This is my “fully” 3D printed foam dart blaster! It was inspired by Nerf’s toy guns that fire foam darts at children. I wanted something a little more suited for adults and much more customizable.
For my Dynamics of Machinery class I needed to build a project. Around this time is when my campus was hosting a Humans vs Zombies game. This is a week long event where the humans use nerf blaster to try and survive while going to classes and completing missions throughout the week. This lead to the idea of building a nerf blaster out of hardware store parts and a 3D printer. Turns out it can get surprising results with these basic tools.
Rev 1. Dove:
The first proof of concept for this blaster was called the Dove. It was designed in OpenSCAD in three days or so and was the bare minimum needed to prove that this whole idea would work.
The air chamber of the blaster is a 3/4 ” pvc pipe. This was chosen for after looking at what type of chambers the Nerf modding community used and just a hunch. All of the internals are built around the pvc and this termined the size of the frame.
As you may be able to tell from the image, Dove is very rough. Holding onto a square blaster is painful. On top of that it takes a lot of strength to pull the plunger back and two hands to pull the trigger, yes hands two fingers would not be enough.
I took notes on these and many other design flaws and tried to improve on them in the next iteration of the blaster.
Rev 2. Hawk:
The original goal of the hawk was much grander than it turned out to be. I wanted to make a hand pump style blaster with a clip feed mechanism. Due to project time constraints and printer malfunctions this was never realized. Instead, the hawk is a continuation on the build design of the dove with a minimalistic approach to the frame.
My larger printer was broken at the time of construction so hawk was built in more module pieces. The plunder consists of a double sealed O-ring to most effectively force the air into the foam dart with minimal friction. I was changing out parts a lot during this time. It was easier and faster to print the front and back pieces to the pvc and connect them with a cross brace then to encapsulate the whole thing in a frame. It also gives a cool look the the blaster by revealing the insides.
The back of the blaster was replaced with the trigger catch slide mechanism and the spring holder. The stols on the top and sides are used to reduce print time and material cost. The bottom slots are where the handle is solvent welded into.
The blaster performs very well in my opinion. The sound from firing the dart has been reduced substantially from dove to hawk. I think with the module internal system that the blaster is now built with it would be easy to replace the handle with a more contoured one.
In the future I would like to also add a clip feed mechanism and a hand pump to this blaster. This would make it faster to fire and more fun to play with. One day the blaster may even have an LCD to display the number of darts left.