Introduction: Handmade Airsoft Rifle
A simple airgun that was made from a piece of brake line, a blowgun, assorted air-tank type connection parts, and some (unknown type of) wood that we had laying around.
What you'll need to build a gun of any sort, whether it's this one or any other is four simple components.
1: A barrel- Without this critical piece, your gun is just going to spit air everywhere and you'll have no place to put a projectile.
2: A projectile- This flies out of the barrel and at your target. This can be just about anything that fits down the tube.
3: A propellant- This forces the projectile out. For this, we'll use air. Compressed air, to be more precise.
4: A frame- Without a frame, your gun is more a mess of pipe that looks like you threw it together in 10 minutes. You don't want that. It's great when in a pinch and you want to try it out, but not so great after a month of battling and/or target shooting when people start asking, "When are you going to finish that?"
Now, in my case, I had the first 3. I felt I wanted a frame that was different. Now, I say this because I appreciate originality, and if you want to build my rifle from pictures alone, feel free, but I wouldn't mind seeing other rifles (I call any gun with a stock that, just fyi) based on my design. Heck, build one just using my instructable as a guide if you want.
Things you'll need:
A barrel in the size of the projectile you intend to shoot and adapters to fit the blowgun.
An air-type blowgun. I found an odd one in someone's garage sale and picked it up for $3.50.
A handful of handsaws (or a few good power ones. I can't make a lot of noise or the neighbors complain)
Plenty of your favorite drink. I chose Mountain Dew and good ol' Black Coffee.
A piece of wood. any dimension works, and any type (pine, oak, spruce, maple, etc) will work. Just remember that you'll have to deal with the lovely factors of more sweat in the project if you use harder woods.
Your most comfortable pair of safety goggles/glasses. You need your eyes for this project, so protect them.
Plastic and metal plumbing parts. I used metal for the gun, and plastic works, too, if you want to lighten it.
A regulator (probably the most expensive part of my project and the one that I actually had to buy.) You need this to take the air pressure down from tank pressure and make it variable. This is a nice factor to have.
Quick Connect couplings (optional) for those of us who don't want to waste any time after we finish shooting. Nothing better than a quick connector to disconnect the gun from your air tank.
An air tank. Where else will you... well, I suppose you could pump it up with a bike pump, but I didn't like that. I prefer an airtank in the backpack, and a small electric compressor to fill the tank at times.
A marking device for making rough measurements (that's what I did, at least)
A dremel (or other brand of rotary tool). This will save your butt many times. Ours has been beaten and abused, but still works.
A work surface
a) 2 part Epoxy (the stuff I almost swear can't have been made by mortal hands.) You'll need this to make your rifle frame bond to the barrel and the rest of it.
b) Electrical tape and superglue to hold the barrel together.
c) Extra zipties for holding the barrel together.
Zipties to hold everything together.
Teflon tape for sealing airline connections.
Wood screws to hold things together.
A screwdriver to install wood screws.
A drill might help at times. Sometimes a Dremel, while it spins faster, can't do the job.
Step 1: Assemble the Rifle
While I didn't document this part well, I've drawn up some photoshop sketches of basically what to do.
First: Locate the barrel and cut it to just the right length. What does one do to find said length? Just basically eye-ball the piping and pick how long you want the barrel to be. If you want a shorter length barrel, then make one. If you're a sniper and want a long barrel, then do so, too.
A hint: take your marking device and mark the line. Then cut with tubing cutters, a hacksaw, coping saw, miter saw, etc. Any saw will do.
Second, take your newly cut barrel, find your adapters (Remember, I told you about those...) and attach them to the back of the barrel.
Third, take your adapted barrel and attach it to your blowgun. If you want a more trigger-like feel, add a 90 degree elbow and threaded nipple to the blowgun first.
Fourth, attach your inlet piping to the blowgun. If you used a 90 before, you'll need one again now.
Fifth, add your regulator and gauge assembly to the back of the inlet tube. Note: I used a quick-connect between the gun and regulator because originally, I had 2 guns I used.
Sixth, add quick connectors to your airline and your regulator. Teflon tape is a MUST!
Step 2: Cut the Stock
Yep, you got it. Now you get to cut out a stock you find comfortable. Note my lacking of telling you the lengths of any of this yet? There's a reason behind it: every human is different, and what I like and what you like will be different. You see, what I like is bending my elbow in while shooting to raise my sights (almost literally 'iron' sights) to my eye-line so I can shoot. I also don't mind slightly odd positions with the fingertips (note the bends on some of them in the pictures)
So, what to do?
1: hold the wood and make your mark with the marker. I like my old sharpie for a reason.
2: grab your favorite saw. This can be a miter saw if you don't mind noise.
3: begin cutting. This could either take a mere handful of seconds up to a half hour, depending on your method. (hint: when possible, electricity beats hand power every time.)
4: repeat process until satisfied.
In my case, I decided to 'dremel burn' the back end with a sanding disk. I thought it looked somewhat cool and it rounded the edges. Not to mention giving it a look of being battle worn.
Also, note that you might have to change your stock slightly as you go, as far as cutting some parts out of it to allow other pieces to join up. I had to as well with my 2 piece stock, but was satisfied with the result.
Step 3: Zip-tie Stock to Gun
Do I really need to tell you how to do this? Simply zip-tie your stock to the frame of the gun. This will hold it in place long enough for you to get an idea for the next step.
For those who have never seen, touched, heard of, or used a zip-tie before:
They have one end that has a bulge on one side. This end you hold onto while feeding the other, more pointed end around the stock and gun. Insert pointed end through hole as long as the bulge isn't facing the pointed end, and give it a good push. Then, pull on the pointed end and you'll hear a 'Zip!' sound or the sound of a really weak fart if you pull slow. Congratulations: you just used a zip-tie.
For everyone else, sorry for making you read that.
Step 4: Cutting the Under-barrel Piece
Okay, you've now got a fully functional air-gun (yes, if you connect Step 1 to an air tank, it Will fire.), and a stock that you have attached only by a handful of Zipties to your gun.
Now I'm asking you to make another piece? Yes. The reason is because I want you to be visualizing this and improvising a little. Also, there's a lot of ways to go about this. Some might want one solid piece of wood, others content with 2, and me, I used 6 pieces.
My way? I cut a piece of my odd 2x4 6 times, got 6 nearly-equal sized pieces and a piece of scrap to use later.
I intend to epoxy them later.
For now, I use wood screws.
To comply with my ruling of "An image for nearly every page", I included a photoshop of how to do this, and also what else can be done.
Step 5: Epoxy Things Together! (Solution 1 of 3 to Mount Barrel)
Okay, a few things before I start on this:
1: Epoxy comes in 2 parts and must be mixed first before using. Won't work otherwise.
2: For those who insist "I'll use superglue", you won't. Your barrel and frame will separate if you sneeze on it. Use epoxy. If you don't have it, there are another 2 solutions.
3: It stinks! This stuff will foul the air for hours after use, so it's best when done to toss your mixing plate and stick in the outside trash can. You'll at least de-appetize the animals.
4: Use in a well-ventilated area. Yes, you may think it's fun getting an "Epoxy buzz", but you'll hate the headache in a few hours. Not to mention, ventilation reduces the stink and preserves your brain cells.
5: Don't ever get it on your hands. Acetone won't do. You'll have to grit your teeth and lose some skin in pulling it off. It's not like super-glue.
6: As Epoxy cures, it gets hot. Keep this in mind when using it.
7: While it may say it dries in 5/15/30 minutes, that's all it's done. Epoxy needs time to cure, and bond with the items you've smeared it on.
Okay, I'm sure you're sitting there bouncing in your seat screaming, "Get on with it!"
First: grab a paper plate or anything you and your parents won't mind throwing out. Also grab a popsicle stick or a plastic fork. Don't rebel against your parents by using their good forks and plates for this, you'll be grounded faster than you can say "Oops."
Second: Mix your 2 part epoxy. My method: Resin first, hardener second, mix for 30 seconds, scrape up, and smear on the part.
Third: scoop up some epoxy and smear it on both the barrel and the wood at the same time. Don't coat your zip-ties.
Fourth: wait for it to dry, and jump to Step 8.
Step 6: Use Lots of Electrical Tape (Solution 2 of 3 to Mount Barrel)
Okay, you find you either don't have the patience to use epoxy, or your parents won't buy it, or possibly you couldn't find it. Well, don't worry. I bounced a question off a senior builder on this site who made a rifle that inspired me to finish mine. Here's a snip of our conversation with trying to mount a barrel on. Kaelessin is in bold, I'll be in italics.
Sent Mon, 23 Mar 2009 at 2:48 PM by Madrias357
Okay, I really need some help and I figured after you had designed the ultimate in cool-looking weapons (your Angocoellum (I think that's how it's spelled) rifle) and wondered the same question I had earlier.
How the heck do you mount the metal (in my case a metal brake line tube) to a wooden frame?
Sent Mon, 23 Mar 2009 at 3:33 PM by Kaelessin
hmmmm I'm probably just being thick but I see two possibilities for "the metal"
If you mean the fiddly bits then I just hot glued them in and covered them with plastic to keep them where they belong.
If you're referring to the barrel then I'd suggest making barrel clamps with some sheet metal: just bend it to an omega(the greek letter) shape where the barrel fits snugly into the loop portion and screw it down to the wood.
Old muskets had rings around the stock and the barrel that held everything in place. You could make some rings out of short sections of pipe bent to shape as well.
Let me know if you need more clarification or if I missed the question!
Sent Mon, 23 Mar 2009 at 3:38 PM by Madrias357
Was referring to the barrel. As far as the sheet metal goes, I don't have access to that.
Though, would epoxy work?
epoxy should do just fine . . .obviously make sure you clamp it in really well in multiple places.
If you want the look of barrel rings then you can wrap electricians tape around the barrel/stock in a few places very tightly and a few times around to build up a "ring" then you can paint it and/or give it a rub n buff finish(or any gilding compound)
So, this one is given credit to Kaelessin for the idea. So, those of you who want to do this, feel free, but back it up with superglue, at least, so that the tape's not the only thing holding it on.
I also thank Kaelessin for assisting me with the project.
So, your steps?
1: clamp barrel to lower frame for securing purposes so you can use both hands to handle electrical tape.
2: apply a thick amount of tightly stretched electrical tape in many sections along the barrel and lower frame.
3: (optional but recommended) Add superglue where possible.
4: jump to step 8
Step 7: Zip-Tie! (Solution 3 of 3 to Mount Barrel)
This one's easy. You know those zip-ties you added earlier? They're crying out for friends, so add more zipties. This will help as far as holding the barrel on, but looks horrible to see a gun covered in zip-ties.
But, some can't get epoxy, and others can't get tape, and superglue alone isn't strong enough (I tried it already and had a black-and-blue toe for my troubles). So, everyone can get Zip-Ties. Ask your parents for them. State they're good for almost everything (this is true! You won't be lying. You can tie cables up with it, secure cabinets shut if you don't use them, a not-very-secure lock, the possibilities are endless. I know a friend who hung up a clock with a chain of zip-ties).
If your parents won't get you zip-ties, tell them you'll buy a bag yourself (not all that expensive, really. I bought 1000 for 20 dollars, and 1000 zip ties will last a long time) and all they have to do is drive you to your local Home Depot or other such hardware store.
1: wrap zip-tie around barrel and lower frame
2: pull zip-tie tight
3: cut off excess
4: jump to Step 8.
Step 8: Cut Smaller Pieces
These little pieces are to connect your epoxied/zip-tied/taped lower frame to your epoxied/zip-tied/taped stock. They're optional, but make the gun look nicer and in some cases, easier to hold.
I used 7 pieces. You can use any number you want as long as you like it.
I have a front panel going up the front of the blow-gun-valve.
I have 2 pieces connecting front panel to stock
I have 2 pieces going up the sides connecting to the lower pieces and front panel
I have a piece going up the back
and lastly, a piece to complete the trigger guard.
These pieces are optional, but can make the difference between 'looks like crap' and 'wicked cool!' with any gun they're added to.
Another wise idea would be to wash your stuff after getting it covered in garbage. After each day, preferably. That sweatshirt started to stink pretty bad after 3 long days of using handsaws, dremel tools, and the miter saw.
Step 9: Add Sights, Scope, and Extras (optional)
If you want, add some pieces to make your gun look different.
Some things I'd suggest, though, would be at least a front and rear sight assembly, and/or a scope. This way you can actually aim the weapon in the direction you want with more precision than just 'point and shoot'. With mine, I had sights built in, as far as the flare for loading pellets easier into the barrel and my really cheap garage sale blowgun actually lining up and being somewhat accurate.
Other things that can be done:
adding LED's for a light effect
Add a speaker with sound board for sounds
small lead weights to add/balance the gun
spare wood screws of short lengths
ammo tray with lid
The reason I can list all those without having done them? My friends built similar guns long before I got around to posting this.
Step 10: Personalize!
Okay, so you've got the gun just how you like it. It's built in your style, with the holding method you chose. You're satisfied with the design, the sights are dialed in, but it still feels like you're missing something. That little edge to set it apart from the rest.
That edge is customization.
You'll want to come up with something unique to you. Me, I'd go with a nice coat of paint, and possibly dremeling my name into the gun. Or my username. Whatever the case is, do something you like.
Everyone's different and will have different tastes for their gun.
Some might want to glue added items on to give the gun a cyberpunk or steampunk look.
Some might make it more cartoonish by adding a funnel to the end of the barrel (also improves loading ability when you drop ammo down a funnel)
Some people will add paint or wood stain.
Others will put dents in it for battle wear.
Other people will dremel-burn the entire gun.
This step is yours to mess with. I'll leave these ideas up to you. It's your gun, you know.
Step 11: Loading and Shooting It!
Okay, as I left a lot of things open to you, every gun will be different, but alike in one way: this gives you a muzzle-loading gun. I don't have the desire to make a breech-loader.
So, how do you load and shoot it?
1: Put on safety glasses.
2: Connect up to your air tank.
3: Stuff your projectile down the barrel, with wadding behind, projectile, and wadding in front, pack it down with a ram-rod of appropriate length, and take aim.
4: When you're lined up on the target and are sure you want to shoot, press and release the trigger quickly.
5a: cheer with joy when you hit the target
5b: grumble when you miss
6a: jump back to step 3
6b: adjust sights and jump to 6a.
Step 12: What Else to Do?
Well, you can always stuff your air-tank in an old backpack to attempt to increase your mobility.
If you used a large-bore barrel, you can make a shotgun slug out of bbs and a fast-food napkin.
You can try shooting cans with it instead of paper targets.
In fact, there's a lot you can do. Feel free to do them, as long as you don't get in trouble, and if you do, accept the fact that I didn't force you do build this.
Just remember, when you use this gun, use it responsibly. Mine's been chronographed at 550 feet per second with a .20 gram airsoft bb. That means that it can do plenty of damage. If you intend to shoot your little brother with this, turn the regulator down so the feet-per-second's lower, and don't shoot him with things that might cause harm.
If you designed one with a pvc pipe barrel and shoot marbles, perhaps shooting your brother would be better left alone. Or, shoot him with a shotgun slug of airsoft pellets. Don't hit him with the marble.
Definitely don't shoot at the windows, passing cars, people on bikes or walking, police officers, etc. Use it responsibly!
And if you do get in trouble, I'm not responsible for your actions.
Also, please comment on what you think of my first instructable.
Step 13: Keep an Eye Out for More Modifications.
Trust me, I don't intend to keep the 6 piece under-barrel very long. I like it, yes, but it's not sturdy. I was thinking of using a piece of oak to make the whole under-barrel one piece.
When that is done, I'll then show the final product.