My Dumb Projects
Monday, September 25, 2006
  2006 Blaster Building Contest Entry
This gun was built for a contest run every year by the Blaster Builder's Club. The rules state that you must create a blaster of your own design using a toy gun as a base. You can see all the entries here.

2006 BBC Custom Blaster Contest Results

In my opinion, if you're going to make a blaster based on an existing gun it should complement and integrate the exposed elements but also should disguise the gun to the layman.

I started with a partial M-16 that I had sitting in my scrap plastic box for 20 years (See? NEVER throw anything a way!). Measuring this, I started designing my blaster, first in Illustrator to work out the basic look and then in Strata 3D to fine tune the design and work out all the dimensions.

I printed out the Illustrator layout to use as a template. The stock, handle/sight and half of the magazine were hack sawed off the toy to make room for the new parts. For the new stock I glued two pieces of scrap 3/47" MDF together and shaped it with a jigsaw and Dremel. The barrel is a length of PVC pipe.

A plug of MDF was glued into the magazine well for rigidity and to guide the new magazine.

I ran some 1/4" threaded rod down the length of the gun to attach both the stock and barrel. The stock was epoxied on and the seams were filled with epoxy putty.

The new magazine well was made from MDF as well as the "plate" that will eventually hold the muzzle shroud. All were attached using the threaded rod (test fitted here).

The magazine was also built out of MDF. The channels were cut using the table saw.

The screws secured the base to the magazine but were left exposed (for looks).

The magazine fit like a glove, needing no mechanism to hold it in place.

A test fitting of the progress...

The butt plate started as a simple MDF box.

...and was shaped on the belt sander to smooth all the edges.

The faux barrel was made by shaving a sliver off a 1-1/2" PVC pipe.

The receiver cover started as a simple MDF box, with notches ad supports allowing it to fit over the toy gun.

I wanted to preserve some of the nice detail on the side of the receiver. The M-16 has some cool looking switches.

I used scrap styrene to build new geometry on the sides while still taking advantage of the details I like.

Looking through my greeblie box I ran across an I.V. valve from when my cat was sick. I split it in half and applied them to both sides.

The cheek guard was a it tricky as it had to wrap over the flat top of the stock as well as the round tubing of the barrel extentions. I glued together 3 pieces of MDF with appropriate notches.

Rounding the edges with the belt sander...

Cut away excess....

And it slides on from the end.

The front of the scope was formed by melting a scrap of styrene around an oval piece of MDF.

The scope mount was made by gluing together MDF. The pink is Bondo Spot Putty.

The other scope pieces: 1" PVC to attach the front lens, Lathed wood for the body of the scope and a piece of 2" PVC for a last minute addition to the eyepiece.

The front lens attached to the PVC pipe.

To fake a lens, I grabbed some sunglasses from an eye exam and trimmed out the rear lens.

I painted the rear scope body and added a screw knob I found in the "screw can".

The assembled rear scope. The "lens" is held in place by the PVC eyepiece.

I screwed holes to attach the scope to the rifle

The final scope attached to the rifle with exposed hex screws.

The shroud was vacuformed over MDF masters.

The shroud halves trimmed out.

The two halves glued together with a thin strip of styrene along the seam for strength.

The shroud screwed to the plate.

After I painted the magazine it was too tight to fit in the well! So I tore it apart and sanded the sides. At this point, I decided to re-address the issue of a transparent magazine. But as I was in the final weekend before the deadline, I "cheated" and just printed them on a sticker! Looks great from the side but becomes less effective from more extreme angles.

Now that the magazine wasn't tight, I needed a way to keep it in. A spot of Velcro did the job.

The final submitted photos

This year's competition was extremely tough but I managed to tie for first place. In a tie breaker vote, I won the top spot!

This was a fun and educational project to work on. I spent about 24-30 hours constructing it and only had to spend $16 on paint.
SUPERB WORK !!! Love the design of this and an astounding job you've made of it's construction !! Top notch stuff !!
You are amazing man! Thats totally Hollywood!
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These are all the dumb things I find myself obsessed with building when I SHOULD be doing something more productive.

As a kid I built lots of plastic model kits, never knowing that one day those skills would actually be of use.

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Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States
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