June 23, 2013

Toy Story Buzz Lightyear's Blaster Review and Modification

I found one of these at a thrift store over a week ago, and picked it up. I usually avoid buying ball blasters in store, given their typically low performance and mod potential for the price. However, this blaster actually has a trigger, and is spring powered. As it turns out, it would be well worth the $20 price at your nearby Disney Store (or online).
The blaster has a standard ball shooter-style inline clip, like you would see on a Reactor. Stock, it does in fact shoot the balls 20 ft. as claimed. But we're not going to shoot balls with this one.

Peering inside the clip, we see a metal pin and plastic part at the front of the plunger tube. This makes the Buzz Lightyear Blaster unusual in that it uses an extension spring, unlike the vast majority of compression spring-powered blasters. The air outlets form a ring around the center.

Now we remove the screws in the shell!

As it turns out, the internal priming and trigger mechanisms are exactly the same as the Lanard TriBlaster (also distributed as Toy Story Emperor Zurg's Blaster. So now we know the company that produces this toy!

If you pry the back of the plunger rod off, you'll find that the rear is the other plastic holding the extension spring in place. The spring sits inside the plunger, and it pulls this piece tight against the plunger in order to seal everything.

The plunger also has a decent skirt seal.

Here's the extension spring. Notice it's shorter than the plunger tube - in its fully assembled state, the spring is already stretched and under a good deal of tension. Therefore, if you aren't replacing anything, DO NOT DISASSEMBLE THIS PART OF THE BLASTER. It's a pain to reassemble, as you have to hook the end of the spring and pull it back through the plunger. I ended up using a length of coat hanger wire with a loop at the end.

Before we do anything else, let's have a little math lesson. How large is the displacement of the plunger? 

Draw = 3"
Diameter = 1 7/16"

R^2 * pi * H = Volume for a cylinder

(1.4375/2)^2 * pi * 3 = 4.869 in^3

For comparison, a Longshot plunger tube:

Draw = 3.25"
Diameter = 1 3/8"

(1.375/2)^2 * pi * 3.25 = 4.826 in^3

Yep, the plunger displacement actually beats that of a Longshot! And it's in a small package, too - only about 18" in total blaster length.

For the initial modification, I removed most of the inline ball clip. I then wrapped a 1" x 1/2" PVC bushing in tape until it fit snugly within the base of the clip, in front of the plunger tube. This method left the airways out of the plunger tube free from obstruction and killed most of the dead space.

With a 9" long, 1/2" CPVC barrel, my darts are easily hitting 100'. In addition, if I really want to minimize the blaster, the front half of the shell serves no real purpose, aside from containing the now-absent ball clip and the front handle.

There you have it: $20 buys a pistol that shoots as far as your modded Longshot simply by throwing a barrel on it. Given the empty space in the front of the shell, I could see adding a breech and clip to the front of this blaster. A setup like that in such a small package? That's clearly a win for any Nerfer's arsenal.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Thanks for the info. I may just have to pick one of these up.