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Old 04-24-2009, 01:42 PM #1
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Tank Building Help

I have a 1989 Chevy Suburban that is begging me to turn it into a tank. I have a few ideas on how to convert it but would greatly appreciate any tips and advice any veteran tank builders have to offer. I was planning on taking the large back windows out and fabricating a bipod mount on each side. I also was planning on cutting a hole in the roof and fabricating a turret with 2 sp1s. the main goal is a anti personel tank / troop carrier for the other 6 guys on the team.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:40 PM #2
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first things first, make sure the vehicle runs well. No point in making a tank out of a vehicle that's about to die. Second, do you have a means to haul it? Most PAV's aren't street legal. Next I would look at what you want out of it. Do you want function or do you want the look? Personally I would knock the windows out and replace them with overlapping screening. the bottom one held up by some plastic coated steel wire, and the top one held down with a straight bungee cord. This allows your gunner to poke their barrel out and move it the length of the window with no restriction and makes acquiring targets much easier. When you cut a hole in the roof you will need to reinforce the roof around the hole to take on the wieght of a turret. I would build a sturdy, mounted platform up to the roof that you build your turret on top of. Kinda like putting a wooden table inside the suburban up to the roof. When you cut your hole in the roof, cut it wider than you need and mount the turret on the table/platform. Seal the roof to the platform with weatherstripping and sealant if you're anal like me. If you have the money, use a pallet carousel for your turret ring. When you mount your dual guns, look at making the mass of the guns as small as possible. Talk to damonwill here on pbnation about using the ion guts from those SP1s to make a small and fierce package. He's awesome at that. Also, think about how you're going to feed this turret paint wise. two offset hoppers? Overhead tub with dual force feeds? Where is your air supply for these markers? How about your cannon? Will there be one? air supply for that? I would work on the functionality of the tank before you start throwing on a shell for looks. And make sure you can remove parts of it easily so you can maintain your suburban.
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:59 PM #3
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additional thoughts!

Some other important things needed is this vehicle will require liability insurance to play at many fields. Some fields will require a governor so your tank wont go over 5-10 mph. They may also require an outside shut off switch so a tank ref can turn you off when you get hit. A vehicle of this size is going to require a large trailer that can hold this kind of weight. Like Steve said most PAV's are not street legal. Then you may need a vehicle that can pull a trailer of this size and weight. Perhaps you may need another Surburban. ALso a vehicle of this size I suggest putting rough tread 4x4 tires on it. Tanks can be a headache when they sink in the mud and you need a tow truck to get them out. I like the idea of a tank and personnel carrier for your team. That can prove handy in many situations. I also suggest going to the many threads or posts and look for tanks that are built from a vehicle such as you have. Just remember the collateral expences for your tank is going to be you big expense in the long run. This way you will get a better grip on what you want as a finished product that will hit the field. One negative thing is when your having a bad day constantly getting hits with RPG's and knocked out of the game. Just think of it as payback from the field players. I also suggest making sure your tank is secure from players whom dont know all the rules for engaging tanks. Its not nice getting railed inside at close range if they storm the tank.. Good Luck!

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Old 04-25-2009, 09:22 AM #4
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Good info there from Steve and Nelson.

Building is only the start. Then you have to maintain it. Insure it if required. Smart to insure it even if it isnt required. And then get it to the games.

Tanking is alot of fun, but it is also far more costly then just being a regular player. The gas bill for hauling them to games is the main thing now days. It cost $1000 one way for one of our tanks to go to D-Day last year. Thank goodness gas prices have come down some.
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Last edited by JESTERTLS : 04-27-2009 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Added the rest of a sentence I left out... Doh!
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:55 AM #5
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I have seen a couple tanks with removable netting window's. That way they can pull the netting and put in out of harms way when trailering & storing your tank. They made wooden frame and attached netting, made holes right at edge of windows for securing the windows to tank.

another thing is gunners are alot more accurate if they can brace up (usually sit down) when firing all the swaying & rocking make for wild shooing & at many games tanks are not supposed to stop moving.
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:09 PM #6
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I was thinking along the lines of having netting on the windows and not cutting a whole in the roof to save expence. Also I'd like to avoid the major headache of bracing, cutting, and fabricating the top turret. In which case I was wondering if 2 side turrets would be enough to take out attackers or if the 360 swing of a top turret would be the best way to go. I'd like to keep the beast street legal as the only major mechanical issue is that the A/C is going out. otherwise the 350 runs like a champ.
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:23 PM #7
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The turret would be the best way to go. And 'Burbans have a 200lb roof rack, do they not? It would not be difficult to build a small frame within the vehicle, like an internal roll bar, that could offer additional support. No need for a big table in there, taking up space from your teammates.
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:48 PM #8
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On my 89 there is no roof rack. If I added a top turret, would I need to do anything to the sides and have all the area rear of the turret for hauling the rest of my crew? I was only going for a LPC, not a full blown tank with a big cannon. Just 4 sp1 guts and eggs in the turret.

Also the 89 is not a 4x4, is that a small issue on most fields? Or will the monster not sink, i haven't managed to get it stuck in some of the trails to fields after rain and stuff yet.

Last edited by GRAMPSis#77 : 04-25-2009 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:29 PM #9
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You'll want as wide a tire as you can get for it, to spread out the load. Not being 4x4 MIGHT cause problems, but deal with that if it comes to it. Wide tires with good grip, maybe even old worn swampers (they come in 32x12.5x15 that should fit your stock rims)

I got bored and did a super-rough sketch of how I'd do it;


The only thing I'm hung on is how to rotate the turret. Where to get a large diameter, roller bearing ring. The turret itself I'd make from wood. You could do it rectangular! That'd look better than round on top of a old boxy Burban. Anywho, the seats are towards the rear like a real APC, facing each other. Two side gunners sit on a center platform, which the turret operator stands on. CO2 or HPA is secured to a steel bar running behind the front seats - no chance of damaging them. A manifold would run air up to the doubled SP1's, which at 11bps each MIGHT need 2 seperate lines. You then run lines to the two side gunners. I've got the coils going to the body, but it could go to a 5 port manifold (1 for source, 4 output).

More thinking to do...
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Last edited by Noltez : 04-25-2009 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:49 PM #10
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Ugh... I"m bored.

Ignore the ridiculously huge side barrel. I wasn't paying attention But ya, something like this.

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Old 04-26-2009, 04:09 PM #11
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I actually was planning to have a single top turret with 2 to 4 used ion or sp1 guts only. no need for side turrets because if it gets rough, the guys can jump out of the back and go to work.
In the rough sketch, how is the loader going to feed the gun? Wouldn't there have to be eggs on top of the feed necks or something?
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:28 PM #12
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Nope!

Remove a halo from it's shell, and build a hopper around it. Such a hopper should be able to hold an entire case at once. You can then use Q-loader tubing, or something similar, to duct the from the feed of the Halo to your turret marker. The Halo should have enough force within a smoothbore tube to push the paintballs, especially with a V35 chip. You can not use a Reloader B as they use Microphones. It must be a Halo.

I'll sketch it up a bit better later, if you want. I'm horrible at drawing... if that wasn't obvious already
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:31 PM #13
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so the drive cone and electronics housing from a halo is all? that's easy
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:33 PM #14
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Ya... why get complicated? Pull the shell off a Halo, and build a new shell that holds as many rounds as you need. Then just use some flexible tube from the new hopper to the top of the SP1, such as Qloader tube or some 3/4" flex tubing and make some adapters, to shuttle the driven balls from the Hopper to the gun. Obviously, you'll need 2 Halo's to drive 2 guns.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:51 PM #15
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Turret ring. Clothing display racks that are round they are 36 , 42 ,48 diameter. Weld it to whatever and make rollers to roll on the top and inside of the rail. Might want a couple underneath so it won't bounce off lurching over a tree root or pot hole. You can get brand new ones for $80 so a used on with some chrome peeling of it should be real cheap.

OR

I have seen the turret frame and netting mounted on the back of a swivel chair that swivels 360 degrees and is bolted to the floor. Saw one welded up using a car bearing and axle. Bolted a seat with seatbelt onto it. The nifty part of this set up is you rotate the turret with your feet and NOT your arms... You want both hands free for shooting and reloading and not muscling a turret around.

You also want the center of gravity of your turret to be exactly AT the pivot point or the whole turret will want to swing the heavy side down to the lowest point when you are not perfectly level which is ALL the time.

Another advantage is you mount the air supply on the back of or under the chair so you don't have problems with your hoses twisting up.

Lighter is better. The lighter it, is the quicker you can turn it and stop it from turning. Forget wood. Too heavy and you can't see out of it.

You want ALL netting and use nothing heavier than 1/2 CPVC, fiberglass tubing, etc... for a frame. The drop ceiling framing can be bought cheap if you buy the damaged pieces. I got a lifetime supply for $ 5. It is T shaped steel but incredibly light. I used sheet metal screws and triangular pieces of aluminum for bracing the corners. Cut it with a hacksaw.

No reason to enclose the top of a netted turret. You might want to throw out a hand grenade, flame thrower, or a backup RPG if your cannon dies. Also makes an emergency exit...

Standard defense against tanks is to shoot paint at it to blind the driver and gunner. Why you want window netting AND a 5 gal tank to hold window washer fluid. Of course your wipers have to work under the netting.

Last edited by Boom Master : 05-27-2009 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:49 PM #16
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