Mod Shop – Nerf Roughcut – Air Restrictor Removal

Today’s post will be a little different to my standard mod shop posts in that this will not be presented as a full walk-through. This is not a mod I’d recommend for first timers and will therefore only show you enough to do the mod if you were already relatively confident in your abilities.

Got it? Good 🙂

Today we’ll be going through an air restrictor (AR) removal on the recently released Nerf Roughcut.

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Mod Shop – Nerf Hailfire – Clip Reliability, Easier Reloading and Voltage Increase

Merry Christmas all! This is a little bit of a recap of something I attempted to post a few weeks ago. I’d written the post, scheduled it, then WordPress decided to make it disappear. Sad Face.

Oh well, lets try again shall we. This post will form part two of our three part series on the new Nerf Hailfire. The first looked at reviewing it in its stock form, today’s will cover off some mods to improve it, then in the third we’ll take a look at how those mods worked in game. The main issues I had with the blaster during its first test were to do with the clip advancement. Particularly when loaded with heavier clips, say 18’s, the rotator sometimes simply wouldn’t advance. I’m really not a fan of things not working they way they should so this had to be rectified. The solution for this came from our friends over at S.O.F.T (for which you can check out their original video on the subject here). While we’re fixing the clip advancer, we’ll also up the voltage to increase range and make it easier to reload on the fly.

Enough talking about it, let’s get to it!

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Tools/Consumables used

Screwdrivers
Dremel with cutting and grinding attachments
3x Trustfire batteries
1x Dummy AA
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As always, we’ll kick off with the blaster in question. Start by removing all of the screws from the shell. If you’ve still got the clip advancement handles on, there’s two screws on the inside of each handle. Remove them then pry the handles free.

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In the shell itself there are three different sized screws.

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The short one came from here.

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The three medium length ones came from here.

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The rest are all the standard length Nerf screw.

As always, take a moment at this point to have a good look around the blaster and try to get an understanding of the internals.

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Happy? Good, lets continue.

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Remove the jam door.

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Then the trigger; it’s held in by one black screw.

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Then the dart pusher bar.

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Like so.

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Move to the front and remove the clip advancement handle bar.

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Then remove the motor assembly.

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It’s held in by one screw here.

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You can then access this bar. Remove it and the rest of the clip advancement assembly.

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Like so.

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It’s held together by this screw; remove it.

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Right, now the real work begins.

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On the bottom of the mag well there’s one centre screw, remove it.

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And the turret and magwell will cove free.

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We’ll start with the turret.

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It should come apart into three pieces.

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Remove the screw in the clutch assembly.

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It will separate. The point of this component is to act as a slip clutch; we don’t want that.

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Instead we’re going to glue it together. Be careful not to get any glue in the advancement track (the toothed bit in the middle here) as it might interfere with the advancement rod.

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The next issue is this gap here. The bottom part of the turret is too long, which allows for unnecessary movement between the magwell and the shell; we don’t want that. What we’re going to do is shorten the turret so the magwell butts up hard against the shell.

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We need to remove 3~4mm from the bottom of the turret but very much treat this as a trial and error game. Cut a little, reassemble, check clearances.

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Reassembly goes in this order…

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Once it’s back together we can check clearances. The photo below shows you what we’re aiming for; no more gap. Again, cut a little, reassemble, check clearances until you get this. You will not get it right on your first try.

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Once you’ve achieved that we can actually start putting the blaster back together.

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The advancement rod goes this way.

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Place the whole assembly back in the blaster.

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Reattach the spring.

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Replace the motors and screw.

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Then the priming handle.

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Then the pusher bar.

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Then the trigger.

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Then the jam door.

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Like so.

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Replace the shell and we’re essentially done.

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To make it easier to reload on the run I also decided to ditch the wings.

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Yay dremel!

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Finally the voltage increase. Nothing special here, just replaced the standard AA batteries with higher voltage Trustfires. I tried combinations of 2, 3 and 4 (roughly 8, 12 and 16 volts respectively) and found that I preferred 12v. It sure does shoot further at 16v, but the accuracy is incredibly decreased.

Stock (6v): 7-8m
12v: 11-22m, most within 12-13m
16v: 15-32m, most within 19-23m

Mod Shop – Nerf Vulcan – AR Removal

I’m somewhat surprised that it’s taken me this long to get around to doing a Vulcan, but also not in many ways. Back when I first started Nerfing back in 2009, the Vulcan was the daddy of them all. It was bigger, badder and meaner than the rest of the available blasters, but for some reason I just didn’t care. I had my Tommy’s and I was pretty happy. However, I finally picked up a Vulcan as part of a bulk purchase I grabbed a few months back. Ergo, time to do some mods!

Today we’ll be running through a basic AR removal, but since it’s a Vulcan it’s not going to be all that basic. There are a lot of parts to this blaster and this wouldn’t be something I’d recommend to the beginning modder. With that, I mind I won’t be doing a full walk through this week; there will be full disassembly and pointing out of the parts you need to modify, but there will be no reassembly. If you aren’t confident in your skills yet, this isn’t the blaster to try them out on.

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Tools/materials required

Phillips head screwdriver
Flat head screwdriver
Claw hammer/small crow bar
Drill and assortment of drill bits
Small round hand file
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As always, we’ll start with the blaster in question

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Remove the battery tray.

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Pry the sides off the top handle.

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And the rest of the handle will just come off on its own.

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Using your hammer/crow bar, pry the priming handle apart.

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Remove the screws holding the belt cover in place.

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Then pry the locating pin out.

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The whole belt cover will then be able to get lifted off.

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Ok, now on to the boat load of screws.

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Two very small ones go here, the rest are all the same.

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Once they’re all removed you’ll be able to open up the shell.

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As always, take a good while to look around the internals and get an understanding of how it works.

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This is particularly important in something as complicated as the Vulcan.

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Remove this small black screw here.

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Then the whole front can come off.

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Remove this bottom tray thing.

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Like so.

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Move to the back and remove this top cover and the catch.

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Like so.

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Under here you can see the micro-switch used as the trigger.

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Remove the trigger itself.

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Then the internal trigger mechanism.

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Like so.

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Remove the priming bar cover.

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Revealing the main cog.

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Remove this small roller above the main priming bar.

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Like so.

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Now we can get on to the main cover. There’s 6 screws holding it in place.

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Then this orange piece.

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There’s also a screw hiding at the bottom of this hole.

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All right, most of the covers gone.

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Flip the blaster over and you’ll find another screw hiding just in-front of the priming bar hole. Remove it.

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You should now be able to finally remove the priming bar itself.

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Like so.

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Then remove the motorised priming bar.

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Like so.

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Remove this front clip and spring.

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Like so.

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Two small screws live here, remove them.

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Then we’ll be able to remove the whole clutch assembly.

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Like so.

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It will have to go back together like this once you get back to re-assembly.

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Grab the plunger tube and turn it about 90 degrees.

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This will allow us to pull it forward.

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And out of the blaster.

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All this time, this is actually the piece we’re after.

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Have a look down there and you’ll find an air restrictor.

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Grab your drill and go to town on it.

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Then clean it up with a small round hand file.

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There we have it. Re-assemble it and you have yourself an AR’d Nerf Vulcan.

Mod Shop – AS4 – BBUMB/Rapidfire intergration

Good evening ladies and gents. Another advanced mod today and not so much of a walk though. First up I want to give credit to Bakabill on OzNerf for his semi auto Magstrike that provided the original inspiration to have a go at this (and in a round about way, I should probably mention Banshee’s Blast-Strike on NH and Lefty’s Mega-Strike too).

Basically my situation was that I’d seen Bakabill’s Magstrike write up and thought it was worth a crack, then realised I had a only somewhat reliable Rapidfire AS-20 sitting at the bottom of my Nerf cupboard. Thought about it for a day or two and decided bugger it, I’ll just pick up another BBUMB and give this a go.

I’m not going to go into any real detail with this as it should be fairly self explanatory for those who know what they’re doing, but I am happy to answer any questions.

So to kick off with, we have an AS-20.

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I started by removing the outer black shell.

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Then the inner yellow shell.

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This valve here is what we will use for the BBUMB tank refill button.

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Strip the shell and Dremel away until the tank fits.

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Move to the bottom of the blaster and cut a slot for the refill button.

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Put the back bladder/pump assembly back in and test fit the fill button.

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Like so.

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Test fitting the main tank and the T-piece for the RSBC.

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Cut the smaller tube to an acceptable length and re-attach the check valve.

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OK, I kinda skipped a few steps here but you’ll get the idea. Photobucket

The tube from the fill valve at the bottom now leads to the stock BBUMB check valve. Photobucket

The AS20 trigger is now attached to stock lever from the BBUMB.

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It’s then sprung to pull the trigger back and to close the tank.

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I took the whole post that originally held the lever in the BBUMB too. Made things much easier.

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Trigger pulled.

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The trigger has been removed in this photo so you can see the slot I had to cut in the bladder tank.

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This random orange thing was glued in the bottom of the shell as a stopper for the bladder.

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See! Here it is with the bladder fully expanded, hard up against the stopper.

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I had to do this so that it didn’t interfere with the trigger mechanism.

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That’s about it in a nutshell. The barrel is 300mm of 17/32 brass, the back half of the RSBC holds 4 darts, there’s a screw on end cap on the end.

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So how does it all work? From the top;

Unscrew the end cap, insert 4 darts, screw it back on.
Pump 10-15 times.
Press the fill button at the bottom (fills the BBUMB tank from the AS20 bladder).
Flick the front of the blaster towards the ground (gets another dart jammed in the barrel).
Pump 10-15 times.
Pull the trigger to fire (opens the BBUMB tank).
Press the fill button, flick the front of the blaster towards the ground, pull the trigger to fire.
Press the fill button, flick the front of the blaster towards the ground, pull the trigger to fire.
Press the fill button, flick the front of the blaster towards the ground, pull the trigger to fire.

Tada! Start at step 6 and you can fire 4 darts in 3 seconds, each hitting ~30m flat. Check the video below for an example (albeit nice and slow so you can see what’s going on).

FB Video – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag

(I tried so many times to get that to embed, nuts to that you’re getting stuck with a link)
PS: ‘Like’ the page!

Cheers all,
Joe

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.

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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

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We’ll kick off with the blaster itself.

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Start by removing the battery cover.

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

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We’ll need to remove them too.

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Then the external part of the on/off switch.

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Like so.

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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.

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

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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.

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Then remove these two screws.

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Like so.

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

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Like so.

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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.

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Here you can see the switch from the back.

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Pry it out with your screwdriver.

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

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Pry it part way with your screwdriver.

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Then just pull it off by hand.

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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.

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

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Strip back a little of the covering from each wire.

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Twist them together.

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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.

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Then protect the join with some tape.

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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.

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Then remove the dart pusher itself.

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

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Remove this little chock.

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And we should end up like this.

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

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Like so.

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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.

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Put the dart pusher back in.

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Then the dart pusher arm.

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Then the two screws securing it all.

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Move back to the front of the blaster.

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Run the wires back through their protective cover.

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Then re-seat the whole front mechanism.

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Same shot, from another angle.

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

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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.

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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.

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Start by marking out where it will go.

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Like so.

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Then grab your dremel and get cutting.

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Then do the other side.

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Test fit!

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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.

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

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Connect the wires from the voltmeter.

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Solder!

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Then tape.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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Then, with the blaster switched on.

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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 – Shortened Nerf Stampede

Our mod this week is a little different to most of the other posts so far. Not just because this is more of a discussion piece and less of a walk through, but also because this is the very Stampede that I actually use in games. It has a Black Tactical Stampede Kit, micro switch replacement, voltage upgrade, safety removal, and of course the physical shell mods. The latter four are what we’ll be talking about today. If you’re interested in the former, please check out my previous post on the subject.

I’ll start by saying that this was not done for aesthetic reasons, this was done for performance reasons. It is not pretty. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It is aesthetic modding at it’s ghetto finest. On the performance front however, the blaster is now smaller, lighter, easier to handle, simpler, and fires harder and faster.  All in all, I’d say it’s a pretty effective blaster.

Up first we’ll cover off the obvious stuff, the shell mods. I simply took my Dremel and proceeded to cut off everything that wasn’t needed. That means most of the battery tray is gone, the jam door, and everything in front of the front of the breech once it’s all the way forward. Everything related to the clip well is still in tact, along with the dart tooth and of course the entire firing mechanism.

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I also did the same to the other side of the shell oddly enough.

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Next up was the trigger micro switch. The stock stampede normally has a switch located here, underneath a flat orange cover. This switch has a rather weak return spring with can lead to bump firing. In the picture below I’ve already upgraded the spring, but for my own blaster I very much wanted it to be reliable, so I replaced the entire switch.

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As you can see here, no more stock micro switch.

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Instead I have my own one in the handle. This required some cutting to fit correctly, but it was pretty simple really. An assortment of hot glue and random pieces of plastic I had sitting around hold it in place.

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A picture with the trigger pulled in and the switch depressed for reference.

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Next up came further simplification. The stock stampede comes with a further four of these micro switches spread throughout the blaster. Here is a close up of one of them.

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And another photo showing the location of all four. They act as safeties for the blaster, preventing you from firing unless the jam door is closed and there is a clip in the blaster. Now while I’m sure that’s all well and good for the 8yr old this blaster was designed for, I’m not going to jam my finger in it while it’s firing (if I do, I kinda deserve what happens), and I know not to dry fire. With all that in mind, these were all just added complications; extra things to go wrong if you will. Therefore, they all had to go.

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As you’ll see in this photo, there are no more micro switches (other than the one for the trigger), no on/off switch, and none of the associated wiring. This means that the wire from the negative terminal on the battery sled goes directly to the motor, while the positive terminal leads to the trigger switch and then to the motor. Significantly simpler, far less to go wrong.

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Finally came the voltage mod. Just as I did in my previous Stampede post, I’m using four Trustfire AA batteries. However, instead of the AA-D cell convertor shells I used last time, this time I hard wired a 4xAA holder inside the shell.

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Originally I simply soldered this directly to the terminals as shown, but this eventually broke. Since then I’ve gone back and completely removed the terminals and soldered the holder directly to the existing wires.

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Then it went back together.

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I jammed the batteries in the remainder of the battery tray and went for a test fire. Surprise surprise, it worked. The batteries were held in with tape for quite some time (ghetto fabulous) but I’ve since devised a screw system to hold the batteries in place. Nothing fancy there, they’re just wedged into place with a bolt. No photos of the current system sorry 😦

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Finally, size comparison with an Alpha Trooper.

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Alright, that’s about it folks. Like I said, more of a “hey, check this out” style post rather than a walk through. The performance is exactly what you’d expect from any other stampede with 4 trustfires and a BT kit, only now it’s lighter, smaller, and simpler. How much lighter I hear you ask? Well a stock stampede with 6 D cells weights about 2.2kg, a stock stampede with no batteries is 1.3kg, and mine? 0.8kg, complete with batteries. Sure that might not seem like much, but it now weighs about 36% of what it originally did and will cause less of a strain while you’re running around.

I don’t know what more I can say about it other than, this is the blaster I use in most games. I can’t giving anything a higher praise.

Cheers,
Joe

Mod Shop – The Longer Strike – Longstrike Shell/Titan internals

I have internet again! The new place is starting to feel a lot more like home now and even the blaster unpacking is well under way. We’re certainly not 100% normal yet, but it’s getting there.

Anyway, the topic for today is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. All the modification posts I’ve made so far have been very detailed walk throughs, designed to be followed by even the most novice of modifiers. This one will instead be my first foray into something a little more complicated. I’ll be as upfront as I can about this; this post and the many like it that will follow in the future are not designed for the beginning modifier. This is not a step-by-step walk through; but rather a way of showing you some of the more interesting things that can be done. By all means, please feel free to have a go at this and ask any questions you feel you need to ask, but if you can’t figure out most of what’s going on from this post alone, then perhaps this isn’t for you just yet.

Most blaster modifications are not all that difficult and what I’m hoping to achieve with posts like this is to inspire others to have a go. Once you’re experienced in modifying your blasters, think about how you can improve blasters yourself, don’t just always blindly follow guides you found on the internet. Come up with something new and exciting and add something back to the community yourself!

A few months ago I built myself an RSCB’d BBUMB, but more importantly, actually got to use it. I’d played around with singled titans before but due to the modding restrictions we had at ANU (basically AR’s only), I’d never been able to use them and thus never really put much thought in to high powered blasters. Then about 12months ago the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag group started up and hey look, far more relaxed modding restrictions. Played a few games with the BBUMB and while it was cool, it just didn’t suit my running play style like a Raider did. This then got me motivated again in things that weren’t necessarily practical, but are well cool.

After a game one day a mate had said to me how disappointed he was with the performance of his LongStike and if I could help him. I suggested the standard spring+AR mods but explained that it would only ever be on par with my Raider, and not to suddenly expect BBUMB sorts of ranges. The thought then immediately popped in to my head “Why not get BBUBM sorts of ranges out of a LongStrike? I’ve got a LongStrike that I never use, so why not?” I went home and started sizing up the BBUMB internals and the LongStrike shell before it dawned on me; “Forget buying another BBUMB, I’ve got a Titan sitting there that also never gets used!”

I already knew that I was never going to use it in a game, I just wanted something cool, so I was very strict on myself in that it had to look as much like a LongStrike as possible when I was finished, even if that meant sacrificing practicality. All in all I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, in that it looks like a LongStrike but is a singled Titan. As of right now she works! Only needs paint and it will be finished. More photos to come once that’s done.

The donors. You’ll obviously notice that I had previously painted my LongStrike, this colour scheme will remain on the finished product.Photobucket

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Test fitting the pump.

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The makings of the breech. 17/32 brass with a cutout to load the dart, 9/16 piece to slide over the top of it Obvoiusly some of the shell was cut away too.

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How I made the bolt for the breech. Cut out a piece of 19/32 brass and drilled a hole through it, placed an M3 captive nut used in press fittings through it, glued the two together, soldered the 19/32 brass to the 9/16 breech slide.

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All of the components in place.

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The Titan tank in place, complete with a rather large cut out in the shell. I’m aware this now looks like a butchered LongStrike and not at all cool, but bare with me.

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I cut up a 6 clip for looks.

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The breech open.

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Half open.

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Closed.

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The physically finished product from the right. Looks suspiciously like a Longstrike, right?

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The physically finished product from the left. Again, with painting to come.

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And here’s the finished product ladies and gents.

(Damn it! I just noticed in this pic that I’ve apparently lost the stock clip release button. Balls.)

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And there we have it folks; one singled Titan inside a Longstrike shell. Ranges are fairly typical of this sort of blaster, 40m flat with a streamline. Leaves welts through clothing, not something you’d ever want to actually use in a game even if it was practical.

 

Best part however was taking out 2nd place for Best Blaster in the OzNerf modding competition. Very proud of that.

Tools and Consumables for Blaster Modding

This week’s post is a response to a readers request and will be a little different from the content we’ve seen so far. Lots of different websites out there show you how to do a whole host of basic blaster mods, but in the spirit of encouraging others to get out there and try stuff for themselves, I’m instead just posting a list of tools and consumables I use when modifying blasters. Obviously, most of these won’t be needed most of the time, but having the right tool available for any given job is always going to make your life significantly easier. Sure you can punch out an AR with a screwdriver and a hammer, but having a hand drill is going to do a far better job and save you time, effort and heartache.

Our journey today will be split up into three parts; Tools, Consumables and Electrics. The first two should be fairly self explanatory, while the third will cover an assortment of both tools and consumables that will only be needed when performing modifications on electronic based blasters. Along the way we’ll also cover off a few generic ideas that I think are useful when it comes to modifying practically any blaster.

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So without further ado, Tools!

Screwdrivers. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important tools you’re going to need when modifying blasters are a set of screwdrivers. You will need an assortment of different sized pan head or phillips head screwdrivers, and having a few flat heads around never hurt anyone either.

A screwdriver may seem like an incredibly simple tool, and it is, but a remarkable number of people don’t think about what they’re doing with it. When using a screwdriver, turn it slowly and purposefully; if you feel it start to slip, stop immediately. Blasters typically use small/weak screws that can strip quite easily. That and you’re screwing into plastic, so it’s also quite easy to strip/break the shell when screwing back in to it. Also, use the correct sized driver for a given screw. Trying to force a larger screw with a smaller tip, will only end up stripping the head. If you only buy one thing towards modifying your blasters, make sure it’s a selection of different sized screwdrivers.
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Scissors. Mostly used for cutting tape, I’m pretty sure you can probably figure out this one for yourself.

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Modeling Saw. Admittedly I don’t actually use this all that much any more. Most of the time a Dremmel will do a better job and be significantly faster, but there is the odd occasion where the Dremel simply doesn’t fit and you need to cut something by hand.

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Battery hand drill. Another incredibly useful, but often overlooked tool. As I mentioned at the start of this post, you *can* punch out an AR with a hammer and a screwdriver; however having the right tool (a hand drill) will both make the job easier and produce a better result. This is one of the more expensive tools we’ll be looking at today and could be difficult to justify if solely using it for modding blasters. If you don’t already own one, start thinking of other things you could potentially use it for and I’m sure you’ll be able to find the appropriate funds. While modifying blasters I mostly use mine for removing AR’s but there are plenty of other occasions where the ability to drill a hole in something is rather useful.

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Extra long drill bit. Having the drill may be all well and good, but without a bit long enough to reach an AR, it’s probably not going to be of much use. Again, just go buy one. They’re not that expensive and will make your life much easier. Sure it might cost $15, but think how many mods you’re going to do with it! You could probably get away with something ~200mm long, but ~300mm is what I’ve got as it was what I could find.

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Generic drill bit set. If you’ve gone to all the effort of getting a drill you, may as well get a decent selection of bits. I’m sure I’ve used these for a whole bunch of assorted blaster modifications but I can’t for the life of me think of any specific examples.

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Hot glue gun. Incredibly useful in the world of blaster modification. Hot glue is extremely easy to use, relatively cheap, and quite versatile. I’ve used hot glue for everything from gluing things together (shock horror I know), to reinforcing brittle parts of blaster shells, through to creating seals and plugging air leaks. If you’re going to go out and pick up a hot glue gun, splurge that little bit extra and get yourself a full sized one. The difference in price between it and one that uses the smaller sizes of glue sticks will be made up surprisingly quickly through the difference in glue sticks.

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Tape measure. Used to measure things? Yeah, this one should be fairly self explanatory. Remember the age old adage of “measure twice, cut once”.

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Side cutters. Another fairly straight forward tool. You won’t need it all that often, but situations will come up where you’ll think to yourself “if only I had a pair of side cutters…”

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Dremel (or in my case the Rotary Hobby Tool). Typically I dislike referring to generic things by a specific brand name, but I dislike the generic term of ‘rotary tool’ even more. That, and nobody knows what a ‘rotary tool’ is. Another rather expensive tool to add to the collection but well worth it. Once you own a dremel you will find so many uses for it it’s not funny. I use a Dremel branded one at work regularly and I’ve had this one at home for years; I can’t say I prefer one over the other. Based on this, I’d recommend buying the cheaper off brand alternative.

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Dremel bits. Like the drill, the dremel isn’t particularly useful without bits. For blaster modification the two most common bits you’ll need are the cutting disc and the grinding wheel. As crazy as it sounds, the cutting disc cuts things, while the grinding wheel grinds things away. Unlike this tool itself, I do recommend that you stay with the Dremel branded bits. I’ve tried some of the off brand bits and they never seem to last as long as the Dremel ones do.

If you’re planning on working with brass barrels and breechs, I’d also suggest getting some polishing wheels too. Far easier than doing it by hand and can also get inside the brass as well.

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Knife. Retractable, snap off blades, one piece; whatever, just make sure it’s sharp and always cut away from yourself. Don’t do what Donny Don’t does!

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Hand Files. I know I’ve only pictured one here but you’ll want an assortment of relatively fine files. The most important one to have is a round file, at least 200mm long. This will allow you to clean up the dags left over after ramming a drill through an AR and it will make a difference. Beyond that I also have a collection of small files for very detailed work, and the large flat file pictured. Regularly you’ll just grind things away with your dremel, but there will be occasions where the hand tool is needed.

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Small containers. Ok, so not really a tool as such but something I still strongly suggest having and feel it’s worth including. Small containers, such as spray can lids, are brilliant for storing screws and other small parts in whilst your blaster is in pieces. Everything just goes straight in to the container and you can’t loose parts. Always find something to put parts in, don’t lust leave them on the bench.

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Consumables!

Teflon tape. Found in the plumbing section of your local hardware store, teflon tape is an incredibly thin form of tape. You’ll use it for padding out O-rings to improve the seal in your blasters. I’ll also mention here that you can achieve a similar outcome with electrical tape, but because it’s thicker you can’t be as precise and therefore won’t get as good a result.

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Electrical tape. One of those things that’s just hand to have around. I mostly use it for holding blasters together for testing purposes.

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Masking tape. Used for masking off certain areas before painting. Probably not needed if you don’t intend on painting your blasters.

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Cloth tape. Similarly to the electrical tape, cloth tape is just a useful thing to have around. I’m sure you’ll find uses for it if you had some.

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Markers. Going back to the logic above of ‘measure twice, cut once’, it really pays off to have some good quality markers around.

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Foam padding. I haven’t actually touched on this subject before and do plan of doing a full post on it in the future, so for now I’ll be brief. Modifying your blasters will reduce their life. You can do things to mitigate against this, padding your plungers for example, but they will never last as long as if you left them as they were from the factory. I’ve tried a variety of padding’s in the past and have never really been satisfied with them. Currently testing out some OzNerfNerd ones, but don’t have any real data on them so far. Based on what the rest of the internet says you probably should get some form of padding, but I’m unconvinced personally.

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Lube. You should be lubing your blasters fairly regularly if they’re seeing regular use. Also a good idea to re-lube plungers after recreating a seal.

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Aftermarket O-rings. There are a world of aftermarket parts suppliers out there for foam dart blasters, most of which can supply you with replacement or improved O-rings. I like to have an assortment floating around at any given time, but you could just order them as you need or even just rely on teflon tape to improve your seals.

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Generic collection of springs. Some of these were specifically bought but most would be left overs from other blasters (hint: don’t throw out pieces from old or broken blasters, they might come in useful some day). Very handy to have an assortment of springs around. I’ll mostly use these for improving trigger catches, but there are plenty of occasions where the perfect spring just happens to be in my bits bag.

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Glue. I’ve only pictured a tube of Tarzan’s Grip below but you will need an assortment of different adhesives, depending on what you’re doing. Fast drying general glues, like Tazan’s Grip, are great for things where you can get a decent purchase but don’t need it to be ‘end of the world’ style strong. This includes things like nesting brass barrels, gluing PVC over-barrels to plastic blaster shells, etc. This would be my mostly commonly used glue. Your tradition Super Glue is also pretty useful for this sort of stuff.

When you need something to be super strong, you then have to move into the world of two part epoxies. There are a whole assortment of 5 minute, 24 hr, 48hr, 5 days, etc, variants out there. Personally, if I want something to stick really well, I just jump straight to the longest drying time I can find. Things like priming bars to the outside of breeches or nozzles on air tanks cop a fair amount of force, so go the epoxy there as an example.

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PVC solvent. Used to stick PCV pipe together. Fairly self explanatory.

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Metal polish. If you’re making a brass breech of some description you really should invest in some decent metal polish. Polish up the brass where it will be sliding over another piece and your breech will work significantly easier.

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Modeling putty. Can be used for cosmetic purposes but I mostly use mine for reinforcing weaker parts of shells or making guides for parts to move in a certain way. Modeling shops will get you better quality stuff, but hardware stores will get you far cheaper stuff and often larger quantities.

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Aftermarket springs. Probably not something you need to have a stack of just lying around, but something I felt worth including in here all the same. Multiple different sellers are offering replacement springs to the market today; I’m not going to praise nor bag out any of them at this stage, simply because I haven’t had enough experience with most of them.

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Paint. When painting, I typically go for the cheapest paint available and make it work. Others throughout the internets will swear by some of the more expensive brands, good for them. To me the most important part is your prep, not the paint itself. I’ll go over more of this in detail when I actually do a re-paint for a blaster.

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Electrical!

Soldering iron and solder. Kind of a recurring theme here, but save yourself some hassle and get yourself a soldering iron if you intend on doing electrical modifications. You can often get away with a simple ‘twist and tape’ method of joining wires but some good old fashioned solder will make the join significantly stronger. Also useful for cleanly unsoldering existing wires within a blaster.
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Multimeter. Another must have for electrical mods. You basically can’t troubleshoot without one.

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Assorted batteries and holders. Another useful thing to just have lying around for testing, but really not nessecary if you’re just following a guide you got off the internet.

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Assorted wire. Bridging connections, wiring in new battery holders; so many uses it’s not funny. If playing with electronics, you will at some point need some extra wire.

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Wire strippers. Another very useful but not essential tool. If you’re skilled you can strip wires with a pair of side cutters or even a pair of scissors, but it’s far easier with the right tool.

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