Airsoft Club at Virginia Tech
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make yourself a flexible cleaning rod for cheap!

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make yourself a flexible cleaning rod for cheap! Empty make yourself a flexible cleaning rod for cheap!

Post  Prophet Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:07 pm

So one of my friends got a flexible cleaning rod in the mail for airsoft. I was playing with it and thinking to myself that I would like to make one for myself... Interesting idea, reminded me of the cleaning rods I used to carry with me in my old paintball days. I have some flexible cleaning rods for my rifles as well but the metal head would be too rough for an airsoft barrel.
So I looked at the basic design of this airsoft cleaning rod. Looked like a nylon rod a bit smaller than the diameter of an airsoft barrel with two “heads” composed of a grainy plastic material. With all the popularity of Shapeways nowadays and having ordered some printed objects myself it seemed like these were a printed plastic product. Flexible, but in the end not as durable as the nylon rod. I felt that if I bent the head back on itself that it would probably break. One was shaped with an angle to clear bbs and the other side had a loop so that you could insert a cleaning patch of your choice. Simple enough and effective. Still, knowing how expensive shapeways products cost to order I began thinking of an alternative.
I thought awhile on this and found myself wishing I could just mold them out of the same material as the rod itself. Then they could be bent back on themselves to no detriment. I could shove the rod coiled up into the cargo pocket of my BDU pants and not worry that they were going to break and need to be replaced. That’s when it hit me.
Why bother to make separate “heads” out of any material. Why not just modify the existing rod, I mean just like 90 percent of the people reading this post I have a dremel too! So I looked on Mcmaster Carr for a suitable rod and came up with this:

8538K13 Wear-Resistant Nylon Rod, 3/16" Diameter, 5' Length.

The cost was relatively cheap and 3/16 = 4.76mm. That meant I could have a rod thick enough to be strong and thin enough to allow the use of a thin patch for barrel cleaning. I bet 1/8” would also be strong enough to use but I haven’t tried it.

So I used a set of snips to cut one end at an angle:
make yourself a flexible cleaning rod for cheap! IMG_20120913_191842
And then I clamped the rod into my bench vise and used a cutoff wheel in order to make a slit. This is definitely the hardest part so be careful. Make sure to be on the correct angle and use high dremel speed not pressure to make the cut. Every once in awhile, clean off the wheel so the plastic doesn’t get too thick on the wheel. When you get halfway, just turn the rod over and cut from the other side.
make yourself a flexible cleaning rod for cheap! IMG_20120913_192210
And Voila! You are done. I recommend making the rod just a bit longer than necessary so that in the unlikely case that it ever breaks you will be able to cut another slot for yourself. And if it ever gets too short, the rods are so cheap that you won’t break the bank ordering more. You can make a little Velcro strap for yourself to hold it in a coil and have a nice rod you can shove in your pack or cargo pocket for field maintenance or unjamming in the heat of battle. Good luck!

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