We found a Kickstarter campaign for a 3D printer being offered by a start-up company named RoBo 3D and decided to take a leap of faith and give them a try. It wasn't too long before our new 3D printer showed up and we were in business!
We briefly toyed with the idea of rolling barrels out of sheets of aluminum and
using a hand roller - they were labor intensive and expensive plus not very sturdy - three strikes for that idea!
If you have a need . . . . .Tri-Nel has the solution!
Tri-Nel Solutions, LLC
The process of reverse engineering started with a disassembled original Vickers still in the cosmoline. The plan was to create drawings from all the original pieces. On we had "good" drawings the next step was to decide what pieces we wanted to keep original, which pieces we would machine in house out of aluminum and what ones we would print using our new 3D printer.
Someone once said “everything is easy when you don’t know what you’re doing” and our replica Vickers machine gun project is proof to that. After 8 months of research, testing and learning, TRI-NEL is happy to have started production on our replica Vickers 303 MK1 Machine Gun.
The new Vickers replica machine gun from TRI-NEL is a combination of original Vickers parts, machined aluminum parts and 3D PET plastic 3D printed parts. This combination gives us a realistic looking, light weight yet strong gun at a reasonable price. This replica gun is not just a molded plastic part, it is assembled out of over 40 different parts that give the TRI-NEL Vickers a realistic look and feel. Details like buck rivets connecting the side plates to lower receiver, original Vickers front cover latch and flash suppressor retainer add to the realism.
Of course having our new RoBo 3D printer meant
that we needed to learn how to use a 3D printer.
Many start overs to get it just right means we have
a good size box of very interesting parts. (Side note -
our RoBo is a work horse and we highly recommend their
products and service. In fact we now own 2 RoBo 3D printers!)
We also tried several different types of filament and
in the end chose MadeSolid PET+ filament. PET plastic
was selected for the printer parts because it is not
only stronger and more flexible than ABS but is also
much more flame retardant. We liked this printer
filament so much we became a dealer.
Our designer is a perfectionist and perfection is always our goal.
So we kept at it until ...... PERFECTION!!
Most parts are so close to original specs that parts can be substituted with authentic piece at any time. if you want a real brass belt feed block, the original slides right in. Both front and rear upper receiver covers even open like the real gun. We use all modern fasters to make the modern gun easie to build, more reliable and less expensive.
The first guns being produced represent the later Vickers' models and are representative of what was used on the Sopwith Camel and Newport’s, these guns used a trigger on the stick and the handles were removed from the rear of the receiver box on the gun. Very soon we will have a model done with the handles and a trigger on the gun for you folks building a PUP or other early WWI aircraft.
To assure durability the TRI-NEL Vickers was vibration tested at 10 to 80 Hz with loads up to 8 G’s. The Vickers mounts with two hard points off the bottom, just like the original. The receiver bottom incorporates the rear mount and is an original steel Vickers part. The front mount is printed plastic and is incorporated into the rear outer barrel tube mount.
Like all TRI-NEL products the Vickers has our 100% money back guarantee, if you don’t like it just send it back within 30 days for a full refund. The Vickers 303 MK1 weighs in at appx. 8 pounds. This is without the sound/light firing function and the length is 42.5 inches.
So . . . . after 8+ months we are so excited to present
Vickers 303 MK1
now, what is the next project?
and build a
WWI Vickers 303 MK1
How hard can this be?