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Marshmallow Machine Gun

A tasty high rate of fire
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We've got a pretty large game of Humans vs Zombies planned for next spring at my university, and naturally I wanted to get a leg up on the competition to remain a human as long as possible (ideally completely surviving the apocalypse).

We are limited to marshmallows, socks, and Nerf guns. Nerf guns are obviously a quality product, but the ammo can be expensive with hordes of the undead on your tail, so I want to make a fully automatic marshmallow machine gun. Do not confuse this with the standard marshmallow shooter of Marshmallow Fun, Inc. orgin. This bad boy will have an electronic firing system at the heart of it, firing solenoids to release pre-pressurized air into the firing chamber (none of that pumping crap). Its gonna be a beast to say the least.

I've been off and on working on this for a bit over a week (finals are getting in the way), but one issue I keep running into is the loading mechanism. So far I've got a reasonable system that loads a tube of marshmallows into the chamber, but in a perfect world, I'd like to toss them all into a hopper and reign chaos on zombies without having to preload ammo tubes. So, my main question is: any ideas on how to sort an unorganized pile of small, sticky, squishy objects in a light, durable and easily transportable system?

I'll post more as it gets actually written out, but that little portion of the idea has be driving me crazy.

fredcai, Dec 10 2009

HvZ Homepage http://humansvszombies.org/
The official website of Humans vs Zombies. The documentary is worth watching if you have 40 minutes lying around. [fredcai, Dec 10 2009]

Marshmallowville http://www.marshmallowville.com/
The shooter gun is about the closest thing available to what I'm thinking of, but its a purely mechanical system. [fredcai, Dec 10 2009]

[link]






       Would these marshmallows be fired with their wooden stakes?
ldischler, Dec 10 2009
  

       Haha, I'm pretty sure that's vampires. With zombies its all about knocking off the head, and yes, there will be a laser sight to facilitate better accuracy for head shots.
fredcai, Dec 10 2009
  

       The difference in killing zombies and vampires is where you put the wooden stake. In the head for one, in the heart for the other. But I wasn't thinking of killing anyone, just roasting marshmallows.
ldischler, Dec 10 2009
  

       Some sort of stirrer that traps a single marshy.
wjt, Dec 10 2009
  

       The Exair compressed air equipment website has various air-powered conveyors that pick up pills and such and then move them along inside tubes. I was going to build a paintball gun using one of their picker-uppers, but gave it up when I realized that continuous and rapid fire was against paintballing rules.
baconbrain, Dec 10 2009
  

       If you want rapid fire, you'll also want large storage - I was thinking a backpack, with a large diameter hose running from the bottom of it to the gun (think hand-held, chain-fed machine gun). A backpack also gives you somewhere to put your air supply.
Cloggage at the point of marshmallow exit is the main problem, but I think a very shallow slope to the central exit (at the bottom of the pack) would work best, and as you'll be running, it will shake plenty to dislodge and minor cloggage.
As for the transfer, an air powered venturi type system to suck the marshmallows out of the pack and blow them to the gun is option 1, but whether it's mounted at the base of the pack or at the gun (or both?) is the question.
I presume you have the firing etc worked out already.
Devious options: preheated marshmallows for sticky splatting, angled baffles between the launch air supply and the 'ready-to-go' marshmallow to rotate the airflow - rifling by air, double-barrel (alternating) for faster firing.
neutrinos_shadow, Dec 10 2009
  

       Surely if the hopper of marshmallows is backpack mounted, then a head-mounted trebuchet is the obvious solution? All you need to fix is the rapid-reload mechanism.
pocmloc, Dec 10 2009
  

       hmmmm, slingshots with shoulder mounted cock/load/release mechanisms for dual action.   

       Perhaps instead of firing actual marshmallows, you might want to find a way to fire gobs of marshmallow creme.   

       You would then pump your ammo from the supply container through a tube into the firing mechanism, where a gob at a time would be chopped off and then blasted with compressed air.   

       Obviously you'd need components which were non-stick, or very well lubricated, but that's not impossible.   

       One obvious advantage is that since there's no protective coating of cornstarch, the gobs would be super sticky.
goldbb, Dec 10 2009
  

       What tactical environment are you designing for? Is your goal just to lay down a steady stream of marshmallows? Launching a backpack-load of marshmallows all at once, or having a long-ranged and accurate launcher, or being able to draw quickly but still blend in with non-players, might be better than something that sprays a 30-second burst.   

       Please also consider the safety and legal implications of what you're doing.   

       To win, you might consider building a pedal-powered enclosed vehicle to travel in.   

       [21Q] are you trolling? =)
sninctown, Dec 10 2009
  

       //a way to fire gobs of marshmallow creme//   

       Sounds like the splurge guns from Bugsey Malone.   

       The smaller PVC guns are definitely not what I'm talking about. I'm working on more of an automated version of the one on think geek, though it will work very differently. The Make link to the 'advanced' one might be useful though, even if is just covering the more obvious firing mechanism. I suppose this isn't a new idea, but it is a major evolution.   

       The backpack would be a bit overkill for my current needs, but I'm planning on making an automated turret out of the handheld device, so the Exair suggestion is very useful. Thanks.   

       Marshmallow creme is out. One of the few rules of HvZ is 'Don't be a douche,' and I think covering someone in marshmallow creme would fall into that category, lol.   

       The tactical environment is mostly urban, but there will be limited room clearing. So, it'll be mostly fairly confined outdoor areas with a heavy civilian population. Because of this, I don't necessarily need something that will fire hundreds of rounds, but to be able to have 90 or so rounds available without reloading for dashes between classes would be useful toward the end of the game. So, it mostly needs to have reliability over range and accuracy; I don't expect to snipe anyone with this thing.
fredcai, Dec 11 2009
  

       The marshmallow creme gun suggestion wasn't to cover any individual opponent with the stuff... it would shoot individual blobs of the stuff, each about the same size as normal marshmallows, only stickier.   

       Thus, you'd try to get one gob on each opponent.
goldbb, Dec 13 2009
  

       the major problem with using your standard issue marshmallows is that they're roughly square in cross-section from any angle, so alignment of an individual marshmallow picked from a random pile, and insertion into a similar calibre barrel, is going to be problematical.
FlyingToaster, Dec 13 2009
  

       or a drum-mag... could make it cylindrical (3d) and built around the barrel as well.
FlyingToaster, Dec 13 2009
  

       Our marshmallow blaster is very sensitive to differences in size, even while loading one at a time by hand. Too small, no pressure build up, too big, jambs in the barrel. Maybe use an air activated piston, so the marshmallow is just physically forced out of the chamber, regardless of angle or orientation, at a very high rate.
oxen crossing, Dec 14 2009
  

       ethanol could be used as both propellant and tracer.
FlyingToaster, Dec 14 2009
  

       I find that tazers work pretty well on zombies.
RayfordSteele, Dec 14 2009
  

       Accelleration splooshes the marshmallow outward (Poisson effect); a gas check wouldn't be sufficient to contain it. You'd need a sabot.   

       Or, change your launcher so that the deformation is to your advantage. Make a couple of plates which grip the 'mallo, squashing it out into a frisbee-like shape. Spin it up so that angular momentum tends to hold the equatorial bulge, then fling it much like a trap/skeet machine throws a clay pigeon. (A little puff of corn starch on each plate keeps it from sticking.)   

       In keeping with the skeet idea, the flying marshmallows could then be gunned down with a flame thrower...
lurch, Dec 14 2009
  

       Could you use the correct type of fine granules in the magazine to keep the marshmallows free flowing?
wjt, Dec 14 2009
  

       freeze the marshmellows and use a vibratory pellet style feeder.
evilpenguin, Dec 15 2009
  

       Or use stale hard marshmallows with the vibratory pellet feeder, and then heat the chamber just enough to soften the mm for safer delivery.
oxen crossing, Dec 15 2009
  
      
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