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#355661 How to make your own foam melee weapons.

Posted by Majestic on 20 August 2016 - 06:04 PM

Make Your Own Melee




I know many nerfers enjoy the use of melee weapons or “boffers” in our wars. And there are several companies including Hasbro that are happy to provide you with one for a fee. Players have also been making them out of pool noodles and duct tape for years. Homemade boffers have never appealed to me aesthetically, so I set out to change that. What follows is the step-by-step guide to how I make foam melee weapons that are a bit more appealing to the eye, yet still completely safe for play. All of the supplies for this build can be found in a single trip to your average local Home Depot. I have also included links to the exact products that I used.


1/2 in. EVA foam mats


Polycarbonate Rod



Hot glue


Aluminum Can


Contact Cement



Long disposable razor blades


Fast Drying Caulk



Plasti Dip



Make a Pattern



  1. First you must decide what you would like your boffer to look like, how big you would like it to be and then transfer that onto the EVA foam mats. This could be as simple as a freehand drawing. What I did was find a picture of what I wanted and printed it in the size that I wanted. I then made a reusable pattern by cutting out the design and covering it in packing tape.




  1. Place the pattern on the textured side of the EVA and trace the edges. Then flip the pattern over and trace the other side so that you end up with what will be the two halves of your boffer.



Make the Core



  1. Place your polycarbonate rod on the pattern and trace its outline. Make sure there is at least a half inch of foam clearance on all sides, including the ends.



  1. Measure the distance between the ends that you traced and subtract 1.5 in. from the result. Cut your polycarbonate rod to that length.



  1. Use a rotary tool to hollow out a section about .5 inches deep and .25 inches wide. Do this on both ends.



  1. Cut two sections from your aluminum can that are about 2 inches wide and 4-6 inches long. Lubricate the inside of both pieces of can. Wrap them around the ends of your rod, leaving an overlap of .5 inches on one end and 1 inch on the other. Use several wraps of tape to secure them in place.




  1. With your glue gun on its highest setting, very slowly begin to fill the cavity that you have created. Be patient while doing this, any air bubbles in the cavity will make the hot glue very weak and you will have to do this step over again.



  1. When you are sure that you have gotten all of the air bubbles out of the glue and it has cooled thoroughly remove the tape and the aluminum. You will be left with two ends that are very durable and also quite soft and flexible such that they will be unlikely to poke through your foam.  It will take 15-20 minutes for your glue to cool. I you are impatient like I am you can speed the process quite a bit by filling a large glass with ice water and swirling the molten ends in it until they have solidified. This should only take a minute or two. The end with the longer hot glue tip will go toward the point of your blade, while the shorter tip goes on the end where your hand will be.






Prepare Your Foam




  1. Place the finished core on your pattern where it was marked from the earlier to make sure you have gotten the length right. Cut the inner section out of your pattern.



  1. Place your pattern back onto the foam. Trace the hole you cut out for the rod.



  1. Now we can start cutting foam. Using your razor knife cut the form out of the foam (one side at a time) as evenly as you can. Try to keep the knife at a right angle to the EVA the entire time.  Any place where the angle changes will have to be sanded out later and may lead to the halves of your boffer being uneven.



  1. Use your rotary tool to carve out the channel marked for the core to about .25 inches deep on each piece of the foam. I used an old piece of tubing to create a plunge guide for my rotary tools hand piece, but you could use a tiny router or just free hand it.



  1. With soap and hot water wash all of the dust off of your foam halves.



Glue Your Foam Sandwich Together




  1. When your halves have dried follow the instructions for your contact cement to first glue the core into the channel on one piece of your foam. Then glue the two pieces of foam together. Contact cement is pretty smelly and toxic stuff, so make sure to use it in a well ventilated area and to always wear a respirator when working with it.  






Carve your shape




  1. It’s time to get artistic. Use your razor knife and a drum sander on your rotary tool to create the final shape of your boffer. You could also use a belt sander if you have one. This process is pretty messy and dusty and your lungs won’t like it so remember to wear your respirator the whole time.






Seal it



  1. Eva mats typically will have some air bubbles in the smooth side which will fill with Plasti-Dip when we try to seal it so we will have to smooth those out. If you wish to have random pitting all over your sword you can skip this step.



  1. Quick setting adhesive caulk will do a good job of filling the bubbles and the gaps along the edges left by the texturizing on the foam. Moisten your finger and spread caulk over the whole piece in really thin layers. The thinner you can spread it the quicker it will dry and the less shrinkage you will have. Let the caulk dry for 5-10 minutes between coats. When you are satisfied with the smoothness of your project we can move on to the next step.



  1. It’s time to coat the boffer in Plasti-dip. I use Plasti-Dip because it is cheap, very durable, adheres really well to EVA and accepts paint easily. I like to spray a few layers on the sides, then a few on the edges to build up thickness evenly over the entire piece. Remember to spray in very thin coats so that your dip will be as even and durable as possible. Repeat the process until the piece has an even coat of dip and you are happy with the results. I have found that it takes at least 3 coats to do the job.



Paint It




  1. I use acrylic paints from Citadels to get my final coats. They work very well with the Plasti-Dip and I have found them durable enough to use without any kind of clear protective layer on top. Plasti-Dip makes lots of different top coats that you can spray over your finished project if you wish to do so. Have fun with it, this is a great chance to express yourself and make something totally unique!



  1. When the paint is dry your boffer is finished and ready to go to war!


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#352018 Retaliator with a Longshot plungertube and sealed breech

Posted by Majestic on 05 March 2016 - 06:30 PM

Title shot.jpg


Ice 1.jpg


Ice 2.jpg


Good morning kids. Today I am going to show you how to take the venerable mainstay of the Nerf clip system series of blasters  from a small gimmicky pistol to a fire breathing primary ready to hang with the big boys at your super stock or N.I.C. conflicts. In 2008 Nerf released the Recon and sadly its compact size was matched by its compact performance. Then in 2012 the Retaliator hit stores, and with the redesigned plunger system the blaster finally offered decent performance and the platform was worth modding. In the eight years since the original release there have been multiple kits, springs, and mod guides released for the platform, which makes the blaster much more effective in a war. Still, none of those kits offered the performance that I was happy with. I decided to piece together what I thought would be the ultimate in power and reliability, and truly maximize what this little blaster can do. 


The result of my quest is this Frankenstein blaster powered by a cut down Longshot plunger tube, an aftermarket Magnus spring, metal bolt sled, metal breech, and sealed brass barrel. Below you will find the details on how to make your own LS Ret.


The shopping list:


Retaliator, Recon, or MK 2 Recon

Longshot plunger tube and plunger head

Brass tubing in ½”, 17/32nd , 9/16th,  19/32nd , and 5/8th

Orange Mod Works “Unleashed Stage 2 Kit for Nerf Recon”

1/8th” rubber “Make your own gasket” sheet

½” PETG tubing

½” PVC tubing

Super Lube


Orange Mod Works 7+kg spring

Blasterparts Magnus upgrade spring

Orange Mod Works Retaliator Unleashed Solid Stages 1 & 2,

Gavinfuzzy customs 3d printed LS plunger head


The tools used are:

Rotary tool w/ sanding drum, cutting wheel and routing bit

Hack saw

Pipe cutter

Digital calipers

Hobby knife

Electrical tape

Pipe reamer


Tooth picks

2 part epoxy

E600 adhesive


Paper towels


Flat and Phillips head screw drivers

½”  dowel rod

Large pliers

Teflon tape

Disembowel your Longshot

  1. Remove all of the screws from the Longshot and clamshell the blaster. Remove the screw that holds in the trigger. You can now remove the bolt sled/breech/plunger tube assembly.



                Pic by Captian Slug

  1. Use a small screwdriver to push the pin through the bolt sled and separate it from the breech. Remove the two screws that hold the plunger in place and remove the plunger and spring from the tube. There is a single screw holding the plunger and spring together, remove it and separate the plunger head.  If you are using one of Zaruko’s printed heads you can skip this step.
  2. There is a small air release hole on the breech, use this as your guide and cut the breech in half using pipe cutters. The breech can now be separated from the plunger tube.


LS 1.jpg


  1. Congratulations, you have just trashed a perfectly good Longshot.
  2. Set the LS plunger head and plunger tube aside for now.


Disembowel your Retaliator

  1. Remove all of the screws from your Ret. and remove the cap from the stock mount point. This blaster contains screws of many different sizes. Mark them so that you don’t lose track of where they go.
  2. Clamshell the blaster. Be sure not to lose the accessory mount or its’ spring, also set aside the dart holder set in the handle.


ret internals.jpg

Photo from http://nerfarmourer.tumblr.com, edited by me


  1.  Take out all of the locks and throw them away.
  2. Take out the bolt sled, plunger tube, plunger, catch, trigger, and muzzle and set them aside. The dart tooth can be removed and thrown away.
  3. Set the shell aside for now.


Mod the Bolt


  1. Open your OMW Recon kit, and take out the bolt, bolt sled and bolt pin. We don’t need any of the other bits. Be sure not to lose the pin, so keep it somewhere safe.


bolt 1.jpg

  1. The opening in the bolt is wider than the main section. It is wide enough to house a stub of brass without removing any material. Cut a piece of 9/16th brass that is 1 ¾”. Sand the outside of the brass and the inside of the bolt, then wash it with hot soapy water.


Bolt 2.jpg


  1. When the parts are dry adhere them with 2-part epoxy.
  2. To make sure that the pieces line up properly I shove a dowel rod through the middle of it and tape it down firmly with electrical tape.
  3. When your bolt has cured unwrap it. Carefully remove all of the exposed brass using your rotary tool.


bolt 3.jpg


  1. Cut your OMW bolt down to 4.41” with a pipe cutter. Clean up the cut with sand paper and a pipe reamer.


Bolt 4.jpg


  1. Remove the o-ring from the Nerf bolt and set it aside. Cut 0.69”(giggity) off of that bolt. Remove the AR and its spring and discard them.


Bolt 5.jpg


  1. Cut a piece of ½” brass that is 1” long. Cut 1/8th” rings from both 17/32nd and 9/16th brass. Sand and wash the brass and the bolt nub we cut off in the last step.



bolt 6.jpg

  1. Nest the rings on to the ½” brass then set them into the bolt nub applying 2-part epoxy to everything . Slip the OMW bolt onto the exposed piece of ½” brass. Measure your bolt from the end of the plastic nub to the hole where the bolt pin goes it should measure 3.78”.  Epoxy everything together and wrap it up with electrical tape to keep it secure.


bolt 7.jpg


  1. Unwrap your bolt, slip the o-ring back on and lube it up, and set it aside.


Plunger Tube


  1. Dig out the Longshot plunger tube, and cut it to 3.12”.


PT 1.jpg


  1. Inside the Longshot plunger tube there is a ridge that needs to be ground down with a rotary tool.


PT 2.jpg


  1. Now on to the Ret.’s plunger tube. Remove the plunger. It is a very tight fit so be careful not to break the lip of the plunger, it is annoying to try to fix it later.
  2. Cut off the end of the tube and sand it flush. There is a ridge on the mouth of the tube that will need to be removed and sanded so that the lip is round.


PT 3.jpg


  1. Now the Ret.’s tube and the Longshot’s tube will fit together nicely, so sand and wash them and epoxy them together.


pt 4.jpg


  1. Get out your gasket material and cut out a disk that is 1.38” in diameter. Cut a hole in the center of your disk large enough to allow the bolt to move freely through it.


PT 5.jpg


PT 6.jpg


  1. Use your E600 to glue your gasket to the face of the plunger tube to form a pad for the plunger. Be sure not to get any glue on the walls of the tube or on the white part where the o-ring on the bolt meets it.  


PT 7.jpg


  1. The plunger tube it now finished and you can put some lube in it. Yay!


Bolt Sled

  1. Take the OMW sled out and rest the plunger tube inside of it. Mark the place where the tube meets the rear of the sled.


Sled 1.jpg


Sled 2.jpg


  1. Remove all of the material from the rear of the sled so that the plunger tube can slide across it freely. Use your rotary tool with a coarse sanding drum. There is a lot of material here so this will take some time, be careful not to remove more than is necessary as this will weaken the sled.


Sled 3.jpg


  1. Slip the bolt into the slot in the sled and put the pin in place. Use your large pliers to push the pin all the way to the middle of its hole.


sled 4.jpg


Sled 5.jpg





  1. If you are using the Zaruko part you can skip steps 1 &2. Separate the Longshot plunger head from its rod by removing the screw that holds it in place. Remove the o-ring and set it aside.
  2.  Remove enough material from the center of the plunger head so that the bolt can pass through it freely.
  3. Sand and wash the rear of the plunger head and the front lip of the Ret. plunger, then epoxy them together.
  4. It is important that the pieces be straight and line up flush with the plunger tube so, once the epoxy is on wrap the plunger in electrical tape the way that it is pictured and slide it into the plunger tube then tape it to the tube like in the second picture.


plunger 2.jpg


plunger 3.jpg


  1. When the epoxy has cured remove the e-tape and make sure that the bolt can slide in to the hole in the head freely. If there is any stray epoxy in the way clear it off with your rotary tool.


plunger 4.jpg


plunger 6.jpg


plunger 1.jpg

Stock head and shaft


plunger 5.jpg

Zaruko head and OMW shaft


  1. Add one wrap of Teflon tape to the groove where the o-ring sits, replace the o-ring and lube it up.


Plunger Guide


  1. Cut a piece of ½” PVC to 1.94”.


guide 1.jpg


  1. Cut a piece of ½” PETG to 2.85”.


guide 2.jpg


  1. Put a few wraps of e-tape around the PETG so that it rests smoothly in the PVC.
  2. Put a few wraps of e-tape around the PVC so that it fits tightly inside the cap that goes over the stock mounting point.


guide 3.jpg


  1. The diameter of the plunger rod is larger than the inner diameter of the PETG so you will have to trim it a bit, I use the rotary tool and sand paper. When everything slides in and out smoothly you are finished.


guide 4.jpg



Breech & Barrel


  1. Cut a piece of 17/32nd brass that is 2 ¼” long.


breech 1.jpg


  1. Carve a groove that is 1/16th” deep in on one side. This will help feed darts that are inconsistent in length. The group I play with uses FVJ’s from China and I have found that the lengths can vary as much as a few 8ths of an inch. It doesn’t seem like much but the tolerances on a breech system that can fire full length darts are pretty tight.


breech 2.jpg


  1. 9/16th brass will form your barrel. Cut the brass to whatever length fits your application. In back to back fps tests I have found no real difference in performance of barrels from 1 foot to 4 inches. The only thing that did make a difference was the amount of 17/32 brass, the more of it the less velocity the darts had when they exited the barrel.
  2. Sand and wash the inside of the 9/16th brass ½” deep on the inside, do the same for the outside of the 17/32nd brass as well. When the pieces are dry run a bead of epoxy around the tip of the 17/32nd chunk and slide it into the 9/16th piece ½” deep. Wrap the joint tightly in e-tape.
  3. Cut two rings of 19/32nd brass and two rings of 5/8th brass all ½” long. Sand and wash both sides of all of the pieces.


breech 3.jpg


  1. Slide the 19/32nd ring onto the barrel 2 ¾ so that the edge is away from the tip of the 17/32nd piece. Put epoxy on all of the surfaces to be joined then slip the 5/8th ring onto the 19/32nd ring and wrap the whole thing in e-tape to hold it together until the epoxy cures. Do the same thing with the rings on the other end of the barrel the distance from the end does not really matter but the closer to the end of the Nerf barrel attachment the more stable your barrel will be.


breech 4.jpg


  1. Now that your barrel has a pair of stable mounting points, only a few wraps of e-tape will be needed to achieve a tight pressure fit in the faux barrel of the Nerf attachment.  So wrap them up and shove them in until the end of the faux barrel is flush with where the 17/32nd brass(breech) meets the 9/16th brass(barrel).  Make sure that the groove in the breech piece is pointing down.
  2. Dig out the muzzle piece and cut off the dart gate. Screw it back into the shell.


breech 5.jpg


breech 6.jpg


  1. Connect the barrel attachment. The tip of the breech should not stick out past the end of the muzzle more than ¼”.


breech 7.jpg


  1. Put the bolt sled into its grooves in the shell. Move the bolt back and forth to check that everything mates nicely.


Shell Work

  1. Break out your rotary tool and carve out the areas of the shell marked in red. If you do not want to use the larger spring then don’t cut the spring rests out, and ignore the next two steps and use the upgrade spring of your choice.


shell 1.jpg


shell 2.jpg


shell 3.jpg


  1. Cut down your Blasterparts Magnus so that it is less that 1 inch when compressed(about 12 coils).
  2. Use your blow torch to heat an area near the end of the coil that you cut and flatten it. Grind it flush with your rotary tool.
  3. Clear out the debris and put all of the internals back in to see if everything fits together nicely.


Shell 4.jpg


  1. Lubricate all of the moving parts, replace the bolt sled, plunger tube, plunger, catch, main spring, and trigger. Screw the whole thing back together.
  2.  Go to a war!!!


The blaster will fire elites, FVJs(full and short length), #6 slugs, and MHA sili domes. The test below was done with MHA foam, and as you can see the results vary wildly. The pink foam is pretty inconsistent but when they work they really move.




Ice 3.jpg


Ice 4.jpg


Ice 5.jpg


ice 6.jpg


ice 7.jpg

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