WBL Work

Guides and discussions about building water blasters and other water warfare devices such as water balloon launchers.
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HBWW
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WBL Work

Post by HBWW » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:50 pm

In the past 2 days, I've been undertaking in some relatively intensive work with 2 launchers. First is my old Douchenator, which had a crooked barrel (because I was an idiot when assembling it 3 years ago and glued the barrel in it's fitting last) and was a pain to carry around. I already got everything needed to turn it into a compact, convinient over-under launcher that would be roughly half the length. No breech load or anything fancy, but I did get to fit in a proper]/b] schrader valve. Previously I used a tire valve with the rubber trimmed down and epoxied into the PC, but it would either leak until I plugged up the leaks or the epoxy would build up too high that I couldn't put the pump on. I even put on poorly mixed epoxy before, which started coming off in flakes and was pretty annoying. This morning, I just put the new schrader valve in as I did with the other new launcher. Simply drill a hole to 1/2", thread the valve in with pliers so it taps the hole, take it out, cover in 3 wraps of teflon thread tape, and put it back in. I expect it to have no problems for a long time, and if worse comes to worst, I can take the valve out and thread it back in with epoxy on the threads. When cutting the old cap and valve out, I also had the chance to trim down the PC by about 6" which should speed up the pumping quite a bit. I'll also be wrapping duct tape around some fittings to protect them from scratches and damage. (as the launcher is placed on concrete very often)

The second project is a launcher inspired by this design. Instead of using 2 PC's, I decided to adopt the design to a single PC small enough to be powered up quickly and to have an onboard pump for quick re-pressurizing. From recent testing, it gets almost 1 pump per PSI, which is much better than on the other launcher. Everything else is pretty typical; I have a pressure gauge and the pipes route up to a modified sprinkler valve (which I must say works excellently, but I'll need to test it with balloons later), and into the breech and barrel. The breech is unique. At first, several years ago, I created a design that was much like conventional bolt action. However, a year later (and with severe lack of progress), I realized that it wouldn't work easily due to constant stress being exerted on the seals. I decided that I wanted to find an easier method to breech loading, so I go and try to imitate the design shown above. Progress on this rolls through, and I get almost everything I need. Instead of slip couplers whose insides have to be grinded out, I used rubber couplers. I had some problems here. The hole that was cut out into the pipe was too long (since it was designed to accomodate the old bolt layout) and I'd have to get 2 couplers together and attach them. However, they had a lot of friction and were troublesome to work with so I decided I'd have to find pipe that fits over the barrel. Since the launcher above was built in Australia and uses some kind of drainage pipe, it was impossible for me to find the pipe I needed since I was using sch. 40 2" pipe.

Finally, just a few days ago and after spending a ton of time searching various Lowes' and Home Depots for the elusive piece to cover up the breech, me and my dad finally found the holy grail. It was yet another type of coupler with a pair of seals and threaded caps on each end. The pipes to be coupled go through each seal, and the threaded caps tighten them. This piece was just long enough to work with the hole drilled, and fit over the pipe pretty closely. The next step was to find weather strips to seal it up. I eventually found them at ACE hardware (along with the schrader valves) and put them in. The breech now seals relatively well and is awaiting full testing with projectiles. There is one slight difference in my design though. Instead of cutting up the coupler and have it rotate, I left the whole thing intact and simply had it slide over the opening to seal everything. The weather stripes provide very low friction so it can be opened and closed without much trouble. However, they may wear out often and have to be replaced periodically. The seals were used to limit where the coupler moves, and I left one of the caps on (the caps go very close to the pipe) to keep the coupler centered. Pictures of the system can be found here.

Later on I will get more pics and post a video of both launchers. More to come as I finish up and bring these projects from the workshop to the range and then finally, to the battlefield.
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Re: WBL Work

Post by marauder » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:30 pm

I'm interested in what the combat specs are for this wbl. If you could take a video that'd be great.
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HBWW
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Re: WBL Work

Post by HBWW » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:41 pm

I did some more testing today. Video won't be available until my friend is done with my camera. (which should be tomrrow) Later on, testing will become target practice, maybe after I shoot the video.

Yesterday, I got roughly 150 ft on the PWN312 at 45° with 40 PSI. Today I believe I got a bit more, maybe due to the random design improvements and cleanups I've been working on. I also improved the sabots for the 323 by taking 2 of them, duct taping them together, and cutting up the non-sealing portion so that it doesn't seal against the pipe. (for less friction) It still serves to keep the sabot centered and to cradle the balloon. It does an excellent job at cradling since I was able to pull off one very long distance shot at 60 PSI and it flew at least 300 ft away. I'm not exactly sure, but when I can't see nor hear the balloon land, I'm sure it's pretty far. Unfortunately, I don't think I got any of those amazing "500 ft!!!" specs that the douchenator page talks about, but I can't be sure. So many ranges are just very roughly estimated. I might be able to get the Douchenator's advertised 500 ft by going up to 80 PSI or maybe a bit more since the PC is slightly shorter. I'm still a bit paranoid on the schrader valve shooting off (it is currently threaded in a drilled hole with teflon tape but has no leaks), which has stopped me from powering up higher than 60 PSI in the past. However, DX attaches the valve the exact same way and hasn't ever had a problem.
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Re: WBL Work

Post by HBWW » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:14 pm

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Re: WBL Work

Post by DX » Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:22 am

Any long-barrel launcher with a good sabot and fast valve can hit top ranges. For 500ft, you need somewhere around 90-100 PSI. Max angled range estimated as high as 600-800ft, but the PSI we put into the launcher probably wasn't safe so I don't exceed 120 PSI anymore. In actual wars, 50-90 PSI was the most commonly used pressure range in order to make reloading faster. I've never had problems with the schrader valves, other than minor leaking if it wasn't done cleanly. If there's a concern about tapped valves being unstable, glue the threads and hold that part of the PC facing away when you fire the WBL. Honestly, there are worse things than having the valve shoot out - I would be worried about the barrel shooting off. Water hammer is one of the few actually dangerous things in water warfare. It isn't limited to WBL's and water cannons either - I broke a Nerf gun that way just this year.

BTW that's a great breech. Someone shakes the camera a bit too much though :p When filming Douchenator shots, I had to lie prone right under the thing [hoping it wouldn't misfire lolz].
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HBWW
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Re: WBL Work

Post by HBWW » Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:48 pm

My new launcher's blowgun is rated to 90 PSI and uses those same old reducers that were intended for drainage, not pressure. I'm a bit weary of going over 60 PSI (for risk of property damage) and 80 PSI is the highest I'll ever go. In fact, for this Thursday's war, I was considering limiting to 40 PSI without angle limitations. Perhaps 60 PSI would be a more reasonable limit, or perhaps I could require high angle (45° or more) for anything from 40-60 PSI. Remember, this is a neighborhood and any balloons hitting windows, even at low speed, would be unacceptable. (e.g. if that window's open...)

On one testing, I fired in a random direction at 45° to try to get it to go somewhere random. (after all, what's funnier than a water balloon falling from the sky and landing on the sidewalk or grass?) It sounded like it landed on some structure but it was supposed to land on the ground from the direction I fired it. Needless to say, I won't be trying anything that stupid again as it could've landed on a parked car or something.

If threaded parts really become a problem, I have some epoxy putty that would come in handy for getting the valve in for good. I had to use it to seal up a leak in the modified sprinkler valve, but I should've epoxied the threads first before putting putty around it. It works fine though, but epoxying the threads would be safer and more reliable to do first.

As for barrel shootoff, do you know how much force is typically exerted on it? For the 50mm, I've tested it without gluing up some connections to the barrel, and instead, relying on the cable ties to hold everything together. Nothing dangerous happened, but there was enough force to undo the slipped connections. Later, I glued it on so I'm thinking that the weakest part to the barrel connection will be the thread to the sprinkler valve. Then again, I should also be worrying about the forces causing undue stress on the elbow connection as well, which holds pressure. The most water shootback that occurs in the launcher is when balloons pop before coming out. However, most of the water is out in time and doesn't leave much in the barrel. Still, extra water is always to be let out anyways. A friend at a war earlier wanted to try the Douchenator (before I reconfigured it) with water, and I said no, but couldn't remember why until later, I read up on one of your posts again about the force causing damage to the barrel. The excuse I gave my friend was something to due with how it would be useless and how the air would just float to the top of the water and create a little splat and nothing else. At least I have a better excuse now for the next war. =)

So if all procedure is followed, there shouldn't get to be much water in the barrel to cause significant stress to it. A little bit of water (just droplets of them running up and down the barrel) reduces friction and causes that amazing vapor smoke effect after each shot. It's just amazing to see that smoke come out of something that doesn't use combustables.

I'd keep the camera dangling around my fingers while pulling the torque arm. As I said in the description, I did try to get a clip where the camera was sitting on a chair, but that one got nowhere so I didn't include it in the video.

Overall, it's starting to seem that launchers aren't worth it, simply for being the most dangerous aspect of water warfare (even if you're being safe), yet being able to score the least kills. Maybe it'll all be different; maybe the launcher will be an excellent weapon if/when the team gunning it is very accurate and if effective defense tactics are developed for keeping the launchers safe from enemy attack. Then again, launcher operators aren't completely immobile either; the slight mobility offered by the new design should help out a ton. Still, some of my friends are absolutely appalled by the reloading time of both launchers, and of course, they'd rather throw them. I personally can't throw balloons for crap, all my throws can do is to keep the enemy back... but then again, that's the main purpose of balloons anyway.
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Re: WBL Work

Post by teamfear » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:14 pm

Nice job, thanks for making the video. The breach is great.

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Re: WBL Work

Post by Silence » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:23 am

At peak pressure, you can find the force going in the direction of the barrel fairly easily. PSI literally is pounds per square inch (of cross-sectional area). For a circle we know the area is πr², which is π1² or just π square inches. Multiply the PSI by that and you get pounds of force. You might be surprised; it's why hydraulic force multiplication is used in heavy machinery.

If something's in the process of shooting, though, the pressure will be much lower. I suppose this is where BAGS comes in. ;)
C-A 99 wrote:So if all procedure is followed, there shouldn't get to be much water in the barrel to cause significant stress to it. A little bit of water (just droplets of them running up and down the barrel) reduces friction and causes that amazing vapor smoke effect after each shot. It's just amazing to see that smoke come out of something that doesn't use combustables.
Heh, when I was younger I always liked shooting mist shots out of my XP 270 when the water level hit the bottom of the reservoir. Great fun.

I just saw the entire video with the speakers to my ears...once again, pretty cool. Having a second person do the filming would be invaluable though. More stable view, and you get to see how good the range is; this way you'd never know how much faster the shots are than if you were just throwing the balloons.

As for the actual launcher, I'm confident you could make it practical provided you give it multiple pressures tanks as Drenchenator did with his. With your slick breech you'd actually have fairly low reload times. You'd spend the same amount of time pumping, but having just a single backup shot would make opponents warier.
Last edited by Silence on Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HBWW
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Re: WBL Work

Post by HBWW » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:49 pm

My original plan was to have the PC be quick to charge up, but I suppose 2+ PC's is the only way to go. I'll keep that in mind for future upgrades if I start working on launchers again later. Most likely, I'll connect such a system to just one pressure gauge and power them up all at the same time, but individually is generally perferable. Perhaps I can control which PC's are powered up simply by flipping valves as the control for switching PC's.
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