A Nerf Gun Upgrade

A lot of us have nostalgia for our childhood toys, and as long as they’re not something like lawn darts that nostalgia often leads to fun upgrades since some of us are adults with industrial-sized air compressors. Classics like Super Soakers and Nerf guns are especially popular targets for improvements, and this Nerf machine gun from [Emiel] is no exception.

The build takes a Nerf ball-firing toy weapon and basically tosses it all out of the window in favor of a custom Nerf ball launching rifle. He starts with the lower receiver and machines a pneumatic mechanism that both loads a ball into the chamber and then launches it. This allows the rifle to be used in both single-shot mode and also in fully-automatic mode. From there, a barrel is fashioned along with the stock and other finishing touches.

[Emiel] also uses a high-speed camera to determine the speed of his new Nerf gun but unfortunately it isn’t high-speed enough, suffering from the same fate as one of the fastest man-made objects ever made, and he only has a lower bound on the speed at 400 km/h. If you don’t want to go fast with your Nerf builds, though, perhaps you should build something enormous instead.

16 thoughts on “A Nerf Gun Upgrade

  1. I remember when Nerf first hit, and there were only Nerf balls. Nerf “frisbees” came next. By tye time of guns and endless other products, I was probably an adult, certainly beyind toys.

    But fifty years ago last month, I found hobby electronic magazines. So I went from comic books to those (maybe some overlap).

    1. Hobby electronics magazines went downhill pretty fast not long after Y2K and most I’ve seen since then resemble everything on the internet (including this site) – A whole lot of mimic projects with very specific instructions, and little to be learned in the way of design challenge. If you want some high quality stuff, look at back issues of mags like Circuit Cellar – Used to be a great publication with a lot of low level design theory included.

      As for growing out of the nerf gun, well, now you’re at the age where you build real guns instead! You can build an AR-15 from scratch in a couple hours, and many of the parts can now be made on a 3D printer. The only part that is difficult to make at home is the barrel but barrel blanks are easily attainable, it’s just a steel rod. Then you can join the local club and compete with some grumpy old men who bought theirs at a store and make them grumpier when you tell them that you just printed yours ;)

      1. > many of the parts can now be made on a 3D printer.

        no you can’t, the reason why you can “3D print an AR-15” is because US laws consider the part that serial number goes as “the gun” and the part where it goes on AR is non structural.

    2. The original Nerf toys were die cut shapes made from thick sheets of some kind of open cell foam. I had a Nerf car. The body was blue with a pair of silver plastic axles poked through and glued. Snapped onto the axles were silver plastic wheels with grey foam tires glued on.

      It rolled really smooth but the tires would pick up all kinds of dirt and cat hair off the carpet. Cabbot find a thing online about the earliest simple Nerf products like it.

  2. Nerf mods are a lot of fun to do. Though after spending ages making a 96 ball Nerf blunder buster, it dawned that I had no use for it what so ever. So did the only sensible thing and donated it to a scout leader to smite the scouts.

  3. When we where kids…

    We discovered that the yellow Nerf Ballzooka balls fit snugly in cardboard paper towel tubes.
    And the larger wood Tinker Toy wheel could be affixed with some duct tape to the other end of the tube.
    And a single Black Cat firecracker fit snugly into the wheel’s hole.

    For best results wrap several layers of duct tape to reinforce the paper towel tubes.
    Firecracker should be pressed all the way in such that it’s flush with the Tinker Toy.
    Push the ball 1/4 – 1/2 way down the tube (there is a sweet spot for range depending on the tube diameter and friction with the ball).

    Expect about 10-20 times the Ballzooka distance.

    We only used it in mortar configuration, not hand held, and was mostly to see how far we could shoot a Nerf ball.

  4. I was able to see a couple of frames with the ball visible in the slo-mo. This is about 10 frames after 13:16 shows up (use , and . to single-step YouTube while paused). The ball is a long blur visible in front of the metal brackets on the wall. However, since I don’t know the frame rate, I can’t calculate the speed.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.