1) Foam Backer Road
2) Utility Knife
3) Copperhead Steel BB Ammo
4) Slingshot Ammo
5) Dart Tips
6) Pillow Case
7) Hair Dryer
8) Some kind of measuring device
I guess the way that I do it is considered the old fashioned way. There are other ways to do this, but this is the way that I found easier given my tools and work space. For a measuring device, I bought a cutting board with a ruler on it. It cut down on things to keep track of as well as making it a lot easier for me to cut the right size every time. I would definitely recommend it.
One of the things that I wanted to was to be able to turn the stefans into something a little more deadly. I got some soft dart tips just to try out the weight and extra length that a tip would add to the end. This is a hit or miss, though. All the documentation I found on stefans revolved mostly around using a weight that can be settled into the foam for safety purposes.
I cut the sizes into 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 inches. I made more of the smaller ones because those are probably the ones I’ll be using the most with the smaller guns. The bigger ones I plan on using for the sniper rifle and they might be a necessity for the dart tips because of the extra weight in the back.
The first thing you must do is straighten out the foam backer rod. You have to make sure that these are perfectly straight or your dart isn’t going to fly straight. What you’ll want to do, is put the cut foam into a pillow case and stick the nozzle of the hairdryer into the opening. Then, gather the rest of the opening around the end so the air only goes into the pillow case and out through the fabric.You’ll then want to turn the air on high and shake the case while the hot air is running. I made the mistake of not shaking the case and it caused all of my foam to shrink until it was unusable. I do it for about 30 seconds, but if you’re not sure, just do it for about 10 seconds at a time and check to see if it’s straight. Another mistake I did, was mix the different sizes together. A 1.5 inch piece of foam is obviously going to heat up faster than a 3 inch piece of foam so I had to sort through the pieces after each batch to find the ones that weren’t straight yet.
After the pieces are straight, you then want to make a small hole in the top of the foam for the weight to go into. To do this, heat a glue gun up and just press the nozzle of the gun briefly into the tip of the foam. to keep the foam from caving in, I usually blow on it or use a small hand fan to keep the foam cool. I used a high temp glue gun though, a low temp glue gun might have been a better idea to use. They are only about $2-$3 so it’s not a bad investment to make. I also made a makeshift holder for my darts by hot gluing a bunch of marker caps and backs to a spare piece of plastic I had. This helps with the cooling of the glue after the weight is set because you don’t want it to shift. I also do this part first before I put the weights in because the foam tends to melt around the tip of the glue gun and my OCD just doesn’t allow me to go through everything at once.
Once you have a bunch of hole tipped foam pieces, you’ll then want to put your weight in. Once again I either blow on the foam end or use a fan to keep the glue from causing the foam to cave in. You’ll want to place a tiny drop of glue into the hole, put the weight in, then tip it with little bit more glue. Most people will tell you to make sure nothing is protruding, but I’m going for performance, not safety, and I made a few that form a little hump at the end. A safety warning though, this does hurt if shot with the right gun at the right distance so please be careful – ok conscious is clear.
Make sure the glue is completely dry and hardened before you move them. You now have your own home made darts! Yay celebrate woohoo. I’ll be doing a little testing with each once I have a gun made, so I’ll update you on how well they work a little later on