Author Archives: btrettel

Blog moved to NerfHaven

This blog has moved to NerfHaven and is now titled Nerf Engineering. That is all.

NY Times Magazine Interview

I was interviewed for the New York Times Magazine about my other toy gun hobby: homemade water guns. I haven’t worked on homemade water guns for several years now, but I’ll eventually get back into the hobby. Edit: To be clear, I am not Lonnie Johnson. He was interviewed first in the article. The section […]

Drag coefficient of Nerf darts

The drag coefficient tells you how much drag affects an object moving in a fluid. A higher drag coefficient means that the drag force is larger, which’ll slow down an object more. Lower drag darts will have more range and travel faster. What’s the drag coefficient of a Nerf dart? Many tests have been done […]

Nerf test gun

I am developing a Nerf gun purely for test purposes. My main goal is to get consistent performance. I am using a few methods to do this: regulated pressure, reducing the effect of the speed of opening the trigger valve by piloting my QEV with another smaller QEV (that is in turn piloted by a […]

Notes about valves and flow rates

Comparing valves for compressed gases can be difficult for several reasons. Even if you are familiar with how valve performance is specified, you can easily make mistakes. Valve performance is specified in several different sloppy and confusing ways, almost always in non-metric units. The worst part is that valve performance can be specified in obvious […]

Nerf Engineering notes

I’ve started organizing my writings and thoughts on Nerf ballistics into a set of notes (link corrected). Readers of my blog might be interested. For the moment my notes are very rough and incomplete. I’ll update the PDF as I make changes. I’d appreciate any feedback, especially corrections and ideas. Edit (2012-10-02): I’ve removed the […]

Goals for the end of 2011

I’ve been too busy to accomplish what I want to in this hobby, but I do have a few plans for the end of this year: I will write a NerfHaven article about misconceptions in Nerf physics. I have already written a few things along these lines. The goal here is to make a summary […]

Improving accuracy and precision

I wrote a long post at NerfHaven on improving accuracy and precision of guns back in April.

I’m not entering Ryan’s contest

To answer a question that I’m sure will be asked, I will not be entering Ryan’s contest. I do not have easy access to anything resembling a machine shop or much money to buy components with. This is unfortunate. I have, however, explained my ideas elsewhere. Others are free to implement these ideas as they […]

Solving the point mass model of a dart’s trajectory, part two

I wrote a technical paper about solving these equations and made some conclusions for design. I have fully solved the flat-fire case given that the x velocity stays above a certain number (and it generally will). (Original link broken: My newer notes contain that paper and more.) The take-home message is pretty simple: Keep kinetic […]