‘Ol Painless Paintball Mini-gun Packs a Mean Punch

Ol Painless Mini Gun

Remember Predator? Of course you do. This is [Corsae’s] personal paintball gun rendition of one of the guns from it, ‘Ol Painless.

It’s a beautiful piece of work with countless man-hours going into its creation. At the core is an off-the-shelf EGO 08 paintball gun with a 20″ barrel. The barrel spacers are made out of MDF, cut by hand using a jigsaw with a barrel guide. The guide itself was made on a CNC router — too bad he couldn’t use it for everything! Each barrel is a thick-walled aluminum tube, carefully fit into the guides, and spray painted matte black for a clean finish. Sadly, they are only for aesthetics, as the paint balls shoot out through the central barrel only.

Not to worry though — while the paint balls may not come out of the barrels, the whole thing spins menacingly, which brings us to our favorite part of the project — the electronics. With help from his friend he designed a custom Arduino shield to control the motor, status LEDs and solenoid trigger. It’s fairly basic, but cool nonetheless. It features some wire connectors, diodes, an LED and the motor driver. Since the PCB fabrication cost included screen printing, he even threw on a mini-gun logo.

He’s done great job documenting the entire project in a photo gallery, with lots of notes along the way — stick around after the break to see a video of it shredding up the field.

Now all he needs to do is throw it onto an automated turret…

[via Reddit]

33 thoughts on “‘Ol Painless Paintball Mini-gun Packs a Mean Punch

  1. Not to take away from the guys creativity and skill in building it, but all the adjectives to describe it ? come on, it’s still just *one* live barrel. Airsoft makes a full functioning version of an M-134 that I’ve seen modified to use metal BB’s. It’s also about $4 grand.

  2. Looks great. But, why go through all that trouble and craftsmanship and not shoot from each barrel?

    Not that it is trivial, but essentially you only need to track the barrel position to know when each barrel is in place to time your shots.

    Of course, my guess is that it would chew through paintballs far too quick and the hopper system would then have to be expanded or custom designed delivery system as well.

    Neat build, either way.

    1. The problem is in not breaking balls. How can you reliably deliver them fast enough, without exceeding 300fps? It is a very hard engineering problem that has yet to be solved despite many people trying with glory and market opportunities for significant incentives.

    2. Not only that, but paintballs don’t travel that quickly and take longer to accelerate. With a spinning barrel it would be difficult to fully accelerate the balls with the limited time where the barrel is inline with the breech.

      1. This is why you sync your shots to when the barrel is in place, not just blindly shoot them. You need detents on each barrel position to ensure it is positioned accurately and a method of sensing when the barrel is in place. You tweak your advance timing to allow the balls to clear the barrel, before moving on to the next barrel.

        The result would be a slower moving barrel, yes. But if that is important to you you could have it fire every other barrel (using an odd number of barrels) to give the appearance of moving faster.

        Recall those guns mounted on prop planes that shoot through the propellers? They don’t just shoot blindly, either. My company actually makes the controller for those. I’m not saying it is simple, but it is far from impossible. As dneir says above, the most difficult part is probably going to be in a reliable feed system.

        If I actually did believe that there was a somewhat large market for this, I would probably make an attempt at it since I do have some experience with these chain guns (aircraft mounted guns anyway.)

        1. Paintball characteristics are a little more touchy than that. Velocity out of the breech is never consistent. Even the most highly tuned markers can still vary by 5-10 fps between shots. Trying to time when a barrel passes the breech is going to be extremely difficult.

          But if you want to put on a show, drop timing completely, install optical sensors in the barrel and tie them to the electro controller so you know when a shot has been fired and when it enters the barrel, then index the barrel assembly by one position.

          You’re not going to get a higher rate of fire out of a single breech; as paintball loaders tend to cap out at 30bps, but as I said it’ll put on a show.

  3. Meh.. using so many eletronics to make a eletric motor rotates? wouldn’t be enough a switch on the trigger to simply activate a motor?

    It’s is not saying that it is a bad build, but… there are working miniguns shooting from the barrels, i just don’t now if anyone have made it by hands, or if it is only mass production models..

    But nice hooby anyway, maybe next time..

  4. Hmm… just read the full article. The barrel is not even spinning. His motor driver burned up so he gave up on it. Fail. Thin-wall PVC and re-enforced foam core would have made the entire barrel assembly so much lighter if he was simply going for cosmetic and he could have used that smaller motor (I am assuming the driver was chosen for the smaller motor and didn’t take into account the load that motor was going to take anyway.)

    Also, he built a custom board that was a shield to an entire arduino? Why, oh why, do people do this? Just put the damn ATmega328 in your custom board. Arduino Uno is just development board! If you are going to make a custom board, program the chip with the Uno and then yank it out to put in your final.

    Don’t get me wrong, the cosmetics actually look really good. But so many fails here, in the end. :(

    Corsae, get in the forums here and get some help to finish this off! We might even be able to help you get it firing out of the barrels (the rifling might be a problem though.)

    1. I’ve seen them put spiral-cut holes in barrels that impart spin onto the paintball. It’s still a paintball, though, but it helps a little.

      1. I admit I do not know a ton about paintballing. Are rifled barrels normal? If not, that simplifies the build.

        From what I do understand, the paintballs are supposed to be manufactured to exact diameters.

        1. No, few barrels have any internal features. The ‘rifled’ ones aren’t really rifled in the traditional sense. They do not grip the balls as that would just shred them. It is one of those gimmicky things that some say works, most say it doesn’t. The proof that is out there is they do indeed induce some very minor spin. It just isn’t enough to be effective.

        1. That would be the tippmann flatline barrel series. It makes the balls go quite level for some time. It is rather impressive. It also slows the balls down dramatically. At any range the balls just bounce off, not counting as a hit. I sold mine some time ago.

      1. Yeah, come to think of it, it would just spend your air running trough the rifling and end up reducing your range now that I think about it. Not mention increase the chances of bursting inside in the barrel from the load.

        Anyway, that just makes the design even more simple.

        Time for version 2.0! He just needs some engineering help.

        1. There’s a lot of barrels that have different sized inserts or sleeves that can be switched out inside the barrel for different size paint as each manufacturer seems to be just a bit different. I think they are called Freak inserts. havent played in 2 years though.

    2. I think the best part is how it doesn’t need a motor driver or an arduino at all, you could literally just have a switch and a motor

      1. I can only imagine that he originally must have intended to fire through the barrels. I can’t think of any other reason why he needed a circuit. There is the solenoid. Perhaps the arduino was also supposed to make it full auto, burst, etc…

  5. Why a vertical video? Is it so hard to hold the phone sideways? Then we might have been able to see if he was actually able to hit anything with it (depending on target distance of course). :-(

  6. Cosplay. Working version or bust. :)
    But hats off to the builder. Clearly lots of effort went into it and its a clean build. Nice work.

  7. that’s awesome! I play competitively, have made paintball guns, and thought long and hard on how to do this reliably. of course i wanted to make each barrel functional, so i didn’t consider this. definitely a shortcut with (almost) the same awesome result!

    as far as rifling barrels, any spin (axis parallel to the trajectory) causes issues since paintballs have liquid in them. so rifling, as well as the barrels themselves spinning, will just reduce accuracy.

    The coolest way to do it has been done by a few people. you have the active barrel be the typical 0.68″ caliber, and the spinning barrels be oversized and not actually touch the paintball. barrels are typically 2 piece, the first ~7 inches being the main area for acceleration and the second mainly for porting to reduce sound signature. you only need the barrel back.

    Egos and other high ends use break beam sensors to detect whether a paintball is ready to be fired. the software has programmable settings to adjust the timing. i’m guessing the simplest way of timing the barrel to the shot is to just put a sensor in series with the break beam eyes. that way, the only time the paintball will be shot is when its ready in the breach as well as correct timing with the barrel. only time you need to get fancy with electronics is if the gun’s barrels are not at speed yet.

  8. PATHETIC.
    All this effort, for a bunch of spinning barrels that do nothing?
    Who has this much free time to waste?
    Ever hear the saying “get a job”???
    Who wants to be that this loser buys everything with his parents money.

  9. Tippman Ordinance (related to Tippman Pneumatics) made a multibarrel rotary painball guns that was fully functional. Basically a ring of modified markers that’re opened and closed by rotating the bolt lug against a wave-shaped block. Fresh rounds are loaded at a fixed time in the rotation, air is supplied when the loaded chamber has been rotated into position and locked shut. Miniguns aren’t hard- it’s feeding ammo that’s a PITA. A paintball minigun should be even easier, as you don’t need to remove an empty casing.

  10. If you want to see some working paintball miniguns, check out users tknofile2008 and Chaîne de CarpeLabel on YouTube.

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