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Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns?

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns? Nerf guns are a great way to spend time with friends and family, but the cost of these toys can be prohibitive. Luckily, 3D printing has enabled people to make their own nerf guns at home for less than $50.

This blog post will demonstrate how to 3d print your very own Nerf gun, as well as explore the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. We hope you find this article informative!

Table of Contents


Can you 3d print nerf guns?

Yes. You can even 3d print nerf guns, in fact, there is an entire community dedicated to the task at hand of creating functional 3d printed Nerf guns. On top of that though, I do plan on making this article about how to 3d print nerf guns much more comprehensive than just simply printing one out for yourself.

I am going to try and teach you how to 3d print nerf guns, even if the design isn’t readily available for it on the internet. Let’s get started!

First of all, let’s cover your three options when it comes to printing a Nerf gun.

Option 1 – Download someone else’s .stl file.

If you don’t want to spend the time learning how to create a design from scratch, then simply look for a 3d model of the Nerf gun that you want online and download it as a .stl file.

Now, this option is going to be hit or miss though, because not everyone wants to share their .stl files with the world.

Option 2 – Find a .stl file that someone else created and then modify it to be what you want.

If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for online, then another option would be to download one that people have designed already and then modify it to work better for your needs/wants.

There are several websites out there where other Nerf gun designers will put up files for download (and sometimes even instructions)

3d printed nerf guns files

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns?

Option 3 – Model your own design in a CAD program.

I will get into this later on in the article, but if you would like to skip ahead, here is a link to where I got my start.

This option would be for those of you that want to learn how to design your own Nerf gun in CAD (Solidworks/ Blender/ etc) or who knows someone else who can model things in CAD software and then send it out for printing.

It is much more complicated than simply downloading another person’s .stl file, but there are plenty of tutorials online (or through SolidWorks University) on how to do it.

If you don’t know what CAD software is, I will explain it in tabular form so you can understand it. CAD or Computer-Aided Design is simply the act of using a computer to design things that would normally be done by hand or with specialized tools (plastic molds mostly).

It allows you to quickly and efficiently create designs that are accurate down to the micron.

As I said before, there are tutorials online for how to do this, but if you really want someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to this I suggest checking out SolidWorks University where experienced designers will show you step by step everything you need to know about designing something in CAD software.

3d printed nerf gun mods

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns?

3D printed Nerf gun Calibur-n11

On September 23rd, an extraordinary thing happened at the MHvZ event: a completely new blaster design was unveiled.

Two of them, in fact. The Calibur-11 is one of the most unique flywheel blasters on the market today, and it’s been released with two different performance setups – a standard spring setup, similar to the Rayven CS-18’s “Turbo” mode, and a stockless “Elite” configuration that uses only battery power to propel darts. Just how good is this blaster?

Let’s find out!

The blaster comes packaged in a cardboard box with two halves glued together along one side – not my preference for packaging, but there’s absolutely no risk of damaging some of the contents on transit.

I’ve seen worse; it’s certainly not terrible, although you’ll want to be careful with cutting off all of the small pieces of tape holding down some of the hardware inside.

The box comes filled with stuff – not just the blaster itself, but also three eighteen dart drums, one hundred foam darts, a barrel extension with built-in iron sights, an instruction manual and product leaflet, six C batteries for use in the included stockless flywheel cage, and two AAs for powering this cage without any additional accessories.

Nice! The batteries are packed underneath everything else in a clear plastic baggie.

The Calibur-11 blaster is large – larger than most stock blasters on the market today.

It’s a good bit larger than the Rayven CS-18, and about the same length as a Rapidstrike CS-18 with a stock attached. The core blaster is composed of six major components:

A very long orange plastic shell cylinder, which forms both halves of the shell front and rear, as well as part of the flywheel cage within. This cylinder also slightly dangles from its two attachment points to the main rotating turret onto which all other parts attach.

A rotary white plastic gear attaches to this cylinder on one side and allows it to rotate. A transparent green ring that fits over this gear, allowing for what I assume is some aesthetic purposes… but also houses a hidden lock switch!

Two greys “drum” pieces, which are slotted to fit over the white gear.

These drums only go on one way, so it’s impossible to put them on backward. The black rotary turret that actually holds darts – this is what all of your feed systems will attach to. A thin grey plastic piece that serves as both a cap for the back of the cylinder and forms most of the flywheel cage. This cannot be removed without first removing the orange peg from within it. A large orange drum release button on top of this cage piece.

The blaster fires via infrared signals sent by two small switches on either side of the main rotating turret… but these are not inset properly! They’re flush with the surface of their enclosures, which means it’s very easy to accidentally press them when picking the blaster up. Makes you wonder why they didn’t just insert them, like on all other flywheel blasters… Oh well.

Inside the drum is what appears to be a unique flywheel design with three blades per stage, rather than two or four per for most previous designs in this class of blaster.

This triple-blade design was originally used in Nerf’s bulky Rotofury flywheel – but that was about twelve years ago now! Some kind of nostalgia thing?

Well, regardless, the Calibur-11 looks so much more streamlined than its bulky rotary predecessor. The turret itself can fit six darts at once; with three spinning rows of three darts, which gives the blaster a total capacity of eighteen darts.

how to make a 3d printed nerf gun

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns?

3d printed nerf sniper rifle, made from scratch

A few months ago I saw a 3d printed nerf sniper rifle on Thingiverse. I thought it was really cool and that it would be even better if the magazine was detachable

. The only problem for me was that there were two shells in front of each other to form the magazine, which seemed too complicated when visited by an old nerf modder like myself.

So I started to make a design of my own, which has a detachable magazine and doesn’t use shells.

A few weeks later the first prints were ready for testing, but it seemed like I was designing something too complicated at some points. But when it all came together in one functional nerf gun everything turned out fine in the end. It also seems like designing my own nerf rifle is quite addictive!

It is quite large, but for this project, size wasn’t an issue since it was mainly meant to be a decorative piece of art at home, which would only be fired very seldomly.

For those people who want to shoot the gun more often it could also be reduced in size by around 10 percent (maybe even more) and printed in stronger material like NylonX. A shell holder that attaches to either side of the nerf blaster with velcro straps can hold 5 extra darts as shown below:

Step 1: The first thing I did was get a black toy gun similar to nerf guns and rip off all plastic parts, leaving only the metal barrel and trigger mechanism behind (since this would be printed later as well).

To make sure everything fits together perfectly next time it is important to mark where certain bolts are placed on each piece.

This makes assembly easier after 3d printing them several weeks later! Note: It might be better not to use deactivated replica weapons with real-looking plastic parts like these ones, even if they were made of black ABS plastic. I now know for sure that the replica feature of these guns makes it impossible to find 3d models online (especially after deactivating them), which is why I designed and printed everything by myself!

Step 2: For testing purposes, a prototype of the main shell was printed first.

The bolt action mech and trigger were not yet part of this version since its purpose was just to see if it worked as intended with darts and shells before designing and printing the final versions.

The standard nerf dart is stacked below each other in this design. When one dart shoots out, another is pushed up from the bottom so they always stay together.

This way I didn’t have to print individual darts less than 0.2mm thick!

how to 3d print a nerf gun

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns? (cre: theverge)

The bolt action mechanism didn’t turn out as I wanted, but after printing a version with another design it worked much better. Click the images below to see them full size:

Step 3: The right side of one printed shell was then divided into 2 parts and glued back together again.

This makes sure that the nerf darts don’t fly out leftwards since they will always fly towards the right due to this change in geometry. Since this shell piece is never going to be seen from outside once it’s been placed inside the gun’s main body, I was able to cut away some support material as well as adding an extra hole for a small spring so it would push itself out every time a dart would shoot out.

Step 4: To make sure that shells and darts fit into the nerf gun’s main body I designed a cap for each of them.

Some material was taken away from both sides to be able to slide everything inside.

Note: It is important that the holes at the top are as big as possible so you can screw these caps onto something else later on since they won’t be connected directly to anything in the final design!

The wrong side of one shell after dividing it into 2 parts which were glued together again.

The support material within this part would not be needed anymore and had to be removed with a sharp knife before gluing it back together again! Only this way will they fly towards the right due to geometry changes after printing (and no, the 5 in this picture does not stand for darts in a shell. It is just there to indicate the size of the original nerf dart which would be placed on top)

Step 5: The barrel was printed with a very thin layer height (0.04mm) and 0.2mm retraction to make sure it wouldn’t easily break after printing like most other things I’ve printed before did when being made of ABS plastic.

For added strength, some parts were filled with epoxy glue.

This makes it much less likely that anything will ever break apart or fall out again!

To attach the 3d printed parts together something stronger than superglue had to be used since nerf guns are supposed to withstand a lot of punishment.

I decided to use an industrial metal adhesive called ” J-B Weld “.

It needs 24 hours to cure but is much stronger than anything else I could find at the moment (and I tried quite a few). To make sure that it sticks together perfectly, some small holes were drilled in certain places and glued or puttied over with epoxy glue again before sanding everything down once cured. The last picture shows how this looked like after sanding & painting.

One barrel was printed with 0.04mm layer height and 0.2mm retraction for added strength which was then filled with epoxy glue.

Some 3d printed parts are just held together by superglue instead of being screwed onto other things though since they are not expected to take that much of a beating anyway.

Step 6: The ABS plastic cover for the charging handle is held in place by 2 screws with nuts.

It has nothing to do with how it works though but was simply added because the original design didn’t have any at all since I didn’t expect these parts to be seen from outside afterward. If you don’t want this piece to fall apart one day, use superglue instead of screws & nuts here!

This nerfs gun’s main body after sanding down its printed parts and painting along with glue used before.

Step 7: After about 10 hours of printing on my very slow printer, everything is finally finished! At least for now… There’s still a lot of room for improvement and a lot of ideas in my head which I’ll hopefully be able to turn into something nice & useful in the near future! Also, there’s still no switch or trigger on this model. The main body was supposed to carry the weight of the battery pack along with everything else so it should at least double its housing. I might add this later on though.

EDIT: To make sure that darts fly out far enough, an additional 0.5mm was taken away from darts (this can be seen within Step 2).

Step 8: Who would’ve thought that you could already buy nerf guns like this one? Just search for “Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino Fire” online to find one that should be just like this one (but with only 6 dart barrels instead of 10)! Since no batteries are needed, you could probably take it over the pond but make sure to either get a nerf gun that doesn’t use batteries or simply remove them!

UPDATE: After some hassle, I finally managed to get my hands on one of these guns. It’s definitely not bad for starters and will do until something better comes along (which hopefully won’t happen anytime soon).

3d printed nerf guns

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns? (cre: 3dprint)

3d printed foam dart gun

This is my attempt at designing a 3d printed foam dart gun. I did this for several reasons, the primary reason being that I wanted to learn Solidworks beforehand.

That was number one on my priority list. My other reasons are because I have personally always loved Nerf guns and thought it would be neat to make my own design for once, especially considering how successful this process has been in the past with various designs found online.

The other reason being that last week while competing in an internship competition, where interns from other companies compete against each other by doing certain things within their company’s appointed field of expertise, I competed against a team from NASA.

NASA won our round, but it really got me thinking about what they do and how it applies to me.

I started looking into what they do, and the first thing that caught my attention was always the fact that they build things like Mars rovers, satellites, etc. They had interns who designed Mars rovers for their missions.

That really got me thinking, “What if one day I could design something that went on a mission to Mars? What would it be?” Of course, this question wasn’t difficult to answer considering my love of Nerf guns combined with my newly acquired fascination with NASA.

This is what I came up with after doing some research on NASA’s projects over time (a few months) which included many of their past successful missions. The main purpose of this project is to not only give me some experience with CAD but also to hopefully win a NASA prize that will allow me to shadow an engineer for a day.

Winning would look something like this:

I’ll be able to use Solidworks on my future projects!

I may even get to go on this bird! That’s right, the X-57 is made by NASA engineers for NASA, it gets 150mpg! I can’t wait to do more research into this aircraft and how it is made.

This just screams amazing opportunity. Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure if they would be interested in my little nerf gun idea, but it never hurts to try.

Although this gun is designed with the help of Solidworks, it isn’t actually printed using it. I would have to learn another program first so Solidworks will not be used until after my internship or until I can get a license. You can find the software free online, but you may need an education account to get access.

Quick, nerf at the ready! Without further ado let’s start by talking about how these guns work. As with most Nerf guns out there today they are powered via spring propulsion.

They are known for their ability to shoot foam darts accurately up to 90ft (27m) away! For simplicity’s sake, this design uses rubber bands for power and changes in pressure inside the chamber caused by air being compressed when loading a dart into the gun to fire.

They function off of pressure created by the rubber band (or bands) and compression of the chamber made by loading a dart. A spring is attached to a plunger that goes into the gun, this allows for easy cocking and reloading of the gun while also making it look nice.

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns

Can You 3d Print Nerf Guns? (cre: cults3d)

Can you 3d print Kydex?

The answer is yes and no. Sort of. It depends on what you’re trying to do.

If you have a relatively small object that’s going to be used MAYBE once it might work fine if you just let the ABS plastic melt as usual, but for larger more complex items I would advise against it entirely.

There are some specific issues with printing high-strength materials such as ABS or Kydex specifically because these tend to warp far more than regular FDM prints due to their chemical nature.

To put it simply: they don’t like heat and will release chemicals and gases when heated up too much (which is why we need ovens)


3D printing is a fascinating technology that can be used for many purposes. One of the more interesting applications, in our opinion, is to create homemade Nerf guns which you can then buy and customize as much as your heart desires! There are other cool uses for this innovative printer too – from making personal jewelry to even repairing broken bones! If you’re interested in learning more about how you might use a 3D printer at home or work, take some time to browse our website where we have lots of great articles on all things related to 3d printers.

Further Reading: