Thursday, July 2, 2015

WASP Completion

WASP = WASP Automatic Superstock Pistol

This was where I left it:

Now the new bodywork:

And paint. Trivia: Everything red of mine has been sprayed with the same single can. "DZ Customs Red" is ACE Hardware "Rust Stop" (Rustoleum knockoff) "Regal Red" enamel. That can is about 10 years old and has sprayed a bunch of mower parts and other random things too, and now 4 guns! And there is still paint left in it!

One of the great things about the Rustoleum industrial finish, it covers forever and beyond. Super cheap and handy. I spray the white stripes over the red in one coat, too. Perfect coverage, though I could get smoother paintjobs if I would be more careful and patient and buy some fresh paint.

That was a while back. The battery and motors arrived recently and I put this thing together.

Generic FK130SH 4666kv "Meishel" on right, Mabuchi FK180SH-3240 for comparison on left. As you can see these things have vented cans in just the right place for Nerf cages, and a slightly longer shaft, both good features.

Installed in a Stryfe cage.

The battery I am using, a Zippy Compact 2S 850mAh 25C.

The only battery box mod, aside from gutting out all the AA related stuff from the inside, is to grind this spot. This is where the wires exit the wrapping of the pack and the relief avoids pinching them.

Dropped in place.

Installed. There is a PVC piece added to prevent the pack from moving forward, and I have replaced the JST RCY with a Deans Ultra.

Everything crams in nicely. The battery box cover has had the ribs removed on the backside


Internals. Wired with 16AWG teflon, full size micro, all standard stuff. You can also see the "vortex" muzzle device here

This feed guide is one of the defining features that separates this from "just a Stryfe". It is ~2mm sheet, and bonded to the underside of the old support area for the lockbolt/dart sensor that of course went in the trash.

And this is what it does; support the top round in the mag and prevent it from working upward through the feed lips over time. This is going to be a sidearm, so this is a very necessary feature for reliability. It prevents malfunction clearance without dropping the mag and prevents toploading, but it allows trouble-free use of mags with very strong springs (like 6-rounders, which are what will be used in a pistol) over any period of time.

You can also see the spring feed guides installed in the cage. These are there to provide spring pressure to hold darts in the mag and avoid any remote chance of the dart working forward into the flywheels and locking them up.

With my primary.

Now I just have to wait for that holster to arrive.

I am happy with the results of this build (which are alright response and nominal velocities), but I don't like how loud and rough it is. It could use a set of better balanced flywheels (but definitely can't handle any more flywheel mass). These motors rev a bit too high in my opinion, and the battery is also too small and has too high an IR to get either optimal motor performance or optimal service life out of the battery. I still don't like flatpak lipo and I still don't like 130 motors.

However, in terms of a cheap power system ($5.10 battery, $3.58 motor set) that is available at present and fits into a pistol form factor, it is pretty damn good. It has a mean buzz and a nasty sting and it will sure get me out of more bad situations than a single-action revolver.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Aluminum Standard Flywheels by DrSnikkas Initial Test

You have probably heard of this German nerfer "DrSnikkas" and the billet parts he makes for flywheel guns; particularly the CNC milled aluminum cage with canted-axis concave flywheels and a feed guide that has been all the hype. However what I have here is something different, a set of billet flywheels for standard Nerf-design cages.

Thanks to Bobololo for providing these to be reviewed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bullpup survey results

Readers of this blog who also follow r/Nerf (i.e. most of you, I assume) will already be aware of the performance-oriented blaster company which redditor farmcoffee is working on starting, and will have already seen this informal survey on whether people prefer blasters in a bullpup or conventional configuration.

This is a summary of the results of that informal survey.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tech: Rapidstrike Control Circuits Part 1

(Coming soon: Pictorial diagrams showing real parts and wiring connections)

I have had some requests for improved and more complete circuit diagrams as of late. In this post I will cover some of the basic electromechanical Rapidstrike circuits and their applications, behaviors and issues, as well as some general Rapidstrike teching advice.

To begin with, we have the basic old school American Rapidstrike wiring as in my Standard Rapidstrike guide:

You will note I showed ground connections as per convention rather than snaking a bunch of wires all the way back to the battery and making a lot of clutter.

There is a LOT more to this post after the jump which is why I am breaking it here or at all.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

WIP Stryfe "Wasp" Pistol, and sidearm thoughts

Me and pistols have a long history of being at odds with one another.

I started out with, of all things you would expect to see me shooting, a Maverick - with my Raider or Vulcan primary. This was 2010, after all. My Maverick, in fact, did not suck. It had perhaps 70fps, and it didn't jam, and in those days it was quite nice.

Soon after I moved on to exploring other pistol options of the era.

What I quickly realized, though, was that I was an ineffective player with a single action revolver. As with spring primaries, I found a major problem with ROF and the practical utility of a pistol in the sort of situation that would call for its use. This led me to a longstanding anti-sidearm, pro-secondary approach.

I would use various SMGs, carbines, PDWs, and abominations, trading off bulk and holsterability for the absolute level of firepower I considered necessary.

This ranged from a Barricade, to a Swarmpistol on a holster hook, to a Rayven tucked under my arm, to a RapidPistol with a 12 or 18 round mag, to what I planned to do with the Vulture bullpup carbine and never did.

Then around a year ago, around the time of UGA 2014, I came to a realization about the state of superstock rifle technology. It was the first HvZ game I played without having an underslung Swarmfire in years. I also played the latter half of it without my RapidPistol at my side, since I had given it to a squadmate with a down primary; and then everyone else either died or ragequit leaving me to represent us at the final stand, and in the process it ended up in the trunk of a car. I had nothing after my Tacmod except socks. It really was, "rifle first, rifle always" and you know what? It was great. The Tacmod proved itself capable of sufficient reliability and endurance that I needed no sidearm and didn't eventually die because of my equipment.

This resulted in my ditching the secondaries. My new pistol was a Jolt in a secure little holster on my belt, which remains there now. The automatic secondaries were unbeatably effective, but bulky. I could replace them with 4 more mags.

So that brings me to my present direction with sidearms. I wanted to get back some backup firepower for insurance purposes, but I wanted a sidearm - in a holster, out of the way, easily drawn. I considered all the usual superstock pistols and some unusual ones.

I immediately struck out the Nerf Strongarm. It is no secret I think the Strongarm is a poorly engineered gun. Aside from a stock spring AND an air restrictor, they frag, and there are no upgrade parts I don't trust to also shred. Less than 85 fps or necessity to run an AR is an automatic disqual in this race. Less than a hundred is already a demerit.

Next up is the Hammershot. This was what came closest to becoming my new pistol out of all the springers.

I swapped a Splatmaster Z90 for one of these, and upgraded it in about 5 minutes with a spring spacer and AR delete to decent results. Overall the Hammershot has a lot going for it - hammer-fired for one handed operation, reliable, durable, and the best trigger in the hobby.

I also considered a Mega Magnus. Nice handling, nice velocity, and useful 20mm hitting power. But only 3 shots, and still single action.

And that is a problem everything above and everything else I looked at (including some promising Airzone/Lanard stuff) is facing. That is the paradigm I was initially so meh about - manual spring operation, constant among all classical superstock sidearms. If a Hammershot can help me, so can a Jolt or a sock; why carry 4 or 5 more shots that you won't have a chance to use in a bind?

Parallel to all this was holster research. The BSUK MkIV quickly got my attention, and... What's this about a Stryfe?

You know, a 130 motor setup, with a small lipo, exactly what I need - a nice slim semi-auto pistol. Malfunction, transition, pew pew pew pew, reholster and recover primary. Thinner than any nerf revolver, automatic, magfed, shoots 120fps like any other superstock gun. I think I might have a winner.

This is what I came up with. The blaze orange Stryfes are truly eye-stabbing and do not photograph well, but you should be able to see that some changes have been made. All accessory rails are gone and the underbarrel area streamlined for holster purposes. It will run Meishel 130 motors and a small 2S lipo. My plan is to snag a BSUK MkIV holster for it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It has a name now: progress on the Chaotic shortbus

Remember this? Progress on this build has been slow as I've been doing bits here and there in my spare time, which I don't have much of at the moment. I've also been experimenting with different techniques, and on that front there has been enough progress to merit a post.

Tacmod 3.1 Completion (contains rambling)

Well, it has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, but as of one week ago to this day, the newest member of the Tacmod family is finished.

Another shiny new Noob Dream Rifle fresh off the tech bench.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tacmod 3.1 FCG Microswitches, finished paint

Here is where I left everything:

The switches came in the mail. Ordered from Digi-Key.

All are Omron.

For the trigger and cycle control, the SS-10GL. This is a common submini switch with a flat lever actuator. 10.1A rated

The rev switch is a V-214-1C6 and is rated for 21A. I have never been a fan of submini rev switches, in my opinion they are a cut corner.

Now that microswitch ratings have come up, I figure I will post this excerpt from the datasheet of this switch:

Note how the DC current ratings work; at low voltages there is no derating from the AC rating. You may have encountered the very low DC ratings and wondered about switch life in our applications, well not to worry.

Also note the motor load ratings, which are continuous current, with footnote 4 specifying an inrush current of 6 times that.

Typical 180 flywheel setups will thus fall into this switch's ratings which are for a life of minimum 100,000 cycles. Assuming you rev every shot individually, getting a hundred thousand rounds out of a gun without anything breaking or becoming obsolete is unheard of.

Similarly, the inrush ratings here allow for 180 stall current with this particular switch. Now, most of us aren't using the V21, we are using something more like the V11, but even that is a lot less over the switch ratings than some people have thought.

Finally, everything else is ready for wiring and an inner barrel.

I had a few issues with painting that player number. The stencil I had for it wore out and gave a really shitty result this time, so I masked the lettering off by hand and sprayed red to kill the overspray. That worked, but there are some red leak spots and blemishes if you look too close. I am just not the greatest at paint.

Improved magwell area bodywork is smoother and doesn't have a sharp internal corner on this one. Also, rail install.

Here's where I put that stored energy tag. It is brushed aluminum. Matches the paintjob nicely

Charging handle. It isn't just there to be tacticool, there is no other way to grip this jam door.

Still toploadable even though it is a flat top

To do:
Install arming plug connector Install live center disconnect switch instead of an arming plug
Make cycle control follower
Build FCG
Install charging connector
Shorten a Stampede inner barrel to fit
Add magnetic jam door latch
Figure out the sling situation (Later?)
Tag people.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Koosh Dart Tacmod Chrono Session - Crazy Results

Check, this, out!

I wanted to give these darts a test based on the significant foam change versus past darts, and I did.

The data will speak for themselves. These are here as images because Google Docs goofed up my graphs. Pay close attention to that Y-axis scale, it is NOT in error!

Remember when I said these darts hit hard? Well, they really DO hit hard. They won't be not calling their hits with these!

Yes, my chrono is set up properly! The setup is identical to what I ran the Kforce test on. Everything else is reading just where I expect it to.

These are the Feb '15 darts with the relatively thinner, weaker foam:

But even they shot a lot hotter than the koosh I have tested in the past, including the early '15 BW12 forest green and the 2014 Yutoys blue.

Neither of these specific batches of darts I had previously subjected to any kind of testing.

My Retal only barely managed to peak at 100fps with either of these darts. I didn't record Retal data because I do not want to wear these darts out, I want to turn that performance on zombies 2 weeks from now!

Friday, May 22, 2015

K'nex K-Force Dart Initial Test

This is the dart introduced by K'nex Brands, LLC along with the new K-Force Build and Blast line.

30-round pack with target, purchased at a TRU in Orlando, Florida in late May 2015.

I will begin by noting that other nerfers have had mixed results. Darts included with other K-Force products and darts sent by K'nex PR have not given anyone trouble, but these casepacks are another story, with accuracy issues and glue problems. I had some of that too.

The big innovation here is the tip design. As the market fills up with patents and customers demand higher performance, toy/stock/superstock dart tips are seeing a lot of new ideas. The Kforce dart's defining feature is this multilayered lattice structure to make an impact-absorbing tip without a hollow air-filled dome.

Like the "koosh" tip, these have been identified by the NIC as a potentially improved tip design, providing both safety and decent mass distribution.

Now onto the darts I received. I had 3 darts in this package with excess protruding glue.

As with the recent koosh order of mine, these are exceedingly difficult to deflash. The tip tends to remove cleanly upon trying.

The tip is thermoplastic elastomer. It is slicker than recent Hasbro dome tips. No magazine feed issues were encountered.

Foam length is about 1mm longer than a typical Hasbro full length dome tip dart (ZS Elite shown). This caused no issues with magfed guns in the test. I have no working revolvers to test, but in some borderline cases, these may have to be trimmed slightly.

L-R: May 2015 Yutoys koosh; Kforce; ZS Elite.

The foam on these is nearly identical to typical Hasbro foam of the last 2 years, including bore size and stiffness.

No barrel issues.

Now, getting to the test shoot.

I am steadily losing generic test guns to configuration changes and arsenal downsizing. Also, I have received negative feedback about sample sizes. Unfortunately, I cannot afford what it takes to be statistically proper about every single test. I cannot afford 50 elites every 2 guns, which are darts I do not want to own after I am done chronographing. For dart testing shoots, I cannot afford to go out and buy 50+ rounds of something new and untested like these.

Taking these pressures into account, I have changed the superstock dart test shoot protocol to preserve maximum player relevance and supply more shots per gun without a cost increase to me. There are now two test gun classes - a superstock magfed flywheel gun, and a superstock Hasbro springer with a stock bolt. These cover all the demands of most primaries. The string length is 20 shots, the number of darts used is 20, and each gun shoots twice in alternation.

This provides 40 shots per platform as well as a rough indication of any rapid aging problems with the darts over the course of 2 flywheel and 2 spring shots each. Since the flywheel and springer critical areas of the dart are at opposite ends of the foam, the effects on the opposite platform apart from handling and loading are minimized.

Chrono session

Here it is the Tacmod 2.1 prototype and the Retaliator Hammer.

The results were interesting. Both platforms dropped velocity and increased in variability in their second run. More worrisome, however, were several garbage flywheel shots after the darts were used.

Note in the Tacmod string, several poorly placed shots that did not trigger the chrono caused me to have to reuse fired darts early (the grey shots in the spreadsheet), and you can see how the velocity went down as soon as they were fired a single time. That is disappointing.

Quick accuracy observations: A small pizza box was placed 30 feet away and shot at 10 times with the TM2.1. This is NOT a human silhouette test or effective range indication, it is only to judge stability by the dispersion at relatively close range.

Kforce (some used): 6 hits.

Feb '15 Yutoys koosh (used): 4 hits.

May '15 Yutoys koosh (some used, most reglued): 6 hits. Hard hits, too.

In all these are another mixed bag at this point. Despite finding quality issues, the accuracy at superstock velocities is not shabby. However, the rapid performance drop is unfortunate, and the dud flywheel shots potentially a killer flaw of this tip design.

As is usual, I will field these and report on their viability.