This is the most definitive, all inclusive and ultimately useful guide to K'nex weaponry on Instructables. It will be the 'Dicta Boelcke' , the 'No Guts, No Glory' of Kn'ex tutorials. Yes , I haven't made any instructables yet , but I have made my own guns , but do not have a digital camera. I have been creating these things on Instructables for over a year now , and the best thing is that it will accomodate for people who have few peices , beginners and it will be unbiased in it's advice , although i will also give my opinion.
Any guns that you see are not mine , and are shown for good reasons. They and their sub-types are all good for different reasons.
Step 1: Terminology
This page will help you to understand the VERBAL instructions of Instructables.
Now when someone says a 'rod' that meaning is clear - a coloured peice of knex that is long (mostly) and thin , and clips 'into' other knex peices. Some people will say a 'connector' and mean one of two things . Mostly they mean a peice with 1 or more holes for k'nex peices to click into , but they can mean a rod as well , so they may say 'connector rod' .
Take a break now .... chill .
COLOUR is very important here . Now different knex sets will come in different colours from the standard kits , but a list includes :
Yellow connector : always 5 holes , a semi-circle
Green " " : always 4 holes , an obtuse angle
Grey " " : either 1 hole , a kind of click-on-loop
or 2 holes , an acute angle
or a different kind of yellow connector
or a different kind of red 'right-angle' connector
In short that is only a part of the iceberg. It would take for ever to list terms , but luckily for you there is normally a context where any other types of the same peice just could'nt work. Also several good authors will use pictures , like those below . This set is for one of KillerK's guns , and you can make it here : www.instructables.com/id/K_NEX-GUN/
Step 2: Inventiveness - Originality and Copying
This is a very open dispute on Instructables . The picture below shows a gun with a lot in common with other rifles - a similar design. It's type has been argued over quite a lot .
Now no-one should say ... what am i saying ? No-one CAN rightly say that inspiration is not the key to making a great K'nex weapon. That doe's not mean making a small mod to someone else's gun and then calling it 100% your own. You can make comparitively small mods and publish them but it needs to work (duh!) and you need to add plenty of references and credit to the original creator of the gun.
Step 3: 'Make My Own !' - Firing Mechanisms
There is 4 main types of firing mechanisms but there ar several less-used ways to get something flying out there.
The most commonly used are :
.Firing Ram - 'Bolt Action'. These can have hoppers (several shots before having to reload more rounds) or single shot , where a new bullet has to be inserted every time the gun is fired. This last one is the most common beginner's knex gun and doe's make for powerful guns. This last sort also is most commonly muzzle-loading. No.2 picture is a bolt-action muzzle loading rifle , yet can fire over 6 times more shots than any Napoleonic musket. No.1 picture is of the same type.
.Slingshot - This provides slow load , single shot , yet often extremely powerful guns. A prime example is no.3 picture, the famous KILLERK's SR-V1 , a huge Leviathan of Kn'ex sniper technology. These can be much simpler , but are the best technology for sniping.
.'Gatling Gun' - These are machine-guns , made by people who personally i think are sad to have that much time (no friends) and that many peices (gullible parents) , but hey this guide is all-inclusive and there are some exceptions. No. 4 picture is one of those exceptions , although it is not a true Gatling Gun - read the advice on the picture on where to find those for now.
These tend to have several barrels , each with it's own Firing Ram and a motor or crank to make them all spin ; they are mounted on a wheel. As they pass a certain point , always at the top of the barrel as far as what i have seen, a mechanism makes each individual barrel fire.
.Rubber-band - These are guns that fire rubber-bands , not actually knex peices. No.5 picture is probably the best one. These have a revolver like wheel in a center chamber and are in a sense easier to make , as the rubbers do not have to go down a narrow, specific channel . People tend to prefer guns that fire rods, not rubbers , and i personally agree . They certainly have more control over firing-speed and are not bad .
There is also several other more specialised areas of K'nex munitions :
Grenades . These are either powered by rubbers , to fling shrapnel with power at everything (see no. 6 picture) .They can also be designed to be left on the floor as mines. If anything is going to poke someone's eye out at close range and make your parents go evil about it , this is. However there is the other kind of grenade , which is (no. 7 picture) simply made by fitting together peices in an un-normal way : it will be unstable. This will then shatter when thrown at an object with force.
You can also get grenade launchers. These are mostly for attaching to the end of a gun, although they can just be individual units .
No. 8 picture is of a revolver . There is only 2 of these on Instructables and people want them so if you can make a good one , then you have plenty of customers. There is this one (needs tape but v. gd) and another 8 shot revolver which is very big but more functional.
There is also a 'Deconstruction round' gun , which basically pushes bullets out of a 'snowflake' white 8-piece connector about 0.11111111110 ft . Technologically , a trip through time. In reality , *****, and more *****.
Step 4: 'Make My Own!' - "Market Research"
Now that you've decided on a firing mechanism for your new gun , you need to think about the more broad specs of each type . As an example , I'll use the rifle below as an example.
Let's say that you want to make a 'bolt-action' , manual firing ram , muzzle loading k'nex gun. Standard - not boring , or ordinary , but a good standard.
Now , as this is a fairly standard gun , people are always looking to make it more individual. The guns below are all of the same type and yet they are very different , as i'm sure you'll agree.
Now there are several things that can or can't be equipped on any weapon . Here is a list of them:
.Bolts or Bands - what doe's it fire ?
.Sights - pinhole or scope if at all
.General overall size
.Trigger - block or true ?
.Hopper - will it have one ? Will it work? Will it have a bottom loading magazine ?
Now an expeienced knex gunsmith can whip you up an unreliable , firing ram, muzzle loading pistol in about 30 secs to 1 min.
But true, actual perfection comes with time. Even if your initial idea is crap , then work on it .... time is the key . Your finished weapon may fire completely differently from the original.
There is little more that you can learn from this - teverything else comes with experience. So....
Get Cracking !!!!!
Step 5: The Guns Shown and Their Uses ..................Credits (If I Can)
These are listed in the order of the pictures from left to right :
.SR-V1 . This is made by KILLERK , and is the most famous sniper rifle. There are several different versions , and instructables on just how to load it. type the initials into the searc bar and you'll get plenty of results.
.Revolver . Can't remember who by , but type in 'revolver' and there arent many options - it's very recognisable.
.The Best Frag Grenade. That's all you need to know. Made by MykHailo.
.Unknown maker - Powered reloadable grenade. Very powerful :D
.Small Gatling Gun. More like an LMG , but still a useful arsenal addition.
.Forget others.... This is the only rubberband gun even worth considering. The picture is quite distinctive , and there is a version with the stock and barrel removed to make a pistol.
.A worthy gun. Unknown maker , but with very individual technology. It has the only working hopper and the only true (single-shot) semi-auto mechanism , which is good , although unfortuantely it doe'snt fire far , but that's just an invitation to GET MODDING !!
.Based on KILLERK's Magnum. Sights are mucked up but is probably the best bolt-action sniper rifle (therefore loads faster too) and is very good . Consider it highly.
.A carbine , this one by Michel (???) . A fairly slow , yet uniform and manageable weapons . Several fairly similar variations avai;able.
.The best beginners gun . Either the 1st or 2nd i ever made ... And worth it too. Good for basic firing techniques.
. THE RIFLE. Amazing , doesnt use too many pieces, ... what can i say ? You are seriously missing out if you don't build it. With some slight modding , the best gun you've ever made. Search 'rifle' and look for the again DISTINCTIVE picture.
There are other Knex guides out there . Visit them , get your own opinions , and see what you think. They tend to be either for beginners or for terminology , etc. Not all-inclusive like mine.
There is little more that you can learn from me and these other gunsmiths - everything else comes with experience. So....
Get Cracking !!!!!
Step 6: Update - Triggers
There are four types of triggers you will encounter on instructables: block triggers, true triggers, block-true triggers, and sear systems.
The first type is called a block trigger; it does exactly what the name implies, it blocks the firing pin. This is basically the opposite of the sear system. The difference from a true trigger lyes in the way it is pulled - a block trigger has to be turned to the side to fire . This unusual method of trigger has both it's pros and cons. Whereas guns with it are sometimes more powerful, and are certainly simpler, they are less realistic. They are also easier to fire accidentally. For that, you need a true trigger.
The second type of trigger is called the true trigger. It does the same thing as the block trigger - blocks the barrel then is released so the firing pin can come forward - but the trigger gets pulled like a real trigger instead of turned to the side. These triggers are more favourable to the knex community because they make the guns that have them more realistic.
The third is a combination between the block trigger and true trigger. This is often used on guns that were originally block triggers, but have been modded so that the block trigger is LINKED to a true trigger. These guns have a block trigger, but through a set of hinges/rubberbands etc, the trigger gets hooked up to a true trigger so the true trigger pulls the block down. It works well as it has the realism of a true trigger with only some of the complexity.
The forth is the sear system. If made right this can be the most reliable - but , of course there's no such thing as a free lunch - it's hard to get right. Instead of blocking the firing pin by blocking the barrel, the sear holds the firing pin back.
My thanks to DSman195276 for giving me the text for this step (not saying it hasn't been tweaked though).
Pic 1. Bakenbitz's BBKWG. This has a true trigger.
Pic 2. KillerK's SR-V1. Another true trigger design, one of the best.
Pic 3. Schultz's Rifle. This has a block trigger and is very good.
Pic 4. A beginner's gun - it's not hard to see just how easy the block trigger is to make, though the firing is not as instinctive as a true trigger.
Pic 5. A gun with a sears system - The hinge near the back holds the firing pin in place. I have made a version of this which is so much better, and when i get my camera linked to my computer i will post it !