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Creativity Comes in Cardboard

Story and photos by Chris Cumella

Frankie Pacheco holding his completed self-made projects: a scythe in his right hand, a gauntlet in his left, and a battle axe.

Combining plastic and cardboard and various other materials by sheer determination and much hot glue, liberal arts sophomore Frankie Pacheco has been creating various DIY weapons for Purchase’s Nerf Club, swaying away from traditionally used weapons distributed during the games.

Most students who participate in Nerf Club stick to the blasters or foam melee weapons that are distributed, Pacheco takes an alternative route by creating his weaponry from different materials. “As long as there is junk around campus, I will never run out of projects to work on,” Pacheco said.

Frankie Pacheco has completed roughly over 40 projects, ranging from Nerf blaster modifications to swords, battle axes, scimitars, morning stars, and so much more.

From cardboard to Styrofoam to duct tape, hot glue, and so on, Pacheco has an arsenal of different supplies to aid him in creating various weapons for Purchase’s Nerf Club. “I always liked crafting things,” said Pacheco. “So, it felt like an outlet where I could create things and put them to use for something.”

Being the treasurer of the club, Pacheco takes time to both moderate the players who participate every Tuesday from 9-11:30 p.m., manage the club’s funds, and all the while, partake in the club itself. Every Tuesday, Pacheco makes it his mission to create a new weapon to bring into Nerf Club to use, making himself known as a DIY craftsman to many club members.

“Everything is unique and well built,” said Tyler Young, theater and performance junior and president of Nerf Club. “DIY projects are great, and as long as they are safe, I will allow them to be used.”

Pacheco presenting his latest “Excalibur” project to Juan Feliciano, Vice President of Nerf Club.

Pacheco says that his inspiration for creating DIY weaponry came during high school. “It was a spur of the moment, but I just made a sword out of cardboard one day, and I thought it looked so cool. I never stopped from there on out.” With his projects continuing, Pacheco finds great pleasure in presenting his work to other members of Nerf Club.

Other administrators in Nerf Club have recognized Pacheco's work and contributions, such that they encourage him to continue creating weapons and keep some at the club and allow some members to use his creations occasionally. “The melee weapons he makes tend to be weaker and softer than the standard ones,” said Fredderica Krehbiel, history junior and moderator of the club. “He has good judgment and understands the rules, so I trust him with unique gear more than most."

Pacheco in the midst of creating a new weapon for Nerf Club.

Pacheco’s process for creating these weapons involves rummaging around campus, usually near the VA to find discarded materials, which he will then bring back to his room. Once he has an idea in mind for what kind of weapon he wants to create, he draws a rough sketch on a separate piece of paper to study as he cuts and glues his materials. “Once everything is assembled, I paint it, leave it outside to dry, and then it is go time!” said Pacheco.

Pacheco said that he intends to keep creating his DIY weapons for Nerf Club as long as he remains a student at Purchase. “It is original, to say the least. It changed the field of battle,” said Juan Feliciano, liberal arts sophomore and club vice president. “We do not get a lot of original contributions to the club, so we are always excited to see what Frankie will bring to the table next.”

A Styrofoam broadsword Pacheco completed as of last week.

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