I've wanted to make a +bow for years- about since it first came out- but I could never quite get it to work. The materials and tools required were prohibitively expensive, and my brother and I had already collected a whole galaxy of comparable modified blasters in the meantime. After a string of other failures and disappointments, the whole idea of homemades kind of dropped off my radar.
Fast forward to 2016. At work, I've been tasked with feeding and watering our new-ish 3D printer, which we got it for making prototypes, quick repair parts, and custom tool caddies. My boss told me to "get good with the thing" and "I expect to see cool things on your desk soon."
He's a great guy, but you should really be careful what you wish for.
Not the greatest +bow in the world, but it's mine. And aside from a janky Snapbow-like thing that scored maybe one hit before ruining itself, I'd call this my first practical homemade.
- Aside from the plunger body, spring, and fasteners, everything is 3D-printed.
- Largely identical to CaptainSlug's original except for some minor tweaks.
- Embellished the panels and grip with triangular cutouts. I kind of have a thing for triangles these days.
- Three levels of draw like the original design, but with an original plunger head. I can never get the right rubber seals, but I've managed to get a solid plastic plunger head at just the right diameter. Less than ideal, but I'm not about to question anything that actually works.
- Customized plunger rod grip. The original was a bit too big and sharp for my liking
- Built-in dart holder. I thought about including add-on rails, but I almost never use those except for dart holders. So for a scratch build like this, I decided to just integrate it from the start.
I've yet to use it in an actual game, but the +bow already feels like a very versatile platform. So naturally, this is a work-in-progress.
- All the important parts out of the printer. A few tweaks to the original to account for taste and oversights on my part.
- Fancier grip than the stock model. Thinner, smoother, and ya gotta have a triangle on it. Did I mention I like triangles?
- Ring trigger just for fun.
- Spacer between the front frame plate and the catch frame (dark blue with the obround slot). I only had the plunger body screwed and glued into the catch frame, but that wasn't nearly enough to keep it in place as the plunger head slammed into the far end of the body. Now it's much more solid.
- Added a shoulder stock, designed and built from scratch. I'm not sure the stock actually helps with accuracy, but it looks nice and feels better. I might try to add tool or part storage later.
- Plunger body shroud. That was actually made as a study in lightsaber handles, so I just slapped it on as the design was superseded. That white space looked empty, anyway.
- After realizing how much oomph this thing really has, I made a barrel for Mega darts. I'd like to try and make a system that would let me toggle between both types of darts like the Dual-Strike, but I might be running into the limit of the 3D printer's capabilities.
- Empty spot in the stock is being used for holding the extra barrel. The rubber band has since been replaced with Velcro straps, but I'd like to make a proper box for holding tools and extra fasteners.
It's been hardly perfect so far. There's a few sharp corners I've had to deal with, and more than a few mechanical problems. The plunger rod has broken at least three times; if that keeps up, I might try for a paracord solution like I've done in the past. And the plunger head still hits the end of the body pretty hard, so I should probably come up with a solution for that. Still, it's been a very successful build so far.
Pictures and updates as they come.