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allstarlaxman Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
Period of
Product Use:
3 months26 of 27 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
More than 5 years
Similar
Products Used:
Nothing too similar...maybe an E-Mag, but they're worlds apart.
Marker Setup: Invert mini (black) with a revolver kit (black) Crossfire 68 4500, Halo / Reloader B (depending on which one I reach for first) Some Laser engraving on the foregrip

Dragun TES
Kila Detents (cocker), APM Bolt, CP Long reg, CP Flame drop, WGP on/off asa, Maddman valve, Full freak kit (12") Radioshack Solenoid, SD T-Board, SD Breakbeam eyes, Screw-locking feedneck, Custom delrin scythe trigger, Homemade magnetic trigger "switch", Cheetah board'd halo, HP Output Crossfire tank
(it's a veritable paint machine gun. =D )
Recommended
Upgrades:
Custom laser engraving / anno because the limited upgrades (for now) will fail to make it "different" from the hundreds of others you'll soon see on the fields.

Kila makes magnetic detents, but mine are just fine, so I may pick some up in the near future in order to test them out. Msrp ~$25

APE Rampage board (if the stock board isn't your deal)
It'll set you back ~$120, but it's got loads of nifty features, so if you're more of a "weekend warrior" if may not appeal to much to you. Reccomended if you want to turn your mini into a serious tournament marker.
Strengths: Explained below.
Weaknesses: Explained below.
Review: Strengths:

Wow...this marker is TINY. I've heard claims of the '07 ego being lighter, but I like my mini just fine. =D

Fast : Been accused to Ramping many times while in Semi...partly due to some decent fingers, but the lack of a microswitch and the adjustable trigger make it a pretty sweet pull when you tweak it to your liking.

Consistent:

No noticeable drop-off down to 100PSI, FPS +/- ~2 all day. (when broken in)

Feedneck: Comes with a locking neck...which means no lost hopper when diving into a bunker, etc.

Case : Def. a sweet little extra for your $400.

Weaknesses:

Bounce : Having no switch or return spring means that the only thing preventing bounce is the stock magnetic return...although not bouncing while firing, the gun will bounce upon contact with the rear of the gun/tank with sufficient force. This may be a problem in tournaments, but at most fields is ok.

Trigger slop : Personally, I don't mind it...I can pull a little faster with some give than on a trigger that's a mouse-click. Easily solved with a very thin washer slipped between the trigger and frame (lubed with dow 55 of course)

Efficiency : Could be better...

On/off : There is none...really would be appreciated, but not essential.

Manual: It's a tiny little pamphlet...I expected more, but at least it's not misleading like the TES one... (turn CW to increase FPS...turn CCW to increase FPS)

Conclusion: I really like it. It's very light, tight, and it shoots very nicely for the price. However, the lack of upgrades is limited due to design, and that's a serious issue with me. Early runs had board problems, but the new runs are supposed to be A-ok. Mine has never chopped, broken paint, or been a pain in my side in any way shape or form (besides the getting accused of ramping)

It shoots great, it looks great, and you'll be pestered all day with "oohh, can I hold it?"

For $400 I can't say you can find a better gun. Perfect for the weekend player, or the diehard speedballer. This gun really has the potential to be a front-man's dream.

I'm going to rate it an 8, because a product with a 10 should be able to aim, cook dinner, and change the oil in my car...at the same time.
It's got limited upgrades (for now)...
But conceptually, it's a wonderful marker, a great deal, and a blast to play with.
I love my mini, but it only gets an 8.
Comments are accepted, I'll address any questions as quick as I can. Thanks, and I'll see you on the field (but you won't see me)
Rating:
8 out of 10
 

Review Comments
TPD Friday, June 1st, 2007 | 1:54 pm PST
Very nice review. This is a question out of left field, but do you think the same bolt/valve design would work if the air connections between the marker's solenoid, the solenoid's input and output, would affect the performance of the marker if they were longer? I'm in the process of machining my own "inverted" mini, and want to use a higher flowing solenoid, but would need to connect everything via hoses-I'm not sure, but this might allow for too much volume for the marker's valve and bolt systems to opperate correctly. Wierd question, I know, but I figured I should ask someone. Thanks, and again, well done review.
   

allstarlaxman Sunday, June 3rd, 2007 | 5:27 pm PST
If you use a higher flowing 'noid (bigger) then...well, yes. I don't think the length of hose matters too much, but the width does. if too much air is getting to the valve/bolt assembly, you just reduce the operating pressure of your reg (front of ASA mount) then just adjust velocity accordingly (and dwell to balance your efficiency/bolt speed).

If you want, take some pics and compare the different set ups. It sounds like a decent performance upgrade but I don't know how drastic that change will affect the marker.

Try it...if you screw something up, just slap the internals back together and claim a factory defect. =]

Good luck!
   

TPD Monday, June 4th, 2007 | 9:59 am PST
Hey hey, speak of the devil :D

I just finished my "closed bolt mini." Before I even begin to say how amazed I am at the marker's performance, let me tell ya how it works:

The bolt is almost the same as the front section of a matrix's (with a sail to act as an piston seal). It is actuated via it's own solenoid (SMC S070C-SDG-32 ( http://www.airsoldier.com:8080/cgi-bin/mivavm?Merchant2/merc
hant.mvc+Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AOS&Product_Code=SMC
-S070C-SDG-32&Category_Code=SOLENOIDS ) and it is fully able to cycle more than 30bps (tested yesterday morning). By the way, this solenoid is amazing: it is about 3/4 the size of a quarter, and even though it doesn't like more than 80psi, I don't need to run it more than 40 or 50. Right now I think I have it set at 55psi +/-10psi w/ SCM lpr.

Normally, in the mini, as I'm sure you know, when valve is opened by the solenoid emptying the HPA in chamber behind the valve piston into the chamber behind the bolt's sail, causing the bolt to move into the closed position. This lack of pressure behind the valve lets the HPA in the chamber in front of valve piston to open the valve-then solenoid shuts off, and the valve closes itself once the pressures in front and behind the valve's piston equalize.

Since I isolated the air source for the bolt from the valve chamber, I had to make an external dummy piston. So I have another 2-way (I used Clippard ES-3W-6 Solenoid, http://www.airsoldier.com:8080/cgi-bin/mivavm?Merchant2/merc
hant.mvc+Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AOS&Product_Code=CLI
PPARD-ES-3W-6&Category_Code=SOLENOIDS ) solenoid almost exactly like the one the mini uses.

When I pull the trigger (I used a mini morlock board), first the 2-way solenoid to the dummy piston, from the chamber behind the valve's piston (as the air source), air is redirected from behind the valve piston to the dummy piston (it is like the piston in the A5's cyclone feed-if I really got creative, I could actually use a cyclone feed, but that's for another day), which pushes the dummy piston forward. While this is happening, the valve opens because of the pressure difference, just like in a mini. When the valve piston reaches it's limit of travel, the 2-way solenoid deactivates (about 10ms), and the air in front of and behind the valve's piston equalize. This makes the valve close, just like the mini. The air that pushed the dummy piston forward is allowed to escape more efficiently via a qev at the input of the dummy piston's housing.

After this happens, the morlock actuated the bolt open then closed, and the marker is done with its firing cycle. Obviously, the air source for the 3-way solenoid actuating the bolt uses the air source the that the inline reg uses-after it is regulated via the SCM lpr down to its set pressure.

Holly crap, like, I mean, poop-of-Jesus, this thing really works well. The mini's I've been testing it against sound and feel totally difference. There's a whole lot less kick (I didn't imagine this was possible, but I guess the lack of the bolt spring helps-the spring for the dummy piston is weak as hell, it's a lp 98custom main spring). The marker also seems to have a much higher cycle speed, which doesn't make much literal sense to me because there is more stuff happening during firing process. I guess everything just happens much faster. The entire cycle time of the marker set on the morlock is, if my memory's working, 30ms. 1000ms/30ms=33.33 balls per second. It could work. We'll see tomorrow.

All the air ports are connected via lp or hp hoses, so I guess I didn't have much to worry about. When I made the valve's piston head, I drilled a smaller hole than that stock in the mini's valve piston, but also opened it up larger than the mini's at the rear of the valve piston. I'm not a physics major, but I think this allows for a higher input to the valve, while also allowing higher flow in the valve piston. I have the marker set at, an astounding thing to me, 300psi main input-my mini is set a little less than 185psi lower.

So, now all I have to do is buy an A5 body kit and vented cyclone feed system, and try to fit this crap in to the A5's body. I hope the cyclone feed works, I might need to mess with the input pressure, which will be a pain. Oh well, I'm very happy with my results. I'm not in my shop yet, and I don't have any paint, but after I get some more I'll test how fast this beast can shoot. I'm guessing waaaaaaaaay faster than the standard mini, but we shall see. I have no idea what the efficiency of this marker will be like, but it didn't seem any worse than a stock DM6/7. I'll test to make sure though.

Thanks for the advice, and I'll let you know how the marker works. I'm thinking of engraving it with "Inverted Mini" ;-]

If you want to see the CAD designs, I'd be happy to email you a very simple, extremely small, CAD program, alone with the files for most of this marker. Thanks, have a good one.
Last edited on Monday, June 4th, 2007 at 11:03 am PST
   

allstarlaxman Monday, June 4th, 2007 | 11:04 am PST
haha, that's quite impressive. Fit all that into a Mini's body...

hah.

I never felt too much kick with my mini..maybe it's the way I shoot, or just the fact that I'm well capable of holding a marker and setup weighing as little as it does. If you're going to fit all that inside of an A-5's body...why not outsource a bit to a metal shop and forge a body from some 6061 or something. If there's a will...

The most "inventing" I've done was build and sell some spyder boards back in the day with a simple potentiometer to adjust ROF. I'm more of an electronics geek when it comes to all of this, rather than pneumatics. In fact...my field of expertise is Nuclear power, and I doubt I could use that sort of engineering for paintball. Keep me updated on your project though, I know a good amount of people into that sort of thing that could hook you up with parts or labor if needed.

Oh...def. get a video of the finished project cycling. =D
   

allstarlaxman Monday, June 4th, 2007 | 11:20 am PST
Fixed the bounce. =D

Rare-earth magnets from Radioshack + red locktite = a nice trigger pull that is COMPLETELY Tournament legal in all aspects. I DARE a ref to try to bounce my mini.
   

TPD Monday, June 4th, 2007 | 11:49 am PST
Yeh, but first I need a real job :( I mean, other than being a college student, or working at Ralphs...

So, here's the plan, find the old video camera! Figure out how to use it! All right, we'll see if I'm sufficient. haha, I'm infinitely better with mechanics and pneumatics than I am electronics :(

BTW, I had to make my own body; big, ugly, round, and long... kinda looks like a sex toy, but it works. I've been using 6063 for body parts (more or less same as 6061, but easier to get), and 7071 for the internals (much stronger, if a bit harder to machine).

I never notived radio shack sold magnets; I know where I'm going for lunch now :] I am sick of stealing pen springs from the office...

Once more, thanks for the input. To be honest, I normally don't like help, but I'm am always up for it. I have a bit of a machining paintball gun fetish (just not sexually), and pump out about a gun every two weeks-of my own normally 100% unique design. Way, way to much free time man. But, back to my question, I'm in Los Angeles/San Diego area; where do those you know live abouts? Do they know any CAD programs well? At the very least, I can pay people in pb guns :-D

Thanks again for the responses. Enjoi
   

TPD Monday, June 4th, 2007 | 11:53 am PST
BTW, what I like to do with paintball markers is try to find completely new ways of powering them. One of mine, along with a very smart friend who knows nothing about paintball markers, is try to develop a small, light, probably water cooled, semi-auto propane powered marker (it's more of his pipe-dream fantasy, but since it is a great idea I try to help). One long time dream of mine is a paintball marker bolt system actuated electronically, like by magnetic fields in a solenoid or something. Your expertise could give you great insight into unconventional marker systems, and power source (although nuclear might not be the best idea, it would be all too cool).
Last edited on Monday, June 4th, 2007 at 2:48 pm PST
   

allstarlaxman Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 | 11:09 am PST
When you think about it that way, You may be able to eliminate an air source all together and use sort of a stacked tube design where the solenoid moves a plunger that both seals the bolt, and then propels the paintball via a "pump-like" setup. I don't know if you've seen the the "Air-row" (I think that's what it's called) but it's a compound bow that when fired, the pull action primes an air charge, and then the resulting release fires the ball. Kind of like a mechanical compressor. Very cool looking, although maintaining a consist ant FPS might be difficult. In my sort of setup, I'd be more interested in a large solenoid, a laaarge battery pack, and the only thing keeping me from doing it would be the lack of materials...that and the resulting marker would probably be on the large side.

I know a guy in the San Diego area...unfortunately the ship he's attached to is in Bahrain right now!...he's a mechanical engineer, and might know a thing or too about the design aspects of pneumatics.

Oh..and most radioshacks don't sell the small magnets, only large ones. However...one with a good parts collection usually carries the smaller ones, so good luck in finding those, they work great!

My goal for right now is to make an old spyder into a bolt action paintball rifle. =]
I don't do CAD, but I've got some MS Paint depictions of my work so far. It's a side project I've been working in for like 2 years, but never really got off my ass and worked on till a few weeks ago. It's gonna be sweeet.
   

TPD Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 | 11:23 am PST
Cool cool. I've found my camera, but alas, it's from 99' and I get to figure out how to hook it up to my computer. I'm sure I can find a friend with one.

I've always thought about converting a paintball gun into a "real" gun, but I'm just to obsessed with those little vegetable oil filled gelatin balls to go there right now... :-]

On the spyder bolt action rifle note, my first "marker" shot 12g co2 cartridges. Each one was seated in a (OD: 1") aluminum 7071 casing, with angles air ports out the back which gives it a nice spin. It could travel more than half a mile, with a spread diameter of only 3.5' at that distance. The gun worked really well, and it was fully and semi-auto, using a 15 or 5 round mag (the 15 round was almost two feet long, so it was kind of a pain to use).

I tested my inverted mini this morning, but don't quite have time to write about it now. I'll get back before too long though. Thanks.
   

allstarlaxman Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 | 12:06 pm PST
does it rock socks? =D
   

p-baller100 Thursday, July 26th, 2007 | 5:37 pm PST
wow i wished i knew half as much of the stuff yall are talkin about. major props to your smartleyness id like to see a few pics of your finished mini. it sounds like you basicly built your own gun.. i hope i get to be a greater mechanic like you...so far i can only take apart a gun clean it and put it back together..which is really all you NEED to do. i dont completely understand how some paintball guns work...i know about most of em spyders, egos, timmys, ions, etc. although i dont fully understand how the electronics work to fire the marker like the solenoid and stuff. i understand everything on the spyders though just cause they are probobly the one of simplist markers out there. plus i spent a lot of time looking at the internals and stuff of my dads pilot.
   

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