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> Just to provide some food for thought, take a look at the utterly
> simplistic and compact design utilized in the weapons system used by
> the Ship-To-Ship Warfare folks. Note the hardware store copper tubing
> and fittings. Now THAT is off-the-shelf!
As someone who built literally hundreds of homemade BB cannons for
warship combat (we used to make 20-30 during our annual winter
"gun-fest" building session), I can assure you that building your own
cannons takes alot of evolutionary iterations to get things right.
Early gun designs had lots of problems and often worked great in the
workshop, but failed during the battle. In warships, that wasn't a
total disaster, because we had more than one gun on board, but with a
tank, if your cannon fails the game is over.
About two years ago, I successfully built a paintball cannon based on
the pressure-powered design of the BB cannons used in warship combat,
only larger. (My approach was an evolution of some pioneering work done
by Lief Goodson in the early 90's when we first started talking about
tank combat.) It was built from standard PVC and copper plumbing
components, with a brass piston assembly that didn't require any
expensive tools to make. It worked, fired round after round without a
problem, and the total cost was probably less than $25 ... but the
Why? Because of two big reasons: (1) commercial markers are very
reliable and (2) Walmart sells them by the truck-load. In fact, the
market is so large that dozens of manufacturers exist, continually
pushing each other to make better and cheaper markers. More
importantly, even the cheapest markers represent years of engineering
design, subtle changes over time and production level manufacturing.
So, rather than spending lots of engineering time to save $25-50 on the
marker, I spent that time engineering solutions for other parts of the
tank, that aren't adequately covered by existing products. When the
tank hobby gets a little larger, I'm sure that one or more of the marker
manufacturers will develop a version that is specifically designed for
our purposes. In fact, I think that Steve Tyng has already been talking
to the GTVe designer about such modifications. Clearly, they can't make
lots of money from such changes now, but they might do it just for fun
or to help a fledgling hobby.
Frank "Still Looking For A Commercial Track Assembly" Pittelli