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Who can take the guts of an FL-3 way valve and machine a housing for the OG GMek?

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    Who can take the guts of an FL-3 way valve and machine a housing for the OG GMek?

    I love the original GTek and its mech frame. The fact that the internals are still untouched for 7 years and remain identical even today in the 170r and Etha 3 is remarkable. That said, there is one thing that is not available for my GMek, and that's the lighter mechanical valve from either Deadlywind's hair valve or PE's FL 3-way. Right now, these valves all have air coming up from below since they work on macroless markers with regulators in the grip frame, and none exist for the GMek.

    Is there anyone out there who can take the guts from one of these and machine a housing that works with the air passageways and grip frame/trigger of the GMek? I understand it makes no sense to do so and would be cheaper for me to just buy an Etha 3M than to have this one part made, but I am really attached to the original iteration of this design.

    #2
    seconded.

    I have a gmek I can use as reference, but I'd need a reference FL-3 (part or CAD model) to design the housing.
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      #3
      Originally posted by Siress View Post
      seconded.

      I have a gmek I can use as reference, but I'd need a reference FL-3 (part or CAD model) to design the housing.
      Are you saying if I bought an fl-3 way and shipped it to you, you'd be able to make this?

      Comment


        #4
        I could at least design a 3d model of the GMek compatible housing, assuming it's possible. With sufficient funds, we could then pay someone to make the part.
        Last edited by Siress; 06-05-2022, 09:23 AM.
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        Give me your lost, your abandoned, your huddled masses yearning to talk paintball, The wretched refuse of your teeming gear bag. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp upon the MCB Forum!
        -In memory of MCB 1.0, 2.0, SCP, PHOG, OtterPB, PBReview, OTF, et al.

        Comment


          #5
          I'd be interested in one.
          Feedback

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            #6
            Originally posted by Siress View Post
            I could at least design a 3d model of the GMek compatible housing, assuming it's possible. With sufficient funds, we could then pay someone to make the part.
            I'm interested. What I don't want is to spin our wheels though. Do you have any idea what it would cost to get at least 1 working of these plus the CAD files to recreate it if necessary? What are the risks of overrun/failure? Have you done this before with other projects?

            Comment


              #7
              Heh. Money gets s..tuff done. Unfortunately, there isn't enough money in this sport to motivate/sustain professionals that do this type of work. These little projects succeed when passion crosses with profession. If you want to ensure completion, you need to hire professionals and it'll cost you a mint - probably 10x whatever you're thinking. Paging DocsMachine - What's the over/under odds for a paintballer's desires going from this stage to a functional run of low quantity parts? I'd guess 1 in 5,000 or so. And I'm probably being generous. Doc would know best.

              The outline for a project of this nature is:
              1. Define the intended scope. You've done that: Low quantity run of featherlight 3-way valve housings for the original GMEK, compatible with the internals from either the PE FL-3 or the hAir valve. Sounds like you're leaning toward the FL-3.
              2. Assess feasibility. That's where we are now. This is a mechanical and pneumatic engineering problem to solve. Ezpz for several of us here. If I don't do it, I can vouch for several others here that can. Maybe 1 in 10 to get to this point actually proceed - depends on the initiators familiarity with the technical aspects of the problem.
              3. If feasible, outline the project workflow. My SWAG on that is:
                1. Refine the CAD model used for feasibility assessment.
                2. Estimate the cost to proceed with the project and do another head count for who's willing to go on the ride. An astonishingly high number of projects die here. Maybe 1 in 500 to get to this point actually proceed.
                3. Generate a drawing with tolerances defined. These will be a SWAG unless you know someone on the inside at the OEM for the mating components. Alternatively, we just engineer the whole assembly and remove the guesswork. That grows the scope to include several other components, which increases the cost considerably. Cheapest run of 10, 3-axis machined units I've seen was ~$300 - and that dates back to the '00s. But my background is almost entirely medical device, aircraft, and tool and die work...so, big money.
                4. Submit requests for quote with as many shops as possible. There are a few here that I'd start with, then a few shops local to me that I'd ask. It's important that the machine shop has direct access to a technical point of contact. A lot of projects die here as well as the original estimate was too low, or the burden of deal with this process just causes the project to fall apart. It can be a really tedious task to get good quotes for low qty parts. And low isn't 10 units in the machining world... 100 is low. I know some shops that won't even quote if there are fewer than 1000 units per lot and at least 10k units per year.
                5. Pick one and submit a purchase order.
                6. While waiting, identify an anodizing shop and RFQ again.
                7. Clean and inspect parts rec'd from the shop. May have to do some hand finishing here. Might even need buy some finishing tools to achieve the appropriate surface finish and edge breaks for the pneumatic passages; e.g. flex-hone. Cheap parts typically come caked in cutting fluid, burrs, and sharp edges - none of which are acceptable for the finished pneumatic part. And even if you find a shop with tumble polishing, they're highly unlikely to have media small enough for this kind of application. This is the reason I don't suggest getting the machine shop to send parts for anodizing directly.
                8. Test the parts. Assuming tolerances are large enough not to be impacted by the thickness of anodizing, which is ~.0003" for decorative anodizing, up to ~.002" for type III hardcoat IIRC...I'd have to look this up when specing the anodizing. Tons of projects die here as the first batch either arrives out of spec, the spec was flawed, or 'undetermined failure'. Probably 1 in 100 of these little projects make it past this step because so many corners are cut to keep to shoe string budgets. It hurts the most because the money is spent by this point, and now there's nothing to show for it.
                9. Rework parts by hand as required. A skilled designer knows which features to leave at maximum material condition for purposes of rework to achieve fit with parts of unknown tolerance ranges, and a skilled craftsman knows how to do the rework.
                10. Retest.
                11. Preparation and perspiration willing - Send out for anodizing
                12. Packaging and ship to buyers.
              Many of these steps are done with free labor from us paintball nutters I mean passionate purveyors of industry and eco-friendly champions of the 'reduce, reuse, recycle' mantra. If you want to guarantee success, send it to one of the reputable airsmiths that machine parts. It'll cost you, and you'll be waiting months...maybe years...and they'll probably need someone to provide all of the mating components for testing purposes (Gmek and fl-3) but they typically get this stuff done right by waiting for the opportunity to do it cheaply and efficiently, and by pouring their passion into it royalty free.

              Even just typing all of this out...sheesh. What am I doing with my life.
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              -In memory of MCB 1.0, 2.0, SCP, PHOG, OtterPB, PBReview, OTF, et al.

              Comment


                #8
                Ok. Makes sense. I wasn't thinking of having to do a "production" run of a thousand or so. That changes things drastically. Still, lets get past your step 2. PM me and I can either paypal you the cost of an FL 3-way or I can order one to your address. I'm OK with pushing forward with current uncertainty if you are OK with actually doing the design/CAD effort.

                As for annodizing, it is my understanding that the OEM housing is made of brass and only requires finishing, and not anno like an aluminum part would. If we could do the same and shortcut steps, I'd be happy. However, I have never done anything like this before and you sound like you know what you're doing. If you're open to it, I'd love getting to the point where we can better understand costs/feasibility.

                That being said, if a minimum order is 500-1000 units, we're likely dead in the water unless we want to pay for it all ourselves. We won't get close to that kind of interest. Thanks for your help and information in this.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Alright. I'll reach out via PM.

                  Brass is..ok. It's generally easier to machine. The trade off is that it's more susceptible to corrosion than anodized aluminum, and due to galvanic corrosion it may cause the aluminum body (!) to corrode over time if they are not electrically isolated. The aluminum anodizing helps prevent this, as does a gasket and lubricant, but then the screws also have to be electrically isolated from the brass...and that gets tedious since we have to use metal screws due to the fine pitch of the threads in the body and the forces involved. I'm fine with it though as this is durability issue that's only going to crop up in years....maybe decades.

                  Minimum order is really determined by the complexity of the final design. Someone like Doc maybe able to whip these up by hand on short order, and we may even get away with <10 units if his passion is willing. Or, it may require several components with some really tight tolerances... which would could financially prohibit the project from continuing as I mentioned before.

                  At any rate, I reached out to PE to see if they're willing to offer any assistance in this matter. I also noticed that manike has produced a product for the FL-3 called the "secret pin" that further limits excess travel. I'll reach out to him as well. He's already one of the airsmith+machinists(+engineer+...) that I was thinking of for this project as he might be interested in running with this as a product for his store.

                  edit: I just noticed that Deadlywind provide a disassembly of the hAir valve. I was imagining these were just balanced spool valve designs with optimized port spacing, but this includes a quick exhaust valve in the assembly. That could be problematic for the space constraint in the GMEK if the scale of these QEVs is really needed. It maybe that lower airflow is sufficient (likely) so the QEV design can be scaled down to fit the constraint. For posterity:

                  DESIGN REFERENCES
                  1. GTEK Animation (same operational principle of the trigger valve)
                  2. GMEK disassembly
                  3. GMEK 3-way service video
                  4. Deadlywind EMEK hAir valve disassembly
                  5. Inception Designs 'Secret Pin' for EMEK FL 3-way
                  6. EMEK FL 3-way partial disassembly for spool service
                  7. EMEK FL 3-way partial disassembly for QEV service
                  Last edited by Siress; 06-08-2022, 02:41 PM.
                  Click here to edit your signature. - Paintball Selection and Storage - How to make your niche paintball part idea.

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                  -In memory of MCB 1.0, 2.0, SCP, PHOG, OtterPB, PBReview, OTF, et al.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ok, my thoughts with the brass was just KISS. I was hoping all we'd have to do is make 1 part (analogous to the hAir 45 block in the Deadlywind diagram) and combine it with an existing valve's internals. At this point though, I don't think my preferences matter. As long as it works, and parts like QEV diaphragms are obtainable well after the fact, I'll be content.

                    Thanks for all your help on this and reaching out to others.
                    Last edited by Lotus; 06-07-2022, 03:15 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Couple of updates. Simon is under contract with PE so he cannot assist with design elements, and as a product the market size is too low to even consider it as they have higher priorities. I respect that he took the time respond.

                      I poked at my GMEK for a little while this evening, and found some disassembly shots of the EMEK FL 3-way. The space constraints of the GMEK frame are going to be a serious challenge. There might be a way to work it out, though. Scope creep may just be a modification to the OEM trigger to provide a little additional depth. Hard to say until the dimensional stack is done. If it were easy, someone would have done it already. That's all I wanted to check for now. I'm game to move forward.
                      Click here to edit your signature. - Paintball Selection and Storage - How to make your niche paintball part idea.

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                      Give me your lost, your abandoned, your huddled masses yearning to talk paintball, The wretched refuse of your teeming gear bag. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp upon the MCB Forum!
                      -In memory of MCB 1.0, 2.0, SCP, PHOG, OtterPB, PBReview, OTF, et al.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Received the parts today. So beings stage 2: assess feasibility. Going to need to use some pin gauges and such from work to get precise dimensions. Probably going to be 2-3 weeks before I knock the model out in full. One thing I can say right now is that it looks promising.
                        Click here to edit your signature. - Paintball Selection and Storage - How to make your niche paintball part idea.

                        B/S/T Listings: FiburX - MCB Feedback

                        Give me your lost, your abandoned, your huddled masses yearning to talk paintball, The wretched refuse of your teeming gear bag. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp upon the MCB Forum!
                        -In memory of MCB 1.0, 2.0, SCP, PHOG, OtterPB, PBReview, OTF, et al.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Awesome! That's great news.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Forward progress on milestone 2.

                            Attached Files
                            Click here to edit your signature. - Paintball Selection and Storage - How to make your niche paintball part idea.

                            B/S/T Listings: FiburX - MCB Feedback

                            Give me your lost, your abandoned, your huddled masses yearning to talk paintball, The wretched refuse of your teeming gear bag. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp upon the MCB Forum!
                            -In memory of MCB 1.0, 2.0, SCP, PHOG, OtterPB, PBReview, OTF, et al.

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                              #15
                              Awesome! That's your recreation in cad of the existing valve, right? Do you have any estimates so far on how difficult it may be to machine?

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