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Old 12-02-2014, 03:21 AM #1
dapoofyhairdude
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Mini Rotor Hopper

Hello and thanks for checking out my thread. This will be a bit like a blog of updates regarding my 3d printed mini rotor project (aka Shoe, because it looks like a shoe). Here is a picture of what it looks like in its most recent (but not final) iteration.






On the first page of this thread, I'll be duplicating and linking my major updates with regards to the project. They'll be in chronological order so you can see my progress. Click on the hyperlinked date of posting ie (12/3/14) to view the original post, which might contain more pictures.


Here's some information regarding the Shoe:


How big is the capacity?
Capacity is 70-80

How much does it cost to produce?
Cost of plastic material, depending on what type of plastic you're using, is ~$6-15.

How long does it take to print?
Depends on your printer, but probably at least 24 hours for a decent print.

How much does it weigh?
The stock Rotor shell+tray weighs 380g.
The Shoe weighs 340g. That's quite a bit considering its size and capacity, but the weight is mostly due to the fact that printed plastic has to be thicker in order to be strong enough to withstand hits.

Will it use the rotor lid?
Unfortunately, the rotor lid and speedfeed system is too complext for my 3d modeling skills. Instead the hopper can either use a halo replacement lid or a universal fit speedfeed.

Where can I find the files to this
I do not have plans to open source this project at the moment. HOWEVER, I do have the current model up for anyone who has a 3d printer to try. This should help in the testing phase. No guarantees that the current model will work perfectly, but it does function and can take a hit.

Here's the files

When will this be available for purchase and how much will it cost?
I don't know when (if ever) I will consider this project "complete". It is currently a work in progress. I don't know how much I'd sell the final version for. Don't even know if I'll sell it at all.
No promises that this actually becomes a real hopper, but I hope so.






12/1/14

Following in the footsteps of the Pico, I've started a personal project working on a mini rotor. It's been quite challenging figuring out 3D modeling and tweaking my printer to be able to print some of these features well.

A year or more ago, I was working on making a low-cap for the V-max, but in the end I decided to drop the idea. The Vmax was just too tall due to the roller sensor.

At the moment, I am planning on making it a ~2 piece, top and bottom. The geometries for the guts are all pretty much figured out. The guts in the picture rotate fine.

Not exactly sure on what capacity I want to make the top, but I think a preliminary 100rd rotor would be pretty solid.






12/2/14

The top half came out pretty well! Now seeing it in person, this thing is a bit smaller than I expected. Printing a ramp right now to cover the guts. I was able to fit ~60 reballs in there without a ramp. Blue tape is because I didn't model anything to this iteration to hold the shells together =)


THIS IMAGE IS NO LONGER AN ACCURATE DEPICTION OF THE SIZE. PLEASE KEEP READING




12/3/14

Wahoo! PBNation Frontpage!

Assembly and size comparison!
While the tray/ramp looks large, it's only about 2-3mm thick on top and takes up very little space in terms of capacity.


THIS VIDEO IS NO LONGER AN ACCURATE DEPICTION OF THE SIZE. PLEASE KEEP READING





Feeding!





12/3/14

So here's a pic of the hopper from the CAD to show why the reloading would be so slow. Pretty much only one row of paintballs can roll down the tray at a time.




Coming up with the next print

a slightly larger (~20cm taller) shell, which should help the reloading
features to secure the ramp/tray
features to screw the shells together

lower half printing at the moment.


12/5/14

After some consideration and some feedback from others, I'll be testing out using a flip lid as well. That would alleviate some of the clearance issues with regards to reloading since the fingers wouldn't block the flow of the balls. Stay tuned.




12/5/14<--- more pics

Update!

2nd iteration is printed! The printer had a slight malfunction and I messed up on a few geometries that couldn't be fixed with a dremel, so no feeding video for this one =(.

However, I was able to check for capacity. By raising the top by about 12 mm, I was able to increase the capacity to 80balls!. The feeding is much much improved due to the extra clearance. Even with a speedfeed it's not bad.

This hopper (measured at the top of the speedfeed lip) is about 28mm (~1in) shorter than the stock rotor, depending exactly how you measure it. Here are a few pics to show the comparison between the hoppers.







12/6/14 <--- more pics

Here are some more pictures that I think may help visualize the overall difference in profiles.





12/7/14

Something to hold you guys over til my next iteration which is printing right now (as you can see in the pic). Meet my printer:



It is a MendelMax 2, made by Makerstoolworks. Specs here: http://store.makerstoolworks.com/pri...-standard-kit/

Works well enough for me. Pretty happy with the abilities and accuracy of the machine. As with all hobby grade printers, it still requires a good deal of tweaking, tuning, and maintenance.

I'm by no means an expert on 3d printing, but if anyone has questions regarding the tech/hobby, I'd be happy to answer and/or point them in the right direction.



12/8/14

Nothing new tonight, printer maintenance. oy.



new print with slight adjustments coming tomorrow or day after.



12/9/14

UPDATE!

New video! blue.





12/12/14

Small update. Fits snug. maybe too snug.





12/13/14


Update! Halo lid! Feeding video! Black shell!





12/16/14 <--- more pics

Update!

I have a fully functional hopper now =)

Guts fit pretty good.
Anti-jam fin works, can use a little bit of tweaking.
Halo lid fits well, snaps on. Will need to adjust the spring cavity.




I figured the most relevant comparisons would be to the popular Inception Pico as well as the Empire Sport Shot. I got the numbers for the Pico off of the 3dprint file available from Inception. I got the numbers for the Sport Shot from one I have at home. I'm calling my hopper The Shoe for now since my wife decided that was the best (happy wife, happy life, no joke), and I also want to stay away from any derivative of the word "Rotor".

Height (as measured from top of feedneck to top of lid lip)
Pico ~115mm
Sport Shot ~85mm
Shoe ~90mm

Width (at widest point)
Pico ~100mm
Sport Shot ~100mm
Shoe ~100mm

Length
Pico ~180mm
Sport Shot ~175mm
Shoe ~170mm

Capacity
Pico ~100 balls
Sport Shot ~100 balls
Shoe ~75 balls

Weight
Pico ~18.9oz
Sport Shot ~5oz
Shoe ~17.1oz



All in all, pretty competitive IMO.


As you see in the pics, the bottom of my hopper is very flat. This was designed to minimize warping during the 3D printing process. This may affect FOV, especially compared to the Sport Shot, which has a very generous (vision-wise) curvature. I went a little overboard on how flat it is and will slowly adjust it back in the next iterations.

Also, next print will have a much cleaner seam.


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Old 12-02-2014, 03:56 AM #2
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12/18/14

Making a few tweaks here and there. Printing a few shells so that I can do durability testing soon!

Here's a silver Shoe with speedfeed and halo lid. With the speedfeed installed, the height goes from ~90mm to ~96mm.



Some people were asking for smooth surface. Bottom shell looks pretty good. Top printing right now.


12/19/14

Top shell came out pretty good =)
Now that I see it, smooth is good.




12/23/14

It's been a while since my last post. I've been printing shells with tweaks here and there so that I can run some durability tests. Still printing a few more. All these pictured below are in PLA plastic.



I'm starting to print several shells in ABS plastic so that I can test the difference. PLA is a stiffer but more brittle material. ABS is slightly softer and potentially more durable.

For those unfamiliar with the 3D printing process, ABS takes a little bit more work and is a bit more prone to warping during 3D printing, so I'm hoping that my design can still work.

I think I'll be applying enamel coats to some of these shells so I can see if any post-printing processing will help the shells stay intact.


12/24/14

Yikes. This is what happens with improper setup trying to print ABS.

There goes 15 hours of printing..




12/25/14

Getting ready for this weekend's testing, I've coated a few of the shells with some protective coating.

If anyone has any suggestions for other coats I can use let me know!
I'm thinking the automotive one should be pretty good.




12/27/14

Hooray. ABS material, much better than the previous print. Had to do quite a bit of stuff to my print setup in order to get this right.



And here's getting ready for my durability tests tomorrow. Going to shoot these til they break I think. I hope they don't break.




12/29/14 <--- a lot in here, just read in link

TEST DAY!

Lots of pics and videos!


Oh boy. Went to the field for testing. The people running the paintball park were kind enough to let me use one of their older fields to test. I wanted to make it as controlled an environment as possible so that I could get useful results. I brought with me 6 printed Shoes and came home with one. So yeah. My super awesome wife was my assistant and camerawoman today. We were able to capture pictures and videos of all the tests.

The two main tests I did today were feeding and durability.


Feeding


For this test, I wanted to see if the hopper would feed consistently and if there would be any jams. ROF was not as high of a concern, considering the purpose of this hopper.

I tested with semi and ramp at the range and while shooting during the durability tests. There were minor ROF hiccups and one major jam, but no ball breaks. Anti-jam fin works pretty well. There are a few changes that I'll be making to the design of the interior so that it is less prone to jams. A few flat spots that can slow/stop a ball.

Here's a video of the hopper feeding

Overall, I'm happy with how it fed. A few minor adjustments should get it to be even more consistent.



Durability

Yikes. This was not as successful. For these tests, I wanted to see how the hoppers would hold up to impacts in the front as well as on the sides. I also wanted to see if coatings would make a difference. Lastly, I wanted to see if ABS plastic would hold up better than PLA. All hoppers were mounted on a rental, which was clamped to a wooden barrier. I stood about 16ft away from the gun and was shooting 280.

For the most part, all the hoppers withstood frontal impacts very well. Even at high ROF, they stayed intact (as you can see in the vid below). There's a weak point on the lower shell in the front that will be addressed in the next iteration.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about side impacts. There are some clear weak points that break pretty much on first few impacts. I'll have to consider how to beef up and/or add ridges and other geometries so that they can withstand impacts. Clearly, any spot that was on the thin side gave way very quickly.

It doesn't seem like the enamel coatings made much of a difference
The lid lip broke on almost all shells. I'll have to beef that part up.

Also unfortunate, I ran into more printer issues while working on ABS, so I only had one hopper in that material for this test. That hopper did not last. 3d printed ABS, while more durable and flexible than PLA, has poor layer-to-layer adhesion. Apparently paintball impacts are a great way to expose this weakness. Layers began separating after just a few shots.

While happy that the hoppers were able to take frontal hits, it looks like I still have a lot of work to do. I'm quite disappointed that ABS did not hold up well. I'll be looking into other plastics that have different properties to see if any of them can do any better. I have my eye on PET+, which boasts strength, impact resistance, and good layer adhesion. It's about 2.5x the price of PLA or ABS but if it works, it works.

If you have a weak stomach, now's your chance to stop reading.
For everyone else, here's the damage.


1/12/15

So one thing I realized when taking a closer look through the carnage of my shells was that I may have weakened the shells with a setting in the 3D printing process.

For anyone who is familiar with 3D printing or would like to learn, my slice settings were set so that I didn't have a very high number of perimeters. This led to what were thinner outer shells at the thicker spots in the model. I noticed on several of my broken shells that they broke where the slices starting doing infill (which was set to 10%).

I'll be adjusting the slices a bit and printing a few more PLA shells for testing.

I also received the PET+ filament I've been looking at, which boasts layer adhesion and impact resistance. I'm very excited to try a few shells in this material =).


1/15/15

Here's a pic of of the updated model compared to the old model. Not only is the shell thicker, the 3D printing algorithm (slicing) is set up so that there should be no more hidden weak spots (much higher perimeter count). I have to admit, that was a tremendous oversight on my part of a very basic print setting that a fellow 3d printer hobbyist might scoff at. Live and learn.






1/21/15 <--- more pics

Redesign printing as we speak! First hopper is complete and feels way stronger. Again, I made a few embarrassing modeling and printing blunders on the previous version, so I have high hopes for this one. I hope to get at least 5 hoppers ready before i head out for more durability tests.

Here's a pic of the design so you guys can understand a bit better what I mean when the tray is incorporated into the shell.



This geometry would not be possible using traditional molding, which is why 3D printing is a very cool technology!


1/22/15 <--- more pics and video


So an unfortunate misprint happened (most likely due to a tangle in the 3D filament spool) that messed up a print of the upper shell.

Cool thing is it happened at a spot that now lets you see inside the hopper. Almost looks like I did it on purpose. I guess it wasn't a total waste of time.



For giggles, here's a hi-cap comparison


1/26/15

Slowly but surely I'm printing my next test subjects.




1/27/15

Krylon True Seal

I think it's kinda like plastidip, flex seal etc

Looks really chunky though. I swear, I shook the can for the 3 minutes they told me to =)



I have a jar of plastidip I'll be trying too.

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Old 12-02-2014, 03:57 AM #3
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1/27/15

Jar (not spray) of plastidip
bubbles. maybe I caked it on a little tooooo much.



Also, plastidip is known to be a temporary (peelable) coating. Luckily, the makers also sell a primer that makes the coating stick "permanently". I'll be getting some of that and using a aerosol spray plastidip on another shell.

Hopefully one of these things is a viable solution..


2/5/15

Plastidip with Plastidip primer underneath to keep it from peeling. I now have 6 shells and plan to print a few more. Hoping to test next week or the week after.



Also, got a new hotend (nozzle and thing that melts the plastic) for my printer which allows for quicker prints. Should cut my print time by at least 33% and may be even faster if I swap nozzles.




TOOK A SUPER DUPER LONG BREAK FROM PROJECT

4/15/15


Hi guys,
I'm really sorry for the lack of updates. Life got in the way. Looking for a job, family emergencies, busy weekends etc.

I've decided that it would take too long for me to do the testing on my own, seeing as I don't have that much time.

I'm releasing the stl files of my latest design. You can take these to any 3D printer that has enough build volume.

These files have a bunch of improvements from the first big test that I did, so I expect them to turn out much better. I have a bunch of hoppers that I will eventually test, but I figure you guys can do it too.

side note, these are STL files, not blender files, so they'd be pretty difficult (though not impossible) to alter. I'm holding out hope that one day I'll be able to dedicate more time to this project. If I ultimately decide not to, I'll release the blender files as well.



Another side note, as currently designed, these hoppers would be impractical for most manufacturing methods other than 3d printing. too many odd geometries that only 3d printing allows.


Printing notes:
The shell thickness is 4mm. Make sure your minimum perimeters adds up to 4mm, or else you'll have spots that are weaker than that.
There is need for supports for the upper half of the shell.
First layer adhesion is important for a good bond between the feedneck and lower half


Assembly notes:
you'll need 4-40 screws and nuts. The screw sizes are 1/2" (1 of these) and 3/4" (2 of these).
The lid can either be a halo/reloader lid or a universal speedfeed.
You'll need to glue/epoxy the feedneck to the lower half.
You'll need to use hockey tape on the feedneck. I did this on purpose so that the metal of the feedneck wouldn't directly crush the plastic.
I'm not sure if I ever completely fixed the button, but it's an easy fix to either sand it, or redraw the stl.


Here's a dropbox link to the STLs. All I ask is that you guys post any feedback on how it turned out.
http://goo.gl/U6g2Vr

(i google shortened the link, i think some people were having issues opening the direct dropbox link)


6/17/2015 <--- lots of pics and videos, read in this link.

VIDEOS! PICTURES!

Hi all. Very excited to say that I had some time this week to do more testing! Again, my super awesome wife was there to help me film and document everything. The folks at Santa Clara Paintball in the Bay Area, CA were kind enough to let me test on one of their fields and use one of their rentals as hopper holder.

The hoppers in this post are the same exact hoppers that you can print or get printed with the 3d models I made available a while ago here.

First, to recap, this new design has a thicker (1mm thicker) shell and a change to the model near the lip that was poorly drawn. These changes were made after the first test outing documented here.

This outing was mostly a test of durability but I was also able to test feeding. The conditions were as close as possible to the previous outing time to make sure that results could be compared. Testing was done with standard field paint shot at 280fps from 20 feet away. I shot at the front and sides of the hoppers. Now that I think about it, I probably should have shot at the back of the hopper as well, considering there is a hole for the button that could create high stress points. For now, just donít get shot from behind.

I had several hoppers to test with: 2 with no coating (full red, silver+gold), 1 with krylon true seal (chunky black), 1 with plastidip painted on (blue with clear plastidip), 1 with plastidip+primer sprayed on (smooth black). All were printed using PLA plastic with 100% infill on the walls.


RESULTS AND ISSUES

The overall results of the durability tests were very good! In fact, the red hopper that had no coatings at all survived several hundred shots with no cracks at all. In terms of durability I ran into 5 issues, including one failure that I would consider critical:
Critical failure of the silver+gold shell at the front. You can see a crack near the top of the gold shell. I believe this is due to the fact that the shells were not printed well enough. The top and bottom shell were not flush when screwed together and you can see the gap in several pictures. This put additional stress on the spot when the hopper was shot.
Krylon true seal coating cracked. I purchased this assuming this was going to be rubbery like plastidip, but I was wrong. It cures to a hard outer layer. The printed plastic underneath had no cracks, so I donít consider this critical.
The plastidip coatings started peeling at certain corners. This included the hopper with the primer that I hoped would help keep the coating on. Again, the printed plastic under the coating was fine.
The super glue for the feedneck of the blue plastidip hopper failed. I believe this was because I glued this ~2 hours prior to the test, while the instructions for the glue specifically said wait 24 hours for cure. I consider this user error.
The screws came loose during the tests. I believe this is due to the high stress and vibrations from the impacts. Iím pretty confident that a little Loctite should hold them in place.


In terms of the feed test, I had it jam twice, which I believe can be addressed by changing the internal geometry a little. The balls jammed at the same spot both times. Using the anti-jam fin also clears this jam.


Hereís the (relatively minor) carnage!

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Old 12-02-2014, 05:54 AM #4
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:13 AM #5
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that's really awesome!
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:16 AM #6
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so mad the pic isnt working for me. but love the idea
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:47 AM #7
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:35 AM #8
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:44 AM #9
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Perfect! I would pay today if it helps you! The rotor is such a great platform to build on. I haven't looked into it, but what are the internals of the rotor running($$$) these days?
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:14 PM #10
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Quote:
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Perfect! I would pay today if it helps you! The rotor is such a great platform to build on. I haven't looked into it, but what are the internals of the rotor running($$$) these days?
No need. Not sure how far this project will go. No promises. I don't think anyone really sells internals, since rotor shells are so hard to break. My guess is people would have to get a beat-up rotor for this.

Don't go getting that yet though, I still have a long way to go.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:00 PM #11
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I've had a bad time with a V3 Rotor last year and I'm hesitate to try another one. Hopefully this works out.

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Old 12-02-2014, 04:28 PM #12
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I'd be on this quick, my rotor is amazing with the seed kit and switching it to a small shell for pump would be stellar.
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:34 PM #13
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The 100 round idea is awesome. I would buy a prototype anytime you decide to sell one. Even though my many rotors have jammed in the past my boyfriend's rotor has never jammed and if it did was only due to really really bad paint (fluke magic rotor). But then again the Texas heat can do that to the loader cause that plastic is very heavy. Take your time on the project.. Patience is a virtue.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:00 AM #14
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UPDATE!

The top half came out pretty well! Now seeing it in person, this thing is a bit smaller than I expected. Printing a ramp right now to cover the guts. I was able to fit ~60 reballs in there without a ramp.


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Old 12-03-2014, 12:03 AM #15
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:04 AM #16
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Looks good so far. Any idea if you're just gonna scale down a Rotor and use a Rotor lid or model it for a Halo/universal type lid?

Looks like you posted as I was typing this out, lol.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:06 AM #17
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Quote:
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Looks good so far. Any idea if you're just gonna scale down a Rotor and use a Rotor lid or model it for a Halo/universal type lid?
This is a good question. I very much doubt the rotor lid is feasible, especially with my limited 3Dmodeling skills. However, I really don't like the extra height that the universals add.

For now, I'm using the universal. At some time, I will definitely figure out a way to get the rotor SFs to fit , probably a 3rd clamping piece that holds it in place.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:27 AM #18
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Originally Posted by Sogamember666 View Post
I've had a bad time with a V3 Rotor last year and I'm hesitate to try another one. Hopefully this works out.

People either love them, or hate them.
99.9% of the problem is the batteries. They last forever and you don't know when they go bad until they jam. If it jams the batteries need to be replaced. It will still work but under high rates of fire and added weight of a fresh pod they can jam with old batteries.

I use lithium Ion batteries they last in rotor for about a year after that I change them out even if there not bad. You can also adjust the torque with the brass fitting on the motor housing if you're shooting real crap paint.

Best part is just about everyone has a rotor, and all the parts are tool less so you could switch shells on the fly or as needed. Awesome idea Seriously if you need someone to send a prototype to hit me up. I will test the **** out of that.

Universal isn't bad just add a small lip like the Revy has so the exalt collar locks on good. Otherwise you going to sacrifice capacity unless you make it taller defeating the purpose of integrating it.
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Last edited by Mr Idiot Box : 12-03-2014 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:33 AM #19
dapoofyhairdude
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Originally Posted by Mr Idiot Box View Post
Best part is just about everyone has a rotor, and all the parts are tool less so you could switch shells on the fly or as needed. Awesome idea Seriously if you need someone to send a prototype to hit me up. I will test the **** out of that.
Heh unfortunately, this iteration of the rotor will not be tool-less disassembly
My current plan for holding top/bottom together is 3 screws.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:36 AM #20
Mr Idiot Box
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Originally Posted by dapoofyhairdude View Post
Heh unfortunately, this iteration of the rotor will not be tool-less disassembly
My current plan for holding top/bottom together is 3 screws.
3 screw to hold the shell together?
Or you have to make a bracket to hold the motor in place?
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:38 AM #21
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Originally Posted by Mr Idiot Box View Post
3 screw to hold the shell together?
Or you have to make a bracket to hold the motor in place?
3 external screws to hold the shell together.
Bracket that holds the motor/gears/guts/rotatingthing down is pretty much the same as a stock rotor.
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