Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nerf Rayven - Mod Guide!

This Mod Guide will cover some performance mods for the Nerf Rayven.

Mods covered:
- Voltage Increase
- Stefan Compatibility
- Access Hatch Removal

Disclaimer: Modify at your own risk. Modifications may wear out or damage your blaster. Please be careful when using hobby tools!

:: Voltage Increase ::

As the Rayven is a flywheel based blaster, the faster the flywheel motors spin the faster foam darts get fired out, hence longer range and faster dart velocity.

To increase the speed of the motors, simply increase the voltage feed.

In my examples, i use 14500 size 3.7V Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries (Brand: TrustFire / Unprotected versions) in my modded Barricades. The batteries can be sourced from specialist electronics stores or online sites.

14500 size 3.7V Li-Ion TrustFire rechargeable batteries are usually charged up to 4.2V, so i use various configurations (along with dummy AA batteries to fill in the empty slots if required).

The Rayven has 4 x battery slots (one slot more than in a Barricade), this allows for additional voltage increase options without the need to mod the battery compartment.

In the photo above (from left to right), the voltage configurations are at 8.4V, 12.6V and 16.8V.

I have noticed that the Rayven's stock motors can run on 16.8V without the inbuilt safety thermistor cutting off the power, therefore it seems to have a much higher voltage and current tolerance than compared to the Barricade.

See the test fire video below for the range results based on these various increased voltages.

Note that normal Alkaline batteries have limited discharge rates, and may therefore perform differently at the same voltage compared to these unprotected TrustFire Li-Ion batteries.

:: Stefan Compatibility & Access Hatch Removal ::

As most experienced nerfers will know, stock streamline foam darts are too unbalanced and inconsistent to be usable in Nerf games, especially with modded blasters. They naturally tend to swerve unpredictably in flight. There isn't much point shooting far when the shots can't actually hit anything reliably.

Most modders prefer to use "stefans" instead (short length customized and calibrated foam darts), as they provide more consistent performance and much higher accuracy. For clip-fed blasters, stefan compatible clips would be required.

For reference, you can find an example of a stefan compatible clip using the "guide rod" design Here.

We shall now look into modding the Rayven to be able to fire stefans. At the same time, removing the access hatch to allow for a clearer view of the firing process and for quicker jam clearing.

Step 1: Disassemble your Rayven. Make sure to remove all the screws before detaching the casing and internal components.

Step 2: Remove the dart pusher stalk and drill a hole through the middle of it. Prepare a suitable length of bolt to become a "stalk extender".

In my example, i used a 4cm length threaded steel bolt.

Step 3: Install the bolt into the dart pusher stalk. Use a bolt nut to secure it properly.

If required, this "stalk extender" mod is easily reversible, simply uninstall the bolt to revert it back to stock condition and you can use normal length foam darts again. :)

Step 4: Remove the access hatch piece. Use a strip of tape to wrap around the pressure switch so that it is kept activated. This mod is also reversible too.

Step 5: Install all the parts back into the casing. It should look like this.

Step 6: Adjust the reach of the new "stalk extender" so that it can push the stefans forward properly.

Step 7: For those who create their stefan clips using the "guide rod" design, you will need to extend the guide rod higher until it reaches just below the top-most stefan, this is the prevent the moving dart pusher stalk from dragging subsequent advancing stefans too far back during usage and causing jams.

In my example, i used a short length of wooden rod wedged into my stefan clip's existing guide rod. This is also easily uninstalled, so that it can still be usable for other clip-fed blasters too.

Step 8: Its completed!

Now you have a semi-auto + clip-fed + stefan-compatible blaster!

:: Modified Nerf Rayven - Demo & Range Test Video ::

Notice that the streamlines have a much wider left/right shot spread radius, so they tend to be rather inaccurate at longer ranges.

Calibrated stefans have a much narrower left/right shot spread radius, so their overall accuracy is much better and more consistent.

Also note that there is a fair amount of range variation when the blaster is fired quickly, this is likely due to the flywheels slowing down momentarily between each shot, therefore the key to firing such blasters is to regulate the rate-of-fire for more consistent ranges.

In addition, at higher voltages like 16.8V, the flywheels spin so fast that there tends to be an increased rate of slippage and mis-fires, which results in rather unpredictable shots.

So far in my tests, i've found the most ideal voltage to be at 12.6V for a more reliable combination of improved range and shot consistency.

:: Sample Test Fire Data ::

Ranges are PTG: Parallel-To-Ground (Shoulder height, no elevation).
Distance is measured at where the shot lands (Average of 18 shots).

Stock Rayven (6.0 Volts)
Range = 25-30 ft

Modded Rayven (8.4 Volts)
Range = 35-45 ft

Modded Rayven (12.6 Volts)
Range = 60-70ft

Modded Rayven (16.8 Volts)
Range = 80-100ft

Note that the tests were done under controlled conditions with either stock streamlines or calibrated stefans. The results are sample estimates for reference (your results may differ depending on materials and mod techniques used).

:: Summary & Game Usage ::

Having tested out modded Rayvens in a few Nerf games, i've found it to be quite a versatile blaster for fast-paced gameplay. Its compact form factor is easy to handle and very maneuverable.

The clip-fed system makes a big difference in being able to sustain continuous firepower over extended game rounds (just be sure to equip more spare clips), and the capability to use stefans greatly increases the shot accuracy and hit rate over longer firing distances.

In addition, you can instantly double the fun by dual-wielding 2 x modded Rayvens too! :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Nerf Rayven - Internals Guide!

This guide will serve as a reference for the internals of the Nerf Rayven CS-18.

For a detailed review of the Nerf Rayven, click Here.

Nerf Rayven - Disassembled

Nerf Rayven - Internals Layout

Nerf Rayven - Internals Layout (Front)

Nerf Rayven - Internals Layout (Back)

Nerf Rayven - Flywheel System Detail

Nerf Rayven - Motor Comparison with Tamiya Plasma Dash Motor


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stefan Compatible 18-Dart Clip - Mod Guide!

Most modders who custom make their own foam darts for better accuracy and range use shorter length foam darts which are commonly referred to as "stefans".

The stock N-Strike clip design isn't compatible with shorter length foam darts, as they tend to shift back and forth within the excess space during usage which causes jams (especially in longer clips), so modifications have to be done on the clips to fit them properly.

I've been using stefan compatible clips of various designs for quite a while, but the simplest and most effective design that i've tried out so far is the "guide rod" design.

The "guide rod" design is based on the clip modding technique by JustSomeBob at the NerfRevolution forum and WicketTheModder at the NerfHaven forum.

It is basically a rod that runs the length of the clip and nests within a collar in a hole drilled in the clip's spring loaded dart pusher, this rod keeps the stefans in position throughout. The dart pusher is constantly guided by the rod as it advances the stefans up into the bolt.

In addition, i also make a "slot window" on my modded clips, so that i can view the ammo count too.

Lets start...

Step 1:

The materials i used for this clip mod are as follows.

- 18-dart clip
- 5mm OD K&S brass tube (for the guide rod)
- 6mm OD K&S brass tube (for the guide collar)
- Dremel 767-01
- Selleys super strong 2-part epoxy glue

You can substitute the materials and tools with other similar items, just adapt them to your requirements.

Step 2:

Open up the 18-dart clip casing. As the 18-dart clip casing is usually glued together, use a Dremel to cut along the side of the clip casing. Make sure the cuts are straight and even.

Remember to remove the 2 black machine screws at the bottom of the clip and detach the rubber feet too.

Step 3:

Measure the position of the guide rod based on the length of your stefans.

Step 4:

Mark the measured point on the clip's dart pusher, then drill a hole in it to fit the guide collar.

Step 5:

For the guide rod, cut a 26cm length of 5mm OD brass tube.

For the guide collar, cut a 3cm length of 6mm OD brass tube.

The 5mm OD guide rod will nest inside the 6mm OD guide collar.

Step 6:

Glue the 3cm length of 6mm OD guide collar into the drilled hole in the dart pusher.

Step 7:

Glue the 26cm length of 5mm OD guide rod onto the bottom of the clip casing, make sure it is nested inside and aligned with the guide collar too.

Step 8:

This is what the completed clip internals will look like.

Test and ensure that the dart pusher is able to move upwards and downwards smoothly.

Step 9:

Create a slot window to view the ammo count.

Use a Dremel to cut out a strip of plastic along the clip casing.

Step 10:

Once everything is ready, re-assemble the clip with epoxy glue (use rubber bands to clamp the casing securely during curing).

Step 11:

Its done!

Check the ammo count by viewing the slot window. :)


Loaded in a modded minimized Stampede.

Loaded in a modded brass breeched + shotgun gripped Longshot.

>> Update!

There is now a simpler method posted up by hanzo at the NerfSG Forum, and it doesn't require the clip to be opened up.

Check out his guide in this link:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Mod Guide!

This Mod Guide will cover some performance mods for the Nerf Speedswarm.

Mods covered:
- Air Restrictor (AR) Removal
- Plunger Air Release Seal
- Plunger Padding & O-Ring Replacement
- Voltage Increase
- Aftermarket Spring Replacement (Optional)
- Rotating Barrel Dart Post Removal (Optional)

Note: Most of the modding steps are similar to the Nerf Swarmfire Mod.

Disclaimer: Modify at your own risk. Modifications may wear out or damage your blaster. Please be careful when using hobby tools!

:: AR Removal ::

Step 1: Disassemble your Speedswarm. Make sure to remove all the screws before detaching the casing layers.

Step 2: Open the motorized spring plunger casing. Move aside the cover, rotating barrel and battery sled.

Step 3: Separate all the spring plunger parts and gear components.

Step 4: Take the plunger tube and use a rotating pipe cutter to cut the front section. Make sure the cut line is positioned over the blue area under the white plunger tube casing.

Rotate the pipe cutter 2-3 times, and try to pull apart the plunger tube. If it doesn't move, rotate the pipe cutter again, do not over-tighten the pipe cutter! Keep testing. It will eventually separate into two parts and the AR will just drop out.

Discard the AR components and glue the plunger cap back on with 2-part epoxy glue.

Alternatively, the AR can also be drilled out with a motorized drill or dremel. Just make sure the plunger and seals are not damaged in the process.

Note that the white colored "target" shaped plastic grill inside the plunger tube has to be intact, that part is required as an impact barrier for the plunger rod.

The AR removal mod is done!

:: Plunger Air Release Seal ::

Close up the air relief hole on the side of the plunger tube. This is essential to create an air-tight plunger seal.

In my example, i use 2-part epoxy glue to fill in the air relief hole.

:: Plunger Padding & O-Ring Replacement ::

Without the AR, there is no air buffering system to cushion the plunger on tube impact.

This results in very high wear and tear on the plunger and tube casing, by both normal firing and dry firing. Due to repeated direct impacts on the tube (hence the loud cracking sound during firing) over time, the plunger and tube may become damaged.

Therefore, padding should be applied to the plunger to help cushion the impact.

In the following photo, i attached a cut-out piece of soft foam bumper padding to the tip of the plunger.

To test the plunger air seal, block the tube exit and try to push the plunger rod into the plunger casing, if the air seal is optimized, there should be some resistance in the plunger. It should also still be able to move smoothly when the tube exit is not blocked.

If the plunger seal is loose, simply replace the stock o-ring with a more air-tight aftermarket o-ring.

:: Voltage Increase ::

The voltage feed to the Speedswarm's motor determines its speed.

To increase the Speedswarm's Rate of Fire (RoF), simply increase the amount of voltage to its motor.

There are many different types of batteries available to create higher voltage power sources, its up to the users to determine which setups suit their usage best.

In my examples, i choose to use 14500 size Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries (Brand: TrustFire / Unprotected versions).

Such batteries can be installed in the original Speedswarm battery sled without additional modification. I just use dummy AA battery spacers to fill the empty slots.

14500 size 3.7V TrustFire unprotected Li-Ion rechargeable batteries can be charged up to 4.2V each, so i use 4 of them (with an additional 2 dummy spacers) to get around 16.8V of power.

:: Aftermarket Spring Replacement (Optional) ::

One way to increase the speed of air delivery through the plunger tube is to replace the stock spring with a stronger aftermarket spring.

Photo Top: Stock Spring / Photo Bottom: 10kg load Spring

Note that due to the thicker spring wire of stronger aftermarket springs, the plunger rod's 4 plastic strut "fins" at the front will need to be trimmed abit narrower so that the spring can fit over the rod properly (or else the spring will end up sitting too far back).

Note that i use TrustFire 14500 unprotected Li-Ion rechargeable batteries. These unprotected Li-Ion batteries have high discharge rates which are necessary to provide the required torque to the motor to handle heavier spring loads.

Be advised that regular Alkaline batteries may not have high enough discharge rates (separate factor from voltage) to enable the motor to pull such heavier spring loads.

Due to the smaller size of the Speedswarm's motor, it generates less torque and speed compared to the larger motors found in the Swarmfire or Stampede, hence even with the voltage increase, a heavier spring tends to slow down its rate-of-fire (RoF) alot... therefore after much testing, i reverted my units back to stock spring setups as i preferred to maintain a higher RoF configuration.

:: Rotating Barrel Dart Post Removal (Optional) ::

This mod is also optional, it is mainly for users who want to be able to use solid core DIY foam darts (ie. stefans) or as a modding step before re-barrel mods.

Detach the rotating barrel from the casing.

Use a wire cutter to remove the dart posts.

Note that the dart post removal mod does not affect power or range significantly, it just allows more flexibility in the usage of various DIY foam dart designs.

:: Modified Nerf Speedswarm - Range Test Video ::

:: Sample Test Fire Data ::

PTG: Parallel-To-Ground (Shoulder height, no elevation)
ATG: Angled-To-Ground (Aimed higher, 30 degrees elevation)

Distance is measured at where the shot lands (Average of 10 shots).

Stock Speedswarm
PTG = 20 ft
ATG = 30 ft

Modded Speedswarm (AR Removal & Voltage Increase)
PTG = 50 ft
ATG = 60 ft

Note that the tests were done under controlled conditions with customized foam darts. The results are sample estimates for reference (your results may differ depending on materials and mod techniques used).

:: Summary & Game Usage ::

After using the Speedswarm in Nerf games, i've found that it is most effective when equipped as a close quarter sidearm. Thanks to its compact form factor, it can be easily holstered in a belt pouch or even in a large side pocket (can't holster a Swarmfire as easily).

For players who use long range blasters which require additional time to prime or pump up between shots, a holstered Speedswarm can be quickly drawn to counter opponents who advance too near... thats a potential lifesaver (and game changer) for many players! :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Internals Guide!

This guide will serve as a reference for the internals of the Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm.

For a detailed review of the Nerf Speedswarm, click Here.

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Casing Removed

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Internal Layout

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Internal Components

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Motor System

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Direct Spring Plunger

Nerf Dart Tag Speedswarm - Direct Plunger Internals


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Review!

With the Nerf Longshot being such a popular blaster for aftermarket spring mods, its common to encounter their stock bolt sleds cracking or breaking under the heavier load after prolonged usage. Thats when a stronger bolt sled would be needed.

Check out the Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled!

It is made from a customized resin material and the L-joint arms section of the bolt sled have been re-worked with a thicker profile to withstand the stress effects of heavier spring loads.

Along with its non-metal construction, it is very light-weight and all the parts edges are smoothly molded to exacting detail. This allows the bolt sled to fit perfectly into Longshot casings without requiring any further trimming or adjustments.

The boltsled was tested with 14kg load aftermarket springs and it showed very little noticeable signs of flexing or stress marks over 100+ repeated priming. So it looks to be suitable for such spring loads.

Tests with 20+ kg springs do show some flexing and slight bending in the bolt sled during priming movements. Although it is more durable compared to the stock bolt sled, its not indestructible... so users should also consider using customized shotgun grips to balance out the load stress on the bolt sled.

Thanks to wrxloonie at the NerfSG forum for sending over a set for review!

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Top

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Bottom

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Middle

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Comparison with Stock Bolt Sled

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Close-Up Comparison

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - L-joint Arm Comparison

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Fitment with Bolt & Plunger Tube

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Fitment in Blaster Casing

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Assembled

Xplorer Custom Fabricated Longshot Bolt Sled - Parts & Fitment Video

For those keen on these custom fabricated bolt sleds, check with wrxloonie at the NerfSG forum. :)