Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Mazzer Brake for my VP9 GBB

 A lazzer muzzle brake.  Either 3d printed or machined, this one is 3d printed with a cavity in the front to accept a NIR 940nm laser with adjustment screws,  a central chamber that takes two button batteries and the pressure switch to activate the laser.   I was rather proud of this design as its so simple.  It uses a couple magnets to hold the batteries in contact with each other and to hold the +/- leads onto the batteries as well as hold the MON SMT button onto the battery stack.  the button is aligned with the central axis of the "brake" so that a delrin rod with rubber o-ring on the end that stops it from falling all the way down the barrel is held about 2mm off of the button.  no springs are used.  Instead a reverse polarity magnet is imbedded into the end of the delrin rod and sunk in 1/2mm such that it pushes away from the magnet stack on the batteries providing a restoring force to reset the rod.   A bit of liquid electrical tape dampens the impact between the rod and button.   finally the brake is printed undersized to be tapped for whatever the airsoft uses, but also has holes for two screws to firmly clamp it in place once its all set up and aligned so the shock from the rod impacting the button doesnt slowly move the brake out of alignment.   Overall works pretty well, and total cost in parts is about 10 dollars.  Now ANY airsoft or even bb gun that produces a pressure in the barrel can be converted into a laser gun just by slapping this on the end.   I still recommend shoving foam into the mags to block the followers down and ensure no bb's are in the area. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Camera MOD for Smokeless range more like PBS's

 So I tried smokeless range and PBS.  I picked these two out of a bunch of others for a few reasons.   Lasershot was pricey as heck and you had to buy their laptop.. ouch.  Not that into it yet.    some other aps looked a bit clunky.   Imarksman looked promising but recent years showed severely downgraded product videos making me wonder if they got sued or what.  (25 games turned to 12 down to 5)  are they about to disappear?  A few others were unremarkable.   So I started with PBS and bought their camera after trying it out with my web cam.  their cam was better but looking into it, its just a fast HD camera with a NIR pass filter or vis cut.  Any red filter will do most of this.  But I do like their zoom and aperture though its still a  bit pricey when you can buy the parts off of ebay.   I then wanted to do smokeless and tried their trial period using the PBS camera.  I liked the fact they had a trial and I was sold on how clean their software ran on my OK game computer compared to PBS which was  a bit stuttery.  However Smokeless wont sell their software without their camera claiming some BS about its proprietary and custom and blah blah.  Yea  anyone with  a technical background who cracks open their camera will see there is little special about it.   I was annoyed at having to buy an inferior product (camera) to access the software (and I'm still using the PBS camera as its just better) so I decided to at least upgrade their mediocre fixed distance camera to something that sucks less.    Now if I travel with it say to a friends house and want to setup there ill probably take the smokeless so i don't risk loosing/damaging the better camera. 

They took a basic HD webcam. 

Put a fixed lens on it with a Red filter to block out a lot of the visible. 

Marked up the price a bit for their effort and sold it.  Then they sold another having a short and long throw camera.   It was such BS.  PBS doesn't require you buy their camera but theirs is superior if for nothing else as it has zoom and aperture to adjust to brightness.   So i wanted to at least upgrade the camera from smokeless to something almost on par with what you get from PBS.    First carefully cut the epoxy off of the back of the lens that comes with smokeless camera.   then buy a 2.8-12mm or so variable focus(vari-focus/ focal) lens,  M12 thread (or get an adapter for CS mount to M12),   or even one with a manual or auto iris with NO IR filter,   and glue the filter onto that lens assembly with,... you guessed it, a wee dab of liquid electrical tape (  it slices, it dices it glues everything in a reversible way and it eats light, great for filter placement).  

Now for 12-30 dollars you have a camera that is short or long throw and sucks  a little less!  but really if you want both smokeless and PBS you need to buy smokeless's camera first since they wont sell software without their overpriced camera.   Just dont buy two of them,  spend 12-30 and updgrade the camera to be on par with the PBS camera.  

When reassembling the camera use just a general native camera software built into windows to view the output as you adjust the proper seating depth into the M12 socket.   Then set your set screw and close the body up.  

Lazzer Rifle Conversions'ish

 So around the same time I was starting to obsess with making laser pistols for smokeless and PBS laser simulators I tried using my laser bolt.  However, it had one severe problem.  The height over bore was absurd for a screen 10 feet away.  It made switching between pistol with minimal HOB  and rifle rather difficult.   But I also didn't want to spend nearly the effort or cost on anything like the laser bolt and i didn't want to permanently convert the rather expensive KWA GBB tavor into laser only.  So... For a 30 dollar picatinny laser sight...plus a few minor parts any good hobbyist has on hand... problem solved

First I picked this laser sight because it was cheap, adjustable, and has a cute magnetic coupled charger cable so I don't have to worry about batteries.   Next,  glue the switches behind the trigger in such a way that the only activate after the trigger drops the hammer so your not even disabling this as an airsoft.  However this means you have to set and follow hard and fast rules such as absolutely no BB's in the training area.  All mags are checked and double checked and you still never point these at anyone unless fully masked for an airsoft match.   Best of all this not only doesn't disable the rifles, but the height over bore is next to nothing and easily removed or transferred to another rifle.  It was an elegant solution.   Further,  green gas can be used to simulate recoil and mag changes can be performed as this does nothing to interfere with operation.  Just beware the risk of projectiles and wear safety goggles if you use gassed mags. I recommend shoving a cotton swab or bit of foam into the mag bb chute to prevent the bolt stop from engaging on an empty mag. the foam should be cut thick enough that it holds the follower down plenty far so the foam isnt shoved up and the bolt doesnt attempt to chamber the foam which could cause issues and still give you a projectile.  Make the foam long like at least 1.5cm so that if it does manage to slip up and try to get chambered its so long it jams everything up preventing the GBB from firing a foam projectile.   But this is what small little barrel bags are for, just in case.  You can also machine or 3d print a cylinder with a threaded hole in one end only so that even if it tries to fire the muzzle block catches anything. 

You may notice the transparent spring 1911, this was the first pistol conversion mentioned in the last post.  Oh yea,  and I couldn't help myself but to paint the rifles.  Nothing fancy, just a simple masked kryptek. 

Lazzer Pistol conversions

So.. for the past few years I haven't done much painting (other than helping my kids paint exotic cakes).  But I've kept busy turning minor hobbies into major efforts.  I tried a couple laser pistols to have for in-house practice that doesn't require safety goggles and concern for airsoft pellets damaging things.  I tried the Laserlyte LT-TTL and the SIRT PP.  

A bit of review. Granted my airsoft VP9 is obnoxious how it cryo's and locks up if you fire it too fast but it has a pretty good trigger.   Turns out laser guns.. may not have very good triggers despite costing as much if not twice as much as an Umarex GBB pistol.  That was disappointing. 

SIRT PP.  while this has an adjustable trigger it appears cranking it all the way down i can only get it down to 6lbs, and its a wee bit squishy.  Seriously an airsoft trigger is better than this expensive laser gun?  oh well.  I painted it orange and sanded down the sides of the grip because.. some moron decided that sharp plastic edges saying SIRT is a good idea.  Unless your wearing gloves, take the grip to a belt sander, then wrap it with tape to make something a bit more comfortable.  Overall for a "benchmark laser gun"  I'm a little disappointed.  

Laserlyte  LT-TTL.   This seemed to be one of the more common laser guns behind the SIRT and the profile of this was as close to the VP9 as I could find based on web images.   Once I got it I was happy to see I can simply bandsaw the backstrap off and epoxy a spare backstrap from a VP9 since all my GBB's came with extra (slightly bigger) backstraps.  I set the Laserlyte over the VP9 and marked then cut.  with a bit of belt sanding of the grip sides now it matches the VP9 almost perfectly.  Wonderful!... except the trigger SUUUUUCKS.   Its soo long and so squishy.   SO I take it apart to investigate.   

The mechanism is fairly interesting and easy to modify.  a couple pieces of 1mm thick polystyrene sheeting cut, sanded, and polished with sand paper 300 through 2000 grit and the take-up/squish is reduced to almost nothing and the trigger is nice and crisp on the break at about 4lbs.   The break if anything is a little abrupt so this is great practice to swap between it and the SIRT because if your trigger pull isn't perfect you'll see it as you switch between the two laser guns as your shots pull this way or that.     

Since i wanted the LaserLyte to mimic my VP9 GBB it also needed a red dot.  so, like the VP9 I put it on a mill, cut a slot for a cheap red dot, in this case a little flip up, and we have a nice laser sim gun with a fairly crisp trigger.  

One problem.. I can see the laser.  It is actually good to see the laser when your starting to get a good idea of where your laser is hitting, but if you try to use it with any laser sim software like Point blank simulator,  Smokeless, or the various phone based aps I found I prefer to not see the laser so i have to trust my sight picture.   Therefore i wanted to retrofit the laser guns to use NIR  940nm lasers.  But... I put a fair bit of work into them and they work so well, it seemed a shame to risk damaging them.  Thus I decided to convert two very cheap spring powered airsoft pistols to NIR laser pistols, and bonus, they have ejectable mags for slightly better simulation.  

First I took a "nice for a spring gun" 1911.  I bought a 3 dollar amazon 940nm 5mw laser diode and shoved it up the brass barrel liner then glued it in place with liquid electrical tape.   Pressed some small coin batteries into a slot leftover once i ripped out the compression cylinder, and wired up a very cheap SMT switch onto the back of the trigger such that it presses against an inserted mag to activate the laser.  It works pretty well, though trigger pull is only about 1lb  2oz.  Still Now i can get my kids to play laser guns with me and they stop whining about the 4-6lb trigger pull when we are doing sessions requiring over 50 shots.  If you look closely in the plastic frame you can see the SMT MON button epoxied to the back of the trigger.  

Then since this experiment worked i tried it again on a spring VP9 umarex pistol.    See, hoarding is its own reward and always pays off.   I epoxied a slightly larger MON SMT button this time with a spring crammed between the button to add a bit of trigger weight, then epoxied the button cap on so the spring doesn't just pop it off.   3d printed a battery holder to fit into the body where i ripped out the compression cylinder this baby, and again shoved a 940nm laser into the barrel liner and liquid electrical taped it in place.   a bit of shimming was needed to aim the laser in both as these are super crappy lasers but they both work beautifully.   Since it worked I then bought a cheap chineesium reflex sight milled a slot onto the top of the frame and epoxied the baseplate of the reflex onto the frame.  I now have a near perfect analog of my Umarex GBBP.   I also decided at this point to paint them all orange so i can easily identify sim guns that are completely incapable of firing a bb so i don't risk putting anyone's eye out.  I also used blue painters tape to help make them stand out so i never doubt that what is sitting around is ONLY  a  laser gun and not a potentially dangerous airsoft.  

Later Ill give more adventures in setting up my in-house laser simulators that helped me stay sane during quarantine these past few years.    When playing these laser sim games you'd be surprised how exhasted your whiny finger will get about a 4-6 lb trigger.   Its nice to take a break and shift to a 1-2lb trigger and be able to practice reloads and malfunction drills without having paid 4-600usd for a yet more expensive laser gun that still probably has an irritatingly squishy trigger.   These are also good for teaching your kids gun safety without having to risk a real weapon or even an airsoft.  General house rule, you don't point anything remotely resembling a weapon at anyone who isn't participating in a manner in which they expressly agreed to participate.   Thus even when we are just shooting computer targets we always exercise muzzle discipline. 

Stay safe and always treat an airsoft like it WILL put someone's eye out.  

Also just because you can barely see 940nm doesnt mean you should shine the laser in your eye to see if its working, use a phone with IR sensitivity.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Battle Axe Prototype

 Finally found an excuse to break out the welder and teach myself to weld.  After some initial work on a house project I decided to prototype a battleaxe.  Many years ago i made a pair of wooden battle axes for my wife because we saw some she loved at the ren fair but didn't have the disposable to drop on 300 dollar each axes.  

So maybe 15 years later I made my first battle axe.  This was a good proof of principal on the fabrication techniques and materials.  My goal is to make some nicer ones for a later anniversary. 

It didn't balance quite right so I lathed and welded a counter weight to the pommel.  Then for my birthday a couple days later used it to slice a piƱata in half to the delight of my children.   Off with its head! 

Laazerzzzzs! Pew Pew

 I was surfing for laser tag and laser guns a while ago and came across something called blackbeard that converts a rifle into a laser practice gun.  I thought this was clever as the module replaces the bolt and otherwise uses the normal trigger and optics of the rifle.  Well I love my airsoft but understandably its not safe to practice with them around the house even after the kids go to bed.  So I got a bug in me to convert my favorite KWA GBBR Tavor SAR 21 into a lazer gun, especially for winter months when propane guns don't work well. 

Not my video but this one shows great detail about how it works, enough to reverse engineer and improve upon it.


First I took pictures I could find online of people who disassembled the blackbeard to see how it worked.  its simple and cute.  It uses a high gear ratio motor to turn a rocker that when the rocker gets hit by the hammer it triggers the circuit to do a partial to full revolution pushing the hammer back down.  At the same time it fires a laser down the barrel. 

Then I took my KWA apart, extracted the BCG  took measurements and went through a few iterations of 3d printing to get something that looks like this.  Sounds easy enough and the trouble really existed in a few parts.  1 the motor.  After a lot of searching and buying the wrong motor a couple times i finally found the Endbots.com 20mm lightning 12v gear motor.  This has the appropriate torque to push down the hammer.   Next finding a nice tiny sufficiently powerful microcontroller, i settled on the Teensy because it was low power enough, small enough, and fast enough.  I did have to make an amplifier circuit as its output lines are very limited.  I also had to install some low pass filtration between the laser module, motor and microcontroller as they seemed to like to interfere with each other.  The laser was just a 5(20mw) laser pointer.  Two lithium batteries rounded it out. and...It had problems turning over.  It turned out you better be careful in what orientation you print the rocker to minimize friction.  I also used a small butane torch to fire polish the sides of the 3d print to reduce friction.   And don't forget, liquid electrical tape is one of your best all-purpose adhesives, insulators, fillers, vibration dampeners, and structural  goo's.  Helicoils are also your friends if there isn't room for nuts.  

I believe this is version 3.  Now the beauty of using a nice little microcontroller to make your own is you can program ammo count, malfunctions and other behaviors into it.  I set the code to a random round count <=30 and after the counter reaches zero it pauses for 2 seconds to indicate you need to do the motions of a reload or malfunction clearing.   The tavor can be bought, if your lucky from redwolf airsoft.  

And remember, always treat an airsoft rifle like it can put an eye out,  Never point it at anyone who is not actively participating and properly geared up with face protection and always be aware that ricochets happen and thus even with a laser bolt you too should have eye protection in case you were wrong. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

DIY Recoil Upgrades

The electronic pistol recoil haptics turned out fairly well.  Not as powerful as pneumatic by far but feeling an impact for every shot with a pistol is nice.  And its compatible with the mamut stock cups adding only 1/4" thickness to the offset of the cup locations.  The battery pack is a trap on tripple LiIon  with two magnetic USB charging lines  that snake along the arms to the haptics.  This way if they snag it just releases the magnet.  The charge indicator on the battery is critical to ensure you don't overdischarge the lithium battery.

And Back to the pneumatic, I upgraded several aspects.   First I removed the batter pack since liIons should not be mounted on a jack hammer for fear they may short and ignite.   Instead I connect to a 12V supply via a magnetic coupled USB charging cable.   The cable snakes along the pneumatic line both on a quick coupling connector and join the stock at the 2 point sling.   The next upgrade will be the cylinder which should increase power and efficiency in the same volume.