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Wye not?

wye hopper darts clip magazine

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#1 Astech



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 01:50 AM



This is a discussion of a new type of hopper mechanism for use on homemade nerf guns.


When I first became interested in Nerf as a hobby I thought that the tiny breeches inherent in stock nerf guns were the culmination of reloadable design. After a bit of research I found out about brass breeches, which allowed for much longer barrels but still required a mechanism to "cycle" the breech from open to shut and back again. More digging uncovered the speedloader, shotgun attachements and other clever devices for powerful guns that didn't offer much in the way of rate of fire, but capitalised on power per shot, culminating in the RSCB. My cup of tea leant more towards massive dart spamming at medium range, so I was not satisfied.


Finally, I found out about the Wye hopper, capitalising upon both high rate of fire (all that is needed is a prime and a trigger pull, which is much quicker than even RSCBs) and power. Their ability and reliability was enhanced over time, leading to the modern, effective design. You've probably seen at least one b now, but here's a nice picture demonstrating exactly what they do:



Simply put, the blue part is the hopper, or clip/magazine where the darts are stored (you can see 5 in there if you look closely, the purple part is a simple PVC end cap, the red part is a PVC wye and the green part is the barrel. Air is forced into the wye piece through its open side, and the resulting suction on the dart at the top of the clip (whose tip is poking into the main part of the wye) sucks the dart first into the wye and then into the barrel. This leaves you with a fairly reliable mechanism that will fire 1 dart at a time, and is gravity fed.


The problems that occur with wyes (as near as I can tell) are the following:


1. They're super hard to obtain depending on one's location. In Australia (my home country) they're nearly impossible to find, requiring shipping from overseas to obtain them.

2. They can be very unreliable with even slight changes to dart dimensions. This means that using someone else's ammo in a war becomes very risky.

3. The air expended in sucking the dart into the barrel is air that could otherwise be used to shove the dart further downrange, leading to a slight efficiency problem.


Overall, the wye is superior, but with room for improvement.


While roaming the various Nerf fan sites one day I found an interesting take on the wye that seemed to solve all its problems:




This design - which I'll dub the Speed Hopper for want of a better word - dramatically increases fire rate over wyes, eliminates the air inefficiency and improves feed reliability.


The basic idea is that darts are gravity fed one at a time into the PVC T-piece, then expelled through the 45 degree bend and out the barrel via air coming in through the second 45 degree PVC joint.


The basic operation is the same as the wye, with one shot being fired per spring release (if you're using a springer, that is), but has several benefits:


1. Because the darts are already located in a preliminary pert of the barrel, no air is required to force them into the barrel, leading to slightly better efficiency.

2. Because the darts aren't gently sucked around a bend, but instead are fully forced into the barrel, the Speed Hopper is able to cope with different dart lengths a lot better.

3. Air guns can give this thing some serious punch, as you'll see later.

4. The part are so readily available that almost any town in the world with a hardware store should be able to supply them.


The greatest benefit is that the pressure wave from the firing mechanism (be it a plunger or compressed air) does not impede darts sliding into the red PVC T, so larger volume plungers have the benefit of being able to fire two shots at once (by large, I mean bigger than a Maverick plunger). When using good darts, a huge hopper and a blowpipe setup (exactly what is shown above) I can get around 20 darts per second downrange, or 1200 darts per minute. Take that 700 dpm Vulcan!


Overall I am very satisfied with it, as my playstyle is pretty much about intimidation through walls of foam.


I'd encourage you to try it out with a 1meter/yard long hopper and Silicone Darts in the blowpipe setup and see how it goes.


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#2 mysterio



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 02:29 AM

The main issue with this type of RSCB [because thats what it technically is, just at an angle] is that they're very hard to align, and when/if you manage to do that, the various axes that it can pivot around on can make it difficult to aim/center correctly.

If you can figure out a way to fix that that's not an exterior housing or screws/glue, then you've got a competitive alternative to the wye hopper.

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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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#3 Langley


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Posted 27 August 2016 - 03:02 AM

Here's a discussion about what an RSCB is. You might find that is way easier to make, it just requires you to point your blaster down between shots or kind of flick it to position the next dart in place. 


I once tried the design you describe here, and in addition to having the alignment problems mysterio describes, I also had a lot of double-feeds. I think the distance between the barrel and the air inlet encourages double-feeds.


Here are some attempts to make homemade wyes that are a little closer to the real thing.





Also, FlexPVC ships internationally, and had pretty decent prices especially when you buy in bulk.  You could always get enough to distribute to other nerfers in AUS and make all your money back.


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#4 Aeromech



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 03:47 AM

If you can figure out a way to fix that that's not an exterior housing or screws/glue, then you've got a competitive alternative to the wye hopper.


If I may...


If somebody can design a 3d printed clamshell that simply pops tightly over the couplers, that would solve all your alignment issues without screwing directly into the pvc parts themselves. The geometry is super simple and 3D printing is ubiquitous enough that somebody near you is doing it; in other words the alignment problem is pretty much a non-issue in 2016. That being said I do not think I will be the one to do it because....


Everybody is throwing around these words like efficiency and ROF. I will be sold on the idea when:

1) This is compared side by side to a traditional wye and FPS evaluated between the two, and

2) When exactly you would ever need a higher ROF than what a standard wye offers? With a rainbowpump I can fire off 3 darts a second and empty a 10 shot mag in like 3. Unless you have a robotic arm firing off ten shots per second, is it really going to matter the maximum ROF potential? And if you are tying in double feeding to the ROF count, what is the effective accuracy of both of these shots? i.e. the second dart is going to have less power because the pressure behind it will be different than the first, and the first dart's trajectory may be impacted by the second. Now I am certainly not one to put down shotgunning as a valid play style, but I like the option to choose between shotgunning and a single accurate shot, and if its more or less random with this setup, that just seems like a way to miss more often than not.

Edited by Aeromech, 27 August 2016 - 12:13 PM.

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#5 blitz



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 07:50 AM


 1) This is compared side by side to a traditional wye and FPS evaluated between the two...


I have no idea about the efficiencies or whatever between the two systems, but I distinctly remember that Ryan and Kane used a similar (if not identical) non-wye hopper system to feed their old silicon domes or something (so increased loading efficiency?). They experienced better feeding than traditional wyes, but the same issues with alignment and wonkiness. 


Also, I believe mysterio used a 1/2" cpvc wyeless hopper in his RF20. How well that worked, I don't know. (http://nerfhaven.com...tures/?p=307984)


I can't find pictures of the homemades, but I will update this post if I do.

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#6 The2ndBluesBro



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 07:51 AM

IIRC these didn't feed as well when I tried them. Maybe mine wasn't aligned properly, though. Also, they only work in pumpsnap-style blasters when the back stub is made longer, which adds dead space.

Edited by The2ndBluesBro, 27 August 2016 - 11:12 AM.

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#7 Snoop Doggy doge

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 10:27 AM

I've seen these before but I'm a newer nerfer so my knowledge is about Superstock and how modern homemades that revolve around wyes work.
From my understanding, we have different PVC pipes so our wyes aren't interchangeable unless you make a full American tube blaster or do some modification. 

I have heard these jam a bit, but I was always curious but ended up never making one. I heard however these are great for lower end blasters because I think all the power from better blasters pushes 2 darts out. Maybe it's a specefic setup, I see that Astech has a really long hopper, which is deadspace that could offset some of the power. This revitalized my interest in pursuing a cheap hopper.

Oh also, has anyone tried this with a wye angle leading to a stub? Like where that T is, you have a wye and than you still have the elbow setup but the air comes in through the wyes angle instead of a T + elbow. Just something I'm curious about, 

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