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End-Use Case Study

  • Requires high strength, rigidity, and impact resistance
  • Carbon-fiber reinforced nylon replaced more expensive metal design

Paintball Gun FrameWhen paintball began in the U.S. in 1981, few expected its popularity to soar. Today, the sport includes professional and amateur tournaments throughout the U.S. and Europe.

A typical game of paintball involves from two to 80 competitors trying to capture “the flag” with air-powered pistols. It’s similar to an action version of chess and hide-n-seek. Two teams start from their respective flag station. When the game starts, each side attempts to capture their opponent’s flag and return it to their station. Those ‘shot’ with a paintball during the game are eliminated from competition.

Airgun Designs of Wheeling, IL set out to meet increased demand for top-quality, engineered paintball guns. Their original designs featured mostly metal components.

Reducing cost and weight, while achieving higher performance, became a priority as more manufacturers entered the market. Airgun Designs and molder MXL Industries, Inc. of Westmont, IL contacted RTP Company for assistance.

The gun frame, which acts as a stress reliever between the main body of the gun and the air supply, has multiple material requirements. The frame requires strength, rigidity and impact resistance.

A carbon-fiber reinforced RTP 200 Series (nylon) specialty compound provides all of the needed properties. It exhibits a tensile strength of 32,000 psi (220 MPa) and a flexural strength of 47,000 psi (324 MPa). The material achieves an un-notched impact strength of 17 ft. lbs./in. at 1/8 in. (970 J/m).