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Old 03-03-2013, 02:37 AM #1
Frizzle Fry
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A blast from the past... Complete with pictures! AKALMP History.

Some of you might remember Bill Macke from Constant Action in Texas. Another great airsmith who disappeared into the paintball nether after hyperball gave way to airball. He was known for his custom milled "reverse" autocockers with rear facing pneumatics, and later reverse VLMs, both of which featured extensive body milling and beautiful anodizing.

His site went down years ago, but here's a gem of an article from 2001, complete with pictures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Macke

Bill Macke is now factory-trained on Excalibur markers.




During Spring Break 2001, I went to Indianapolis, Indiana and spent a few days learning the Excalibur inside-out. Arron Alexander of AKA Paintball instructed me on the cartridge design and assembly. We went over the internal regulator and its assembly and setup. Arron showed me how the Excalibur body was assembled and how the internal components were installed. After watching him assemble one, he had me assemble a few bodies as well.

After going through the body and how it is designed and functions, Arron then went into explaining the electronics of the marker. He showed me the solenoids and how they were installed. We soldered the lead wires to the solenoid and installed them in the base of the marker. Arron then explained the design of the circuit board and where each lead plugs into. He also explained that the extra ports were going to be used for an intelifeed adapter and a programming port. While at the factory, I saw an Excalibur with a prototype intelifeed line running to a Warp-feed hopper.

Next, Arron proceeded to show me the grip frame and its assembly. He soldered lead lines to the on- off switch and mounted it to the grip frame. He then showed how to solder wires to the micro-switch and install it in the grip-frame. The switch is similar to the Angel switch. After adjusting the trigger we ran the battery wires through the grip and then plugged the battery, micro-switch and on/off switch into the circuit board. After mounting the circuit board to the grip frame, we bolted the frame to the Excalibur body, and that was pretty much it.

Since seeing how it was done, I was allowed to assemble a few markers from scratch. During the few days I was there I also assisted in upgrading earlier versions of the Excalibur to the new circuit board and internal components. The upgrades include a better designed circuit board, changes to the Hammer to make it faster and changes to the valve-chamber assembly.

After going through the Excailbur and assembling a number of them, Arron walked me through the Side-Winder regulator. It is similar design of the WorrGames regulator and the KC No Hot-Shot regulator, with changes to the size of the piston and diameters of air passages. It has a larger volume capacity and with its component designed, it can be adapted to a number of configurations. I'll be testing one out on other markers later on. This regulator is right up there with Palmer's Stabilizer. Arron told me when they were looking for regulators to use on the Excalibur, the Stabilizer was the only one that offered the flow needed and could keep consistent operating pressures at the low pressure the Excalibur operates at.

The picture at the top of the page shows some Excaliburs during the assembly process

Larry Alexander of Leads Metal Products showed me around the factory and I took some pictures of Excaliburs and Merlins and other stuff being assembled.


Selected pictures from the AKA factory.




The workbench where the Excaliburs are assembled.
It may look like a mess, but they know where everything is. Looks alot like my workbenches. The phenomenon is called "Tool Equilibrium" all the tools gravitate to their natural spot, which is not necessarily where they should be.




This is how Excaliburs start out.
It is an extrusion of aluminum that is about 10 feet long. the bars are cut to length and then machined to spec.




It's made from scratch.
Most everything is made from scratch. Here some grip frames are being milled out of a chunk of aluminum. They get two grip frames per plate.




Here are some finished up waiting to polish.




Annodizing.
After all the holes and air passages are drilled out and the body is machined, all the aluminum components are sent out for anodizing. Here are some Excalibur bodies that are back from the anodizer.
Images and text are property of Bill Macke, and their use has not been specifically authorized by the owner. This material is being made available for historical and educational purposes. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this post is being distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this post for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:38 AM #2
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Interesting reading. I never knew the SW came from info gained by using the Palmer's Stab.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:02 AM #3
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Looks like a very interesting article. Will have to go through and read it all when I'm at a PC.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:05 AM #4
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Very cool read! Had no idea Excal (and I'm assuming Viking) body blanks were extruded like that.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:48 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue_Barron View Post
Very cool read! Had no idea Excal (and I'm assuming Viking) body blanks were extruded like that.

They weren't always. This is an original from 1999, milled from billet aluminum:



As you can, it is running an Air America Vigilante regulator; at the time there were only a few inline regulators on the market. The Vigilante was a popular upgrade, and shipped on production markers too - the alternative would have been a WGP MiniReg (they had just been made in standard threading), a cheap WGP Autococker reg that would need to be disassembled to adjust, or a significantly more expensive Palmers Stabilizer. Obviously the Sidewinder is a superior design, but it was still a year away.

I've never heard a definitive reason as to why the bodies were extruded, but I'd imagine it is just to save costs on rough milling. The Excalibur was $1199 when made from extrusion, so the price was was competitive when compared to WDPs Angel at $1399 and Bob Longs Intimidator at $999.

Merlins were also cut from extrusions.
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