Step 10: Loading And Firing The Netgun
Now for the fun part. Please be safe in this step. If the launcher arms aren't glued, there is a chance they will fly off during firing, so make sure any spectators are behind you. Only load the net gun when there is NO pressure in the chamber. It is helpful to have an assistant when laying out and untangling the net.
- Firing and reloading supplies
Open area, preferably outside
Compressed air source
- Lay net on ground in a square, pick a clean area, as getting leaves or other debris in the net will keep it from deploying correctly. Pick two tractors, hold them together, these are the tops. Walk the tops across the net so they are in between the other two tractors, these outside two are now the bottoms. Move the tractors together so they are in a row touching sides.
- Starting at the base of the tractors, pull the net into a rope-like tube. Begin at the tip of this tube (farthest from the tractors), grab a 6-8" handful of net and fold back and forth in a zig zag fashion until you are up to the tractor strings. Do NOT keep folding in the same direction, rolling the net will keep it from deploying correctly.
- At the end of the zig zag fold you will end up with an 8 inch, or so, bundle of net. Smooth this bundle out, and insert into the net holder, it will fit snugly.
- Remember your top and bottom tractor order. Working left to right the first tractor slips on the bottom left launcher arm, second on the top left, third on the top right, and the fourth on the lower right.
- Pressurize net gun to 80psi. You should have a at least 30 feet of downrange space free of anything that the net might get entangled in. Keep any spectators behind you in case an unglued launcher arm flies off.
- Aim net gun. Visualize yourself at the point of a skewed four sided pyramid Fig 1. The two lower launcher arms fire horizontally and outward, the upper pull up and out, your prey will be ensnared in the base of the pyramid. Pull the trigger. If everything goes well the net will be pulled into a square somewhere between 12' and 25' feet in front of you. Consult the troubleshooting tips (below) if net doesn't deploy as desired.
- Once you are satisfied with the net deployment, glue your launcher arms in place. Make alignment marks with indelible marker or tape before disassembly, you will then have good alignment references when you glue it back together.
- If you decide to paint your net gun, do not paint the launcher arms. Even a thin layer of paint will cause the tractors to stick.
- Net deployed in a horizontal rectangle, not square. Add more up angle to the top launcher arms.
- Net deployed in a vertical rectangle, not square. Reduce the up angle of the top launcher arms.
- Net deployed like a big X, not a square. Caused by putting a tractor on the incorrect arm during the loading sequence. Make absolutely sure you keep the tractors in the correct order, put marks on them if it helps.
- Net never really opened up at all. Caused by debris in the net , wet net, or poor folding technique. May also be caused by low pressure due to air leaking out while waiting to fire.
- launcher arm flew off. Many possible causes.
Too much weight in soda bottle tractor(s) causing excessive back pressure. Try starting with empty bottles.
Sticking tractor(s), make sure the tractors can move freely on the launcher arms. If one or more seem to be stuck, correct problem by replacing tractor or defective launcher arm.
Too high pressure, start low (70-80psi) and then work up.