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Blackout Blues

SNAP-inspired pocket pistol

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#1 davidbowie

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 10:04 PM

So...last night was WINDY. A very large branch got blown off a tree in our yard, taking all our power lines with it. As a result, I had no power for most of the day, which of course meant I really wanted to get out and build something. *sigh*. So, I got out my trusty pocketsaw and some tin snips, and started messing with a few half-finished projects I had lying around in the garage.

I'm actually quite satisfied with what came out of it.

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It's pretty simple, and mostly a SNAP rip-off. I like it because it's got decent power, and it's, well, tiny. Check it out:

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That's the KISS-3 on top, the Pocket Pistol in the middle, and a crossfire on the bottom.

It's powered by two beefy springs, with a little under 1.5" of plunger stroke.

Here it is uncocked:
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Now cocked:
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I changed the plunger setup from what carbon uses. Instead of aluminum tubing, I based it off of really skinny allthread (I want to say #8-32, but I'm not too sure about that). The plunger head is a 3/32"X1.25" stainless fender washer and a cut-down 3/32"X2" fender washer sandwiched between two hex nuts. The catchface is a washer held in place by two hex nuts. The pull-thing on the back is another washer held between two hex nuts. Everything can be moved around and adjusted, because the whole rod is threaded. It's also surprisingly light.

I decided on a stock-length barrel. I could probably squeeze out a little more power with a longer barrel, but I like the small size, and there's not a whole lot of air output to begin with. Plus, stock darts work nicely in it.

At about 7:00, the power came back on. I immediately fired up the hot-glue gun, and added a cover for the clothespin, which immediately got some CPVC ammo holders inside it.

Here it is, loaded up with suction darts:
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The back end plug is a 1" PVC plug inserted into the plunger tube and held in place with some sheet metal screws. This means that the spring stop is actually in front of the grip, which results in a more compressed spring.

Overall, I like this blaster. It's a lot more like something Nerf would make, which is a lot of fun for me.

No range testing yet, maybe some tomorrow.
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#2 Ronster

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 10:17 PM

Looks cool.
Can't wait for ranges.

Edited by Ronster, 30 April 2006 - 10:17 PM.

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#3 GeneralPrimevil

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 04:43 AM

Finally! Anotha hand-tools brada!
Welcome!

Another tree owner as well...
*AHEM* off-topic *CLEAR THROAT*
How many trees/parts of trees which could be called trees did you end up losing?
It seems as if every time I suffer such a storm as to drop a branch, I just have to walk back a few hundred feet and find one of my trees missing. Then, as I continue to survey, I find the tree...a few hundred feet from it. I'm always thinking "Dubya Tee Eff, mate" but have learned to just not think about it.
Or, I'll find one of my bunkers smashed with a 300lb limb...
And then there's the time of that one tree of a something-or-other species which was taken down in a windstorm during the winter. It is lying on the ground, with new spring growth. I have to get a picture of that posted...somewhere, in some topic...I think I know where...ellipses...(...)...
*COUGH* I said wood...*CAT HACKS UP HAIRBALL* dammit...

Now done cleaning up a ball of hair and stomach-bodily fluids from a cat:

Yeah, isn't it fun using only hand tools? I think I use a Dremel half as often as a carving set...
My drill press, however, is a very different story...

There should be a bolt sizing guide/bolt cutter on a complete, full-functioned pair of wire strippers, if youhave on as such. That will tell you if it is, in fact, #8.

That thing turned out pretty good. I think that a coat of black would do it good, perhaps even a dark red. That's just me.

Ranges are our friends...
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#4 davidbowie

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:03 PM

That thing turned out pretty good. I think that a coat of black would do it good, perhaps even a dark red. That's just me.


It's funny you should mention paint....

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Yesterday got me in a building mood, and today I was in a painting mood.

The originally planned paintjob was to be a Yellow Jacket twin, but I loaned out my can of semi-gloss black metalflake, and I decided to do something different. I sprayed the whole thing silver, then got to work with scissors and masking tape, masking off everything that I wanted silver. Nothing on this paintjob was at all difficult, it just took a lot of time and patience. I started out with the stripes on the barrel, then masked off the hex parts on the bushing and male adapter. I started out the main body with the flames running down the left side, then matched them with 3 angled lines on the opposite side, all fading into the grid pattern which covers most of the gun. The clothespin cover got an angled grid, with some...triangular confetti? fading into it on the right side.

Ranges will have to wait some more, because the sealing washer did something that was not good earlier tonight. I'll have to work on it some tomorrow before it's functional again. EXTREMELY rough estimates from shooting my wall tell me that it's got quite a bit more power than a consistent 40' gun, so I'm guessing mid-50's or higher.
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#5 RaZeR ShArP

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 09:20 AM

Nice... Can we get some brighter pictures? I like the gun and the paintjob!
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"I had just used some silicone spray on the plunger, and saw a nice increase in range. So I told my wife that lubing up makes my balls shoot further." -Carbon

#6 AssassinNF

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:52 PM

Great Paint Job! Good ranges, too.

Until I read your post I thought it was gold instead of silver, the pictures are kinda weird.
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Probably dead by now, or something.


#7 Forsaken angel24

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 09:23 PM

It looks Oriental to me. Like a ceremonial kimono. (If kimono is the right word I am looking for here.)
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#8 davidbowie

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 09:58 PM

Today had pretty much no wind, plus I had replaced and lubed the plunger head, so I decided it was a good time for a bit of range testing. I shot off a few stock suction cup micros. The worst shot was about 54', and the best was around 63'. I could probably improve this by using stefans, but I had stocks in the gun at the time.

I fixed up the plunger head as well. The neoprene washer I used before was fairly thin, and it was intended for a 3/16" bolt, which is much larger than the allthread I'm using. As a result, it just kinda popped over the nut. To fix this, I cut a new washer out of some thick neoprene I had lying around. It might have been...1/8"? This stuff is quite chunky, and it keeps a good seal.

I also got some slightly better pics of the paint, because you really can't see anything in the old ones. Details really don't show up too well in the pictures, because the silver is a bit too shiny.

Here's the whole thing:
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Closer in on the right side:
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Another view of the right side, with the triangles blending into the grid pattern:
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The left side, with dragon's breath flames:
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A closer look at the dragon's breath/grid blend, and the grid on the catch cover:
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Does anyone have any suggestions for getting the silver to show up more clearly, besides getting a camera that doesn't suck so bad?
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#9 Carbon

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 10:18 PM

Wow...the detail you're getting is impressive. You're just using masking tape? What brand, because I don't think I've ever gotten such a clean or detailed edge from any masking tape I've ever used...great job. Plus 60+ ranges with stock darts. Yep, I definitely need to experiment with short plunger throw blasters...

Edited by Carbon, 02 May 2006 - 10:19 PM.

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#10 davidbowie

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 05:13 PM

Wow...the detail you're getting is impressive. You're just using masking tape? What brand, because I don't think I've ever gotten such a clean or detailed edge from any masking tape I've ever used...great job. Plus 60+ ranges with stock darts. Yep, I definitely need to experiment with short plunger throw blasters...


First off, thank you. I'm honored.

About the detail... I really don't know. Up until the yellow jacket, I was getting a whole lot of drips and runs, but they seem to have disappeared. This is with the EXACT SAME roll of masking tape, which is just some cheap variety from the hardware store.

I've got a few theories:

Weather:
Spring has only recently...sprung. Where I live, this not only means it's warm, it's also much more humid. In fact, I painted this blaster during a thunderstorm with my garage door open. There's something about this on the back of the paint can. Paint tends to stay where it's sprayed better in this kind of weather.

Relaxed Painting:
I used to try to completely cover an area before moving on. This meant that I would make a bunch of pools of paint, which would drip all over and make everything ugly. This problem was fixed for me by a change in painting technique. I used to lay a gun down on an old sign (corrugated...plasticboard? you know the stuff), paint a side, let it dry, flip it over, and paint the other side. This got very old, and the edges were always underpainted, so I started tying a string to the gun, hanging it from a tree, and painting the whole thing. The string always ended up getting twisted, so the gun would rotate as I painted. I wasn't about to chase it in circles while I paint, so I started just letting it spin. Everything would get a little paint, then a little more, then a little more, until I built up a solid coat.

Press down on the masking tape:
Simple, but it helps. Really run over all the edges, until it's all completely stuck to the object you're painting. Smoothing the tape with your finger might make it feel like the tape is stuck, but it's still not as mashed down as it could be, so some paint seeps through.


Plus 60+ ranges with stock darts. Yep, I definitely need to experiment with short plunger throw blasters...


I think that what gives this gun its decent range is a combination of the plunger construction and the fact that I've got somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds pushing the plunger. I could probably squeeze another 1/2" of stroke out of those springs, and that would probably bring me up into the 70'-80' range, but I would NOT want to have to cock that gun. A longer barrel would probably help too, but I like having it stock-length, because I detest ramrods.

There is definitely potential with short-stroke springers, like this and the EAB, because they can get air moving fast. I'd be interested to see what you come up with.

I think I'll keep working with shorter stroke blasters. Next up is probably going to have a 2" plunger tube, but there's some 4" drain pipe in the garage that's been calling me. Steel washers might not be such a good choice for that!

Edited by davidbowie, 03 May 2006 - 06:28 PM.

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#11 deathwolf

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:25 PM

Very nice work. I'm starting to think I should start getting more into homemades. And the paintjob is awesome, too. 60' with stock darts? It must move air REAL fast.
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#12 Carbon

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 08:07 PM

How long are those springs that you're using? I re-noticed that you're using two of them in there...

2" PVC works great, but you're right, the steel parts start to become a drag. I'd love to find some large nylon washers for the rubber washer backer, especially for the larger sizes. I'm also wondering if the Big SNAP might benefit from being cut down by a couple of inches, and pretensioning the spring more....

4" drain pipe, huh? This can only lead to some kind of messed-up plumber's arms race. Hmmm, time to make that slow-moving 6" ID plunger I've been envisioning...

Edited by Carbon, 03 May 2006 - 08:08 PM.

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#13 davidbowie

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 11:31 PM

This has no pretension. The springs are just beefy.

As for metal parts in the big SNAP, you might want to try cutting your own PVC washers. You can buy endcaps for drain pipe (the super thin stuff, with different sizes than normal PVC pipe), which are completely flat. PVC sheet would also be a good option, but It's always nice to find what you need right there at home depot.

Well, I've pretty much decided to at least try making that 4" gun. Now I need an opinion. Since this stuff doesn't have have the same sizes as normal PVC, doesn't use threads at all, and doesn't go below 3" diameter, I'm going to be making my own reducer. Because of this, I can make quite a few barrels, and place them wherever I want. What arrangement do you think would be best? I'm torn between 2 or 3 longer barrels and a whole bunch of shorter ones.

Although... now that I think of it, I could probably just have interchangeable barrel setups.
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