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A Brief History of Squirt Gun Technology 189

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the essential-technology dept.
ectospasm writes "This article in the Los Angeles Times is a brief history of the squirt gun, with it's main focus on Super Soaker, the undisputed champion of the water arms race. Interesting because the original Super Soaker idea was the brainchild of a Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer. I especially like what they say about a forth-coming product line aimed at college-aged children. ;-) " I need a big honkin, uber efficient squirt gun for sniping these kids that keep ringing my doorbell and running.
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A Brief History of Squirt Gun Technology

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  • Wouldn't you worry about melting the plastic? :-)
    ROFL my backwoods uncle could probably make such a thing. Lord knows there's enough old pipes on his farm, not to mention rubber hose, wire, that sort of thing.....personally, I'd never run the risk of losing my eyebrows!
  • This got me thinking of ways to make a more powerful jet through chemical means. Use vinegar and baking soda for the propellant; however, this would not be cool around people, since vinegar is kind of unpleasant. This also made me think about spud guns, aka potato launchers. Perhaps one could put a disc in a barrel to act like a piston and power it with hair spray just like a spud gun.
  • Damark [damark.com] is one of those mail-order companies that carries a lot of cool gadgets (like laser pointers) and incredibly stupid crap (like Electric Shiatsu Massagers[tm], Buckwheat Pillows[tm], etc. As Seen On TV![tm]) They're worth a look.
    --
  • I could beat you up, richie.
  • Just because the Nazis distorted Nietzsche's views doesn't mean we have to stop using his terminology. Christianity and other religions have been used for other ends. Does that mean we should not use terms from them. I actually find Nietzsche to be interesting reading sometimes, though I prefer Kant.

    It happened that's a fact but Nietzsche wasn't involved.
  • I had one of these.. The clip was too small, and the 4 AA batteries kept going dead. I found it out in my yard a few summers later sans-clip and battery door and decided to improvise it back into working condition.

    I used a backpack with a gallon bottle and instead of 4 AA batteries, I used two 6v lantern batteries. It was a great time for 2 summers before it started to break down (2 years out in the weather did it in, I think...) We used to spray neighborhood kids with this thing and they'd end up with red marks. Sprayed so hard it stung.

  • Either that or a regular water hose, and make sure to walk out in a wife-beater T-shirt, when you spray them, and mumble things about "whipper-snappers".
  • Yeah, back when we had water gun wars I had always wanted to get one of those 2 gallon crop sprayers you pump up. It would have been cool since you could just put it on the ground and spray around with the wand it was connected to in any direction.
  • Please, don't give them any bright ideas!
  • I'm pretty sure it would blow up in your hands...

    problem being that you won't get anywhere near the necessary velocity in the projected fluid, the flame burns back up the stream faster than you can possibly shoot, hits the tank and BOOM... sort of like those idiots who try to spray lighter fluid on already _burning_ coals in a barbecue, except of course a supersoaker costs a lot more than a can of lighter fluid...
  • by MrEd (60684) <tonedog.hailmail@net> on Thursday July 29, 1999 @10:27AM (#1776372)
    First off, a water gun too heavy for an eleven-year-old to pick up.... More importantly, note that the range on nearly all super soakers is less than 40 feet. If anyone could come up with a human-powered water gun that could break that to any extent, they'd be rich. Kids will always like guns, and parents will buy them a water gun before they get 'em an air rifle.

    By the way, for all of you who like water guns, I suggest renting a power washer from your local hardware store. Just don't point it at people, wooden fences, or anything else that can't take 1300 PSI. ;)

  • by db (3944) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @10:33AM (#1776373) Homepage
    When I was 10 (back in '91) I bought the first model of the SS50, which, for its size, was by far the farthest advance in water-propelling technology I had ever seen or cared to imagine. I douched everybody when we went at it in the summer time. Then my friend got a 100. Damn him.

    However, I discovered an interesting way to make my old SS50 (and second SS50 -- the first had a design flaw that busted some sort of seal if you filled it up too much) actually propel the tank off the gun at a staggering speed, and with a much farther range than the actual water stream. The tank would shoot roughly 50 ft. at a 90 degree angle to the ground... aiming this at lower trajectories ended up worrying my neighbors because they'd see, in essence, a rocket-propelled tank of water rifle across the street. Needless to say, my parents took it away.

    The trick is, fill the tank about 1/4 full (or 3/4 empty for all you pessimists) with water, and screw the tank on to create a seal, but not to torque the bottle on so that it cant be quickly unscrewed. Then, begin pumping. Pump the thing until you are either physically exhausted from pumping or the gun refuses to pump any more, which ever comes first (at 10, it was usually the former). Then, with great haste, aim the gun at your target (At *WAIST* level, you could probably put an eye out doing this near your shoulders) and quickly unscrew the water-containment bottle. After about 1/2 to 3/4 a turn, it will rocket off the gun fixture at an incredible speed and for an amazing distance -- something usually not comprehended for something so small.

    TECHNICAL NOTES:

    TO acheive maximum distance, use a higher-modelled gun with a tank from a smaller model that will still screw onto the water-pressure valve. This allows even more air to be compressed and to fill a smaller volume. Normally this tends to increase distance significantly more than it does speed, though I'm sure the two are related. The last valid combination i tested was an SS50 bottle screwed onto an SS100 gun...

    Watch out, neighbor-kids, here I come...

    --
    Dave Brooks (db@amorphous.org)
    http://www.amorphous.org
  • Never, EVER, play paintball after August!

  • I also had an electric MAC-10 water gun - spare clip, matte black finish, almost a precise replica (except for an annoying water leak). I really wanted the UZI, though...

    My high-school room-mate (boarding school) and I went out driving around our small town one night in my Firebird (what, me, spoiled rich kid? yep!) with my MAC-10. My room-mate ("Dynomite" Dave) was a somewhat scary looking fellow - long-ish hair, wild eyes, and almost always wearing a Metallica T-Shirt. I drove, he had the water gun, and we instituted a reign (rain? sorry for the pun) of wet terror on the town that night. I remember two incidents in particular:

    • Two people on bikes. Hit them once, circled the block, hit them again. Circled the block - they must have turned off somewhere.
    • 10-year-old kid at a phone booth. Room-mate leaned out the window, pointed water gun at kid, shouted "I'm gonna get you!". Kid looked like he wet himself right there and then.
    The really scary part of this? We were both stone-cold sober... :=]

    Nowadays, a couple guys pulling a stunt like this would have been sent for psychological evaluation and court-mandated therapy - provided that the police don't shoot them dead on the spot. Those were the days, all right...
    ________________________

  • You know, there are potato cannons similar to my idea that shoot potatoes at almost the speed of sound and can blow up some fruit pretty mean... You might give it a second thought... or some reaction slightly faster than vinegar + baking soda... Perhaps nitrous or a hydrogen mix.
  • Damark sells green laser pointers
  • I've always been tempted to fill one with gas and try to use it as a flame thrower.

    Do that. Have someone take picures from far away, though. Post said pictures on the 'net somewhere and let us know about 'em.

    heh.

    --
    A host is a host from coast to coast...

  • Here is an example of a virtual monopoly (90% of the market) that vigorously
    protects itself by means of litigation giddy lawyers. It is not something that
    we should be supporting people.

    At least Microsoft isn't suing based on a bunch of bogus patents... yet...
  • A friend of mine back in junior high had a water shotgun. It didn't shoot far at all, held barely enough water for 5 or six shots, but man... people started running when he started pumping it. There was something about the blast of water that made our friends freak out that a water stream could never do. I've been looking for this at every Toys R Us and Walmart I've been to, but I've never been able to find it.
  • I had one of those. Super Soaker, my ass - I'd take one of those shotguns any day.

    Those shotguns had a choke knob on them... on the wide setting, they were pretty short range, but they'd soak your target from neck to knees, and you didn't even have to aim them. On the narrow setting, they made a smaller splash, but they could match the range of the Super Soakers.

    Only problems were rate of fire - it took some serious effort (at least for a twelve-year-old) to work the pump, which made it slow, and lack of ammo - the clip was huge, but the thing pumped out so much water that it only held five, six shots.

    The thing eventually died when a little plastic bit in the pump mechanism broke... we were never able to find a glue strong enough to hold it together against the force of the pump springs. Before that, though, I'd used it to wipe the grins off the faces of any number of Super-Soaker wielders...
  • I had (maybe still have somewhere, but I bet the seals are broken), this great pump-action thing with a backpack-mounted water supply that held about 3 or 4 litres of water. It didn't use the pump to build up air pressure, and there was no trigger. Just pump the thing once per shot. The range wasn't great, and you didn't get many shots, about 10. But the target got VERY wet.
  • Rob writes:

    I need a big honkin, uber efficient squirt gun for sniping these kids that keep ringing my doorbell and running.

    No, what you need for that particular case is a paintball gun.

    --
    I gave my boss a reality check. It bounced.

  • I really have to like the irony of a post of
    > Soak me
    being moderated to Flamebait....
    -cpd
  • by Wah (30840)
    The last two posts (history of squirt guns) reafirm my belief that /. is the best web site on earth. For the cost of a banner a page you get the truest efforts of your peers.
    Anyway, funny posts.....you need to be able to moderate to 100, c'mon Rob. ;-)


  • when I was in high school I worked evenings at a local doctors' office... my friends and I had a
    _HUGE_ water weenie built from a length of surgical tubing I picked up an work. fully inflated it was something like 20 feet long; we coiled it in the passenger footwell in my car... that thing held _so_ much water, and lasted forever. it's a ton of fun to drive around while your friend is literally riding shotgun soaking most of the teenagers you pass!

    - mark
  • "This is for fight, and this is for fun!"

    Ok, repeat after me:
    "This is my supersoaker. There may be others like it, but this one is mine. Without me, my supersoaker is useless. Without my supersoaker, I am useless."
  • First... shut up first-post lamers.

    Second.. I remember the first Super Soakers. I actually busted mine because I pumped it too full :-) Those things got even better if you pumped them under water... Just as much pressure w/ increased water capacity. I love those, I wonder if there is a water-gun club at my college I am going to? I have to say though that some of the guns recently are just plain ridiculous in terms of size. In a real fight they are too cumbersome and for the small increase in distance it is not that efficient. Furthermore, the smaller streams sting more. My ideal gun would be like a double barreled one, one big and one small for selective snipping. In case you can't tell, I take my water guns seriously :-)
  • Over the space of three months, I had 2 XP 40s break on me and a third break on a friend. The choice of transparant plastic of some description may appeal to the kiddies, but it means the water tanks fracture with annoying ease with the result that the damn things leak all over the place.

    Still, I've had good experiences with my CPS 1000 (pretty much the biggest I can afford - they're significantly more expensive over here in the UK) which seems a damn sight better built. The sheer ugliness of the thing suggests that it's been designed with function ahead of form and as a result it hasn't failed me once. I'm a member of the Cambridge University assassin's guild [cam.ac.uk] so we tend to go through a lot of them - the XP20 is very nice and pleasingly concealable, but sadly nobody in the area seems to sell them. XP110s are just about hideable inside a coat, and with anything above that any thoughts of subtlty go out the window. I've never really liked the 50 series for their size/usefulness ratio, but the 55s were pretty solid.

    Still, I may be forced to upgrade when the new range appears - someone I know has modified a 2500 (damn big thing about a metre long) and added 12 litres of extra capacity. The temptation to push him gently backwards when he's carrying it is something I may be forced to give in to at some point in the future...

  • Ahhh.... The good ol days of the super soaker 50... It was feared by every kid in the neighborhood. A few weeks ago i got the opportunity to play with the newer models... IT HAD A SHOULDER STRAP!!!!!! It was too heavy for me just to keep holding... I wonder how they'll market these "too heavy for 11 year olds" guns? I havent had a real waterfight in years because they just stopped losing their novelty... It'll be interesting.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...was this personal forest fire fighting rig we had. A 5 gallon metal tank backpack, with a 1/2" hose leading into a pump nozzle assembly that sorta looked like an old inline telescopic bicycle tire pump - but bigger.

    Shot a 1/2" diameter stream of water about 75'. It was used during forest fire season to put out spot fires, and it weighed 65lbs full (50lbs of that was water!)

    When you pack one of these babies, you win whatever water fight you get into - although it's hard to run in when full.

    Ahhh, memories...
  • When I was about 15 or so I was at a youth group retreat. The girls came ot our cabin at about 5 am and woke us up by screaming and throwing confetti. Well, a few nights later we got bakc at them.

    'round about 4:30 in the am I had one of the younger guys wake me up. I got about 5 or so of the teenage guys up and we got our water guns ready. I guess I was the Sarge' so I got A water balloon too. We crept to the girls cabin and we concentrated on the back room where the age 13+ girls slept. I slowly opened the window while another group went to chekc the front door.

    The frond door was locked so the others came around back too. Just as the window was almost completely open one of those morons come running aound the cabin and says, like we're in a crowded room, DID YOU GET IT OPEN YET? He didn't wake them up. We all got ready. I bit the ends off of my "grenade" and lobbed it in.(the next morning I found out that my I woke up somone by hitting her in the face with that grenade) We opened fire with abut 8 water guns through this open window. For about 30 seconds all I could hear was our laughter and the screams of startled half-asleep chicks on the other side of the window. After we were out of ammo, we told them why and warned them against ever waking us up like that again.

    Since the majority of "adults" on this retreat were women and were awakened by our activities we got in trouble while the girls did not, but I refused to accept any punishment as long as the girls went unpunished. (that is another story though)

    Also when I was younger than that I got this battery operated water gun that sprayed a continuous stream of water (not like the broken stream of enter-tech type water guns), my best friend and I tood turns hiding in the bushes in front of his house and spraying water into the open windows of any vehicle that drove up the road.

    This huge monster truck looking thing came up te road and I was so excited that I started shooting early, the headlights of the truck illuminated the stream from my gun like a silver ribbon that lead straight back to me. The driver of the truck hit his breaks and started to creep back in reverse, I must have army crawled 40 feet in 2 seconds to get the hell out of there.

    Anyway, that stuff was extremely fun and I'm just happy that I never got my butt kicked for any of the stuff that I did when I was a youngster. The thing that sucks most about growing up is that I can't do things like that anymore.

    LK
  • Yep, I remember being introduced to one of the M-16 models at my college graduation party in '86. My best friend was hosting this party and his snotty little brother was taking pot-shots at us from various vantage points. We were so hammered it took a while to figure out where the water was coming from. Little bastard was doing things like belly-crawling under a picnic bench and releasing a few quick bursts before retreating to refill.

    God that thing was cool once we busted him and confiscated it. It looked like the real thing from far enough away and in the twlight lighting. I can see why cops didn't want punks running around with these, they looked real as hell. You could put a pretty good bead of water where you wanted it too, nothing like the volume that you can dispense from a supersoaker, tho. But for stealthy, accurate sniping, this was the sh*t.

  • They were just long rubber tubes (supposidly intended for medicinal purposes) tied at one end and attached to the lower half of a ball point pen casing on the other. You could get really long tubes, fill them with water and then wrap it around your body. The elasticity of the rubber would provide pretty serious water pressure. Only annoying thing was that you had to keep your finger over the nozzle, no trigger mechanism. But they were devestating in a water fight, like super soakers are today.
  • by drwiii (434)
    Well, it's not exactly a squirt gun, but it's close [min.net]..
  • Basically it was just a rubber bladder that had a hose attachment on it.. you screw it on, fill 'er up, let go of the little plastic clamp to close it, turn off the water..

    Then to fire, you pushed the clamp, it released the pressure and bammo! 30 feet easy..

    I too had the ballon explode in my face, and cause me a pretty good injury (cut my chin when the clamp hit me).. nothing serious, but painful nonetheless.. I do believe that's why you can't find them anymore. :-)

    Still, great fun, and cheap too.

  • Sounds like a make-shift water rocket to me! I love water rockets, but it pretty hard to find good ones anymore. Someone must have passed a law limiting the range, so most of the new ones suck. Either that, or they are just trying to save some money by using crappy parts.

    Of course, firing one of these things while in a crowd is always fun. That sucker comes screaming back down to Earth pretty fast!

    Of course, for real fun, build yourself a water rocket using liquid notrogen. The original page at SGI is gone (which described using a water-cooler bottle for the rocket body!), but here is a good replacement [rocket.tc] that can get you started.

  • Hahaha this is great, do you write for The Onion by any chance? ;]
  • Another water propelled toy I've seen around is this water-jet plane. Basicly it was a big styrofoam glider with a wingspan of about 2 meters. The fuselage of the plane held a plastic bottle that had a special cap with a nozzle and a snap release valve. To fly the plane you first filled about a 1/3 of bottle with water and pumped it up with a supplied cheap plastic pump. Once you had it up to pressure you put the bottle into the plane, then throw the whole thing into the air releasing the valve just as you did so. The glider would then fly up some distance under the water pressure and then glide back down to erth.

  • Yeah, and something doesn't add up: it would seem that the CPS 2000 (and definitely the 3000) were already "aimed at the college-age market." I've let eleven-year-olds try to use my CPS2K and, though they could lift it, they couldn't exactly aim it, pump it, run with it, etc. Even pulling the trigger is kind of awkward for them. This is already some heavy artillery -- it's definitely best-suited for college-age people who take such things very seriously.

    So what else is there? Aside from just making them even bigger (so even we can't lift them?) and continuing to improve the tank, valve, pump, etc., technology (metal parts to hold higher pressure?), there is one development I'd like to see: make it use compressed CO2 cartridges instead of a hand-pump.

    David Gould
  • I remember when I was in high school and some of my friends decided to up the ante by getting these things. My solution was to get a deck sprayer and blow them away- nothing like _real_ hardware to do the job!
  • actually, we got a pretty neato hose from the fire department once, and got to spray people all ove,r neto stuff, .. it was for a water slide =8) or... mud slide

    -mikec
  • Heh... How about mounting some nozzles in the ceiling over the porch and wiring them to a powerful pump that draws off your culinary water supply? Mount the switch for the pump near the door so you can use it easily - or use a pushbutton-type switch that looks like the doorbell button on the other side of the door.
  • The way I remember it was,

    The buttered bread fixed to the back of a cat produced anti-gravity. The cat would just sit, suspened in air because of the confused state in the laws of nature.

    However, when I attempted this on my cat, the poor thing imploded. I would suspect from the,....

    ..WAIT!?! This was about squirt guns.

    Supersoakers are cool.

  • I always thought it would be fun to take a bottle of 'Pure Capsicum Oil' Available at your finer specialty food markets and mix it with water or oil (whichever works better) and spray people with it.
  • A friend of mine back in junior high had a water shotgun.

    YES!! I had one, too. Also had a 9mm. The slide would cock it for a one-shot bolt of water. I loved those things. I can't remember which company it was that made them, though.

    Wonder if they're still in the attic somewhere at the folks' place? They didn't have the same firepower as supersoakers, but they were damn cool.

    --
    A host is a host from coast to coast...

  • And don't forget those 3-man-crew water-balloon slingshots -- 250 foot range!

    Ahh, many is the time we would get onto the roof of my friends three-story house and launch balloons, fruit, tennis balls, and cake in any and all directions. Though I do believe we got significantly more range out of it than 250 ft. Balloons filled with a little water soluble paint were fun.

    Sniff, sniff, that was more fun than a bag of kittens and a hammer :)

    (yes that is a joke about the kittens)

  • Are there any laser sights out there that can be seen in broad daylight? I have a Daisy laser sight that I tried on my paintball gun, but during the daytime you can only see it up to a few feet away. Laser pointers are the same if not worse.

    Anyone ever try skeet shooting with a frisbee and a super soaker? It's very fun...plus, with all that practice, you could move on up to other moving targets, like, say, squirrels.

    Someone please make a video of a squirrel getting taken down by a Super Soaker and put it on the web. It could join the ranks of classics like the sheep running into the wall.
    My Boot: Movies [myboot.com] has that classic bit of cinematography and some other gems, too.
  • Those things rule! I had so many of those things. I remeber if they broke all you had to do was cut the tube and stick the pentop thing back in and zip-tie it on.. Then fill-er up.. a little shorter but still worked..
  • by Kyobu (12511)
    When I was in middle school, my friend Eli claimed that he and another kid, Chris, had built a rocket launcher using PVC tubing and Estes rocket engines. Frankly, I was inclined to believe him. They were that kind of guys.
  • Who's the twit that changed it to troll? :)
  • I think a lot of tech oriented people probably destroyed appliances in a similar manner when they were young(er).

    Everytime my wife sees me with tools, she gets nervous. But, after all her complaining, the washing machine still works.

    (anyone got a cheap dryer for sale?)

  • You can aquire a used water fire extinguisher for about $50 or so (I got mine a few years ago for $40). For that, you get 2 1/2 gallons of water at 100 PSI. It's been awhile since I've used mine, but I know it'll at least match a super-soaker's 40', and the delivery rate is higher. Now, if only I could figure out a good way to turn it into a backpack... :>
  • Lets just say no. There's no way you could move that much water fast enough to stop your blast chamber blowing up. Trust me I know.

    Even if you make the disc/piston slip really easily the inertia of the water will be too much.

  • Get over it. (The word, not WW2 or the holocaust).

    FunOne
  • Use carbonated water.. Beside the obvious bonus from the CO2, it's way less pleasent to get soaked with, yet harmless and doesn't stain.

  • This should have been posted on segfault.

  • god I have to stop doing this...

    haha
  • "I need a big honkin, uber efficient squirt gun for sniping these kids that keep ringing my doorbell and running."

    The hell with that. Get the biggest, baddest of those Super Soakers and fill the bad MF with BLEACH, then hose the bastards. That'll learn em.

    (all said with tongue placed firmly in cheek. A redneck I may be, but I'm not /cruel/)
  • :-)

    I used to have a pair of waterguns with electric pumps -- full autos. Eeeeeeevil. They were still pretty accurate out to 20-30' or so... it's a darn shame that the corrosion got to 'em.

    I've also played paintball a couple of times. If I really, really wanted to indulge myself, and didn't mind paying through the nose, I'd probably look for a fine paintball gun.

    * Semi-auto, at least. The ultimate would be switch-selectable (semi/fully), but dunno if those even exist for PB. Figure it'd play the role of an SMG. If the thing could take a clip or some other kind of quick loading mechanism, so much the better.

    * Preferably "stealthy". That is, quiet as possible, minimal reflectivity (especially specular), meaning as much black matte finish as possible I guess... {evil grin}

    * Not too heavy, or alternately, perhaps a lightweight folding stock.

    Dunno if that's all possible at a remotely nice price, 'tho. That, and I don't play nearly enough to justify a purchase... heh.
  • The problem with water guns is you can't use them around computers. They tend to cause some expensive damage. :)

    Rich
  • YES! That's the company that made my pair of automatics, me think! Hehehehehehehehehehehe.

    {recalls evil^H^H^H^Hfun memories}
  • Back in high school, the neighbor kid and I used to take one of those backyardyard insecticide sprayers and fill it with gasoline to make a flame thrower. The device was a 5-gallon drum with a hand-operated pump on top to pressurize the liquid and a short tube connecting to a metal wand about 1' long with a garden-hose-style trigger on it to release the liquid. We'd fill up the drum, pump for pressure, squirt a bit to get a slow drip going on the end to light, then write our names in the grass by his house.


    Oddly enough, I never died a fiery death.

    =============
  • I have an orange pump-action water shotgun with a yellow detachable "banana clip" reservoir that I got maybe 10 years ago.

    They ARE fun, though the range is nothing like a super soaker's.

    Jon
  • There are lots of designs online for pneumatic guns, usually spudguns. These things are great fun! I've built a couple myself, and I can shoot pretty much anything that fits in the barrel (including thick shotgun-like bursts of water).

    Of course, these are a hell of a lot more dangerous than Super Soakers, and even more dangerous than paintball guns. But they're great fun if you don't hurt living creatures with them! :)

    Shameless plug: My mini-spudgun page [colostate.edu]

    I've got a really small version that would work wonders in a food fight, too... It goes "poot" when it fires. :)

  • The word ueber was around before the Nazis. To say that we should not use something because they used it is totally backward. The swastika was a religious symbol a long time before the Nazi party began using it, so does that mean an entire religion should stop using one of their symbols? NO!!!

    The Nazis did _alot_ of bad and evil things to _alot_ of people but that does not mean that we need to stop using everything they used because of the fact that they used it also.

    By the way, did you know the Nazis also used early computers? Should we stop using those also?

    Rich
  • I prefered my modified version using a large PVC pipe as a frame with the surgical tubing. A good tripod built onto it too. Only needed one person, drop the balloon in the sling, pull back the slide, it clicks into place, pull the lever and PHHHOOOOM! Great range because I could winch it back farther than It would go with me and my friends pulling it... Course, that meant a 10ft long PVC pipe...


    Valis
  • > Damark sells green laser pointers

    Where/Who/What is Demark?
  • The article had some interesting sections. It mentions that Larami holds 90% of the $215 million per year industry and later says

    Getting consumers to keep trading up for more powerful guns is a key component to Larami's strategy. The New Jersey-based company covers nearly every price point, from a few dollars for the cheapest model to the $39.95 price tag on the CPS 3000.

    But Larami, which was acquired by toy giant Hasbro Inc. for about $100 million five years ago, has also maintained its stranglehold through constant innovation, gaining nearly 20 patents over the last decade and suing every other toy maker that comes near its designs.

    Sound familiar?


    --Phil (They are fun to play with, though. I still have my Super Soaker 50.)
  • I turned 29 in june. One of my present was a Super Soaker 400 (the beige+brown+orange model).

    This thing has a garden hose attachment with valve. When you need to fill up the fun, you just press the gun's nozzle down the garden hose attachment, and it fills up in about 4 seconds. Holding the "shooting button" (whatever that's called in english) actually helps filling faster (about 3 seconds).

    A small pressure valve ensures you dont blow the thing apart.

    This thing was the most fun since a friend of mine bought the first Larami soakers back a few years, to his son.

    That original soaker (still available--I've seen it in store) has it's tank on top, bottom facing forward. The nice thing about it is that the tank's fillets match those used on garden hoses. So, 1+1=me acutally using the gun without the tank, directly attached to the garden hose. That could reach 150 feet. Well, until the gun started tearing apart.

    For this reason, I've been waiting the the ultimate water gun. Entirely aluminum-based.
  • Yeah, I even remember them having some sort of bazooka model. I think it was like one of those water pressure power rockets you see in supermarkets in the toy aisle, only it looked like a bazooka.
  • I'm more worried about an initial blast than a stream... Like a bullet of water. Could be a fun backyard science sort of thing.
  • So... We can't use Inquisition, Crusade, War, Vietnam, etc... etc... Because there are bad things associated with those words?

    I don't quite get it.

    Kintanon
  • I had one! It had great range and I always ended up being the king of the water fights.

    I would also pump it up with air and use it underwater as a makeshift scuba tank. Didn't last long but it was fun. }:)
  • Yeah! In fact, I still have one old Entertech gun... The Beretta model. It's still functional, even. :)
  • Why settle for a laser pointer? Why not make it a laser rangefinder? And maby a battlefield computer, you know... superelevation, leading of moving targets, wind speed, own movement, etc etc...

    Another idea whould be to fill it with gasoline and put a lighter at the tip. blah blah blah TANK blah! blah SUBMARINE? blah blah...


    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • I didn't say I was going to run out and do it. I just said it would be amusing :p

    Other idle musing include the idea of filling a squirt gun with DMSO (1) & LSD. I definitely do not endorse dousing the neighborhood urchins with this :)

    (1)DMSO - dimethylsulfoxide - used for inflammation of joints and similair ailments. Also has the property of helping other chemical pass the skin barrier much more easily. Used more often in veterinary circles for this purpose.
  • I've seen those in operation as recently as nine or ten years ago at MIT.

    We used laboratory tubing, which seemed able to withstand some pretty serious pressure; you could fill a 2 m section of tubing with enough water that a strong man could carry it but a small woman couldn't.

    (No more precise measurements of water volume or mass are available, sorry.)

    With that much pressure, though, you had to tie a looseknot in the end of the tubing for the brief trek from the hose to the battlefield. With the knot in place, the aforementioned strong man would be carrying a ten-gallon water balloon wrapped around his body.

    Imagine a big guy slipping and falling on top of something like that. He soaked himself to the skin, along with about fifteen other people who happened to be nearby.

    Good as a kamikaze weapon, but they seemed to lack control...
  • Think about it, a fuel air bomb works by making a mist of fuel in the air and igniting it. They also happen to be better than TNT.

    Using a spray gun to make a flame thrower would have the same effect, except you would be in the center of the blast.

    Not too cool
  • Actually you can still make these, just get then end of a ball point pen, about 3 feet of surgical tubing (any drug store has it, no prescription) that is 5/8" diameter. Tie one end of the tubing shut and then put the pen end in the other side of the tube. Then get the cap from a 2 liter pop bottle, drill a hole in the middle of it and attach it to the hose. Push the pen cap into the hole in the bottle cap and turn on the water. Fills it right up, and you get a nice stream that isn't very thick, but it shoots a good 30 feet or more.
  • Come on now, you know which model you have. Is it the 3000 or the 2500. I bet you're a closet Super-Soaker professional. You probably even own Ricky Martin's new CD!
  • That's what I use mine for. Bought an XP70 to soak any pigeon that sets a foot on our balcony.

    It's even more fun now that they watch for movement. I have to sneak up from the side or crawl along the floor, slowly creep the patio door open, then ping them off, one by one. :-)

    Oodles of fun!
  • You're probably right. I couldn't remember which it was, and I was too lazy to check. =)
  • That's happened with old fashion watergun in city that I live in alerdy. Some psyco kid fill up the watergun with some liquid LSD and Start spraying at every one.. it was crazy, Peoples running all wild and some kids enjoyed.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Standard super-soaker, I've done 'em in 2 configurations. 1, where I led a rubber hose into a gas tank on the ground, and 2, where I actually filled up the super-soaker with actual gas (plain old gas you can get at the local gas-station). There are some safeguards you need to keep in mind, Only fire in short, blasts.. and then pump again, because you dont want the pressure going down and the fire snaking it's way back to the soaker.

    To avoid the plastic from being melted what I did was find a __/ shaped piece of wood, and duct-taped one end to the soaker, and wrapped the other end in some spare cloth. I soaked the cloth in gas, and lit it with a lighter, and pumped and fired. It was FUCKING SWEEEET, the flame went out at least 8 feet in front of you.

    Of course, all the necessariy precautions need to be taken, and if you let the flame snake back into the gas tank, especially when the gas-tank is half-full and the other half is full of vapors, you're toast, but that's not hard to avoid if you actually have a brain. I never used more than 2-second blasts.. longer than that, and you're leaving yourself open.

    Fire is fun :)

    AC Boy
  • for $15 US. The average garden sprayer. It uses an adjustable sprayer that can go from small to large, and a large tank that will last for hours. Some even have lever handles that make pumping a breaze.

    for $2 US. A warm 2 liter cola. punch a hole in the lid and off you go. Doesn't last long.

    for $5 US. Mount a car tire nipple in the lid of a 2 liter cola bottle using a good epoxy. Drill a hole in a piece of 2x1 and insert the nipple through the board and epoxy it down. Fill the bottle half full, screw onto the cap, and then pump air in through the nipple using a bike pump. Aim over the heads of the enemy, and unscrew the bottle until it explodes into the air. Multiple bottles can be mounted on the same board for a full barrage.

  • Yeah. I'm not about to toss that kind of cash at a merely occasional diversion. But maybe eventually. Heh.
  • "But "uber" is always the mark of an illiterate."
    ...or someone who doesn't know German.

    I find it hard to believe that the Nazis ruined the prefix 'super' in the German language.

    Then again, I'm no historian/linguist/whatever.

    Apologies if this was posted twice.
  • Anyone seen 'Airheads'?

    They take over a radio station with one of those replica Uzis.. Steve Buscemi makes some comment about how they were banned because they were so realistic looking.

  • I actually have the 3000 with the backpack. I took it on a rafting trip. What was cool was that I could disconnect the hose from the backpack and just stick it in the water for "instant refill" and unlimited ammo. The thing is basically a giant syringe with a hose to a backpack that moves a *LOT* of water. Unfortunately the backpack empties too fast (since it moves so much water).
  • ok, so I hear something about the super soaker on the radio. and then i come home check out slashdot and BOOM, supersoaker...
    sorry, but, what's the deal with SuperSoaker getting plugs everywhere today? hmm, that's gotta be neat, having free publicity =8)

    -orKiD
  • I hope I don't sound facetious with this post, but the beauty of the Internet is that everyone is "colorless." I, for one, have been mistaken as a member of a couple of different races in the long time that I've been on-line. And as for women, I'm sorry to say it, but there are a _lot_ more men than women in the computer field in general, and a _lot_ more men than women in higher management positions. However, two stories spring to mind about women in technology recently: HP's female CEO (which was covered by other press outlets) and a 16-year-old girl from the UK devising a new encryption scheme. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Besides, if I were Black/Asian/Hispanic, I wouldn't want to see a headline that says "Black/Asian/Hispanic Man Does Such-and-Such," where Such-and-Such is nothing new. This sort of "ethnic cheerleading" just leads to more disparity between races.

    Going from talking about water guns to the role of race in American journalism... God I love Slashdot. :)
  • by tgd (2822) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @10:07AM (#1776497)
    Ah yeah, the joys of super soakers.

    I still think they need to make one you can snap CO2 cartridges into. Too inefficient to have to stop and pump it up in the heat of a battle.

    Laser sights are nice. For a couple years I've had a 5mw laser module thats migrated around my various weapons of choice. Useful on the waterguns when you can't hit someone directly, but want to splatter the stream off something over their head.

    Also very useful on the suction-cup dart guns they used to make. (The ones that would leave welts, not the new toned down ones) With a laser site on my circa 1994 six-shot SuperSoaker dart gun, and specially reinforced darts (the new darts aren't strong enough for the old guns), I can raise a welt from fifty feet away with dead-on accuracy!

  • I remember when I got a Super Soaker XP-Something or another and gained a new appreciation for the work that Laramie had put into their products. I squirted everybody that I could, and became a proficient sprinter at the same time. I became dissatisfied with the performance of the weapon after a short while, and proceeded to modify it. It turns out, that on this particular model there was a two-part nozzle that had a little cone-shaped piece of plastic in the middle that forced the water out at greater pressures. I decided to remove this and see what happened. Needless to say, the distance on my shots decreased from about 35' to 15', and my endurance in water battles was greatly diminished, but there's nothing better than jumping out of some bushes at someone and emptying your whole tank of water on them in under 5 seconds. Kind of like the "Sawed-off shotgun" approach to water battles...
  • Not quite the same but some hooligan in my town filled his "water gat" up with vegetation killer and went around writing things on people's lawns. It was a pretty bad thing to do but it was fairly funny to see a very large "F*&^" in the yard in front of a $300,000+ house. He pretty much destroyed all of the lawns in one of the nicer parts of town. What do you do when that happens? Just leave a big "F*&^" in your lawn? Do you just dig up the dead parts and leave it spelled out in the dirt where you dug it up? You pretty much have to redo the whole lawn and that's a nontrivial task if you've got a really large lawn. We wrote remarkably clearly for making words and letters as big as he did... I've always wondered how he did that.
  • I've always been tempted to fill one with gas and try to use it as a flame thrower.....but better sense has always gotten the better of me. OK, its a horrible little idea, but have any of the little pyros tried it?
  • I had one of those battery-powered 9mm water guns probably ten or twelve years ago. I loved that thing, before the days of super soakers, that bad boy was da bomb! :)

    The newer supersoakers can't easily be hidden either. In hind sight, that old one looked an awful lot like a real gun. I'm probably lucky I didn't get shot by a cop.

    Burned the thing out when I added a strap on battery pack that doubled the speed it shot at. Didn't make it through the summer, I seem to recall.
  • by Shoeboy (16224) on Thursday July 29, 1999 @10:11AM (#1776524) Homepage
    37 b.c. Roman General Semper Cuni Linctus develops Squirtus Maximus, an ox bladder filled with water, that is operated by a legionaire jumping up and down on top of it. The device is used to dampen the resistence of the Gauls in what is now Southern France.

    800 a.d. Danish barbarian modify the Squirtus by adding a nozzle. The weapon is used by chieftan Unferth the Hairy during his invasion of Ireland. Marks the first and last time in history that an Irishman is known to have showered.

    1200 a.d. Improved squirtgun consisting of a large water reservoir and a modified billows is used by Islamic forces attempting to lift the crusader siege of Acre. Entire christian army is rusted solid and subsequently slaughtered.

    1345 a.d. Rebelious Flemish peasants route a French army by using water filled gourds that smash on impact. Considered by historians to be the first appearance of the water balloon.

    1356 a.d. Pope Pius IX bans the use of water based weaponry in a papal edict arguing that it is a "mockery of god who has dominion over the waters of the earth."

    1803 a.d. Steel tubes with a nozzle on one end and a piston on the other are used by Portugese guerillas to expel fluids in the general direction of french occupation forces. Weapons are prone to rust and less than effective against muskets.

    1939 a.d. Rust proof stainless steel squirt guns used by Nazi forces occupying Norway. The weapon is found to be non-functional during the norwegian winters.

    1958 a.d. Soviet scientists develop first plastic squirt gun. Eisenhower warns nation of a "squirt gap" School children accross the country engage in squirting drills where they crawl under their desks and cover their heads.

    1959 a.d. U.S. scientist in the secret "Vaudeville Project" develop the squirting flower.

    1983 a.d. President reagan accused off selling squirt guns to Iran in exchange for freedom of US hostages.

    1999 a.d. Timeline joke has grown stale. Shoeboy decides to stop and submit his post.

    --Shoeboy

  • I don't have a SuperSoaker, but I do have this thing that is like a humongous syringe (w/o needle of course) and a pistol grip on the end of the plunger. The whole thing is about 3 ft. long when empty, ~ 6 ft. long loaded full. No batteries, easy to fill -- just stick the business end in a bucket, full sink, swimming pool, river, etc. and draw back on the plunger handle...

    They were originally designed to pump the bilge water out of canoes and kyacks, but they pump a *fat* stream of H20 when used in reverse, baby!

    I use mine to hunt/snipe the large racoon population that inhabit my apt complex.

    My uncle gave me mine as a gift, but I think you can find them through outfitters that specialize in whitewater rafting, canoeing, etc.

    And don't forget those 3-man-crew water-balloon slingshots -- 250 foot range!


    "Women love me, 'Coons fear me!"

  • Laser pointers and your supersoaker would be a great combination at the evening pool parties. Lasers really light up mists of water. I know mine shines a bright, spectacular beam in the fog. Imagine the display you could have with a bright red jet from the end of your gun!

    Do they make laser diodes of different colors besides red yet?
  • Ten years ago, the squirt gun market was still largely the province of 29-cent plastic pistols that could barely douse an insect. Squirt guns weren't even tracked as a separate category by toy industry analysts. Today it is a $215-million-a-year business in the United States, and Larami owns 90% of it.

    Err, as I remember it, 10 years ago Entertech was winning the watergun arms-race with a line of battery-powered auto-firing squirt guns; I miss those things! OK, the clips were too damn small and hard to fill, the guns tended to leak, and the electronics tended to rust and/or short out after a year or two, but man were they cool! I had their Tek-9 look-alike (a step above their handgun-style models) but what I really wanted were the M-16 or RPG monsters; couldn't afford them, though, on my middle school lunch money. The quick-fill "grenade" water-balloon pump that looked like a plunger-style detonation trigger was pretty cool, too.

    Less than a year later, though, new laws required the barrels of gun-shaped toys to be brightly and unrealistically coloured (IIRC, this was after a several kids were gunned down by cops who apparently couldn't distinguish their water/Lazer Tag(TM) guns were the real deal), and the realistic Entertech weapons lost much of their appeal with bright red barrels.

    Super-soakers arrived a year later and made waterguns fun again. Also, they worked better.

    -Isaac

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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