Back in the late seventies and early eighties my parents had a policy to not buy my brother and I toy guns (remember the toy isles loaded with m16s, tommy guns, etc?) so instead my dad said he'd make my brother and I toy guns. As luck would have it, my dad ended up making some of the coolest and most durable toy guns ever. This gun is inspired by some of those early creations and couples it with current day Nerf products. This gun is intended for kids 8+ because it requires some good lungs to launch the Nerf darts. The range is very impressive (50ft + easy) and makes for a killer Nerf sniper weapon or a backup Nerf carbine. This is the perfect addition to you current Nerf armory. Similar to my last step-by-step, this is not a work of superior craftsmanship but more so an attempt by a Hero Dad* to make some cool stuff for my two sons.
*Hero Dad defined: any dad trying to impress his kids with some type of act or service
Step 1: Materials
1 piece of scrap wood preferably solid wood (I used an old un-used 10ply maple shelf from my last kitchen remodel)
8 tie wraps (8" - 10")
1 24" x 1/2" PVC pipe (these are usually found pre-cut at Home Depot)
1 1/2 x 1/2 PVC coupler (for the "flash suppressor"
Liquid Nails (love this stuff)
3/16" drill bit
1/2" drill bit
electric jig saw
one LED small flashight (if you want to add the tactical light to the flash suppressor)
Lego pieces (see step 7 & 8 for details)
Step 2: Sketch the pattern
To start out you have to come up with a cool design. I used an old school sub machine gun style design but you know your kids and what they'd like. Whatever design you land on make sure the barrel is easily accessed (after all this is a blow gun). Once you've sketched the pattern then draw it onto a piece of scrap cardboard and test to see if the design looks good in the hands of the end user.
Step 3: Trace & Cut out the gun stock
Lay the cardboard template on your wood piece and trace. Make sure that the top of the gun stock is level (I used the existing straight cut because I do not have a table saw). Once the design is penciled in on the wood then proceed to cut out the gun stock using the jig saw. This is probably the toughest part of the step-by-step. If you design is too elaborate (i.e some hi-tech AR style piece) then this step will be extra hard.
Step 4: Smooth out the edges
Take your wood file and sandpaper and smooth out all the edges. This is an important step cuz you want to make sure that this gun does not give anyone a splinter. Note: if you've had to cut your PVC (I didn't because mine came pre-cut and pre smoothed from Home Depot) then you should also file down any sharp edges.
Step 5: Drill ammo holes
Take your 1/2" drill bit and drill the "ammo holes" in the side of the gun. I used the black headed/whistler darts for this gun. I am pretty sure other darts will also fit in these 1/2 holes. I attempted to make them all in a straight line but (as you can see) I didn't quite hit the mark. Oh well, not a big deal, a kid is not going to care how straight the holes are.
Step 6: Attach the barrel
I suggest to secure the gun stock with vice for this step but if you don't have a vice then you'll have to get tricky (maybe two large books). Gestimate how much of the barrel should come off the back of the gun. Mine is about 3 inches. Take your Liquid Nails and generously apply a big fat bead down the middle of the wood stock. Then 3 tie wraps and feed them the holes. Once you've laid the PVC barrel onto the glue then gently cinch down each tie wrap (starting from the middle one first). You'll have to wipe away excess glue that has squeezed out on the sides. I would let this set overnight. You don't have to wait over night cuz Liquid Nails dries within an hour or so but juuuuust to be safe. Once the glue has dried try to cinch the zip ties one more time just to make extra sure the barrel is on nice and tight.
Step 7: Add the "flash suppressor"
This is not a necessary step but I think it makes the gun look more bonafide. Plus by adding this flash suppressor you can also customize with a removable tactical light (a pseudo picatinny rail if you will - see next step). Use the 3/16 drill bit to make a hole near the end of the PVC coupler piece. Then cut off about 2mm from the blue Lego piece (not sure what this piece is called but if you've ever built any of the modern day sets you'll recognize this piece) and glue it into the coupler
Step 8: Add the LED tactical light
Drill two equally spaced holes in the bottom of the PVC coupler and glue in two more of the small blue Lego pegs (cut them the same length as the last step). Then use your two Lego pieces (sorry - I don't know what these are called but have a look and I'll think you'll figure it out. They have 7 holes if that helps any) and tie wrap them to your LED flashlight. Make sure the pegs are glued in and sturdy before you attach the light. This light is designed to be removed because, afterall, a flashlight doesn't help much during the a daylight Nerf war.
Step 9: Field testing
When I've tested this gun (see video) I can easily make a whistler dart hit a block wall 50 ft away with decent impact. My 7 year old had some difficulty making the darts go that far so this gun is probably best suited for ages 9+.
For best results load the dart in from the back of the gun (this may be obvious to adults but not to kids. If they insert the dart from the end of the barrel and blow they will be greatly disappointed with the gun's performance)
here's my range test video:
Step 10: Added "no inhale" feature
Some people reading this might say "that's a cool idea - but I don't want my kid inhaling Nerf darts". Sooooo, I being a parent of young kids, had this same paranoid thought so I made an ANDIP "anti nerf dart inhaler piece" for this gun. Simply take an extra 1/2 coupler, drill a small hole and glue in a diagonal piece to block darts. Insert a dart into the barrel from the back of the gun then slip on the ANDIP - then blow real hard. The downside is that the ANDIP slows the loading process down but it does prevent darts going the wrong way.