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.40 cal powerhead bamboo bead dart

4648 Views 8 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  treefork
This weekend I have perfected a disposable 'powerhead' dart. It consists of nothing more than a 10mm bead, a standard bamboo skewer, a piece of 1/8" aluminum or brass tubing and a copper cap. For various reasons that should be obvious, I won't go into construction details but anyone who knows what they're looking at can figure it out. The bamboo only goes halfway into the tubing leaving room for the active ingredients. The cap is a #10.


Results have been excellent on hard surfaces.
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Can you tell us more about the bead you are using?
The bead itself is rather ordinary. I find these in chain craft stores like Hobby Lobby etc and they cost a couple bucks per 25. I'd like to find bulk bags, so if you see them let me know. I have seen these called "football beads", but searching for that usually turns up REAL football ("soccer") beads.

The bead is 10mm (11/32") in diameter and 14mm (9/16") long. The hole is 4mm (1/8") in diameter; convenient for both size of bamboo skewer. I have found them in red, white, and black.

Usually I use round beads for my bead darts, but when I saw these in the store I just had to try them thinking that the more gradual approach curve and the "boat tail effect" might give slightly improved performance. After using them for almost a year, I have to say that they SEEM to perform better than a round bead, but I really have no way of scientifically backing this statement outside a physics lab. My conclusion is that these oblong beads are more forgiving (more room for bamboo error) than round beads. If a bamboo skewer is slightly warped, a round bead sometimes will cause the dart to become unstable (go "squirrelly") as velocity falls off and restorative force is reduced. With the oblong bead, it seems that slighty warped bamboo shafts will remain stable in identical conditions. This does make some sense, I just can't quantify any data without a high speed camera and a chronograph.

I have been considering making a video of this dart in action for your "Impress Me" competition, but I don't know how appropriate it would be for this forum.
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Thank you for the bead info! That is exactly what I was looking for! Also I would love to see those darts in action.
I like it and wouldn't mind seeing it in action.
I would love to see those darts in action.
I'll get to work.
Here is a 68 second video of the dart in action. Please note that I do not use YouTube at all and am not in anyway familiar with how it works; I don't know where the weird framing came from.

I painted the dart red for no reason other than to make it look pretty and I have to say it was much louder than the video makes it seem. My across the street neighbor came out when he heard the explosion and asked what I was up to. He laughed when I told him and he's eagerly anticipating this video.

I also can't figure out how to embed the video.
I like it! Of course I'm not going to try this at home. lol
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