Last week at work, Nerf guns were given as prizes. I won one of them for guessing the contents of a box. The sharp shot can be seen here: http://nerf.wikia.com/wiki/Sharp_Shot
Now I could hardly call myself a maker geek if I didn't customise...
So this weekend I spent some time reading about the amazing world of nerf gun modding and general prop painting. Turns out that people not only paint them with amazing designs, but there is also a healthy selection of improvements that can be made to the mechanical workings. to improve the range of the gun.
I didn't take that many in progress shots, mostly through enthusiasm, but also because if you go looking there are great sources from people who've been doing it seriously for a while and you're better off going to read from the pros.
Here are all the pieces layed out and sprayed with an under coat. Before this point I sanded off the warning text and general toy labels. Also the nerf logo.
Getting to this point made me think that Nerf actively design these things to appeal to the modder crowd. I've taken apart my fair share of stuff over the years. Or is not always easy. I guess is simpler/ cheaper to use things that clip together but don't readily come apart. And general glue things in place etc.
But this thing came apart beautifully. All the screws were the same length (no confusion in re-assembly) the piston mechanism, that triggers air pressure to fire a dart, all just comes apart easily and everything can be easily modified.
I drilled out the airflow restrictor that seems to be the most popular default thing to do. I also covered the over pressure hole. And used PTFE plumbing tape to make the o-ring fit tighter. A better seal means less pressure loss and more directed to the dart.
I also decided to add some weight to the gun to give it a nicer feel. I'd seen some examples glueing coins in the handle. I had a jar full of old bolts which seemed like a good option. So I used a hot glue gun and made sure to put an equal amount in both sides.
All of that came later really, the painting happened first.
I chose a simple paint design since this was my first try. I figured I shouldn't get too ambitious. So just red in the various patterns for target and the number. And blue in all the little groves.
Then I used a gun metal silver to add a weathering effect. Basically to make it look like parts of the paint have worn through to the metal under use. So applied to edges, were the slide mechanism goes back and fourth. And around were you tend to put your hands. The trick here is to be very sparing with paint. I think it came out OK, but clearly a question of practice.
Here are the parts with weathering
Then I applied a rust-oleum crystal clear spray coating. The theory is this will allow it to be up to the job of actually being handles without causing problems for the passing. Only time will tell if this has worked.
And at last here is the finished gun reassembled.
This was fun to do. And I think I'm going to do this at least a couple more times. I bought a larger nerf gun (it was in a sale! I couldn't resist) and I have the paints now, so it would be foolish not to pay a little more :-)