Intro: How to Make a Really Nice Looking Nerf Dart Blowgun for Less Than $10
I had a dilemma this passed Christmas. 6 nephews and absolutely NO CLUE what kids that age are into. Huckleberry Hound? Sigmund the Sea-monster? The Beatles???
Okay... I am not really THAT disconnected. ;-)
My 15 year old stepson likes those Nerf dart guns, so I asked him if his cousins liked them as well. BINGO. And earlier this year I made a 7 foot blowgun to squirrel hunt with. All the kids were captivated with that thing, but you know how parents are; they don't want the kids to have anything that could kill the family cat. *sigh* Parents these days...
Anyway, I had the idea. Nerf Dart Blowguns... You know... For kids. And since I am a fool for PVC pipe projects, that is what I would use. I made two 4 foot blowguns for my stepson and the oldest nephew, the rest were 2 foot blowguns that I made for the younger kids. My wife went to Walmart and bought $20 worth of darts and that was it. Let the Nerf wars progress!
On a side note, when I was scoping out the materials, I took my stepson to Home Depot with me. We were looking at the pipes to see what sizes we needed. I picked up a 2' section of 1/2" PVC pipe and said "Hey Devin, DON'T MOVE!" Then pelted him full force, point blank in the chest. He said something that sounded like "UNNGGGHHHHAAAAAHHH!" and grabbed his chest. That is how:
1- We decided on 1/2" pipe.
2- We learned how much these things can hurt at close range with full adult lung capacity.
3- People in Home Depot shoot you ugly stares when they hear your child scream out in pain...
He grabbed a pipe and pelted me, and we both proceeded to have a Nerf dart war that we got kicked out of Home Depot for. But there are 2 Home Depots in this town, so it's all good.
While building these blowguns for Christmas, I learned that our cat LOVES Nerf darts. He reacts to them in much the same way as catnip. He will bring you his dart and drop it in front of you and stare at you until you throw it. Then he will go get it and bring it back to you. He will do this ALL DAY LONG. So the blowgun that I am making in this instructable is to shoot our cat's darts with.
There are really 2 parts to this instructable, building the blowgun, then wrapping it with rope. The rope is really optional, I only do it to make the gun look pretty. You can decorate the thing any way you like. Actually, now that I think about it... All you really need is a 1/2" PVC pipe and some darts... But I digress... :-)
Step 1: Materials
• 1" x 3/4" Adapter (436-102) - This will be the mouthpiece of the blowgun.
• 1" x 1/2" Bushing (437-130) - This will connect the mouthpiece to the body of the blowgun.
• 1/2" PVC Pipe - Home Depot sells 2" sections of PVC pipe, or you can buy a long pipe and cut off however long a piece you would like to use.
• 3/4" x 1/2" Flush Bushing (437-101) - This will be the business end of the blowgun.
• 3/16" x 75' nylon rope. I bought this at Walmart for a few dollars. They have 4 or 5 different colors.
• Something to drill/carve/melt a notch in the PVC Bushing. I used a drill.
• A saw. I use a small hacksaw.
• Some sort of glue. You can use PVC cement, but that will not be able to hold the rope. I use JB Weld because I like it and I have a ton of it in my tool box.
Now that we have all of this together, lets get to building something.
Step 2: Assembling the Mouthpiece
This is the hardest part of the build. (Wrapping it with the rope is the most time consuming but relatively easy compared to this.)
The 1" x 3/4" Adapter has to be inserted into the end of the 1" x 1/2" Bushing. You can glue this in, as it does not fit in snugly, and there will be a lot of threads showing from the adapter, or you can do what I do and cut the adapter. Take the saw and cut the adapter between the 3rd and 4th thread. Then use the knife or sandpaper to clean the burs off of the cut sections. Now you can place the adapter into the bushing and force it in there really tight. You will not need any glue, as it goes in really snug. I have tried to pull it back out and have failed. It makes a pretty air-tight seal. You may have to bear down and place a lot of force to make it snap it there flush.
Once this is done, you can carve/drill/melt a notch on the inside of the Bushing to hold the rope. If you are not going to wrap the blowgun in rope, you can skip this step.
Now, we can glue this thing together!
Step 3: Attaching the Mouthpiece to the Body of the Blowgun
This is a simple step.
Glue the Bushing onto the 1/2" PVC pipe. Then glue the rope (if you are wrapping it) into the notch that you have made.
THEN, wait for it to dry/harden.
Step 4: Wrapping the Rope
This is the most time consuming part of the build. Also, it is the most blistering. Seriously, beware of blisters caused by pulling on the rope. I wear a glove when doing this.
Put the 3/4" x 1/2" Flush Bushing on the end of the blowgun and mark the PVC pipe at the base of the bushing. This will help you know where to stop wrapping at.
I like the Spiral Hitching/French Spiral Hitching/Clove Hitching technique to wrap the blowguns. It's really cool looking and fairly simple to do. Just remember that you need to keep the knots tight while you are wrapping. Any loose sections will cause the finished product some issues. For 2' blowguns, you will end up using a bit more than half of the 75' of rope. You can almost get an entire 4' blowgun wrapped with the 75' of rope. If you have to, just wrap it as far as you can then cut off how ever much of the pipe that you need to to get the bushing to fit snugly against the rope when attached.
You can find videos, pictures and instructions all over the net of different wrapping techniques, so do not feel like you are obligated to use this one.
Step 5: Finishing Up
What to do with the extra length of rope? Well, on the blowguns that I made for the kids, I left about 2 feet of loos rope hanging from the end to that they could tie on decorations or wrap it around their hands for steadier shots. On this one, I decided to make tie the end around the notch in the mouthpiece where the Adapter and the Bushing are connected, making a pretty effective shoulder sling.
I just made a noose-like slipknot and tightened it down. You can use whatever knot you feel comfortable with if you choose to do this.
Step 6: DONE!!!
There you are. Now just go get you some Nerf darts and have a blast. Play responsibly and remember never to shoot anyone in the face, always wear protective eye-wear, and be mindful that these things can sting if you shoot someone too hard from too close.
Have a blast and if you do make one, post a picture in the comments. :-)