3d printing for Airsoft

A year or so ago I was taking my son who was 6 at the time out and about with his radio control car. I say out and about but it was up and down some decent hill in North Wales in preparation for the lads first bash up Mount Snowdon.

On one of the thrashes he broke a lower control arm, after looking at the price of £25 to replace it I thought there must be a cheaper way.

I decided to take the measurements and look into fabricating my own making certain areas stronger for the tasks we used the car on. I used a number of different free CAD such as Tinkercad, Onshape then moving onto Autodesk Fusion 360, specific reviews of the software used can be found in my other reviews.

After a while of printing heavy duty small parts for RC cars I decided to apply it to my hobby of airsoft. After serving for 15 years in one of the UK’s premier Formation Reconnaissance Regiments I wanted some very specific accessories printing.

So at the time there wasn’t many cheap reusable impact grenades on the market that were not over £60. I decided to used the Thunder snap cracker which is a kids wadded paper banger that initiates on impact.

Bangers are widely available and cheaper than the conventional .209 primers. As I write this currently not allowed across many Airsoft sites, until a safety data sheet is accepted by their insurance underwriters.

I designed a number of prototypes that were basically a solid body to take impacts and be durable. A cap or lid again solid and both printed out of PLA so its cheap. They were held together with an elastic cord as seen in the video and worked very well due, but with everything could be improved.

I decided to make a threaded lid for ease of reloading which saw a very successful grenade used here. It has a knurled cap with vent holes top, bottom and sides which exposed a good flash when it goes off (See video).

The design didn’t really change after this due to it robustness and ease of production. In fact I was producing these along with others for a demanding market. Admittedly mine was printed on whats regarded as a cheap entry level printer Anycubic i3 mega, others were producing superior examples.

Airtac are a specific Airsoft 3d printing business that I contacted and who were also printing impacts. The comparison to the right shows our products but with their printing power produced a much superior product. If you take a look at their site you can take advantage of 10% off with the coupon code Adventure10.

Sadly due to many import companies not supplying to being able to get hold of a safety data sheet detailing the risks to users of a simple kids banger many UK sites are unable to allow the use of them. Until the data sheet is approved the sites insurance under writers wont insure the use but like most pyrotechnics i’m sure it will sort its self out. The best think about the combination of printed grenades and thunder snaps is their cheap if you loose one it costs just a few quid to replace, easy to get hold of and promoted individuals to get creative with their own designs.

Check out the video below of the version 2 as seen above and the free STL designs to print or redesign yourselves and get creative.

Free STL files for all types below pictures are of well used items with over 50+ throws during testing the print will turn out much better.

When printing screw cap with good PLA I use print temp of 185 degree C with 50 degree C on the bed with 85% infill. 100% is best so its then solid but obviously increases print time.

Once printed spear a small amount of vaseline on the cap and body threads to prevent initial stiction when trying for the first time.

Remember don’t make Adventures in life make life the Adventure, happy airsofting

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