This is a tutorial taken from the "taking stock" article of the September 2002 issue of APG magazine by Jason "Extreme" Klatt. If you have any questions.. his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this will be easy enough for yall to be able to build your own stick feeders for dirt cheap. here we go!
First things first. You will have to determine what size your direct feed nipple is. There are 2 different sizes as far as i understand. You can have either a 7/8" diameter, like that on a Phantom marker. The other size feed nipple a 1" diameter, usually found on a Trraccer. (Maj. RaZoR note: as far as i know, the nipples on Mavs, Hammers, and BE pumps like the Tigershark are also 1" diameter.) These are the only 2 sizes i will focus on in this article. (Please read and be familiar with the entire article before going out and purchasing any items listed so that you do not overlook a specific item.)
Once you have determined what size your feed nipple is, you can decide how exactly you will set up your stick feeder. If you have a 7/8" nipple, you are in luck. They offer more choices as to how exactly you may set up your feeder. With a 1" nipple, you will have to use a hopper elbow. Something like a Viewloader VLbow makes an excellent choice. Make sure whatever elbow you choose, that it has the ability to easily be tightened and that one end will fit a 1" diameter, and the other end will fit a 7/8" diameter. (that is the size of the tubing you will be purchasing for the stick feeder.)
Now you have to go out and purchase some of the components. Here is what i recommend:
- Size: 3/4" inside diameter (i.d.) CPVC (the outside diameter must be 7/8") Now, notice i said "C-P-V-C", and not "PVC". The "C" on the front is very important. How much you will have to buy depends on the hardware store you purchase it from. Get more than you need. I went out and bought a whole 12 foot length and had them cut it into 2 pieces so that it would fit into my car. When i was making my stick feeders, i made quite a few. If you can, get only what you need for what you are doing at the time.
CPVC is great, as it will insulate your paintballs if you play where it's hot. It does not transfer heat very readily. However, the problem i have had with CPVC, is that the inside diameter was not perfectly round, and the balls were getting stuck. The solution.. well, at least in my case.. i bored out the inside of the CPVC out on a lathe. Now not all of you have access to a machine shop like I do, so you may have to have someone do if for you. If you can, try and make sure that your balls will fit the entire length of the piece that you will use. Some of my other friends didn't have the same problems as i did. Others have thought of using a Flex-hone to smooth the inside of the feeder. You may have to get creative... or: Copper tubing. This is an alternative to CPVC. Copper tubing is more reliably round than CPVC. Copper is tougher to cut, but it's not impossible by any means. Copper is a little more costly than CPVC, and it will transfer heat more. On a really hot day, say in Arizona, your paintballs could very well melt in your stick feeder if it is made of copper. A Flex-hone can smooth copper too.
When determining the length of your tube, always allow 1 or 2 balls in your calculations. if you want a 10 round stick feeder, figure out the distance of about 12 balls. (don't forget that 1 or 2 may sit in the elbow of the stick feeder, so the length may end up being only 10 balls long.) The reason for the extra space is that while in the middle of a game, you don't want to wait until you are completely out of paint to reload. By leaving room for a few extras, you can casually reload with your 10 round tube (with a few balls still left in the sick feeder) instead of waiting until you are completely out of paintballs, where you are more vulnerable.
Before, i mentioned that if you have a 1" diameter nipple, that you would have to purchase a hopper elbow. Now, i also mentioned that if you had a 7/8" nipple that you were in luck. Heres why. You can purchase either a 45 or 90 degree CPVC elbow for like 30 cents. Much cheaper than a paintball hopper elbow. I personally prefer the 90 degree elbow. it allows your marker profile to be much smaller if you turn it toward the back of your marker. a 45 degree angle points your stick up in the air like a flag pole, or out away from your marker, which makes you a bigger target. a CPVC fitting will fit right onto your 7/8" elbow without problems.. usually. If your elbow doesn't like to stay on, i have some pointers for you in the "assembly" instructions.
As you can see, if you can get some sort of different type of rig for a 1" nipple your better off than using a paintball hopper elbow. otherwise, unless you find a better way, the paintball hopper elbow is the easiest way to fit a stick feeder to a 1" nipple.
Good old cheap electrical tape! this is what you will use to cover up all that white CPVC. If you wrap it up just right, it doesn't look to bad. Using electrical tape is cheap and safer than using vinyl dyes and spray paints on your stick feeder. You expose yourself to a lot of harmful chemicals in the use of the latter 2 items. Tape is also much more durable than paint, as paint will chip off and leave nice little white spots all over your stick feeder.
I have found the easiest way to solve the problem of balls in your new stick feeder is to purchase a one way ball gate. This goes at the end of the stick feed where you insert the tube to reload. Its a simple plastic part. I think the best ball gate for the job can be purchased from CCI. CCI sells the ball gate for about $4 (plus shipping) Ask for part #9413 called a "cap." This little honey fits perfectly onto the end of a piece of CPVC or copper tubing. Phone CCI at 503-554-8095, or go to www.phantomonline.com.
OK, so you have everything you need. You may have already figured out how to put it together, but some may still need some assistance, which I will gladly give. First, we will assemble a 1" feed nipple stick feeder and then a 7/8" feed nipple stick feeder.
1)- Put all the parts on the work table.
2)- Wrap your tube with electrical tape. The tube should already be cut to length, and have the cap installed on the end. Try to wrap it in a uniform spiral pattern all the way from end to end. If you're careful you can get the tape around the open end without leaving any tube showing.
3)- Put the tape wrapped tube into the paintball hopper elbow and then secure your newly assembled stick feeder onto your marker.
Here are the instructions for a 7/8". They are very similar, but there are some very important variations in how it's done.
1)- First check to see if your elbow of choice will fit on and stay in place on your direct feed nipple. If it fits good, and will not move, you are good to go! (it may fit tightly, but make sure that it does not creep back up the feed nipple.) If the fit is no good, you will have to make a special adjustment. Get a small open end hacksaw or use a dremel tool and cut a slit into one side of the elbows mating diameter. You will also need to purchase a hose clamp that can adjust to about 1". Put this slit end onto the feed nipple, and use the hose clamp to squeeze it on tight when you finally assemble the whole unit as per step #3.
2)- Assemble the elbow, the tubing and the cap. Proceed to wrap the entire assembly from the end of the elbow, spiraling to the end with the cap. Stop at the cap and cut the tape.
3)-If you didn't need to modify the elbow and it fits perfectly, just slap that puppy on! if you needed to slit the elbow, as instructed, you will need to put the hose clamp onto the end that will mate with your marker and tighten it slightly so that it will stay on the elbow and still allow you to slide the stick feeder onto the markers direct feed nipple. Once it's on, tighten the hose clamp down so that there is no movement.
There you have it, your own stick feeder, designed to be fed paintballs out of 10 round tubes. I am sure that there are other ways to make a stick feeder, but these worked for me. I must admit that i did have some help. I thank Jessica Sparks for getting me started on the right track, and my fellow gunfighter, Jeff Kachlik. Without you two helping, I would have had a lot more trouble learning how to do this lost art. So get out there and try your new toy. I love playing with my markers with stick feeders and i'm sure that you'll have hours of enjoyment playing paintball cheaper, and more efficiently. Get out there and show 'em what you're made of... because if your like me, your not made of money!!!
PLAY WITH HONOR AND ACCURACY!
Jason "Extreme" Klatt is president of the Gunfighters Paintball Club & Scenario Team.
Good luck Guys.