So I was offered this gun for my birthday about a month ago from a friend of mine. I replied, "What the hell am I going to use this for?". After about a week I was warming up to the thought of paintball, and my group of friends and I decided that paintball would be our new hobby. So I received this gun for free, and I really want to see it completed, in its highest evolution.
Let's say this all started the day I denied it as a gift, January 23, 2012.
It's the first version of the Spyder Imagine, I'm not sure what year production started but it's a pre-2004.
This thing was bone stock when I got it. One side of the grip cover was gone, exposing the guts of the trigger. My friend broke it the first day he got it, and about 4 years later, I fixed it the first day I got it. All it needed was new O-Rings! How simple was that. The stock bolt had quite a bit of scratches on top.
A few facts about this gun:
Mine came with the ESP trigger. The iteration of the ESP that I have comes with the I.P.I., IMO much better than fiddling with DIP switches, and it needed the jumper block to change modes (fixed with about $4 and a trip to Radioshack, by the way FOUR DOLLARS FOR A PACK OF BITS OF PLASTIC WITH A LITTLE BIT OF METAL INSIDE?!?!? that's 4 junior bacon cheeseburgers).
This is a rear cocking bolt, in essentially what looks like a side cocking body. There's a window in the body where you pinch the bolt from either side of the gun and cock it. This makes finding bolts for this gun difficult. Theoretically you can slap almost any Spyder bolt in this gun, but that requires modification of the body (which I did anyways). For my gun, I stuck with a color scheme, dust black. All the upgrades I bought/will buy are dust black. Why? Because black matches EVERYTHING, even black (crazy).
There were a few things that I HAD to get taken care of right off the bat to make this gun playable before I fully upgraded it.
I bought a Halo B off of my friend for a decent price, and when I took it home I immediately noticed that it wouldn't fit on my stock feed tube. I didn't have an elbow adapter and quite honestly I think they look retarded, so I ordered a RAP4 clamping feedneck, and at the same time ordered a Trinity grip, thrown in with a Trinity front t-block with gauge and volumizer, all 3 of those for a nice $50 (http://gurupaintball.com/
really cool guy, sent me HELLA stickers
This new block is actually way cooler than just looks. Upon closer inspection the port where your reg or expansion chamber/foregrip goes in has TWO holes, both bigger than the single hole in the stock block and the port on the volumizer is wider than stock too. I saw a lot of people rocking the same block from Trinity with an obtuse angle, putting the front grip at a forward angle like an AK's magazine. I'm glad I got the acute angle because I think it just looks better and makes the gun feel more compact. This did cause some problems with my gun, and I'll get to that shortly.
After I slapped these new parts on I was pretty stoked, so I blew through a couple pods of paint. Fast forward a few weeks, and my girlfriend is getting herself a gun, an Icon E (Spyder clone) for play and for her senior project. She had a similar gun to mine and I was really eyeballing her front grip because it was pretty much the same chrome grip but it had a black part on it and I like black. We basically went through a few rounds of trading grip, line, and the colored bits at the end. Apparently her stock braided cable was 2 inches shorter than mine and it made my gun look better because the new block I got made slack in my cable. She ended up wanting it back because my cable had slack on her gun too, and in the midst of torquing on cables I somehow twisted mine too much and the next time I gassed my gun it was leaking. I'd say this problem was less the block and more me just being too rough with screwing the line in and such. So this popped up a new flag because now my gun has no way to shoot until I either got a new cable or a macroline kit. Upon researching that, I got a good look at drop-forwards, regs, and ASA's that would make my gun look better.
There was more that needed to be done. So I researched Spyder upgrades and I came up with a list of parts that I will need to acquire to both improve the performance and the looks of this gun.
Here's a look at what this gun needs performance-wise:
Longer Barrel - This should have been the first upgrade I got, because it effects the gun most dramatically. Compare a new barrel to new tires on a car, you feel the improvement.
Delrin Bolt - Converting to a Delrin bolt has a few advantages. Delrin bolts are most commonly advertised as anti-chop bolts. Delrin is a plastic like material that has the ability to lubricate itself without the necessity of oil, but you can put it on there. Delrin is also lighter than aluminum so with that you can pretty much say that it reduces the recoil of your gun, and will allow the capacity for higher firing rates with lower chances of chop.
Delrin Striker - Take apart a stock Spyder. Put the bolt in one hand and the striker (hammer, hammer plug, etc.) in the other. DAMN THAT STRIKER IS HALF THE SIZE OF THE BOLT AND ITS ALMOST TWICE THE WEIGHT is what you should be saying. Just by holding the stock striker and knowing that there is one made with delrin out there is pretty much all I needed to convince me that I needed this upgrade. I see the ability to greatly reduce recoil with this.
Performance Springs Kit - Basically when you lower the operating pressure of your Spyder you need a new spring kit to be able to put out the same velocity as stock. When you lower the pressure of your gun you achieve 300FPS with less pressure, therefore you often need a different spring to lower the velocity. This kit comes with multiple tensities of springs and different types, not just your main spring. This upgrade is pretty much a given and while not completely necessary it helps.
Upgraded Valve - Modifying the stock valve or getting a new one increases the flow of air through your gun and increases velocity. While I have been contemplating modifying my stock valve, I found a Magnaport Valve online for $10 which I will end up buying, eventually.
T-Board - I found a T-Board on PBNation which came with a delrin striker and a barrel, a good deal for $50 total (again with 3 items for $50?). The T-Board isn't really a necessary upgrade, but it increases your capacity for a higher rate of fire, and comes with new modes and settings that you can't get out of the stock board.
New Trigger - First of all, the ESP trigger is a good trigger, but man that thing sucks compared to a high end gun's trigger. By looking at pictures of other people's Spyders online I can see that back in the day, almost everybody had a Check-It Products' Sweetspot trigger. Called them, not in production. So either I'll hunt down a used one, or go with the Snapdragon Magno-trigger. I like the fact that it has a magnet.
Here's a list of cosmetic upgrades:
New Foregrip - There's a lot of different names for this part. Foregrip, reg, expansion chamber, etc. Basically the stock one is ugly as hell. PROBLEM: There's just too many of them out there, so I'm looking to buy one used. I do like the CP regs, but only the long ones. Short ones are just too short.
Macroline Kit - Broken braided cable + color options = necessary.
On/Off + Asa - I like screw on/off's, so why not. And I want a black ASA, not green. Fun fact: Spyder offset their ASA screws, making it one more special part to look for.
Drop-forward - I'm still debating this one, though I do like the look of them, I don't know how that will effect the balance of my gun and how I rig my macrolines.
Paint! - The paint on this ESP trigger is crumbling off, and the green anno on the body of the gun is scratched and cheezy. I'm thinking about either a new shade of green or making this entire gun dust black.
I started this mod on March 1st. First, I took a dremel and chopped off the top and back of the bolt window. Then I took it to a bench grinder and evened out the cut and took it ground it down to the cut line (always a good idea to leave room between the cut line and the actual cut itself), and ground down the nubs on the back. I then slapped a sanding head on the dremel and sanded it all down, and tried to really keep the bevel from the window in and tried to give the areas I cut a little bevel, but it's practically impossible if you don't have the right tools. In the process of cutting the top of the window off I caught edge with the dremel and made a fairly ugly scratch on the body. Once I was done with cutting, grinding, and sanding, I did a little touchup with a green sharpie (lol) and it actually looked good! You can still see the scratch if you look at it for more than a second. The next step to complete what I started with hacking the body will be to sandblast it and paint it. I still need to cut off the back cap as you can see.
Some of you may ask why I'm doing this. Well, I am a Spyder fan and I am entertained by the fact of having a fully upgraded gun and possibly having one of the nicer Imagine's in existence today.
I'll update this post with more photos as this project progresses.