Tractors are what slip on to the launcher arms and are propelled with compressed air to pull the net outward. You can build two kinds of tractors. The simplest are just four empty soda bottles. They must be bottles that were used for a carbonated beverage as they were designed to withstand pressure. Other bottles, especially water bottles, are much flimsier and likely to burst. The bottles can be filled with a little bit of hot glue, silicon adhesive, or wax to give them a bit more momentum. The soda bottle tractors are free, nearly indestructible, but suffer slightly shorter range. The high performance tractors are more efficient, due to lower internal volume, so have greater range. They are a bit more fragile, SDR-21 (Class 200) PVC pipe may be hard to locate, and they take a little more time to fabricate.
- Tractor supplies
Hot glue/silicone sealant/wax to pour in bottles to add weight
Optional additional items needed for high performance net tractors
4 per net 3/4" couplers
4 per net 3/4" caps
4 per net 8" lengths of SDR-21 (Class 200) 3/4" thinwall PVC note: regular 3/4" SCH-40 will NOT work!
4 per net 12" lengths of non-adhesive 1" ID foam pipe insulation
Dremel with sanding drum
- When selecting soda bottles I would advise digging through a recycle bin with a launcher arm in hand. You want a bottle that slips over the launcher arm, and, ideally, will not slide off under its own weight. Make sure the bottles are identical volume, don't mix in a 16 oz bottle with three 20 oz.
- For the soda bottle tractors, there is very little assembly. You may want to test your net gun with unweighted bottles, as you can always add weight later. Use a scale, or melt/pour identical pre-measured amounts into each bottle. I don't recommend adding more than 40 grams to each bottle.
- For the high performance tractors, begin by cutting the necks off of the 4 soda bottles Fig 1. Use the Dremel tool to sand down the threads Fig 2 so the neck can be pushed into one end of a 3/4" coupler. Once it fits snugly, super glue in place Fig 3.
- Take the 8" lengths of 3/4" SDR-21 (Class 200) and glue the soda neck couplers on one end and a 3/4" cap on the other Fig 4.
- Cut four 12" lengths of pipe insulation. These will be slipped over the net tractors leaving 2-3 inches of cushion at the end . This will protect the tractor from shattering if it hits the ground. It will also minimize damage if the tractor accidentally hits something valuable, like a car, plasma TV, or a cranium. Wait until the tractors are tied to the net (next step) before putting on the insulation.