This is an interesting topic as I didn’t even start 3d printing for Airsoft but for replacing some RC car parts that are way over priced and I was fed replacing them. My son was at the time 6 and his RC car driving skills could of been better.
Bumper mount’s were quickly redesigned to live up to more punishment. The standard Traxxas one lasting 1 month from new a re-design beef up lasted over a year.
After a few month’s covid happened which gave me an opportunity to use the printer to help others. Volunteering to produce over 200 sets of PPE visors to help keep my wife and others safe at work.
As you can imagine driving a radio controlled Traxxas TRX4 up Snowdon among other places you expect components to break. If they break it was just another chance to re-design using CAD software.
With a lot of experience gained from re designing RC car parts I then re booted Airsoft in my life. My first gun was a G&G but I quickly decided to try and knock up some front grips with my experience from serving, I knew what I liked.
What started out as a means of replacing broken parts cheaper, turned into a way of customising. My first G&G with my own front grip and rail riser that also marked the start of Adventure Airsoft.
The front grip above I called the ball was a bit odd but very comfortable to use, looking like a ball was glued into the grip. It was actually printed in one go and just shows what you what printers can do. Since then printing has well and truly moved on with complete carbine kits, rails and even grenades.
My personal computer at the time of designing my first part was a Mac book Air which isn’t designed to run CAD software, I needed to find some software that was online. I started to use some called Onshape which requires no download and used a fraction of computer memory compared to traditional CAD only requiring a decent internet connection. Onshape has a great community with some good teachers on Youtube for free with one catch, as a free licence your work can be seen online by all other users. The trick though is to save your project as a unique number and no one will be able to find it.
Onshape’s intuitive design allowing a child’s drawing to come to life.
After a while I started to play certain features that I was struggling with on Onshape and switched to Autodesk’s Fusion 360 which is also free, used by huge engineering firms and it’s largely online but with the ability to keep your work private.
Both allow online access through tablets or smart phones and both export to a slicer (software the 3d printer needs to layer the design into a printable format). I still go back to Onshape for very basic designs but prefer Fusion all day long. Thunder snaps paper tubed kids bangers were becoming popular as a potential Airsoft impact grenade, taking off and allowing some amazing individuality to shine through.
I started with a 3 piece grenade comprising of a body, cap and elastic retention device. The grenade is thrown with the thunder snap inside which is comparable to a .209 blank.
I started to sell the grenades which was going very well with some happy customers. The beginning of our 3d printing is below but as things evolved so did we.
My MK2 grenade with screw cap measuring 40mm by 80mm perfect for a 40 mike pouch.
Others capitalised on the growing Thunder snap demand and in producing the V2 I first encountered James from Airtac. I see James as an Airsoft 3d printing legend and has so much experience in different aspects of Airsoft printing.
Airtac offers some amazing products including grenade sleeves, AAP01 kits, 209 primer holders, loads of mag adapters and silencers all of which can be personalised for the customer.
Now I have some reviews coming regarding his new products but it’s very impressive, specifically how much he offers and what he can achieve.
Airtac’s superior quality Thunder snap impact grenade compared to my heavily used V2
More recently my 3d printing path as been focussed around my personal benefit rather than others with more front grips for my Tippmann carbine V2 HPA.
The feeling that you can change every aspect of an object, take a millimetre off here or there can make all the difference. The cost of raw materials for printing has thankfully remained low, around £15 – £20 for a 1 kg roll mainly due to many new suppliers jumping in for the increased demand. It’s not just suppliers that brought changes to printing It’s the choice of colours from glow in the dark or very vibrant ones as seen on the grenades to a matt olive shown above.
Airtac’s latest creation is very interesting following the demise of the Thunder snap due to no safety data sheets allowing Airsoft sites to insure them and then banning them. With this in mind and more and more kids coming into the sport via great Sites like Outpost Airsoft, James from Airtac designed and built an impact grenade that’s loud enough to be herd but using children’s caps safe for all.
The Kids grenade or cap firing grenade is a 3d printed grenade that is actuated by a wobble head. A cap is pulled off the ring of caps then placed on the bolt threads. Once in place the cap is screwed onto the base and thrown, upon impacting it works like any other wobble head impacts with a firing pin striking the cap.
It’s light small and can be available in almost any colour but due to It’s size I advise a bright visible one so you don’t loose it. They come with a Molle mount and only cost £20 which is about £50 cheaper than the next equivalent sounding impact grenade.
Unlike a pack of Fiochi .209 primers which cost £5.50 (cheapest I could find) for 100 primers at 5.5p a shot, caps are £2.99 from Smyth’s toys for 240 shots and cost 1.2p per shot.
A full review video is coming and will be added on here but as an Ambassador of Airtac you can take advantage of 10% off with the code Adventure10 at the checkout.