Aaron N. Tubbs bio photo

Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I have to apologize in advance, as I’ve loaned out my DSLR for a few days, so I’ve no illustrations for this post.

You see, an arms race has been started at my place of work. It all started out with some guys at the office with bandit crossbows and nerf dart tag darts, who realized you could nail people pretty accurately and effectively.

I figured out that with a little bit of work, a standard dart tag pistol modified with a nested brass barrel and sonic micro darts could punch a target at about 50 feet, which was pretty close to the crossbows, but much more compact and clever.

The next advancement came from home-made darts. Using half inch caulk filler and some slingshot ammo (“mini stefans”), super-cheap and abundant ammo was now available. The downside, however, was apparent when one was loaded into a crossbow and it proceeded to punch a hole through a calendar. This made sense in the back of my head, as it was essentially transforming the dart into a sabot for 1/4" slingshot ammo. So, by START treaty, I retired the custom darts for the safety of my coworkers, and starting thinking again.

While I ruminated, my office mates were not resting, but rather were making deals with Castro (eg “some nut on eBay”). See, back in the day, Nerf made this absolutely insane weapons system. It was built with an interlocking air reservoir, launched a large projectile, and a bunch of smaller projectiles, and a little bit of hot glue is all it takes to stuff the overpressure valves and make the thing downright fiendish. To be frank, the engineering in the thing is impressive. The addition of a modified PVC barrel instead of the stock mega missile launcher also meant it could fire mini darts with destructive (eg punch the front off) force; there was sufficient force behind the darts to push them way past their comfortable aerodynamic limit, while also making a rather impressive puff of water vapor when the pressure was released.

This, of course, meant war. So, over the weekend, I started playing with PVC/solvents/cements, proper pressure rated curing times, and various means of cutting said vinyl, and the end result is a whole new level of escalation in intercubicle ballistic war. It’s 5 feet long, the valve is rated to 150 PSI (though I lack a pump to safely take it over 75, which is more than effective), and has enough power to sabot launch nerf micro darts with a devastating ferocity.

I realized rather quickly that I now have a problem on my hands. My engineering and planning was too good. Even operating at 50% pressure loads, I now wield more potential energy in one cubicle defense device than the entire office arsenal combined, even if I can only get one shot off every 90 seconds.

So, I haven’t really made an effective cubicle warfare weapon, instead I’ve built a deterrence device. Not sure that’s really success.