Introduction: "Blunt-force Trauma" Darts
These throwable, blowable, "blunt-force trauma" darts are great for LARPing ("Lightning bolt!"), blow gunnery, or any other form of projectile fun which should not include potential puncture wounds, but in which bruising and denting would be okay.
Step 1: What You'll Need
For supplies, you'll need to following:
- Rope (see notes below)
- Weights - I recommend steel ball bearings, but rocks and such would work.
- Duct tape (huzzah!)
For tools, I recommend:
- A Nice Sharp Knife (no, really, the sharper the knife the easier it will be to cut the rope later). I highly suggest something with a Wharncliffe (a.k.a. Sheepsfoot) blade for cutting rope, but any sharp blade is better than any dull blade, so use what you've got.
- A hot glue gun (not included in the picture. If you're not sure what this is, leave a comment)
- Optional: a flame-emitting device such as a candle or Bunsen burner
About the rope:
For the purposes of this instructable, I would recommend a homogenous, nylon rope. Nylon rope will be "fluffier", and is also more susceptible to melting, which is a beneficial factor when preventing fraying. The rope should have a similar diameter to the weights. Some cheaper rope will have some sort of alternative fiber running down the core (see image 01b, comparing the ropes).
Step 2: Taping Off the Rope
First, you'll need to determine how long you want your darts to be. Longer is better than shorter, since you can always trim them down later.
Cut a square of duct tape (see image, if you're confused by this step, but really...) and wrap it around the rope. Each piece of tape can form the heads of two darts. Alternatively, the tape can just act as a good binding for the end of your rope to keep it from fraying, once the darts have been cut off from the rope.
Step 3: Cut Off the Heads
I cut the heads of my darts off with about half an inch of duct tape to act as a binding. This means that (given the half-inch ball bearings) I would have a 1-inch long head on my darts.
Step 4: Add the Weights
In order to prevent the dart from "shedding" from the middle of the rope we need to "seal" it. We're going to take the opportunity attach the weights simultaneously, because we're just cool like that.
You have two options for attaching the weights to the rope:
Option A: Melting and taping
This assumes that the rope you are using will melt before it will burn
- Using your heat source, get the tip of the rope reasonably soft (image 4a).
- Before the rope has cooled and hardened, press the weight against the tip of the rope (image 4b). This just ensures that the weight will fit snugly with the rope.
- Apply duct tape to the weight and rope. I would suggest leaving some overlap and cutting flaps for folding over, to secure the weight (images 4c, 4d and 4e).
Option B: Hot glue
- Apply a liberal-but-not-excessive dollop of hot glue to the end of the rope.
- Press the weight into the glue.
- Hold until cool (image 4f).
- Once the glue has cooled, you may still want to apply duct tape, to ensure a secure hold and because, well, it's duct tape: why wouldn't you want to apply it? But don't go overboard.
Step 5: Separate the Darts
Using your Nice Sharp Knife (recommended) or scissors (not recommended, but it probably won't kill you), cut the darts apart in the center.
Step 6: Fluff the Tails
Fray the tails of the darts apart up to the edge of the tape. This step helps ensure that the darts fly head first, but it's also necessary for the next step, so go ahead and click through.
Step 7: Secure the Tail
Just to make extra sure that the dart doesn't start shedding fibers, peel the tail apart until you can see where the rope is still braided. Apply a dollop of hot glue here, and then squeeze the fibers back together until the glue has cooled and the tail is secured.
Step 8: Apply Force!
That's it! Your dart is now ready to be thrown, launched, blown, or otherwise propelled toward your target of choice. Remember to be careful with them. Or at least, be careful enough to not get into too much trouble with the parents/wife/boss/house-mate/housing department/etc. But don't be so careful that you cease to have any fun.
There are many modifications you could easily make which could make these darts more or less dangerous, such as:
- Apply an oogoo/Sugru coating to the head for padding
- Exchange the weights for something pointy such as nails or pieces of coat hanger wire
- Coat the tips in something flammable and ignite before throwing
Note that none of these modifications are advised or endorsed, but that has never really stopped anybody who regularly visits this site before.
Again, have fun and be careful.
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