If you are the least bit interested in picking up a fun toy for yourself or a kid you know, give the Zoom-O ball a try. Literally go to Target and try it out. It’s a “Try me” toy you can play with off the shelf. I bet once you rev its engine and pull the trigger you will be hooked. And when you look at its cheap price you’re gonna buy it. If you can’t make it to Target or you have ADD, need instant gratification, lack self control, or are lazy, then you can try it virtually here.
I like anything that says “try me” and plus this package really let you try to see how it works. So I located the trigger button, looked around to make sure no adults were watching and press the red button.
I let go. Kind of loud.
I look around again. Hold down the button longer this time.
I pull the trigger.
He he he. I can’t help but smile. I don’t know what a kid would do with it, bu I know I am buying it!It’s only $9.99!
So you press one button to spin the motor and pull the trigger to fire the foam ball. It fires it right in the package so you get an idea of how strong it is.
Very smart packaging; good selling point.
So I bought it and tried it out at home. It was pretty cool to hold down that button and see the rubber wheel spin up and gain speed. Then you pull the trigger and hear a *pop* and out shoots the ball.
The first thing you notice is it vibrates quite a bit. The spinning wheel isn’t exactly balanced and it shakes the whole thing. But once it gets up to max speed it tends to simmer down. It is kind of loud, but if you are outside I guess it doesn’t matter.
Another thing you notice is after using it just once it already smells like the motor is burning. You know that weird metallic smell? I remember it from old toys I used to have as a kid. Like when you played with slot cars. Anyway. You run the motor for a while and you smell it. Like a copper smell I guess. I realize now it’s the brushes of the motor. I wonder if the motor is purposely given more voltage than it’s rated for to get up to that high speed. There are no gears or anything.
I tried to picture kids playing with this. One of the ways is to be able to catch what the other guy shoots. Like lacrosse but I wasn’t sure how easy it would work. The balls weren’t shooting that fast. It would be cooler if you can just shoot each other with it. Like the Nerf Buzzsaw, but with a motor.
Maybe the batteries were weak from it being a “try me” product. But I couldn’t help imagining how I can “supe” it up. Maybe replace the motor with a stronger one, even use a stronger rechargeable battery. Definitely swap out the wheel for one with a solid shaft and bearings; like a roller blade wheel maybe. Then I might need a set of gears to run it.
So I took it apart to see its insides. You can check out the pics in a bit. It was a bitch to take apart, but I put it back together and decided to change the batteries.
I read the instructions earlier and it did recommend using a fresh set, but I was too impatient then to bother with instructions. You don’t actually read them do you?
So I put in a fresh set and man what a difference! The foam balls really shoot out fast. I tried it in my apartment and I came really close to breaking a few wine glasses. Definitely and OutSide toy!
It’s designed to shoot the balls straight up, so the first thing I hit was my ceiling. It made a loud thwack and bounced a bit.
Then I tilted it down as far as I could without losing the balls and I shot it down my hallway. Since the gun was tilted the second ball came out as well, unintentionally.
Are you thinking what I am thinking?
I gotta redesign it so you can shoot in front of you like a normal gun, and maybe have a large pile of balls to shoot machine gun style. It’s basically a baseball pitching machine. But hand held. Cool stuff.
I also have video of it working outside the package to see how loud it really is.. VERY LOUD.
I don’t have action shots of me actually shooting the balls. I think at full speed you won’t notice the balls anyway.
Lets take a closer look at its working parts.
Here is a video of the ball lift. By pulling the trigger you actuate a lever that lifts the ball straight up so it contacts the wheel. If the wheel is spinning it will grip the ball at shoot it up.
And here are some side top views etc. Click for larger view.
Here a shot of the ball lift in the up position when the trigger is pressed.
Next we’ll open it up and look inside. My favorite part.
Here you can see where all the screws are. So unscrew em! But guess what. It wont open.
I didnt have the patience to figure out why the side of the housing wouldnt separate. It looks like a snap fit, but I swear its glued or melted together. So I had to cut it apart.
Please click the image for a larger view.
So who made this? The product is sold by Blip Toys LLC out of Minneapolis. I wasnt able to find out much about that company but I recently learned that there is a product design development company that did invent another Zoom-O product, the Zoom-O disc laucher. The development company is called Leisure Design also out of Minneapolis. You can see their blog here and their company site here
I couldn’t find zoom-o products on their website, only on their blog. Or maybe they designed all of the Zoom-O products? Anyway, they seem to be a very successful development company. They have done work for Medtronic, Toybiz, PlaySkool, 3M, Target, Best Buy etc. Pretty cool stuff.
>Time for some feedback<
Do you have any questions on this product?
Is there any more info you’d like to know about this product? Please leave comments in the box below.
Information about replacement parts for other zoom-o toys