Mod Shop – Secret Strike – AR Removal and Barrel Replacement

Ahh, the Nerf Secret Strike. Somewhat of a novelty amongst the blaster enthusiasts of the world, it mostly gets a pretty good wrap. It’s simple, small and good fun to mess around with; what’s not to like? It is relatively powerful out of the box, but there’s always room for improvement!

This week we’ll be doing a simple barrel replacement and AR removal. The small tank inside the blaster is pretty good to begin with, so we’re just going to improve the seal between the dart and the barrel, and remove the flow restriction.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Tools/Materials used…

Screw driver
Generic glue (I used Tarzan’s Grip)
Hot glue gun + glue
Dremel, complete with cutting wheel
20mm length of 15mm PVC
~80mm PETG (or other suitable barrel material)
Electrical tape

—————————————————————————————————————-

As always, we’ll start with the blaster itself.

Photobucket

Remove the screws on the other side and the shell should pry apart easily. We’ll be left with the internals as below.

Photobucket

Grab your Dremel and cut off the stock barrel which also includes the AR. Cut at the line below, being careful not to damage the tank itself.

Photobucket

Close up of the front.

Photobucket

Grab your Dremel again and clean up the bottom, and cut a small slot under the tank.

Photobucket

Cut yourself a small section of 15mm PVC, slide it over the tank and glue it into place.

Photobucket

Grab your chosen barrel material and wrap the end in electrical tape until it nests neatly in the PVC.

Photobucket

Test fit until it’s tight.

Photobucket

Once you’re happy with it, glue it into place.

Photobucket

Grab your hot glue gun and go to town on that sucker. Make sure that both the connections between the tank and the PVC, and the barrel and the PVC, are both air tight.

Cut away enough of the shell until it fits back over the internals (no photos sorry but fairly self explanitory), put the shell back on and we’re done.

Photobucket

Stock ranges were around the 12m mark.
Modded, it’s now hitting about 18m.

Mod Shop – Storm Tommy

Going to have to backtrack a little bit for this one, but I’m sure you’ll all still appreciate it. Basically the blaster in question is two BuzzBee Tommy 20’s strapped together. If you want the back story, please read on, if you’re only here for the blaster then please feel free to skip to the pictures. Also I need to give a shout out to my best mate Chris who helped make this possible.

We’ll kick off our story in July of of 2009, Game 1 of HvZ@ANU. I’d never really played with a Nerf blaster before. Sure I’d had the odd toy dart blaster here and there as a kid, but nothing major by any stretch of the imagination. I found out about HvZ through a lecturer of mine (mad props to Dr Stephen Dann there) and decided to play. Target was having their mid-year sale so my house mate Chris and I both managed to pick up a BuzzBee Tommy 20 and a BeltBlaster each. We signed up to the game, turned up on day one and found out that you could modify your blasters. On the way home that night we stopped past Woolworths to pick up a 6v Dolphin batter to strap to our Tommy’s. Holy crap were we just absolute ballers. 6v Tommy 20’s, couldn’t get better than that! (I know this sounds like sarcasm, but a 6v Tommy was actually pretty hardcore compared to most other players at that stage)

We turned up day 2, made our way to the cafe we were using as our base before going our separate ways for class. About an hour later I get a message from Chris saying he’d died and I needed to go pick up his blasters. I did, but only long enough to dump both the BeltBlasters in someone’s car before running DUAL MODDED TOMMY! (again, I know how sad this sounds in retrospect but you have to believe me that anything bigger than a Maverick was significantly above the norm in our game back then)

Long story short, I ran around with the dual Tommy’s for the rest of the game, ended up surviving until the very end and then won the title of Best Human for the game. Not trying to say that the Tommy’s made that happen, but they sure helped to make me a recognisable character. Anyway, the game finished up, we started planning Game 2 and I put my hand up to be a moderator. We were about 8 months away from the game and I already knew that I wouldn’t be playing, so I wasn’t that fussed about getting more blasters.

A couple of months passed and Chris and I were playing a game of Mordheim. One of the models was armed with a brace of pistols and we started discussing how cool it would be to have a brace of Nerf pistols! The thought kicked around for a couple of days with us both sketching up way of physically operating multiple triggers before it dawned on us; the triggers on the Tommy’s are simply micro-switches, you could hook as many as you want together and they could all still operate off the one trigger really easily! We decided we’d make one each and Chris coudl sue both of them in the upcoming game (since I was moderating and all).

Come a few days later and I was bringing home 4 brand new Tommy’s! (again, completely out of the ordinary for me at that stage and very exciting) I had a busted old hand drill lying around that I figured would make the perfect base as it was designed to carry significantly more weight than I be putting on it and it already had a trigger inside a nice hand grip. Basically I started cutting things up and it all just sort of evolved naturally.

Right, enough story, on to the build! Throughout the post there will be pictures of both mine and Chris’ blasters. There are a few small differences between the two (mostly when one of us figured out an easier way of doing something after they’d done it but before the other person had) but all in all, they’re basically the same and these are the best pictures I’ve got.

The major components. A broken handheld battery drill and 2 Tommy 20’s

The drill in question

The gutted insides of said drill

A cut down Tommy

A more cut down Tommy

Multiple cut down Tommy’s

One half of a Tommy tacked to half of the drill

The other half of a Tommy tacked to other half of the drill

Two half Tommy’s, one whole drill

Gooping the battery covers on so we had something solid to bolt to

Got a 1m length of 8mm threaded rod. Drilled 8mm holes the whole way through both shells and the drill, ran a length of rod through the holes, put nuts at strategic intervals, cut down rods to size; win!

Painted the base blasters red (our squad colours were red and orange) before making a faring out of 5mm perspex. The bolts on top are the release to flip open the fronts.

No photos of them both completely done together, but you get the idea

And a video of the very first test fire. Yes this is Chris’ blaster in this case (he got his finished before I did) and yes that’s me being shot. If you’re really keen look up just about any video of Game2 of HvZ@ANU on YouTube and you’re bound to see Chris with the blasters in action.

On the back of the blaster there are two toggle switches. One controls whether both halves fire at once, or if only one fires; if it’s set to single fire, the other switch controls whether it’s the left or right half that’s firing. The trigger itself was a two stage deal; half pulled would start the flywheels spinning, full pull would start them firing. On the back there was also a female antenna connector for the batteries, as 2 6v Dolphin batteries wired in parallel lived in a backpack, the cable from which had an male antenna connector.

I enlisted the help of another Engineering friend to help design the circuit board that figured out the switches and the two stage trigger complicatedness. Don’t ask me how it works or how to build another; I didn’t understand it then and only have a vague understanding of it now.

See, complicated…

Knowing everything I know now I’m sure I could have done a better job of it and have contemplated trying something similar with Stampedes, but wow was Chris just the biggest baller ever come Game 2 of HvZ@ANU when he had two of these. I’ve never actually used mine in game as I now prefer a far more running orientated style of play, but my Storm Tommy still holds pride of place on the top shelf of my garage. It’s not the best blaster in the world, but it pretty well signifies the best period of my life so far.

Mod Shop – Nerf Barricade – Voltage increase, inbuilt voltmetre, safety removal

The Nerf Baricade, first released in 2010, it’s one of the few flywheel blasters in Nerf’s lineup. My first real foray into the world of blasters was pretty heavily based around the BuzzBee Tommy20, so I’m relatively fond of a good old set of flywheels. I know they aren’t as efficient as most other types of blasters, they make a lot of noise and take a little while to spin up, but they’re still good fun.

I first picked up a pair of Barricades last year after a group I play with decided to have a day of dart tag games. I needed something that would fire taggers and the Barricade seemed like an easy option (the Dart Tag series of blasters still hasn’t been released in Australia yet, scheduled this year). Throwing in a few Trustfire AA’s quickly upped the voltage and away I went. The day as a whole went pretty well, the Barricades mostly functioning as intended. Only problems were when darts got jammed but the barrel still rotated, they were a pain to get out; and that the jam door sometimes fell ajar, meaning the flywheels would turn off. During the day I also found myself having the remove the batteries and check how much juice they had left with a multimeter. While significantly better than going flat mid game, still rather time consuming and somewhat annoying. All of these problems I’ve since rectified on this blaster.

________________________________________________________________________

Tools/Materials needed

Screwdrivers (flat and phillips heads)
3 x Trustfire batteries
Digital voltmeter
Soldering iron and solder
Electrical tape
Wire cutters/strippers
Dremel with cutting tool

________________________________________________________________________

We’ll kick off with the blaster itself.

Photobucket

Start by removing the battery cover.

Photobucket

In this case I’m using 3 Trustfire AA’s.

Photobucket

We’ll need to remove them too.

Photobucket

Then the external part of the on/off switch.

Photobucket

Like so.

Photobucket

Then remove all of the screws holding the two halves of the shell together. There should be about 15 screws. Because the switch and battery compartment is on the left side of the shell and there obviously needs to be wires between the two, we have to keep the two halves close by.

Photobucket

As always, take a moment to familiarise yourself with the insides and try to get an understanding of how it works.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Happy? Good.
Next step is to remove the rotating barrel. We’ll need to lift the front end up first, then pull the barrel out towards the front of the blaster.

Photobucket

Then remove these two screws.

Photobucket

Like so.

Photobucket

We’ll now be able to remove the whole front section of the blaster. This is where the flywheels are located

Photobucket

Like so.

Photobucket

The wires for the flywheels are kept safe under this cover. The small black thing poking up here is a microswitch that checks if the jam door is closed; if it isn’t triggered, the flywheels won’t turn. Since I was having troubles with the jam door popping slightly ajar of it’s own accord, I decided to remove this safety.

Photobucket

Here you can see the switch from the back.

Photobucket

Pry it out with your screwdriver.

Photobucket

Then we’ll need to remove this cover that hold the wires in place.

Photobucket

Pry it part way with your screwdriver.

Photobucket

Then just pull it off by hand.

Photobucket

Tada! One mircoswitch, free from it’s original housing. It’s a very simple circuit that only lets power flow from the red wire (from the battery) to the orange wire (going to the flywheels) when the button is depressed.

Photobucket

We want that connection to be on all the time, so simply cut the switch out.

Photobucket

Strip back a little of the covering from each wire.

Photobucket

Twist them together.

Photobucket

Then solder the join.
Side note: I’ve been asked to do a post on soldering techniques for blaster mods. It should appear in the not too distant future.

Photobucket

Then protect the join with some tape.

Photobucket

Now we’ll move to the back half of the jam door mechanism. Start by removing these two screws and the arm they’re securing. This arm is what actuates the dart pusher.

Photobucket

Then remove the dart pusher itself.

Photobucket

Then these two screws holding the jam door slider in place.

Photobucket

Remove this little chock.

Photobucket

And we should end up like this.

Photobucket

Move back to the middle of the blaster and remove the jam door itself.

Photobucket

Like so.

Photobucket

Now I don’t actually have a photo of the correct way of doing this so I’ll have to explain. See how the wires are on the trigger side of that post? Don’t do that. Move them to the other side of that post. They will get in the way if you leave them as I’ve pictured.

Photobucket

Put the dart pusher back in.

Photobucket

Then the dart pusher arm.

Photobucket

Then the two screws securing it all.

Photobucket

Move back to the front of the blaster.

Photobucket

Run the wires back through their protective cover.

Photobucket

Then re-seat the whole front mechanism.

Photobucket

Same shot, from another angle.

Photobucket

Screw the protective cover back in place. Except, because we’ve removed the switch, we now only need the bottom screw.

Photobucket

All right, safety removal done! Now we’ll move on to the digital voltmeter install. I decided to put mine at the back of the blaster, since that’s where it fit best.

Photobucket

Here’s the component itself. The one I’ve sourced has three wires; brown is negative, red is positive, and yellow is the trigger source (the voltage it’s actually measuring). It can be powered off anything from 5-25v, but can measure up to 99v. Because I know my barricade will never run more than 25v, I can wire the yellow and red wires to the same power source.

Photobucket

Start by marking out where it will go.

Photobucket

Like so.

Photobucket

Then grab your dremel and get cutting.

Photobucket

Then do the other side.

Photobucket

Test fit!

Photobucket

In addition to the hole in the external shell, I also had to remove part of the post on the right so that the wiring would fit.

Photobucket

Next, strip back a little of the wiring from the two power wires (red being positive and blue negative).

Photobucket

Connect the wires from the voltmeter.

Photobucket

Solder!

Photobucket

Then tape.

Photobucket

Throw some batteries in it, flick the switch and check if the voltmeter works.

Photobucket

Apparently I forgot to take a photo of this next step but it’s really quite simple. Glue it in place.

Go back to the other half of the shell.

Photobucket

Put the barrel back in. Reinsertion is the opposite of removal; feed from the front, seat the back first, then the front.

Photobucket

Put the shell back together, then put the outer half of the power switch back on.

Photobucket

There you have it. One Barricade, sans jam door, with inbuilt voltmeter. Below is how it looks with the blaster switched off.

Photobucket

Then, with the blaster switched on.

Photobucket

Now while most would say the voltmeter is really just there for showing off, which it admittedly is a little, it does still serve quite a useful purpose. There is now absolutely no guess work involved in “are my batteries going flat or am I just imagining I’m getting less range than before?”, it simply tells you, right there mid game.

Unfortunately I upped the voltage so long ago now that I couldn’t tell you what the stock range of a Barricade is. However, with taggers this one is hitting around the 17m mark.

Mod Shop – Hydro Cannon – Singled

Hello internets! I was up in beautiful/rainy Cairns (tropical North Queensland)  all last week with work and apparently forgot to prepare a post before I went away. Therefore our mod today is incredibly simple.

Like most air powered blasters, the Nerf Hyrdo Cannon is really easy to single, basically just jam a barrel on the end of it and away you go. Yes I’m aware that the Hydro Cannon is actually a waster blaster but since said water is just propelled by pressurised air, the same pressurised air can be used to fire a dart pretty easily.

Tools/materials used…

Phillips head screwdriver
Dremel with cutting disc (hax saw or pipe cutter would also work)
15mm PVC
15mm PVC coupler
16mm conduit

We’ll start off with the blaster in question.

Photobucket

Nerf Raider for scale.

Photobucket

Start by removing the pump handle.

Photobucket

Then the end cap.

Photobucket

Then all the screws along the side of the blaster so we can open up the shell. The water tank will stay with the right hand side of the shell unless you cut the string that holds the cap on, but that’s ok.

Photobucket

As always, have a look around the internals and familiarise yourself.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Ok, time to continue with the disassembly. Remove the two screws right at the front of the blaster that holds the front cover on.

Photobucket

I’ve removed the whole tank assembly here but it’s not necessary. Glue your 15mm PVC coupler on the end of the barrel, it fits surprisingly well.

Photobucket

Your blaster should now look like this.

Photobucket

Put the other side of the shell back on and screw it in to place.

Photobucket

Take the end cap.

Photobucket

Arrange it like so, with the flat part in the middle above the centre post.

Photobucket

Then place it over the end of the blaster.

Photobucket

Screw it in to place.

Photobucket

Wrap a length of 16mm conduit in electrical tape until it nests inside some 15mm PVC. Do this at both ends.Photobucket

Then glue it into place. In this case I’ve used 600mm of conduit nested in about 400mm of PVC, but that’s way overkill.

Photobucket

Insert the barrel inside the coupler. Raider included for scale again.

Photobucket

Now make no mistakes here, the 60cm barrel was basically for waving at people. It’s way too long to get the most power out of the blaster, but given that it takes approximately 50 pumps with the stock pump to fill the tank anyway, this was never going to be practical. Really it’s entire purpose was to be big, and I think it achieves that.