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Airgun Designs

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Warp Feed
by Bill Mills
August 2000

“Mr. Scott, we need Warp Feed in 20 seconds or we’re all dead!”

Simultaneous to their unveiling of the E-Mag at the 2000 Zap International Amateur Open, Airgun Designs revealed the Warp Feed.  Building faster shooting paintguns means there is a need to feed paint to them faster.  The year 2000 is a revolutionary time in feed technology.  Many designers have been working on forced feed systems over the past few years, but tournament rules restricted players to the use of gravity based feed systems.  Automated loaders, such as the VL Revolution use motors to agitate the paintballs preventing jams, but still rely on gravity to drive the ball to the gun.  With the release of the AGD Warp Feed, and Brass Eagle’s eVLolution loader, the International Amateur Open and WPF tournament series have changed their rules to allow forced feed.  Additionally, heavy lobbying is taking place to similarly change the NPPL rules mid-season.

The Warp Feed is a rectangular box, reminiscent in shape to an oversized 8-track tape cartridge.  It mounts below the paintgun, on brackets which attach to the grip frame.  The Warp features two ports in its top.  One port is connected to a hose which goes to the bottom of  the paintgun’s powerfeed, or to a right angle adapter on the top of vertical feed paintguns (a prototype Angel adapter from ProTeam Products was shown along with the announcement, that ProTeam will develop and produce adapters for many paintguns).  The other opening in the feed accepts a hopper.  The Warp Feed itself is basically a ball accelerator, and does not include a hopper of its own.

Two flexible disks are mounted on a wheel inside the Warp Feed.  As balls drop from the loader to the Warp Feed, they are picked up between the disks, and driven forward quickly as the wheel spins.  6 to 8 balls are sitting in the wheel at any given time.  When the Warp Feed receives an activating signal from the paintgun, it spins the wheel, forcing balls forward through the system to the paintgun.  Because there is no indexing – the balls are not separated into individual chambers – but rather a light pressure from the two disks on the sides of the stack of balls, there is no problem with balls breaking, or being smashed.  If the stack of paintballs is stopped, waiting for the bolt of the paintgun to open, the disks simply slide past the balls, providing a light forward pressure. 

"The Warp Feed is not a hopper, it's a hopper helper."
-JJ Brookshire, Airgun Designs

The Warp Feed can drive paintballs at over 20 balls per second.  It is still limited to the loader attached to it, the high rate of fire is only good for bursts.  Once the wheel is empty, it only receives balls as fast as the loader delivers them to it.  However, it is capable of overcoming slight pauses in feeding that are common with Revolution loaders.  Allowing a Revolution to freely empty, a pattern is visible of fast feeding, and then slower feeding.  The Warp Feed ends up acting as a speed buffer that brings the minimum feed rate up to equal the average feed rate, making even the Revolution usable at higher speeds than before.

Additionally the Warp Feed moves the position of the loader to below the top of the receiver, eliminating player target area.  “It’s ugly!” has been the initial reaction of many players to the new loader placement – the balance and feel are different.  However, when it has been demonstrated with a player peeking around a bunker with only the corner of their mask, and tip of their barrel exposed, many changed their minds.  Another common criticism is that due to the side placement, off-hand shooting is not practical. The Warp Feed needs to be set up for a paintgun to shoot right or left handed.  Since the Warp Feed is not gravity dependent, AGD’s answer is that the whole paintgun can be tilted sideways, and a right handed player can now shoot right handed out the left side of the bunker.  This is of course limited to the number of shots sitting in the Warp Feed’s Wheel, as gravity is still needed for a long string of shots.

 


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