Introduction: 3D Printed Dart Launcher (Make It Move!)

So, at the start of the school year I chose a 3D design elective. Our assessment task was to design something, and print it. Most people in my class printed something like static like a figurine etc. I was a little more ambitious, I wanted to print something that could move! I settled on a dart launcher, and after a lot of tweaking and adjusting, I finally made something that worked. You can see an embed below.


If you want to recreate what I made, you will need:

-A 3D printer

-Sandpaper (depending on the accuracy of your printer)
-Wire cutters (optional if you want to dial down the strength of the dart launcher)

-Ultimaker Cura (optional, if you have your own software feel free to use it)

-Access to my designs on TinkerCAD (replacement parts can be found here)

-Filament (anything should do)
-1, 6.4 x 12.7mm compression spring. They can be found at the following link, you'll only need one though.

-2, 9.5 x 44.5mm compression springs. They can be found at the following link, you'll need both.

Step 1: Step 1: Download

In case you missed it, download the parts here:
I recommend using the .STL file type when prompted.

Step 2: Step 2: Configure Print

After downloading the parts, open the file in Ultimaker Cura, available here if you didn't get it: might have to configure Cura, the process should just consist of you selecting the model of printer you have.

To open the file, first open Cura, then in the top left, press file, open file, and then select the file downloaded in step one, it should be called 'Printable part'.

Then you should see the parts appear on screen.
Now click where it says normal (illustrated in the picture), this should open a small menu with a few settings in it.
You can choose to change the print quality, by clicking quality, increasing this the print will take longer, but assembly will be shorter. I would not recommend going below normal. Normal should be fine though. This will be under 'Quality'

As for infill, I would recommend above 30%, the higher the better, it will be stronger, although again, it will take longer to print. This will be under 'Infill'
You will also need to add a brim or raft, under 'Build plate adhesion'.

And finally, you will need to turn on supports, under the 'Support category' simply check the box.

After all of that is configured, in the bottom right, press 'Slice'.
You will then need to transfer the file to your printer. (I use an SD card.)

Step 3: Step 3: Printing

After your file is loaded to your printer, you will need to locate the file, select it and print it. This can vary greatly between printers.

Step 4: Step 4: Assembly

After it is printed, you will need to remove the parts from the printer bed. The brim/raft will need to be removed (the brim/raft is the plate of printed material around the bottom of your print.)

Any supports will need to be removed so you are left with only the parts. (You might need to use the sandpaper to remove some parts of the supports, or to make parts fit properly.)

(The order of the pictures is the same order the parts go together)

1 Push the grip into the barrel, it should slot together.

2 Put the green pin in the back of the grip, connecting the barrel and grip.

3 Place 1 small spring in the small cylindrical hole inside the grip.

4 Put the the trigger inside the grip, line up the hole in the trigger with the holes in the slots, attached to the barrel.

5 Put the small green pin in the hole between the trigger and barrel. (If you really, really struggle with this, you could use a straightened paperclip to replace the green pin)

6 Put the long springs down the barrel. (If you want to tone down the launcher, cut 1 of the springs in half.)

7 Push the slide down the barrel, make sure the catch is facing down. (The rectangular cut out.)

8 Push the bolt through the slide and barrel.

9 Place the cap on the bolt.

10 You're done!

Step 5: Use

To use the dart launcher, pull the bolt backwards all the way, to assist in priming, hold the trigger down, and let go of the trigger when the bolt is all the way back. Then push a dart (a standard Nerf elite dart will suffice) and then simply press the trigger.

Step 6: Conclusion

So, that's it!

It may not look like much but this project took me a very long time, especially over the remote learning period, when I didn't have access to my school's printer. It may not be the best dart launcher, with below average range, but it was all designed by me, and all came out of my head. I hope if you decide to build it, it serves you well.

Tinkercad Student Design Contest

Participated in the
Tinkercad Student Design Contest