Friday, December 5, 2014

Clipfire internals and mod guide (lots of pictures)

This took long enough to post, eh? A review of the Clipfire can be found here, in which I promised an internals guide which I said would be done "soon". As it turns out, "soon" can mean "in a few months" - still, better late than never.

This guide assumes that you are opening your Clipfire with the intent to modify it - after all, there aren't many other reasons why someone would want to open a blaster, and if you have it open anyway, you may as well modify it while you're in there. The Clipfire is the only blaster that I've worked on that is easier to open, modify, and close than to reassemble in its stock configuration.

One convention that I follow consistently in this guide is that the text underneath each picture corresponds to that picture. I've erred on the side of too many rather than too few pictures, as a Clipfire can be tricky to work with.

The blaster depicted in this guide has had the front of the barrel shroud cut off. As this makes it possible to open the shell completely, this makes the pictures clearer. If you leave the front of your barrel shroud in place, everything here still applies. Also note that the rest of my barrel shroud has been slightly warped in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the glue holding on the front of the shroud with boiling water, so yours won't look exactly the same if you cut off the front.


Opening the blaster 


 A Clipfire has 5 screws on the shell, including one in the grip, all of which are the same size. The front of the barrel shroud is solvent welded on. You cannot remove it except by cutting it off. It is possible to cut of the front of the barrel shroud in such a way that it looks sorta clean-ish when you put it back on, if you squint . . . OK, it's ugly, but it works. If you do decide to cut it, be careful not to saw through the barrel as well.

Alternatively, if you want to retain the stock appearance of your Clipfire, the shell can be opened wide enough to access the internals with the front of the barrel shroud in place, but this does make working inside the blaster a bit tricky.

As soon as you open the shell (either with or without the front of the barrel shroud), lots of tiny pieces will spew out. That's OK. About half of them can be put back with a reasonable amount of finicky fiddling, and about half you'll probably want to discard anyway.

Opening the blaster inside of a bag of some sort might be a good idea - there are some tiny springs in there that are very easy to lose.


Folding grip latches


One piece of the latches that hold the folding grips in place falls out easily. The rest can sometimes fall out. Here's how to put them back.
These are all of the pieces. The grey piece on the right is the one that falls out easily. If it is the only one to fall out, skip to the end of this section.
 Note the springs on these grey pieces. If they come off, they snap back on.
 Insert the blue pieces here. Note the position of the small cylindrical protrusion which holds the other end of the springs on the grey pieces. Note the two holes in each half under where the grey pieces will go.
The grey pieces are held in place by friction, and by two pins each which fit into the aforementioned holes.
Here's a closeup of the spring which holds the latch out.
The last grey piece goes here.


Plunger tube


The plunger tube comes out easily enough.
 It comes apart easily enough, too! Nothing stops you from simply re-assembling it with the grey piece left out (the dart peg, that is - the rubber ring should stay). Easiest. Dart peg delete. Evar!!!
It is also the case that nothing stops you from reaming out the dart peg and putting the grey piece back for a very very small amount of deadspace reduction. Make sure that it goes in the right way up or your barrel will be effectively shorter as the darts can't go all of the way back.
Covering up the hole in the bottom of the barrel improves performance significantly. It also makes the dart lock impossible to re-install. Make sure that no glue leaks into the barrel. I used ABS solvent cement, which dried into a thin ABS film, which I thickened by applying more cement. Epoxy would have been more convenient, and methyl methacrylate would have been ideal, but I was using what I had within arm's reach at the time.


Dart lock


The dart lock prevents the trigger from being pulled when there is no dart in the barrel. Removing the dart lock is highly recommended as it allows for the hole in the barrel to be sealed, which improves performance significantly. (If you decide to remove the dart lock, sure to not neglect the rearmost piece - leaving this in while removing the rest of the lock will result in a blaster that can't fire!) Also, re-assembling the dart lock would be darn tricky (perhaps impossibly so) if you haven't cut the shell to allow it to open completely. However, if for some reason you want to replace the dart lock (or are just curious as to how it works), here's how:
These are the pieces of the dart lock. Note the tiny spring - it's the smallest of the loose springs in the blaster.
 Here is the empty space where the dart lock goes. Note the springs that are already in the blaster - those are held firmly in place and don't fall out, though I imagine that you could take them out if you wanted to.
 A closeup of the rearmost part of the dart lock, and its accompanying spring.
 Insert the spring here (it's the upper one, which wasn't there in the previous picture).
 Put the rearmost piece of the dart lock in pace on top of it.
 This is the middle piece of the dart lock, shown in place. When pushed backwards, it should push against a slope on the rearmost piece, causing the rearmost piece to move to the side.
 This is the foremost part of the dart lock, shown with the plunger tube / barrel assembly. Note how it fits into the hole in the bottom of the barrel.
This is the blaster with all pieces of the dart lock installed.
 As above, except the trigger is also installed. When a dart is present in the barrel, it pushes down the foremost part of the lock, which pushes back the middle piece, which pushes the rearmost piece to the side, which moves it out from a notch in the trigger piece, which allows the trigger piece to slide backwards.


Trigger and catch


Here is the trigger and catch. The small spring on the catch usually doesn't fall off, but it can.
 Here is the plunger tube/barrel assembly in place. You can easily see the hole where the catch goes. The plunger has been installed upside-down (note that the part where the clip parts is on the bottom here; it's usually on the top), because I think that this blaster looks a little better that way.
 Here is the catch, in place. The sloped part of the catch should face the front of the blaster, otherwise it won't work as a catch (and will be loose).
 Here is the blaster with the trigger and catch installed. Note that, in this picture, the entire dart lock is absent, the hole in the bottom of the barrel has been sealed, and the dart holder / iron sight is in place. The barrel does not fit neatly into the barrel shroud because the barrel shroud has been warped by boiling water as a result of a futile attempt to remove the glued-on bit at the front (I found out that it was solvent welded on later). Your barrel should fit in place much more neatly.




Did you:
  • Put the folding grip latches back (or not let them fall out in the first place)?
  • Seal the hole in the plunger tube?
  • Ensure that the dart lock is gone, including the rearmost piece?
  • Install the trigger and catch?
  • Remember the dart holder on the top?
  • Refer to the last picture in the above section to double-check that everything is in place?
  • Laugh manically?
  • Taunt the prisoners?
  • Appease the dark one?
Then you may gloat!

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