Any fan of Steampunk or Nerf will eventually come up with the dilemma of "How to carry my gun when I am not holding it in my hands?" For some guns a leather holster works fine. In fact many people/vendors already make a standard holster for the Nerf N-Strike Maverick, a favorite gun of both Steampunk and Nerf fans. However, if you mod the gun too much, it won't fit, and many other guns would require a more custom holster. While a holster looks nice, I find them not so easy to pull from fast, and for Steampunk, it hides a gun you might otherwise want to show off!
So the requirements present themselves as how to show off my gun, while still making it easy to get to? And the answer, Magnets!
The idea is simple, you put a magnet on your gun somewhere, usually the handle works best, and then you attach a magnet to your person, such as your belt. And presto, any gun will hang at your side for everyone to see, while still allowing you to grab at a moments notice!
Even though this is a simple idea, I do suggest that you still read the rest of my steps so you can benefit from my insights, because after all, I've made this before, and you haven't ... yet.
Step 1: Parts & Tools!
- Clip for attaching to belt of pants ( I find a generic carabiner works best)
- Scrap fabric (amount depends on magnet and clip size)
- 2x Rare Earth Magnet (see notes below)
- Scissors for cutting fabric
- Pins for sewing fabric
- String for sewing
- Sewing Machine
- Star Screw driver ( if you are pulling magnet from a hard drive)
Now the hardest part to acquire for most people will probably be the Rare Earth magnets. Fortunately there is an easy place to get exactly two magnets of perfect size. All you need is a broken computer hard drive. You can find lots of them for under $10 on ebay, and chances are you might already have, or know someone who has, a broken computer with one inside. Once you acquire the hard drive, you will need to take it apart to get the magnets out. This Instructable here is best I've found so far at taking apart a hard drive: https://www.instructables.com/id/Hard-Drive-Disassembly-Samsung-Drive/ all hard drives are actually very similar in terms of taking apart, so you can follow it regardless of the brand you might have..
I would also like to stress the need for using only Rare Earth Magnets. They are extreamly strong in a small size. Twice as strong as the next strongest type of magnet. And using any other kind of magnet will run the risk of your gun falling off when you don't want it to.
For the sewing I would highly recommend using a sewing machine set to the tightest stitching setting it has. And I would make sure the string you use has some decent strength to it. The stitching and string strength is more important than fabric strength as you don't want this falling apart when you try to slide the magnets apart.
If you don't know what a Carabiner is, even after looking at the picture, then read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carabiner Today you can find decorative Carabiner's for holding keys, and they are usually cheaper than one's used for mountain climbing.
Finally, if you are having trouble with any other tools, or parts, for this Instructable, then I suggest you find someone with knowledge in that area to help you out.
Step 2: Place Magnet on Your Gun
The first thing we want to do is place the magnet on your gun. The reason you want to do this first, is that placement might affect how you make the pouch and holder for the other magnet that will clip to your person.
**WARNING** at this point we will be working with strong magnets! Always keep the 2 magnets far far far... far apart, and away from any other magnetic objects. Rare Earth magnets will pull each other and other magnetic objects from greater distances then other magnets. And the speed/impact can cause injury to your fingers, or skin if they are in the way. They also will destroy any USB drives, credit cards, and possibly cell phones that come in close contact. So be sure to use caution when working with them and always be aware of what objects are near the magnets at all times.
The most obvious place to put the magnet is on or in the gun handle, as this will make it easier for you to grab from your side real fast. However, that might not work for all guns. Especially if you have modded it a lot, or don't have room.
First thing to consider is weather you want the magnet on the outside or inside of the gun? Nerf guns have lots of empty space inside to easily hide the magnet, like inside the handle, but scratch built Steampunk guns might not. And you might want to show off the magnet as part of your gun design as well. If you choose to place it inside the gun, make sure it is close enough to the outside that it will still attract the other magnet.
Another thing to consider is how will you attach the magnet to the gun? FYI crazy glue alone will not hold the magnet in place, trust me I've tried . The best way is with screws. If you got your magnets from a hard drive, it should already have screw holes. However, if that is not an option, then maybe a combination of glue and some kind wrapping or something to hold it in place. Whatever way you choose, make sure it is secure as these magnets are VERY STRONG and you don't want to pull the magnet off the gun the first time you grab for it.
Ultimately where ever you choose to place the magnet, make sure it can support the weight of the gun as it will be hanging from that point. And be sure to hold the gun to your side at that place to see if that is indeed where and how you want the gun to hang. Be sure to try walking with it there and swing it a bit to make sure nothing will poke you in an uncomfortable way. Finally make sure there is room for the other magnet to reach it, and still attract each other, otherwise this project won't work at all.
Once you are certain of a good placement, go ahead and attach the magnet to your gun.
Step 3: Make the Loop/clip Attachment
Now if you are following my directions exactly, and using a Carabiner, you will need to make a loop to hold the carabiner to the pocket we are going to make to hold the magnet. If you are not using a Carabiner, I assume you have something else that works better for you.
To figure out size and length of the fabic you will need, first you will want to clip the carabiner to your person. Then measure how far down from the bottom of the carabiner that you will want your gun to hang. FYI, mine is 3 inches, but depending on where your magnet is attached to your gun, and gun size, you may want yours a different length. Some things to note; if it's too high, your hands might hit it or it will get in the way of sitting down, if it's too low, it will swing a LOT and might bang into things you don't want it too.
Once you get a length figured out, double it, as you are making a loop. Be sure to add a small amount of extra length so you have something to attach it to the magnet pouch. I do suggest making it a full loop as it would make it stronger.
Width will be determined by the opening of the carabiner you are using. You will want it slightly smaller so it has some room to move. Once you figure out width, you will want to multiple it by 4. The reason being is you will want to fold the fabric in half, twice. This will make the loop strong even if your fabric isn't.
Now you should have a length that is double the distance you want your gun to hang, and a width that is just under 4x the opening on your carabiner. Make a rectangle on your fabric with those numbers and cut, being sure to leave extra for sew folds.
Once your fabric is cut, fold it in half on the width, and then again, to make it thick but long. Pin it and sew it together so it stays folded.
Finally take your carabiner and pull the fabric through it and fold it at exactly half. Pin it there and set aside for the end of the next step.
Step 4: Magnet Pouch
Next we will make the pouch that holds the magnet, but first we need to test the fabric you are using.
Please see warning in step two about magnets!
For this project we want the magnet to hold the gun firmly, but still allow you to easily pull them apart. To do this you will need to fold your fabric on itself, and with the magnet on one side, put it to the other magnet to test how hard it is to slide the magnets apart with the fabric between them. Keep folding your fabric and testing until you find a resistance that still holds firmly, but allows you to slide the magnets apart easily.
If you are following my steps in order, the other magnet should already be attached to your gun. This way in testing the fabric layer resistance, you will also be testing how easy it is to remove the gun from the holder, and how well you secured the magnet to your gun.
Once you find the right layers of fabric, fold the same amount of layers over the other side of the magnet. Then trace out a pattern to cut out that fits around the magnet with some folding room for sewing. Cut the fabric and then pin it together with the magnet inside. Before sewing, pull out the loop you made from step three, and pin the extra bit inside the magnet pouch. This way when you sew the pouch together, you will attach the loop and carabiner at the same time.
One thing to remember before sewing, is that these are magnets. While one side, attracts, the other side repels. Make sure to check what side you have accessible on your gun, and what sides are accessible on the pouch. You don't want to sew up your pouch and discover that only the repelling sides are accessible.
Finally once you have it all ready, sew it together. Use some caution as the magnet may stick to your sewing machine. Hopefully you should have enough layers of fabric between it that it will still slide enough to sew it together.
Step 5: Wrap Up!
If all went well you should now be enjoying your new gun holder that not only shows off your gun, but still allows you to grab it at a moments notice.
Personally I find this faster than a holster as you can grab your gun and aim it at your target all in one fluid motion!
Be sure to check out my other instructables!
I have detailed pictures of the guns shown in this one and a Steampunk keyboard that anyone can make!