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So You Want To Make A Homemade?

Some advice for getting started

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#1 Carbon

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 12:26 PM

So you want to build a homemade? There’s no one way to do it, but here’s some advice based on my experience, starting from zero. I'm not trying to say this is the only way to do it, but this is the thought processes and steps I used.

Choose your goals
At least initially, this is the easiest step. Most people, when they discover homemades, have particular ideas about what they’d like to eventually accomplish. So dream on that for a bit, but don’t bother picking up your saw… there’s research to do.

What’s been done?
Spend some time reading the Homemades forum, and find out what other people have done. Six-five-two has done a great job of making this easier for everyone, thanks to his Homemades directory. You'll want to go past that first page, though. Dig back in the archives and do searches based upon what you want to try and do. There’s a lot of information in threads about what works and what doesn’t, or about techniques to use.

Reading up on the older work will also tell you two things. One is the kinds of things that are generally possible. The other may be more important, but it's only implied; what's not possible or what is difficult (or at least, what hasn’t yet been done). Just because something isn’t in the directory doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it does give you an idea of how difficult your goals are. (What, you think you’re the first person who’s wanted to build a fully automatic Nerf rifle with a 10 shot clip? If it was easy to do, someone would have done it.) If it isn't there, you'll have to piece it together...but you're heading out on your own.

Also, don't confine yourself to just NerfHaven; there are ideas that can be incorporated everywhere. The clothespin trigger came about from reading up on rubber band guns.

Understand
This may seem silly to say, but it’s fundamental: gain a basic understanding of how these things work. All of these guns are composed of the same basic systems, just in differing levels of complexity and how they work together. If you understand the basics of how they work, you’ll have a much easier time adapting them for your own purposes. And you’ll most likely have to adapt them because you need to....

Be honest about your abilities and facilities
Homemades are very individual, because everyone has access to different parts, tools and skills. Because of that, no two are exactly the same. It’s something to consider when you take on a project. Can you get all the raw materials? Do you have all the tools? Also, do you have the skills to make it come together? Part of the challenge of a homemade is figuring a way around a problem in a unique way, based on what you have access to.

Revisit your plans
After all this, it’s quite possible that you find your project heading off in another direction. I did. My initial plan was to eventually build a simplified version of the FAR; my first project was a test of what I had learned from studying the FAR schematics. The plans of making a FAR sort of evaporated, as I found a way that I preferred to make things. After all, it's what makes homemades so individual; it’s how you interpret other’s work, mix it up with your ideas, and end up with something totally new.

Start small
So you’re ready to start building. You may be fired up to build that FAR, but really, try something simple first. Take the basics that you gained by getting a good understanding of the mechanics, and build something small. Workshops around the world are littered with half-finished FARs, started by people who misjudged their skills, resources, or interest. It’s better to get some real-world experience in the form of an easy-to-finish project, rather than jumping directly into the deep end. Who knows, you may be the one who has the skills and dogged determination to finish a FAR as your first project, but the odds are against you. The experience from this smaller project will only do you good as you move on.

Plan your work
Get an idea for the systems you want to use, and figure out what parts you need.

Don’t bother with Paint
That would be MS paint. You may have an image in your head about what you want your gun is going to look like. Forget about it. The goal is to get it working; worry about cosmetics later.

Get started!
After you’ve started, you may find yourself having some problems. If you can’t solve it, this is a good time to post a question in Homemades, explaining what you’ve done. No one is very fond of threads along the lines of “tell me how to start”, but everyone will jump in with suggestions on how to fix what you’ve started.
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Hello. I am Indigo of the Rainbow Clan. You Nerfed my father. Prepare to die.

#2 keef

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 12:51 PM

Nice article Carbon! I'll be sure to read this again after I make you Snap and another homemade!
Was this in relevance to downsouthwithanf's pistol?
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Timothy M-Lick <3

#3 NerfFreak

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 01:27 PM

Wow, that helped me alot. I've always got tons of good ideas, but they always fail when I try to build them.

It's always the god damn plunger.

Anyway, nice article Carbon. This will definetely help me, and many other members in succeeding to create something great.
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Nuckin' Futz

#4 Prometheus

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 06:41 PM

Wow, that helped me alot. I've always got tons of good ideas, but they always fail when I try to build them.

It's always the god damn plunger.

Anyway, nice article Carbon. This will definetely help me, and many other members in succeeding to create something great.


Build a compressed air gun. Salvage components from an AT2K, or go with a d-chap style. I find that much more preferable to plungers style guns. But really, if you want a plunger system, keep poundin' away at it, you'll get it sooner or later.

As usual, good job Carbon. Someone finally put on paper what a good thought-train is.

Edited by Prometheus, 05 July 2007 - 06:43 PM.

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QUOTE(VACC @ Jan 24 2008, 06:12 AM) View Post
I am NEVER going to sleep naked in the bed of a former child star ever again....seriously

#5 bored kid93

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 02:26 PM

This needs to be pinned, I've been one of those people who has attempted to build a homemade with no clue of what I was doing, this will be helpful to those new to homemades.
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I'm going to pull out this line: "Speculation is a waste of time. Just wait and see what comes of this. If anything." - Captain Slug.
Captain Slug, I couldn't have said it better.


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