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The Reason that people need a tank when they play paintball is because you need a way to force the paintballs out of the gun and this cannot be achieved effectively by just using a spring. What they decided to do was to fuel the paintballs by pushing them with a gas. The way in which they did this was to put the gases, either Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide or Nitrogen under extreme pressure until they turned into a liquid and once they are in a liquid form they can be blown into a tank which probably looks something like this.
Carbon Dioxide must be under a pressure of at least 415.8 kPaA For it to turn into liquid form. Oxygen and Nitrogen are very similar to this.
The way in which the gas is let out is that there is a needle in a valve in the top of the tank and when the tank is screwed into the paintball marker the needle gets pressed down and the entire system becomes pressurized and is ready to be fired. Then when the gun is cocked and the trigger is pulled the bolt is pushed forward, accelerated by the force of the C02 acting behind it and pushes the paintball out. Then the bolt comes back into the read position and the C02 is no longer flowing and is again pushing against the bolt.
There are some problems with this system however. One of the major ones is called snowing, where liquid C02 actually gets into the paintball marker, this is not good for multiple reasons, first of all having the liquid C02 on the moving parts inside a marker is not good for it, since many of the parts inside are rubber or plastic. The second problem with this is since the gas is in liquid form it is not expanding as fast and there for is not pushing the paintballs as effectively. This causes a white snow like substance to come out of the barrel of the marker. There are several way that this problem is dealt with, some markers have the guns stored in a vertical position to keep the liquid in the bottom of the tanks. Other markers employ gas lines or expansion chambers, these are basically just tubes or cylinders that run from the tank to the marker and give the C02 a chance to turn from a liquid to a gas.
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"Physics of Paintball." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Nov 2019
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The gun is in its ready to be fired state when the gun is under pressure.
Under pressure means that the gun has some sort of fuel hooked up to the back of it. It doesn't matter of this fuel is C02 or Oxygen or Nitrogen, the principles of the marker will function the same no matter what kind of fuel you use.
After the gun is under pressure, the Hammer which is like a piston inside of a the marker is pull back and put under tension against a spring, the gun is held into place by a wedge shaped piece of metal called a sear. The sear fits in to a cleft in the bottom of the hammer.
The hammer is connected usually by pin or bar to a another cylinder called the bolt.
The bolt is the part of the system which is actually in contact with with the paintball. The bolt's main jobs are to regulate the loading of paintballs into the chamber and to make sure that the C02 is directed at the paintball pushing it out of the marker.
When the trigger is pulled on the marker the front of the sear is pushed upwards, thus pushing the bottom of the sear down and allowing the bolt to move freely. The spring which was putting tension on the hammer forces it to move forwards.
As the hammer moves forward it his a pin in a valve in the barrel and C02 is released which travels down the barrel and is focused by the bolt onto the paintball. Also as the hammer passes over the valve a small amount of C02 is also released from the rear of the valve which forces the hammer back into the cocked possession where it is ready to fire again.
Electric Paintball Markers
Electric guns use an electronic air valve called a solenoid. The solenoid channels pressurized gas stored within the body of the gun or in a volumizer to the open and close ports on a piston or ram set up. Instead of a hammer under tension from a spring, the exhaust valve is opened by the piston or ram being slammed into the back of the exhaust valve, releasing gas to shoot the paintball. The piston then returns back to the battery or closed position where it is ready to start the whole cycle over again. The electronic circuit board inside of the marker instructs the solenoid to shift air between the open and close ports on the ram after a certain amount of time has gone by. The time between the opening and closing of the ram ports is called a dwell. The time duration is incredibly short between the opening and closing, it is only a few milliseconds, which still just enough time to send gas through the exhaust valve, into the bolt, and down the barrel pushing the paintball down range. Since the time required to shoot a ball down range is only a few milliseconds this allows for the marker to fire 13+ rounds a second down range, this is clearly superior to a mechanical marker which could probably fire around seven balls per second. The speed at which and the pattern in which the ports are open can be set on the circuit board inside of the marker. This allows for single shot, triple shot, six shot or rapid fire modes. Also since the time in which the ports are open is controlled electronically, It also means the you get a much more efficient use of your C02.