Our “Better Nerf Gun” in MAKE Volume 29 is a beautifully overengineered Nerf dart blaster that’s built by metal lathing, woodworking, thread tapping, and other labors of love. You’d be proud to display it on the coffee table or above your cubicle as a warning to would-be office assailants. But as soon as we published the project, we got blowback from the Nerfer community. Too hard!

MAKE Volume 29 Better Nerf Gun Illustration by Timmy Kucynda

Turns out there’s a wide range of easier DIY Nerf guns suitable for beginners, and with potentially longer ranges. The simplest of these is the HAMP (High Airflow Manual Plunger) — no trigger, just a big hand-operated plunger. Nerf nerd Daniel Seyler tipped us to the HAMP and its originator, KaneTheMediocre on nerfhaven.com:

Regarding the HAMP, it is one of THE most basic homemade Nerf guns possible. As it is not my design, I will refer you to the original nerfhaven.com post documenting the build. It is easily built in less than an hour for less than $10 in supplies! The only tools reqired are a drill and a saw.

Follow the link for an easy HAMP tutorial using PVC pipe, duct tape, and yarn, plus more videos and links to more complex guns that use the HAMP for propulsion.

MAKE Volume 29

We have the technology (to quote The Six Million Dollar Man), but commercial tools for exploring, assisting, and augmenting our bodies really can approach a price tag of $6 million. Medical and assistive tech manufacturers must pay not just for R&D, but for expensive clinical trials, regulatory compliance, and liability — and doesn’t help with low pricing that these devices are typically paid for through insurance, rather than purchased directly. But many gadgets that restore people’s abilities or enable new “superpowers” are surprisingly easy to make, and for tiny fractions of the costs of off-the-shelf equivalents. MAKE Volume 29, the “DIY Superhuman” issue, explains how.