Thoughts on Mag-Fed, as they relate to a 'new' marker design
These are just a few thoughts about a DAM type marker from Planet Eclipse. I have been shooting PE markers the last few years (EGO9 and now an Etha) and the last few days I’ve been thinking about how the DAM has shown that a “high-end” mag fed marker has a wide market appeal, albeit at varying price points.. I am not a PE “fanboy” per say, I just have those markers around to look at, so it got me thinking. My ideal mag fed would probably be something brass and more “old school” but that’s neither here nor there.
There are are plenty of markers that would fit the “high-end” bill such as MILSIG, Tiberius, RAP4 (granted quality is not always there) and now Carmatech. Also Kingman/Spyder have now come out with a great set of mag-fed markers as well.
So, if you notice I’ve been saying mag-fed markers not MILSIM markers. I do understand the want for a milsim markers, but once the base mag fed platform is down, it’s quite easy to add rails/attachment points for tactical gear. There are already plenty of AR/AK/etc replica markers out there even if you don’t go the mag-fed way, so I will stay away from MILSIM for this post.
I think the easiest way to go about this is to compare existing markers to a hypothetical PE marker that’s floating around in my brain. The primary influence will probably be the DYE DAM since that is one of the best engineered mag-fed markers that I have seen, plus FULL AUTO FIRST STRIKE! (not that it’s needed)
Pic (Photoshop) first!
So without further ado, just a few thoughts on how a company like PE could capitalize on the mag-fed play that has been recently brought to everyone’s collective thought.
Obviously the most important part of a mag-fed marker is the magazine. There are plenty of designs out on the market, which often vary depending on the projectile. However, the basic magazine design does not change from company to company, FS rounds prefer a vertical stack or they get wonky. Due to the fact that magazines are mostly straightforward, I will not be going into more detail on this section.
II. The Frame:
A. To macro, or not to macro...that is the question
To start off with the marker design there are two options: use macroline or go with an air through grip option.
Macroline: easy to maintain PE has stated many times that they will not to air through as it makes maintenance a pain in the behind. It also frees up space in the grip for other components such as the board, etc. However, in a mag-fed marker, weight is not as key of an issue, so bulking the frame up to house the other components is a possibility.
Macroless: Aesthetics. Looks way cooler to hide the airline than to have one ruining your awesome marker. A drawback is having to figure out how to rout the airlines through the frame and where the regulator will go. DYE solved this with a milled passageway in the frame and put the regulator directly behind the bolt.
There are a few ways a company like PE could go about this while staying true to their commitment for easy to fix markers (not that the DAM will not be)
Option 1: Somehow shorten regulator and place it directly behind magwell and trigger frame, however it would eliminate the typical thumb area behind the regulator. Macroline could still be used and with the regulator blended into the magwell area, it would be aesthetically pleasing.
1a) You could go further and have the line be partially in the grip and come out through a milled passageway in the trigger guard, which would allow it to go through to the regulator without having the macroline come straight out from the ASA.
Option 2: Regulator in the body/behind the bolt
This option would allow for a look that is more along the lines of a typical firearm. However, challenges are present due to relocating the regulator. Air lines/passageways need to be milled/plumbed through a somewhat small space so that the frame doesn’t end up being three inches wide.
The ASA is one of the most overlooked aspects of a paintball marker. These options are for an air through grip option, as an external regulator would be able to use the standard POPS without modification. PE could possibly re-engineer the POPS/ slightly change it so that there is an option to run their #10-32 push connect fitting through the top and through the frame. This presents challenges such as sealing passageways and still allowing the ASA to be taken off of the T-slot, but there are options to solve these problems. One option is to tap the fitting into the frame and allow room for an o-ring between the POPS and the bottom of the frame to seal. Another option is to tap the POPS for a fitting, which would be attached via a through hole (not threaded) in the bottom of the frame to the ASA. Along with the standard #10-32 fitting, this would possibly negate any leak factors that would be present..
The Drive system: Since I have an Etha in my possession, naturally I think a spool valve engineered similarly would be the easiest option. Other ideas include Dangerous Power’s G4 dump valve system, the GOG/SP ION/whatever it is now bolt or PE’s own GEO marker system.
The main challenge will be routing air from the HPR into the bolt. However, the typical LP air lines are an option; not everything needs to be milled into the frame. These airlines may look somewhat messy when taking a marker apart, but allow options for placement of other elements of the marker such as the solenoid, HPR, and board.
Solenoid/Electronics: This would really depend on the drive system used, but the typical solenoid has the ability to be used sideways as a space saving measure along with LP hose. This method of LP hose/solenoid has been tried and true and offers a “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” approach to design.
The Scenario Dreams T-board offers options on placement as it is such a small board. In a situation such as this, where space savings may be needed, it is a great option. However, a full size board could be utilized if properly designed for.
Barrel/Detents/Eyes: The barrel design is quite important. Well, more of the barrel attachment point than anything. I would recommend using a sleeve that has A/C threads at one end, and first strike breach at the other. This sleeve could either be geared to rotate around, or utilize a Spyder style rotation to determine which rounds will be selected. Rotating the barrel keeps the system simpler, however depending on the price point, the end user may want something more along the lines of what DYE has put into the DAM.
I like the simplicity of the PE “nub” style detents and break-beam style eyes. They are much simpler to use/maintain/replace than the eye pipe design used by other companies and should be more robust.
I think that covers the basics for the most part, specific solutions can be achieved once the main selections are made (IE HPR placement, Ball selection style etc.)
I just wanted to put these ideas out there since I've been thinking about them for the past few days and it’s much easier to put words to paper since it frees me up to actually study for college.
I can try to throw some pictures together if the brief explanation isn't enough, but without knowing specifics of a few of the sub-systems, coming up with machine-ready drawings really isn't an option, but conceptual drawings are a possibility.
Photoshopped up a picture of what I was kinda thinking.
Great photoshop picture :)
I "made" it gas through, lengthened the EMC to accommodate for inline reg and mag fed. shortened up the frame, and did it as a single trigger.
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