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Stefan/Homemade Darts
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Homemade/Stefan Darts
 
To make homemade darts, you will need:
   - Foam backer rod (5/8" for megas, 1/2" for micros)
Find it at your local hardware store.
   - Scissors
   - Split-shot fishing weights (size BB, preferably)
   - Hot glue gun
   - Small Drill Bit (about 1/2 the diameter of the Backer Rod you're using)
   - Unused turret/black of wood with dart-sized holes drilled in it.
 
To start, stretch out your foam.  Pull it through one hand with the other, making sure the friction warms it up a litle bit.  The foam should be fairly straight (it won't be perfect; it doesn't need to be.)  Now, take the foam, and cut darts ("blanks" as I will call them, until compelted) about 1.25" long (for mciros) and 1.5" long (for megas).  You don't want a beveled cut on your dart making it curve off course.
Now, for the back end.  You can do either of two things.  I do nothing to the back end.  That's one option.  The other option, is to start out by heating up your hot glue gun to just under this-should-burn-your-fingers-off (okay, not really; just heat it up.)  Now, take the metal tip of the hot glue gun and use it to melt a hole (relatively the same shepe as the tip) in the back of the dart.  I see no performance difference between this and doing nothing to the back end, but it's your call.
 
Now, take your blanks, and get out your drill bit.  Take the bit, and (selecting the flattest end of each dart for the front end) drill out a 1/8-1/16" deep hole in the front end of the dart.  Now, put a BB in the hole, and push it down to the bottom using the drill bit.  Now, put some hot glue on top of the BB, and then put in another BB.  Now, make a mound of hot glue on top of this BB, and spread it evenly over the top of the dart.  Don't spread the hot glue too wide, though.  The glue should not reach to the edge of the foam.  This leaves room, so that all that touches a barrel that the dart is being fired from is the foam.  If the hot glue touches the sides of the barrel, it will slow down the dart, and eliminate (or at least diminish) accuracy.  Blow cool air on the glue as you spread the glue over the top.  Then, place the dart in the barrel of some gun (I put my drying darts in my two rapid Fire 20 turrets on my workbench; find your own alternative.)  Make sure that whatever you put the darts in to dry, it is pointing straight up.  This is key.  You don't need to make the domes perfect with the tip of your hot glue gun.  Just get the glue distributed evenly, because when you put the darts up in a holder (such as an unused turret) the glue will smooth itself out into a pretty much perfct dome.  However, if the darts aren't pointing straight up, the glue will all dry to one side of the darts, and the weight will not be centered.  Off-center-weighted darts = NO ACCURACY.  Big problem.  Once you've set the dart in the turret or whatever, you can go on to the next one!
 
Enjoy your darts!  Its a long process but it's plenty worth it, not only financially (as it costs about two to four cents total to make each dart), but also in effectiveness.  You will hit people at least 50% more of the time, as long as you know decently how to aim.  The range of any gun you put them in will be improved.  Enjoy!