Introduction: Making a Big Ol' Steampunk Gun From Foam
I am a big steampunk geek. I absolutely love the steampunk aesthetic, the use of contrasting metals and the flair of ornamentation on what would otherwise be purely functional pieces of machinery. Unfortunately, we cannot all access a metal shop to create custom steampunk props, so I have created a tutorial that uses much more accessible materials and the wonder of metallic paint to create the steampunk vibe.
Here are the tools and materials I used:
- Pattern: I used the one that I created. You can find it on my website. When you print it, measure against the print guides to know the scale is correct. ** When printing, make sure scale is set to ACTUAL SIZE**
- 12mm EVA Foam: I used two sheets of the EVA puzzle piece foam floor mats that are commonly available. Each sheet was 62cm (24”) square.
- 2mm EVA foam: The larger the sheets, the better. This allows you to cut long strips without needing to splice shorter ones together.
- Very Sharp Knife: If it is not really sharp you will have a terrible time when you are cutting the foam. I use a surgical scalpel for the thinner foam and tight corners and a utility knife for the long straight edges on the 12mm foam.
- Gluing Surface: A surface that the hot glue won’t stick to - The ultimate surface is a silicone baking mat - nothing sticks to silicone!
- Hot Glue Gun : I highly suggest a glue gun that has adjustable temperature. If you use a temperature just a little bit higher than the melting point of the glue, you will have fewer burnt fingers, and not have to hold pieces together as long as they cool.
- Contact cement (optional): I recommend a water based contact cement for this as it is much less toxic.
- Paint: I like to use artists acrylic paint. It tends to remain a little bit flexible when it dries. I used Liquitex Basics: Mars Black and Burnt Umber as well as DecoArt Americana Decor Metallics: Vintage Bronze, Silver, and Pewter Wire: I used 4m of old telephone wire, But whatever you have available will work.
- Copper tape: The copper tape I used was 2” wide. You will need a minimum of 6 metres(16ft)
- Old Power Cord: 40cm.
- Rubber Gloves: Used for applying the metallic paste.
- “1/2 inch” PVC conduit: To make the barrels of the gun - the pipe I used has an outside diameter of 20mm
- “1/2 inch” PEX pipe: this is a thinner pipe used for the 9 cylinders - the pipe I used has an outside diameter of 16mm
- Golf club tube: Cheap lightweight tubes that golfers use to separate clubs- used for the scope
- 3” PVC end cap: this will be used to create the trigger guard.
- Saw that will cut PVC: I used my jewellers saw with a wax cutting blade.
- Respirator: To wear when bending the PVC as well as when heating the EVA foam. Dust Mask: To use when sanding the foam so you don’t breathe the dust. Make sure you have the proper filters for the substance you are working with.
- Heat Gun : I used the Furno 700 which was provided to me by Wagner. Used to bend the PVC pipe
- Thick gloves: To wear when using the heat gun on the PVC pipe. Sandpaper (80 grit and 150 grit): To roughen up the foam for gluing and to smooth the foam surface.
- Abrasive scrub pad (optional): For texturing the copper tape
- Hole punches: 4mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm
- Wire Cutters Pliers: To bend the wire.
- Super Glue: For gluing the wire to the foam.
- 5 minute 2 part epoxy: For making decorative rivets and gluing some pieces.
- Cutting Surface: Somewhere to cut where you won’t be destroying anything.
- Tubing cutter (optional): To cut the PVC and PEX pipe.
- Electric carving knife (optional) : Great for shaping the stock.
Please note, the above links are affiliate links, and I do get a small commission if you buy through these links. It doesn't cost you any more and it helps me out!
Step 1: Safety First!
It's fun to get started, but you want to stay safe so that you can enjoy your amazing creation!
- Some EVA foam contains a chemical called formamide. There are some people that say there isn't enough formamide in EVA mats to be harmful, and others that say there is. Do your research and come to your own conclusions. At the least, I would say it is a good idea to open your foam mat up and let it sit in the sun for a day or two, as most of the chemical will off-gas from the foam. Or buy foam that is labelled formamide free.
- Sharp knives and hot glue can cause injury. Be sure to use in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Exposure to epoxy can cause sensitization in some people. Read the labels and wear appropriate protection.
- PVC and EVA foam both release hazardous fumes when heated, make sure you only do this outside with an appropriate respirator (not just a dust mask) and gloves.
- Remember you are making something that looks like a gun. You know it is made of foam, but others don’t, so take that into consideration if you are planning to take it out in public.
Step 2: Print and Cut Out the Pattern
You will need to print the pattern page of this PDF. Make sure the scale is set to actual size. Once printed, measure against the print guides to know that the scale is correct. The pattern piece for the stock is larger than one sheet of paper. For this, line up the “+” marks and tape the sheets together. I find it is easier to line up the marks if I hold the papers up against a window so that the light coming through the window allows me to see through to the lower registration marks.
Cut the pattern out of the paper, cutting as close to the line as you can without removing the line. For the detailed sections I like to use my scalpel instead of my scissors.
Step 3: Trace It Onto the Foam
Place the pieces on the foam and trace around them with the ballpoint pen, holding them firmly so that they don’t move while being traced.
Each piece says how many of them to cut out, what thickness of foam to cut them from and whether the pattern should be flipped over to trace the second one. There are a couple that are a bit different, so I will mention them here:
- Piece 2 gets cut out four times, but the small holes are only cut out on two of them.
- Piece 1 gets cut out four times, two with the oval cut out, and two with the interior dotted lines cut out. It is very important that these are traced in mirror image sets if you are using foam with a texture on one side, so that you can keep the smooth side to the outside of the stock.
- Piece 16 is actually made to be marked onto two strips that are 45.5cm long. Once you have cut the strip, the pattern will be traced onto it 3 times. There are two different outside lines due to the fact that the two strips need to be different widths.
- Pieces 10, 26, and 16 all get designs etched into them. You can either use the inkjet transfer method shown in the next step, or use a pen to trace over the swirly lines on the pattern, pressing down with some force. This will leave some light indentations on the paper that you can then trace over with your ballpoint pen. Go over the lines a few times, pushing down with the pen to create permanent indentations along the lines.
- Make sure to mark the centre marks on pieces 9, 10, 24 and 25, and once you remove the pattern, extend these lines to the inside of your foam pieces so that they remain on the foam once it is cut out.
Quick tip: If you trace right on top of the alignment marks while there is a sheet of foam under the pattern, it leaves an indentation in the paper. This is handy when you flip the paper, because then you know where your alignment points should go. You could also just hold the paper up to some light so you can see through it, and then transfer the marks to the back side.
Punch through the paper with a pen tip in the centre of any holes that need to be punched.
There are also light grey lines on the pattern. These are just guidelines that show where different pieces will eventually go.
Step 4: Sweet Tip for Transferring All Those Swirly Lines
If you have an inkjet printer, it is possible to transfer the designs onto the foam without having to cut out the paper. This is very handy for the pieces which have a lot of swirly designs on them.
Print the design out using an inkjet printer (the thinner the paper, the better) and then flip it over on the foam. Wet the back with a sponge being careful not to move the paper while doing so. Once the paper is totally saturated and you can see the printing through the back of the paper, you can peel the paper back to reveal the design on the foam. Let it dry. **Remember that the design will be reversed**
Step 5: Cut the Foam
Note: It is super important that your knife is extremely sharp, otherwise the cuts will end up looking really ragged and ugly. Either get a new blade or sharpen your knife. It’ll make a ton of difference.
I cut most of the thick foam using a utility knife. Because of its wider blade, it cuts straight lines and wide arcing curves very well. It doesn’t do well though with tighter radius curves. For those I use my scalpel with a #11 blade.
Cut the pieces out carefully with your sharp knife, cutting directly on top of the line you traced.
Always watch your fingers when cutting, being careful not to cut yourself.
Punch any holes in the foam according to the pattern:
- 4mm holes on piece 11
- 12mm holes on piece 8
- 9mm and 12mm holes in piece 23
- 12mm holes on piece 28 - If you have a larger hole punch for these holes, that would be even better. I only have up to 12mm and that is quite common, but they do have to stretch a bit to fit over the pipe.
Step 6: Make a Foam Stock Stack
When the texture is printed onto the foam mats in the factory, heat is used, which seals up the pores in the foam making it harder for the glue to bond with it. The first thing we need to do before gluing to this side is rub it down with a bit of 80-150 grit sandpaper to roughen it up and give something for the glue to grab onto.
Sand the textured side of all four piece 1s and the four piece 2s.
I normally use hot glue, but because the stocks have a large surface area, I decided to go with a water based contact cement for laminating them together. You can still use hot glue, just do it a section at a time, working your way down the stock.
Spread contact cement on the textured side of the two piece 1s with the channel cut down the centre. And on all four piece 2s.
Once the contact cement has dried according to the instructions on the container, line up the two stock pieces and slowly press them together. It is important to keep the two halves separated until they are in the exact right position because as soon as they touch, they will be very hard to separate. I kept my hand in between the two layers to keep them apart while I worked my way from the butt of the stock to the front. Once together, firmly press on the foam to ensure a good bond.
Align the piece 2s as well, gluing the piece with small holes around it to the piece without holes. You should end up with two identical round discs.
Now glue one of the outside stock pieces to the two stock pieces you previously glued. Leave the last stock piece unglued for now.
Step 7: Cut the Lower Barrel
Cut a piece of 1/2” PVC conduit 92cm long. This piece of tubing will run through the stock of the gun to provide support and stiffness to the foam, and it will then continue on to become the lower barrel. I like to use a tubing cutter to cut my tubes because it gives a nice flat end as a result.
Lay the tube over the stock to get a little bit of an idea where the tube will leave the stock and become the barrel. Mark and sand up to that point to give the glue something to grip to.
Step 8: Bend the Lower Barrel
In order for the PVC to fit in the stock, it needs to be bent. Fortunately PVC is easy to bend when heated. Unfortunately PVC releases toxic fumes when heated, so make sure you do this outside with an appropriate respirator.
Do not heat PVC with a flame of any kind. If PVC burns it creates chlorine gas, which combines with moisture in the air to create hydrochloric acid! This is highly toxic.
Slowly heat the PVC pipe with a heat gun, at the section where it will need to bend. Take your time, you need to let the PVC get warmed up all the way through without burning the outside. All of a sudden you will feel the PVC go floppy - that’s the time to place it into the slot in the stock and hold it there nice and flat until it cools and re-hardens. I set my heat gun at 650F (340C) though it will vary depending on the heat gun you use.
Step 9: Make the Condenser Coil
Once cool, go back inside. With the pipe in place, and the stock held on top, mark the ends of the open area of the oval cutout onto the pipe. Drill a hole about 5mm behind the mark closest to the butt of the stock. This will be hidden under the foam when you finish gluing the stock together.
Stick the telephone wire in the hole and start to wrap it around the pipe. I used approximately 2.4 metres. Feel free to use whatever wire you have access to, however you might need more or less depending on the diameter of the wire you use. Once you have wrapped past the other mark, wrap a couple more times, drill another hole and then push the remaining end of the wire into it.
Depending on the wire you use, you might need to trim a little foam away from the channel in the centre two stock pieces, right where the wire sits. The thicker the wire, the more to trim.
Step 10: Copper Tape Fun!
This is an optional step that adds a fair bit of time to the build, but gives the possibility of a semi realistic shiny copper look.
I used 2” (50.8mm) copper tape.
Cover the barrel that will protrude from the stock with copper tape. It’s always a trick to get metallic tapes nice and smooth on a piece of pipe, but here is my preferred technique:
- Cut a piece of copper tape a bit longer than the piece of pipe you are covering.
- Peel the a little bit of the backing off at each end of the tape.
- Put a little piece of clear tape on each end of the copper tape and tape it down to a flat surface, pulling it tight as you do. The copper tape should be sticky side up, with it’s protective paper still on. (Except for the ends where you lifted it up.)
- Remove the protective paper.
- Position the tubing in the exact centre of the tape and set it down onto the tape, allowing it to stick.
- Remove the tape that is sticking the copper tape to the table. You don’t want to wrinkle the copper foil while doing this, so I find it is easiest to get a knife in there and cut the tape that is holding the copper tape down.
- Starting at the centre where the tape is already adhered, rub along the pipe with a pen or other plastic instrument. You really want to avoid air bubbles so work your way slowly and completely from the centre out to the edges.
- If one strip of copper tape is not enough, cut a second one so that it will overlap the first by a couple of mm. Line up the edge of the tape on the pipe with the new strip and peel back the paper a section at a time as you slowly tape it against the first edge. Then rub the tape from that edge towards the other one.
- To give the copper a brushed texture, hold an abrasive scrub pad around the pipe with one hand while spinning it with the other.
If you put your first strip of tape on the underside of the barrel, the line where the second strip of tape runs will be less visible because it will be mostly hidden by the two upper barrels.
If you mess up, you need to decide if you are O.K. with that, or if you are going to pull off the tape and redo it. Once the tape is a bit crinkled, there is really no way to get it perfectly smooth again.
Step 11: Assemble the Stock and Barrel
Apply a generous amount of hot glue on the bottom and sides of the slot in the stock. Press the lower barrel in place. Add a little more hot glue on the top edges of the pipe where it meets the foam. Don’t get any on the wire coil though.
Cover the foam stock and the part of the pipe that’s inside the stock with contact cement (but not the coil section). Cover the textured side of the remaining stock section with contact cement as well.
Once ready, add the last piece to the stack, pressing it down firmly.
Step 12: Unflatten the Stock
As it is, the stock looks pretty chunky and awkward, so you will want to round off all the edges.
I like to do this with an old electric carving knife - it makes it easier to take thinner layers of foam off with less effort. It is not necessary to have though, as I was able to carve one side with only a utility knife (with a ridiculously sharp blade). It is worth mentioning here that a good sharpening stone is really useful to keep that blade sharp during this process.
Step 13: Sand It Smooooth
Once you have the basic shape whittled down, take a piece of 80-100 grit sandpaper, wrap it around a large dowel or something similar, and use it to smooth out the knife marks. Wear a dust mask so that you are not breathing in the foam dust you will be creating.
You will never get the foam perfectly smooth, but if you have a heat gun, you can take it outside and give it a quick blast which will melt some of the little feathery bits and smooth it out a fair bit. (just remember to wear a respirator, foam gives off toxic gas as well).
Step 14: Make Two More Barrels
Lay your PVC pipe in place above the lower barrel. Mark where the end should be and cut it to length. Repeat for the second barrel.
Cover the two top barrels with copper tape as you did with the first one.
Give them a brushed texture with a abrasive scrub pad (if that’s the look you want).
Hold the barrels tightly together and tack them together with a couple small squirts of hot glue (hot glue doesn’t adhere well to the copper tape). It is important they are on a flat surface for this.
Mix up some 5 minute 2 part epoxy. It is important that you have relatively equal parts of epoxy and that it is mixed together really well or else you risk it not curing at all.
Using a matchstick or something similar, spread the epoxy along the centre valley between the two barrels. If the barrels are tight enough together, the glue won’t be able to leak through to the outside of the barrel, and will remain unseen.
Allow the epoxy to cure.
Step 15: Glue the Top Barrels in Place
Apply contact cement generously where the barrels will rest on the stock.
Lay the barrels in place on the stock and slide the two circular pieces over the barrels to hold them in place while the epoxy cures.
Using a thin stick, push some epoxy in-between the three barrels at the front end, so that they are held in place there as well.
Step 16: Doin’ Some Gluin’
I use hot glue for my projects now, as I am a bit leery of breathing the fumes that go along with contact cement. It takes a little more practice, but you can still get really good results. I like to glue a section about 5cm long and hold it together until the glue cools. This time can vary depending on how hot your glue gun is, but for me it is about 10 seconds. That’s why I use a glue gun with variable temperature! (it also reduces burns)
I have a video about how to get smooth seams while using hot glue right here.
If you use hot glue, be careful not to leave it in a hot car because the glue will melt, leaving you with a hot mess!
Glue the swirly piece 5 on top of piece 7.
Glue the short ends of piece 7 together to create a tube. I find it works best if you push the tube quite flat while you are gluing - it helps the edges to meet nice and square.
Glue piece 4 on top of piece 3.
Step 17: Create the Front End of the Vortex Canister
Glue the ends of piece 5 together to create a ring.
Glue the ring made from piece 5 around the centre hole on the back of one of the circle pieces (the side without the holes) Decide on one of the holes on the circle piece you are currently working on, and mark it as the top. Extend this marking to the side of the circle piece. Also make a bottom mark on the bottom.
Apply glue only to the centre ring of piece 3, and glue it on top of the ring already there (piece 5), lining up one of the “rungs” of piece 3 with the top mark you made earlier.
Glue the outside ring of piece 3 down to the circle piece, keeping the edges flush.
Step 18: Create the Back End of the Vortex Canister
Glue the tube with the swirly piece around it onto the inside of the circle piece (the side with the nine holes cut out) Line up the seam on the swirly piece with the bottom mark on the circle. Glue nine nuts over the nine holes, lining up the holes in the nuts with the holes in the circle.
Step 19: This Is How I Like to Paint
We are going to start painting in the next section, so here is a little summary of the techniques I like to use.
Do a base coat with artist acrylic paints. For this project I used black as the base for everything except the stock, where I used burnt umber. I find that artist acrylics have a little bit more flexibility in them when they are dry. I don’t use any primer on my foam, but I do encourage putting 2 - 3 good coats of paint to seal all the pores as well as give a nice solid surface for applying the metallic colours.
My favourite metallic paints tend to change over time, but for this project I used DecoArt Americana Decor Metallics Vintage Bronze for the brass, and a 50/50 mixture of DecoArt Americana Decor Metallics Pewter and Silver for the silver colour.
My technique for creating an antique metal look is as follows:
Put on a tight fitting rubber glove. This keeps your hands clean as well as preventing fingerprint smears in your metallic coating.
Put a small blob of metallic paint onto a piece of scrap cardboard.
Dip your fingertip lightly into the paint and then rub it onto a clean section of cardboard. Rub in a circular motion until almost all the paint is off your finger. It is especially important to watch the tip of your finger because paint can build up there, so you want to rub off any accumulation that occurs.
Rub your finger on the foam that you want to paint. Slowly build up the metallic colour, repeatedly going back and getting more paint on your finger.
If there are places your finger can’t reach, you can use a small, dry paintbrush. Dip the brush in the paint and then dab most of it off on the cardboard. Then use a vertical dabbing motion to apply the paint, again building it up slowly. It is good to stay away from inside edges as the antique look requires sections that would get less wear to look darker.
You will end up getting paint on places that you want to have a different colour. That’s fine, just go back over them with some black paint before using the next colour.
I also sealed this project with a coat of Pledge floor care.
Step 20: Painting Interiors
The inside of the “vortex canister” will be really hard to access once the tubes are in place all around it, so it will be much easier if it gets painted now.
Paint the swirly tube and both inside surfaces of the circle pieces black - give them at least 2 coats of paint.
On the circle piece that doesn’t have the swirly piece glued to it, leave a ring around the inside cutout circle unpainted so that when you glue the two halves together the glue has a surface to bond with.
Once the black paint is dry, apply silver to the recessed areas using the dry brush technique explained earlier, and bronze to the raised swirls and nuts using your gloved finger.
Of course the colour scheme is really up to you, this is just what I did :)
Step 21: Vortex Tubes
Get some 1/2” PEX pipe.
Cut 9 pieces of PEX pipe, 10cm long each.
Cover the pipe with copper tape the same way you covered the PVC pipe. I found that the 2” copper tape was exactly the right width to fit perfectly around the PEX pipe.
Give them all a brushed finish with your abrasive scrub pad.
Step 22: Assemble the Vortex Canister
Push one of your 10cm copper covered PEX pipes into each of the holes in the nuts on the circle piece. I found that the paint created a bit of friction against the tube, so it worked best to twist them into place.
Because of the extra tight fit, due to the 12mm hole size in the nuts, it is a good idea to take an uncovered piece of PEX pipe and use it to slightly stretch the holes in the nuts on the other circular piece before you try put them together.
Lower the side with the pipes down onto the other side, working the pipes down into their holes one by one.
Don’t push the two halves all the way together quite yet.
Mix up some 5 minute epoxy and use a stick to get it through the pipes to the unpainted ring of foam where the swirly tube will be attached.
Push the two halves together. I found it best to twist the tubes again while I was pushing down on the top as there was still a lot of friction between the tubes and the nuts.
Make sure when you are done that the seams of the copper tape on the 9 tubes aren’t showing on the outside of the cylinder.
Step 23: The Hooded Tube
Grab five 12mm discs leftover from punching the centres of the nuts.
Punch a 4mm hole in the centre of each disc to create some foam doughnuts.
Glue these doughnuts over the hole marks in piece 11. (You may have already punched these holes earlier.)
Glue piece 11 on the flat side of piece 9.
Punch the holes in the centre of the doughnuts all the way through the thicker foam as well.
Glue the short edges of piece 9 together to create a tube.
Line up the ends of piece 10 along the bottom seam line of the tube you just made and glue them in place.
Spread some glue on the top of the tube and pull piece 10 forward so that it ends up protruding about 13mm past the front edge of piece 9.
Step 24: Hooded Tube Meets Vortex Canister
Make 5 more 12mm foam doughnuts and glue one to each arm of piece 3 on the outside of the vortex chamber.
Punch a hole through the centre of each doughnut, through piece 3 and partway into the thicker foam of the circle piece. It doesn’t really matter if no foam comes out of the thicker piece, just pushing the punch in there should create enough of a hole to accept the wire when it is pushed in.
Slide the vortex canister and the hooded tube onto the barrels of the gun. This will keep them lined up perfectly.
Spread glue around the centre circle on piece 3 and slide the hooded tube up against it. Make sure to line up the top mark on the vortex canister with the top of the hooded tube. The doughnuts need to align so that a wire can go between each set.
Apply glue to the front edge of the stock and push the vortex canister up against it, again making sure that the top is at the top.
Glue piece 12 on top of the hooded tube.
Step 25: Stick Some Stuff Onto the Vortex Canister
Sand the textured ends of piece 13.
Glue the ends of piece 13 to the front end of the stock, with the flat side of piece 13 butting up against the back of the vortex canister.
Squeeze some glue along the flat side of piece 13 and then glue it to the vortex canister.
It wants to just make an oval, but you can push down on the top centre of piece 13 while the glue cools so that the top of it follows the same curve as the circular piece it is being glued against, just a bit lower down.
Glue piece 14 on each end of piece 13.
Cut an 11mm wide strip of foam.
Mark and cut one end to match the curve of piece 14.
Glue the strip to the curvy edge of piece 13, stretching the strip to follow the curve. The key to getting the strip to follow the curve is to glue short sections at a time so that you can hold the curve while the glue cools.
Glue piece 15 onto piece 13.
Step 26: Add Some Extra Parts
Glue piece 19 around the oval cutout, with the open end facing the back.
Glue piece 21 on top of piece 20.
Glue piece 20/21 so the concave section matches the curve of the back part of the oval cutout on the stock.
Glue piece 22 on the back of the circular piece of the vortex canister.
Repeat for the other side.
Step 27: Cover the Back of the Foam Stock Stack
Measure the width of foam at the back of the stock. With the foam I used, it was 47mm.
Cut a strip of 2mm foam the same width as the stock and glue it to the back of the stock. Let the strip hang over the rounded ends, and once the glue has cooled, trim that overhang flush with the rounded part of the stock at the top and bottom. Repeat for the other side of the stock.
Glue piece 17 to the side of the stock at the back, lining it up with the edges. Cut off any that extends past the centreline on the top and bottom. Repeat for the other side.
Step 28: Cover the Top and Bottom of the Foam Stock Stack
Cut two 40mm wide strips of foam.
Cut one end of one strip to fit flush against where the two 17s meet at the top. Glue it down along the top ridge of the stock, covering up the 4 layers of foam that make up the stock. I find it is best to apply the glue to the strip rather than the stock, as the glue heats up the foam, making it more moldable. Glue a short section at a time, molding the strip to flow over the contours of the stock. The one section that is too much for the foam to mold around is the pointy bit that sticks up. For that part, it is necessary to cut a “V” shaped cutout on the side of the strip before gluing it down.
Glue the second strip to the bottom of the stock using the same technique.
Step 29: Fancy It Up….
Glue the two swirly piece 18s on to the stock on both sides.
Glue the two piece 16s around their respective circle pieces. Piece 16 is actually made to be marked onto two strips that are 45.5cm long. Once you have cut the strip, the pattern will be traced onto it 3 times. There are two different outside lines due to the fact that the two strips need to be different widths.
Trim off any excess on the ends of the strips.
You are going to cover the outside edges of the round pieces to hide the seam between them. The two circular pieces are different widths, because one has the added thickness of pieces 3 and 4. Piece 16 has two outside lines on it, so use the outside measurement first to cut a strip of foam 45.5cm long and then use the inside line measurement to cut a second, thinner strip the same length.
Step 30: The Scope Pieces
*** The golf tube I used had a 32mm outside diameter. I am not sure how standardized golf tubes are, so you may need to slightly lengthen or shorten some of these pieces if your tube is different***
Cut a piece of golf club tube 26cm long.
Cover the tube with copper tape. Because this is a larger tube, it will take more tape. Mine used 2 and a quarter strips.
Glue the ends of piece 24 together to make a tube.
Slide piece 24 onto the leftover portion of your golf club tube. This just makes it easier to add the next part as well as confirming that your golf club tube is the same diameter as the one I used. If it is not, you may need to alter the scope pieces to fit.
Glue piece 25 on top of piece 24, matching the curves.
Glue the ends of piece 27 together.
Glue piece 26 around piece 27, lined up with one edge.
Glue the ends of the two piece 28s together to create tubes.
Glue piece 30 on top of piece 29, running down the centre.
Glue the ends of piece 29 together to create the barrel ring.
Test that the barrel ring fits over the three barrels. If it is a little tight, you can stretch it a bit.
Step 31: A Few Faux Rivets
There are a few ways to make fake rivets. You can use small google eyes, foam discs, or my favourite: 5 minute epoxy.
The thing I like about epoxy rivets is that they don’t all look the same, which gives a better simulation of something hand made in the past. They also don’t jiggle like the google eyes do.
Using 2 part 5 minute epoxy, squeeze out equal parts and mix them thoroughly. You only want a very small amount of epoxy as it will start to harden in a few minutes.
Dip the head of a wooden match or something similar into the epoxy and lightly touch it against the place where you want your rivet.
Slowly lift the match head away, leaving behind a small blob of epoxy.
As the epoxy cures it will get thicker until it is leaving long strings behind when you make your dots. This means it is time to make another little batch of epoxy.
As you are working, stay aware of how you are holding the pieces and that you aren’t touching rivets that aren’t fully cured.
Apply rivets around piece 25, 27, and the centre band of the barrel ring.
Step 32: Scope Mount
If the foam you are using is textured on one side, you may want to sand the texture off piece 23 as it will be viewable from both sides.
Lay a sheet of sandpaper flat on the table and rub the foam piece back and forth until the texture is removed. You can give the foam a quick hit with a heat gun to help smooth out the sanding. (Do it outside.)
If you haven’t already, punch the 9mm and 12mm holes in the scope mount (piece 23).
Apply hot glue to the smaller concave section of piece 23 and glue the scope holding ring (piece 28) into that hollow.
Repeat for the second scope mount.
Step 33: Paint the Scope Parts
Paint the scope parts you just made as well as the barrel ring. Just don’t paint the bottom of the scope mount so it can be glued later.
I found it easiest and less messy to slide all the scope parts onto the leftover section of the golf club tube for painting.
Paint everything black with 2-3 coats of paint.
Paint the scope mounts silver.
Paint the larger tube section of both end caps silver.
Paint the raised strips on both end caps bronze.
Paint the barrel ring bronze.
Step 34: So Many Discs!
Punch from 2mm foam:
- Seventeen 12mm discs
- Sixteen 9mm discs
- Nineteen 6mm discs
As it is hard to explain the locations to glue the discs, just refer to the pictures above.
Cut screw heads into all the discs you just glued on, except the ones that are a stack of two, and the 9mm ones on the side of the vortex canister.
To make the screw heads, use your super sharp knife to cut two parallel lines near the centre of the disc. Don’t cut all the way through the disc. Once at the bottom of your second cut, turn the knife horizontal and cut across the bottom, linking the two vertical cuts together. If you are lucky, a small strip will come out, but more likely you will need to cut across the bottom from the other vertical cut as well to get the strip to come out cleanly.
Step 35: Wire It Up
Using a pen or other sharp object, poke holes in centre of the remaining discs - the ones stacked two high and the ones on the side of the vortex canister.
Please refer to the photos to see the exact positions I used for my wires.
Use the same wire as you used to coil around the PVC tube.
Push the wire into one of the holes in the discs.
Bend the wire using pliers so that the wire can reach its terminating disc.
Cut the wire and push it into the disc.
Once the wire is bent the way you want, glue a few sections of it down to the foam to hold it in place using super glue.
Squeeze a small amount of super glue where the wire is pushed into the foam disc as well.
Cut four 75mm long wires.
Bend them into “U” shapes.
Insert them into the discs on the back side of the vortex canister. One “U” will go into the 1st and 3rd disc, and one into the 2nd and 4th disc so that they overlap.
Cut five 75mm pieces from a thicker wire. I used an old computer cable that was no good anymore.
Bend them into a “U” shape
Use those pieces to connect between the doughnuts on the vortex canister and the doughnuts on the hooded tube.
You want to make sure the wire is connected to the thicker foam of the vortex canister and not just glued to the thinner foam of piece 3. So squeeze some super glue into the hole in the thicker foam, without getting any on the thin foam of piece 3. Then insert the wire through piece 3 and into the thicker foam, pushing it in firmly. You can then push the other end of the wire into the hole on the hooded tube. Now squeeze a few drops of super glue where the wire enters the doughnut on both the hooded tube and piece 3.
If you cut up an old power cord for the thicker wire, make sure you cut off and discard the end that plugs into the wall so that no one can accidentally plug it in and get electrocuted.
Step 36: More Rivets
Mix up some more epoxy then place rivets on the following locations:
- On the top and bottom stock strips.
- On piece 17
- Around the ring at the end of the vortex canister (piece 4)
- Along the strip on the edge of piece 13.
Step 37: Make Trigger Guard
Mark a line 12mm up from the open end of the PVC end cap.
I find the easiest way to mark something like this is to find an object that I can rest my pen on horizontally that will bring the pen up to the right height. Then I hold the pen still and rotate the end cap, leaving a perfect line all the way around.
Handy tip: if you have a deck of playing cards, you have the ability to make a stack that is highly adjustable.
Cut along the line you just made to create a ring. I used a jewellers saw with a wax cutting blade. I love this tool, and it is pretty cheap and extremely versatile. I have a video here about them if you are interested.
Mark the length of piece 31 on the ring and cut along those lines.
Put on your respirator and gloves, go outside and slowly heat the strip of PVC with a heat gun.
Heat the PVC strip a section at a time, slowly bending it to match the trigger guard template on the pattern. I found it easiest to start with the small spiral, bending with a pair of pliers.
You have to be careful not to reheat the parts you have already bent, or the PVC will want to return back to it’s original shape.
Your trigger guard doesn’t have to match the template exactly, just try to get as close as possible.
Step 38: Attach Trigger and Guard
Once it is bent, file the non-curly end to a chisel point to help when inserting it into the foam.
Sand the trigger guard with some fine sandpaper to help the paint to adhere.
Cut a 37mm long piece from the strip of PVC leftover from the trigger guard. That will be the trigger. File one end of the trigger to a chisel point and round the corners on the other end.
Cut a slot in the bottom of the stock right where the most forward bump is on the stock. Push the trigger guard into the slot to make sure it fits properly and is positioned where you want it. You can then mark where the trigger will go inside the trigger guard.
Cut the slot for the trigger.
Mix up some 5 minute epoxy, push some in the holes with a matchstick, and then push the trigger and guard into place. (This would also work using hot glue)
Put a bit more glue under the swirly part of the guard where it meets the stock and glue it to the stock.
Step 39: Mount the Scope….Mount
Slide the two scope mounts onto the scope tube.
Position them on the tube so that they line up and are the correct distance apart to sit in the centre of the circle pieces on the vortex canister.
Decide where you would like to mount the scope. I mounted mine off centre just for some added interest.
Apply hot glue to the bottom of the scope mounts and then glue them into place.
Once the glue is cool, remove the scope tube from the mount so that it doesn’t get paint on it.
Step 40: Paint a Bunch of Bronze
I gave the whole gun one coat of black paint (not the copper taped parts though).
Then I gave it a second coat of black everywhere except on the stock, which I painted burnt umber so that it would look more like wood.
Once the paint is thoroughly dry, apply the metallic paints.
The parts I painted bronze were:
- Pieces 18, 16, 19, 10, 11, 3, 15, 14, 22, and 12
- The strip on the edge of piece 13
- The trigger and guard
- The coil
- The wires
Step 41: Paint a Bunch of Silver
The parts I painted silver (actually a mix of silver and pewter paint) were:
- The strips around the top, bottom and butt of the stock
- Pieces 20, 21, 13, and 9
- The gaps on the front of the vortex canister
I then went back and repainted most of the screw heads black so that I could use the contrasting metallic paint to the surface the screw heads were mounted on. To add a bit of depth and age to the stock, I painted some black paint along every raised edge. I faded the black paint out as it progressed away from the edges. This improves the look of the stock greatly.
I gave all the foam parts a coat of pledge floor polish to protect it and give a bit of shine.
Important note: The copper tape will tarnish naturally over time. I like the idea of getting a natural patina, but if you would like to keep the copper parts shiny, you can give them a coat of floor polish as well. Just realize that once coated, you can never go back :)
Step 42: Final Scope Installation
Push the scope tube into the mounts.
Apply epoxy to the inside edges of the two end caps and slide them on to the scope tube.
Position the scope tube how you want it in the mount and squeeze some super glue between the rings on the mount and the scope tube to hold it in place.
Push the barrel ring onto over the three barrels and use a few drops of super glue to hold it in place.
Step 43: Add Some Orange for Safety
Make a tube of foam and paint it bright orange, or cover it with some orange tape. This is a bit helpful in showing that this is not an actual firearm. You can make the orange cap removable so that when you are in a safe place, it can be removed.
Step 44: Done.
First Prize in the