Hasbro tends to design its dart-firing Nerf blasters to look like toys, or classic sci-fi props, with performance geared towards keeping kids safe. Grown up dart blaster enthusiasts, by comparison, strive to create absolutely terrifying, over-powered, foam-flinging weapons. The latter approach, thanks to YouTuber GatlingTommy, has now yielded a fully functional replica of the military’s M134 Minigun, made famous in movies like the original Predator.
For those not familiar with the military’s version of the gun, it’s known for having an incredibly high rate of fire, shooting out up to 6,000 rounds every minute by using six rotating barrels. You never want to find yourself on the wrong end of one, and the same goes for the MOAB, or Mother of All Blasters, which functions more or less the exact same way, but with foam darts blasting out of the barrels.
It took GatlingTommy (you can find their YouTube channel here, and their Instagram account here) two years to design, 3D print, and assemble the MOAB, and the first functional prototype was recently tested by the team behind the YouTube channel WalcomS7, who cover dart blaster news. Based on the ear-to-ear grins on the faces of everyone who gives it a try, it’s clear the MOAB is an impressive piece of engineering.
Powered by a rechargeable battery, the MOAB uses a spring-based firing mechanism. With its electric motor cranked to 3,000RPM, it has a firing rate of around 58 darts every second. Darts are fed to the blaster from a 500-shot backpack using a 3D-printed chain feed mechanism, and as each dart is fired, the chain and each dart’s casing is disassembled and ejected. Holding down the fire button (which is hidden beneath a safety cover) will empty the backpack in about nine seconds, but it takes one person around an hour to reassemble the chain and reload all 500 darts.
To make the MOAB more useful in a dart blaster battle (you don’t want to run out of ammo nine seconds in), the firing rate can be adjusted using a small LCD screen, so instead of running until it’s empty, it can be programmed to fire a short burst of darts every time the fire button is pressed.
It is both an absolutely absurd and an amazingly impressive feat of homebrew engineering, and while you can’t buy one yet, or even download the necessary files to 3D print your own, GatlingTommy is exploring ways to get this into the hands of the most devoted (and well-funded) dart blaster fans, either as a fully-functional completed build, or as a DIY 3D-printable kit that includes the various electronic components that can’t come from a 3D printer.