Success, Problems and Adjustments

By Ray Laskowski
on February 27, 2016

Wow, as my two printers pump away the big stuff first: magwells, I can't help but reflect on the reception Magfed Maker has received. Thank you all so much, and know that I've been inspired and validated that this is what magfed needs. The Victor is only the beginning, comrades. Some of you have already seen snippets of the next projects I'll be releasing into the wild once my production normalizes.

The more observational may have noticed my typo above. It's not a typo. I've received some advice to avoid any potential lawsuits and whatnot by avoiding the use of actual firearm model names. So from here on out, I will be going to direction of many a virtual gun collections and making creative similar names for all our mod kits.

Status update: All hardware (nuts, bolts, springs...) is ordered, 2 printers are pumping out magwells and a third is pumping out flexible feednecks. These two things take the most time. With the revenues from this pre-order I've put it all right back into enabling Magfed Maker to better service the mod community by purchasing another printer. Not even a week in business, and we're already expanding. The 4th machine won't be up and running until after Dominion, but will definitely assist in reducing the lead time for all your parts!

As a result of the success of this launch, I've also decided to extend the pre-order pricing until I ship the first batch come mid-March. As it turns out, my system hasn't been charging any extra for Canadian shipping, but as a thank you to the fans and an apology for maple money sucking right now, I will honor all past orders to Canada as free shipping. However, I have increased the cost for international and Canada as I've been running shipping quotes and seeing the real-world costs. If you already have an order, you have nothing to worry about, no adjustments will be made. Only moving forward for this company!

Some other adjustments some of you may see is I've enabled local currency for some of our international clientele, so no more guess work, just click by the search bar what currency you prefer to use!

Last but not least, I've started a rewards program to celebrate the successful launch. 33 orders over the weekend far surpassed what I had projected, and I thank you all for making this possible. I would suggest to everyone that they make an account on the site, as the first 33 orders on account will receive 330 Mod Points. That's just to get you started, for me to say thank you, and from here on out every dollar invested towards modding your magfed markers will earn you points that will help you continue the mod life.

Thank you all once again, we are all part of something amazing here.

3D Printing for Products

By Ray Laskowski
on February 01, 2016
1 comment

Is 3D printing a viable technology for end-user/consumer products? The short answer is yes, of course! It is ultimately the end-user/customer that decides what is or isn't a viable product, and the marketplace for 3D printed items is growing. Even in our little niche of magfed paintball, many people are utilizing their creativity and technological know-how to introduce new and exciting products that expand our sport. I don't know if it's ok to name names here, but I assume most of you will know the major players that offer 3D printed products as fully usable items. Magfed Maker is new to the scene, so time and experience will tell of our own acceptance by players, but the trailblazers already out there and putting mag adapters, mag winders and other accessories out there and in games seem to have a mostly positive review history.

There is a dark side, of course. I've even seen 3D printing mentioned as the "dark side" of machining/manufacturing. It's really important to choose the right tools for the job, as is true with any method of fabrication. What makes 3D printing a little more prone to fallacy is that it's more accessible to people without having prerequisite engineering or mechanical knowledge and/or experience. Meaning, anybody can pick up a $300 printer, dabble in sketchup for a weekend and start pumping out rails or speed loaders without worrying too much about structural integrity, design theory, tensile stress points or glass transition temperatures. I readily admit that I do not have an engineering background, and basically did exactly what I described above, teaching myself CAD and how to use 3D printers.

An example of the above situation can be seen with the initial use of PLA as the most common polymer used in 3d printed offerings. The reason for using PLA is simple, it's a safe, biodegradable polymer that is easy to print, readily available and relatively cheap with the slightest learning curve. The problem is that PLA is brittle and prone to snap if designed with thin walls, cannot be mended easily (ABS can be bonded to itself with acetone, nylon bonds very well with super glue), and the most significant trait: a low glass transition temperature. This means that a printed part will start to warp and even melt if exposed to moderate heat such as a sunny day at the paintball field. This condition is worsened when the part is a dark color, such as the tactical black we love so much for our guns. However, this only applies to a few polymers that are used in 3D printing, as ABS can be left in the sun all day. Polycarbonate and some nylons can be exposed to boiling water without losing shape.

Magfed Maker can't speak for other companies, but we only use ABS, PETG, TPU (rubber-like), nylon and polycarbonate in our products. These are all very strong materials that can withstand the abuse of the paintball player, and even direct paintball impacts. These materials have been tested to endure most common temperatures where we play. Our northern comrades may have some troubles with ABS and TPU on the below-30 centigrade days, but I've yet to see any evidence of part failure in the cold. This means our products are designed to be used just like any other part you can buy. We utilize design theory to try and make up for 3D printing's shortcomings such as weak stress points on the axis that was printed up from the print bed. The idea is to not just make something that works, but to design a part that lasts.

Another critique is that 3D printing is best left to it's origin, that is: rapid prototyping. The idea is that 3D printing is great for pumping out a functional prototype of an item that will later be machined or manufactured using more traditional methods, such as CNC, casting or injection molding. While this is incredibly valid, the advances in 3D printing materials that have been made, along with where the technology is headed, make this a moot point (as in, debatable to no end). 3D printing was for the longest time an industrial best-practice, and materials used in their operation were purpose-driven to accomplish the task of pushing out a tangible object. Durability wasn't an issue, nor was surface finish. Modern 3D printing materials and methods now offer substantially increased durability and aesthetics similar to a manufactured item. <citation needed>

The greatest argument for 3D printing as a product is the availability and potential. With traditional manufacturing methods, there is so much investment made that only the most viable options can be produced. CNC and casting only become economically sensible when there will be plenty of demand. Injection molding requires tens of thousands of dollars to make the tooling. With 3D printing, we can offer a single part or mod kit for just one customer and have it still make sense financially. By harnessing this technology, Magfed Maker hopes to offer a complete digital armory to satisfy every deep and dark desire of the magfed player, one gun at a time.

In closing, 3D printed products as products are already out there, being used and abused. They may not be as strong as their injection molded and CNC'ed brethren, but they are certainly being proven to be plenty durable enough to fulfill their purpose. A bonus: The selection of available products can only grow tremendously as the technology is adopted and mastered, and it is the player that is taking control of what is possible.

What is Magfed Maker?

By Ray Laskowski
on July 31, 2015

My name is Ray Laskowski, and I am a Magfed Maker

What is a maker? This may be an unfamiliar term for some people, as I don't believe it's been commonly applied to paintball, let alone the magfed niche. In the 3D printing and hobbyist community, a maker is a person that involves themselves in a DIY (Do It Yourself) culture. I think a more recognizable term for our growing community is "modder". I've embraced this title as the modder formally known as "Cheshire" back in the early 201x's, where I was active on the X7OG.net and MilSimEmpire.com forums, so I've got a bit of customization pedigree.

So why call myself a maker now? I want to fully embrace the "maker movement", a culture of people doing what they've only dreamed about, and sharing it with others to inspire them to take charge of their own dreams as well. While it's not exclusive to the maker movement, a common theme is the concept of "Open Source". I personally believe that true innovation and evolution is expedited by the sharing of ideas and concepts, rather than the leveraging of them. This is beyond modding, this is the making of magfed history.

Magfed Revolution meets Magfed Evolution

Back to the original question: What have you been fortunate enough to stumble upon? This is the future of magfed paintball; where we the players share control of the direction of innovation. Not only do I intend to start offering my designs for others to enjoy, but I want to inspire others to do the same, and truly empower all players to realize that anything is possible with a dremel and a dream.

Simply put, here is what you will find on this page (some now, some later)

  • Unique mods ready to go
  • Exotic total conversions of markers
  • Open source designs for you to implement yourself or play around with
  • Full support for all products
  • Immersive content to instill a maker's spirit in all of us

 

 

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From the Blog

Success, Problems and Adjus...

February 27, 2016

Wow, as my two printers pump away the big stuff first: magwells, I can't help but reflect on the reception...

Read more →

3D Printing for Products

February 01, 2016

Is 3D printing a viable technology for end-user/consumer products? The short answer is yes, of course! It is ultimately the...

Read more →