Intro: Experimental Air Powered Ballistics
I've always had an underlying interest in pneumatic air powered devices. It started with blowguns, but I eventually graduated to a higher performance airgun. Ever since then I've been developing new and exciting air powered devices that are unique and fun to mess around with.
Before we start, I'd like to explain some safety issues here. Number one: don't shoot anything at anyone or anything living. I don't use any of these devices in terrorist acts, nor to threaten or harm any organic life form or anybody's property. All shooting should be done in a controlled environment. Better yet, don't shoot at anything. Just make whatever and stare at it. Or don't make it at all. Yeah, this is actually all informational. Nothing here actually exists. Computer animation and men in suits. That's what I'll tell 'em!
Many of these darts were designed because I sought to break out of your traditional nail dart, explosive dart, etc. I want to show the other people who share my interests that a little bit of ingenuity can prove really awesome if put to the right use. So sit back and grab a drink, there's a lot of really, really cool stuff to read through here.
Let's start with my airgun. It's cheap, easily made, modded and added to. I use standard 1/2" PVC. No use for expensive and harder to get high-pressure stuff when you're only shooting at 20psi. I do NOT want to hear crap about my non-pressure rated schedule 40 PVC, I KNOW the risks!!! My gun has a standard ball-valve trigger and is pressurized with a small hand pump that is now attached to my gun, unlike in this first picture. I am able to change barrels and barrel attachments using the joint at the base of my barrel. The tubing coming from the pump to my gun was obtained from a LEGO set that used air hydraulic pumps. It can be ordered online over the LEGO website for a nominal fee. I use sports-ball filling valves that fit perfectly in the tubing to attach to my pump. The spray-painted section of my gun was salvaged from a derelict marshmallow gun that apparently I thought it was a good idea to use primer and glue on. Any more questions about my gun or anything in this Instructible should be PMed to me.
Step 1: LED Shootie
The design is simple, using only some paper and tape, you can transform any basic throwie to a shootie. Take the two prongs of an LED and put two 1.5v button cell batteries (or one 3v cell) between them. At the same time, a small rare earth (Because nobody can spell neodymium) magnet is placed on the outside of one or both prongs of the LED. The whole setup should then be covered in duct tape to hold everything together.
In order to adapt it to fire from a blowgun, we need to put it inside a cone enclosure. Make a basic cone from paper and cut it off so that it fits in whatever sized tube you're working with. Cut off the very point of the cone so that the tip of the LED sticks out. Hot glue the LED and batteries in the cone and you're all set.
Uses for this include being a guerrilla graffitist and lighting up big metal things, or using it as a signal at night. I figure a streak of light shooting through the night would look pretty awesome.
Video below. It's hard to see for the camera, but it's plenty visible normally.
Step 2: 1/2 PVC Airgun Ball Bearing Clip
Shortly after this, I discovered ball bearings that come in magnetic construction sets fit perfectly in my 1/2" airgun. After some brief research I began rudimentary clip designs. The first was simply a 6" section of PVC attached to my barrel with a 'T' junction. This, however, let many ball bearings fall into the barrel when loaded at the same time. I then drilled a hole directly through the 6" section of PVC and inserted a nail close to the bottom of the clip. I tried letting one ball fall at a time by manually moving the nail, but that proved aggravating and unsuccessful.
I was hit with a brainwave, and by dismantling a pen and mechanical pencil I constructed a slider that used my previously drilled holes to allow balls to be loaded extremely quickly and chambered one at a time. The slider held all the bearings back until they were pressured from the top gently, at which point one would fall into the chamber while the rest were held back. Pretty ingenious, right?
Pictures and video below:
Step 3: Clip-fed Airsoft Blowgun
I've been toying with the idea of this for a while now. Originally I had planned to have a recoil-operated blowgun that would chamber another BB using the exhaust from the previous shot. Scans of my notes below show a basic design (coming soon). Keep in mind that I know nothing about recoil-operation, so this was more of a preliminary design.
For my blowgun, I used a piece of machined aluminum tubing that I picked up for a couple dollars at my local hobby shop. After testing my preliminary designs, I moved on to using a small household vacuum cleaner to propel BBs down the barrel. I attached the end of my gun to the exhaust port of the vacuum and loaded BBs in through the clip-hole I had made previously. Problems arose with air pressure blowing BBs straight out the clip instead of down the barrel. I soon abandoned the vacuum and made a vacuu-former out of it =D
Step 4: Signal Dart
Along the lines of my LED shootie, I've created a dart that shoots a line that unravels behind it. I started with a standard nail dart hot glued about halfway into the tube so the back of the nail was inside the back of the cone. Now it is possible to tie a line to the back of the dart that is released behind the dart and affixed itself to a wall when shot.
Practical uses are limited without strong cable, but a streamer could be tied behind the line to create a daytime signal, although it may give away your position if you are playing stealth.
A better application is to lay a tripwire from cover. The dart shoots out and lays a string behind it. It sticks into a wall or tree, you use the other end to place in between two contacts. Target trips wire, contacts touch, circuit completed. You can make it activate anything you want.
Step 5: Explodey Dart Version 2.0
WARNING: This thing is seriously dangerous, and that's no understatement, you could put somebody's eye out or worse with this. I don't think you should make this, just admire how cool it is. Of course I'm going to tell you how to do it anyway...
- Two nails
- Mechanical Pencil
- Caps (from a ring cap gun)
- Cheapo firecrackers
- Standard airgun/blowgun cone
- Glue (Hot glue, super glue, etc.)
Video of it in action below.
Step 6: Airsoft Shotgun Dart Version 1.0
Something that I thought up while brainstorming ideas for cartridge-type darts. I started with a 1/2" paper cartridge that I made from magazine paper. After sealing the end of it, I loaded it with airsoft BBs and folded the inner rolls of paper into it so it could be handled without the BBs falling out. Ironically enough, it looks rather like an actual shotgun shell.
The feeling you get shooting it from the hip is immensely satisfying. The spread is pretty awesome as well, with an acceptable range of <15 feet. The range can be adjusted by packing the inner folds of the cartridge more tightly, giving it a significantly longer range.
I really want to make a clip-fed system for this. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Step 7: LED Shootie Version 2.0
Well I finally got around to making an LED shootie that attaches magnet-first. I started by cutting a few 1" metal rods from an old Ron Paul campaign standup (those things you see at street corners around election time) and flattening one end of each one. Once they had cooled from the friction, I superglued a few rare-earth magnets to the flattened ends of each metal rod. Using this like a nail, I hotglued it into a standard cone enclosure, and waited for it to dry. This requires a really strong glue to keep the magnet attached to the metal rod. Hot glue won't cut it, so your best bet is superglue. I then made an LED throwie (minus the magnet) and glued it into the back of the cone. It ain't pretty, but it works.
The dart is shot into a metal surface, adhering to it and showing the world your LED-themed protest of society.