially when there are aftermarket flys out there, so butchering blasters to get wheels isn't a requirement.

 

The other thing is that, for someone who may be just getting into it (and without the experience and confidence you have clearly  developed), reinventing the wheel is not necessary. Build *something* successful, then make changes and improvements to that. Use the pre-built/bog-standard wiring setups for existing blasters, and build a frame that works/looks/feels the way you want. Then move on to bigger things.

 

This doesn't apply to someone like you who can clearly do it all by yourself already.


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#13 The2ndBluesBro

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 10:47 AM

I don't know why you need the IR sensor since dry-firing a flywheel blaster doesn't hurt it anyway, and it requires all those extra parts like the microcontroller.
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#14 jkovarovics

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:50 PM

Have you seen the falconer mk I/II? It's also a 3d printed flywheel blaster.

 

I'm not 100% sure I understand your goals for this, but for me, it is way over-complicated. You've got a microcontroller run blaster? That feels like overkill when a switch between a run from the motors to batteries will do the job; but I'll admit you've got some cool bonus features in as a result (empty chamber detection/avoidance).

 

Yep, he and I bantered back and forth a bit through Thingiverse, each complimenting eachothers designs. I am yet to see a working version of it.

 

A switch between the battery and motors requires a physical hand to operate. This was originally a wifi enabled turret not a handheld blaster which then developed into a blaster that can convert between turret and handheld.

 

I don't know why you need the IR sensor since dry-firing a flywheel blaster doesn't hurt it anyway, and it requires all those extra parts like the microcontroller.

 

It's not about damaging anything it's about rate of fire and speed. The IR sensor senses when there is a dart in the firing chamber. The first time you pull the trigger it advances quickly to the first dart filled chamber and skips empty ones after that. If you were to put a dart in say a Mastadon you'd either have to physically advance the drum to that dart or fire a bunch of times until you reach it. As a turret controlled via web interface the IR sensor can be used to create a heads up display of loaded and empty chambers.


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#15 DjOnslaught

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 02:24 PM

If your looking at mega caliber magazines, the air max tyrant is the way to go
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#16 CaptainSlug

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 02:35 PM

 

I'm not 100% sure I understand your goals for this, but for me, it is way over-complicated. You've got a microcontroller run blaster? That feels like overkill

Only in the sense that a slightly cheaper purpose-built circuit would be more efficient, but to get to one that works you usually end up investing enough money that a microcontroller that doesn't require as much development would have been the same price anyways. Given how cheap and energy efficient microcontrollers are, the only complaint people typically are left with are that microcontrollers are too "easy mode" and people are protected from learning the basics of circuit engineering. But their benefit is that their adaptability allows them to be used for EVERYTHING and as a result you get one device that can handle every function while still having room for expansion.

 

There are always other ways to do this or that. And with none of them being specifically "right" or "wrong" it typically becomes a subjective argument.

 

Also, if a printed flywheel explodes it's only as dangerous as the plastic itself would be. It's going to have a sharp drop-off in velocity given that any pieces that go flying won't weight much. And you should be wearing eye protection when you Nerf anyways.

 

Much of this design could be reduced down in cost and complexity in many ways.


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#17 Meaker VI

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 03:44 PM

Yep, he and I bantered back and forth a bit through Thingiverse, each complimenting eachothers designs. I am yet to see a working version of it.

 
I saw a working turret mech from it on reddit awhile back.
 

A switch between the battery and motors requires a physical hand to operate. This was originally a wifi enabled turret not a handheld blaster which then developed into a blaster that can convert between turret and handheld.

Well, if you're making a turret then it all makes sense. Are all the turret-electronics included in the blaster's suite? Do you see a day when this develops into a smartgun?


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#18 jkovarovics

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 04:10 PM

Well, if you're making a turret then it all makes sense. Are all the turret-electronics included in the blaster's suite? Do you see a day when this develops into a smartgun?

 

The turret requires two more stepper motors, and a couple of homing switches. The previous version used a single microcontroller to control both blaster and turret. I am going to change that when I redesign the turret such that each requires their own. I may downgrade the controller on the blaster to a cheaper one in favor of having wifi on only the turret. I don't know yet.  Regardless I've had interest from people wanting to integrate a Raspberry Pi as well as operate it via a wired controller instead of wifi. I'd also like to work in RC receiver plugs so it can be controlled a number of different ways. As far as it becoming a smartgun, yes. The possibilities are really endless. Facial recognition is possible as is shape and color recognition. Motion control, IR signatures, Kinect integration, tank treads, etc. All possibilities. I spent a hackathon at work developing a game server that you could log into. You could choose between multiple turrets, auto aim based on cubicle location, and even steal a turret from someone else to turn it against them. I've seen a few Nerf turrets that are usually just servos pulling a trigger. I want to give people an entire platform to work with while also having the option to carry around just the blaster.


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#19 Justin Andrews

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 04:09 AM

There's a part of my head that currently imagining redesigning the cylinder away, and replacing it with a set of racked motor driven belts, that chain feeds darts into the flywheels from a hopper.
Because 6 darts is good, however with a few dozen (or more) darts, you have the sentry guns from Aliens... ;)


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