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  #1  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:40 PM
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The Complete Matrix - History & IDs



Hello and welcome to the history thread. This thread has been improved and refined for more than 4 years since its original release in February 2010.

This article would not have been possible without the patience of those who sat through the interview process, providing answers to our mundane questions which we then transposed and wrote down wrong, forcing them to later correct our own mistakes. Many thanks to: Rachel Duncan, Paul Garry, Renick Miller, Drew Nelson, Duane Parsons, Will Roberson, and Dave Rotunda. Additional thanks to: Lee Kirwan, Paul Sattler, Sean Scott, Rob Staudinger, Ethan Steiner, Rich Telford, Travis Wilson, and Jack Wood.

We also made liberal use of the archived information found at www.matrixowner.com, as well as some information squirreled away at www.pbnation.com, so thanks to both of those sites and the people that keep them up.

The highest quality photos were taken professionally by Ed Young.

Information harvested and articles written and edited by BonesJackson. Images collected, refined, polished, and edited by Z-man. Additional information provided by Cunha, Groucho, and Tracker.

Basic History
The Story of the Matrix

Companies
-Aardvark Custom Paintball Products
-AirTech / Diablo / Procaps
-Evolve
-Generation-E Sports / Toxic Performance
-Pacific Paintball dba KickAss Performance Products (KAPP)
-Professional Products dba FreeFlow
-Roughneck Paintball / Demonic Products
-Shocktech
-Tadao Technologies
-The Matrix Center (TMC)


Guns by Company

Aardvark Guns
-F1 Prototypes
-Tequila / Tequila Sunrise
-Entity

AirTech/ Diablo / Procaps Guns
-AirTech E-Matrix

Demon Guns
-Custom Milling Work

Roughneck Paintball / Demonic Products Guns
-Demonic

DYE Guns
-Dye

FreeFlow Guns
-Lockout
-FreeFlow
-FreeFlow Lockout
-FreeFlow Trauma

KAPP Guns
-KAPP Flame

Shocktech / Bad Boyz Toyz Guns
-Image
-Shocktech
-Trauma

Gen-E / Toxic Guns
-Gen-E LED/LCD
-New York Xtreme (NYX)
-Los Angeles Ironmen
-Toxic

TMC Guns(The Matrix Center)
-Zipper Matrix
-Gator Matrix
-Image Matrix

Components by Category

Bolts
-Aardvark Blue/Red
-Aardvark Slam
-Airtech Black Bolt (gen 1 & 2)
-Evolve 1.1 Gold
-Evolve X-93
-FreeFlow Bolt Kits
-KAPP Biosleeve
-KAPP Adjustable Top Hat
-Leertech Leethal Mods
-Orange S.A.M. Bolt
-Shocktech Delrin Sleeve
-Smokin' Paintball C4 Plug

Boards
-FreeFlow Anderson Ramping
-LCD
(stock board)
-LED
(stock board)
-Lucky UN1
-NYX Eggeye
-Tadao
-Vaporworks Chaos
-Virtue/Advantage PB Ramping

Low Pressure Regulators (LPR)
-Aardvark Trinity
-Air America
-AKA SCM
-Dye Rocket & Torpedo
-Extreme Rage Omega
-Hybrid
-KAPP Rhino
-Palmer Rock
-PBC
-Shocktech

Trigger Frames
-Aardvark .45
-Evolve Vertical
-Hybrid 50/50
-Toxic Single and Double Finger

Triggers
-Assorted

Eye Systems
-Gen-E / Dye
-NYX
-TMC

Breeches
-Blind & Eye Ready



Changelog:
2/4/10 Version 1.0 goes live
2/7/10 Updated all Shocktech products after interview with Renick Miller
3/25/10 Updated general history after helpful responses from Jack Wood
4/22/10 Updated parts of the Red bolt, Toxic Matrix and Evolve 1.1 bolt. Added the Orange S.A.M Bolt
5/28/10 New images for: Anderson board, FreeFlow bolt kits, Tequila Sunrise, & Entity (finally)
6/3/10 Added Tadao M3 NYX Manual
6/7/10 Small wording corrections and image layout changes
6/8/10 Added amazing Image matrix images
6/18/10 Info on DYE style NYX guns and more info on Shocktech LPR
6/23/10 Added "Christmas" Toxic images
6/25/10 Added Dye style Toxic Matrix images
7/1/10 Added Slam Bolt LED Chip settings image and data to thread
11/5/10 Added more Tequila images and ShockTech images. Minor wording changes.
11/14/10 Added Dye Style NYX images.
12/1/10 Fleshed out Leethal post with data and images provided by Lee Kirwan
12/30/10 New pro images added including the elusive KAPP Flame!
4/18/11 Minor wording changes, cleaned up Freeflow bolt kit image and new "butthole" F1 images
6/20/11 New Toxic Images and Freeflow Matrix Images added
2/5/13 Demonic Matrix images added and proper post created
6/17/14 New Images of Stock Dye, Trifade NYX and early LPR images

Last edited by Z-man : 07-03-2014 at 02:27 AM.
  #2  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:41 PM
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The Matrix started life in 1994 after a conversation between Mike Lukas, Roger Hurst, and Lee Kirwan. Mike owned a paintball shop, Superior Firepower, in Ontario and had an idea for a new gun. He talked to machinist Lee Kirwan and his friend Roger Hurst about the idea. Intrigued, they set to work on making it. The design in question did not work, but gave Lee the idea for the spool valve. For the next few years they tinkered with various ideas and changes, finally submitting a patent that was approved in 1997. Lee describes the gun as sort of a hybrid between an Automag and an Autococker. It ran at high operating pressures, and was purely mechanical. Both left and right air chambers were used, and in place of a solenoid valve, something similar to the 4-way valve on Autocockers was used to actuate the bolt. Because of the high operating pressure, the tolerances were “a nightmare” to deal with. Nevertheless, the gun functioned. Now they just had to find someone who would make and distribute it.



Many potential names were tossed around for this new gun, including Hellfire, Excalibur, Swift, and others. Finally they settled on Omega. Next, Mike Lukas needed to approach companies and work out manufacturing deals. He was turned down both PMI and Crossman. Ironically, years later, Mike ended up working for PMI. Mike eventually approached Richmond Italia and Procaps who agreed, and a deal was signed. Lee, Mike, and Roger still held the patent, but Richmond had production and distribution rights. From there the body was refined so it could be easily extruded. Richmond’s other stipulation was that he wanted to convert it to electro-pneumatic instead of the manual valve. Lee explained this wouldn’t be a problem, just replace the manual valve with a solenoid valve. However, electronics were not Lee’s strong point, so Procaps had to outsource and try to find the right person for the job. Sadly, this also marked the end of Lee, Roger, and Mike’s direct involvement with the design of the gun.

When the gun went to Procaps to be converted to electropneumatic, they would sometimes give me updates on what was happening. Once, they sent it to me because there was an issue with the solenoid valve, but overall they didn't seem to want my input or help. Early prototypes actually used what you know now as the battery chamber for an air recharge chamber. Oddly enough, I was also told the L/R air chambers were where the batteries would be housed. Then later on they swapped it all around. I told them I thought this would be ok, but only if they used both chambers to recharge the air. Otherwise there would be insufficient volume for the gun to function properly. That was the last I heard of it until it went live. I never got the gun back, I didn't get to see what they changed to it until it was being sold publicly and ProCaps gave me one. I thought that was nice of them.
-Lee Kirwan, LeerTech


The gun was sent off to Jack Wood and his company in England, Planet Eclipse. They were confident they could do the conversion, but soon learned Richmond's agenda was not necessarily theirs.

"Richmond did bring it to us and we did look at it. At the time he wanted us to take up the reins and develop the gun into a working electropneumatic marker. The one stipulation he had was that we didn't touch the internals. We could not alter them, change them, improve them, modify them, nothing. We got it working as an EP in about 5 minutes and it did work. No problems there. No issues with bounce (it had little kick, very slow bolt speeds and weighed at least 4 pounds!) at all. That was not the problem. The problem was that the original Matrix internals were some of the most complex and confusing set of parts I have ever seen in a paintball marker. We said yes, it could work, but we would never want to do it in its current form. It was too crude, too complex, and unnecessarily so! If we were allowed to refine the internals, we probably would have picked it up and run with it, but Richmond was adamant that we could NOT change anything inside the body. So we said thanks, but no thanks, that's not going to work for us, and we sent the prototype back to him.

The irony is that what became the DM version of the internals was pretty much exactly what I drew up and suggested as the definitive refinement of the original design!"

-Jack Wood, Planet Eclipse


Around this time, Richmond was introduced to Greg Duncan through their mutual friend Larry Lacastro. Greg had made a name for himself by making some of the first successful electronic Spyder and Tippman conversion kits. Richmond approached Greg and asked how long it would take to convert his gun.

“2 weeks” came the response from Greg
“You’re awfully cocky. You haven’t even seen the gun.” stated Richmond.
“Doesn’t matter. That’s how long it’ll take.”

Satisfied with that, Richmond gave him a gun to tinker with. It didn’t have an HPR and, when Greg first screwed an air tank into it, the gun promptly exploded. Realizing this may be a bit of a project, Greg gathered all the pieces up and put them in a box to work on at home. His main task was to solve the trigger bounce issue. To this end, Greg approached his friends at Moreltronics, a local electronics shop, and enlisted their help. Together they developed a self timer that only read one signal every so many milliseconds. This effectively solved the issue of trigger debounce, but the entire process took a month, not the quoted two weeks. During this time, a solenoid valve was acquired and used for testing. Because time was limited, the valve that was used in the test gun was only capable of shooting a ball at 240 fps. Greg and his right hand man, Dave “Fatty” Cardoso, excitedly put everything together for the first time in Greg’s house. They turned it on and accidentally fired the very first shot out of the electropneumatic Matrix… straight out of Greg’s front door, across the street, and into a neighbor’s front window. Quickly, Fatty hurried across the street and cleaned it off before anyone noticed. Obviously the gun worked, the point was proved, and both Greg and Fatty went to work at Procaps.

Over the next year, a lot of design hiccups were worked on, and many things went through several revisions. First, the name of the gun was changed from Omega to Matrix. Greg says the people at Diablo made this change because they liked the action movie of the same name that had just come out. This is corroborated by the assertion that the company Diablo was named because the employees liked the popular video game. Incidentally this explains Hellfire paint. Thinking this comical, Fatty Cardoso named most Aardvark aftermarket parts to share names from things in the Matrix movie: Trinity, Dozer, Cypher, Sentinel, Switch, Tank, etc.


Cleanse the Monastery! Stay awhile, and listen.

The Matrix was finally unveiled at SkyBall 2000 under the AirTech brand. Bodies and bolts were originally contracted to Greg’s friend Mike Kelly of Advantage Machine and Tool in Ontario. Mike made close to 1000 original bodies and bolts, but Richmond was outsourcing both to other companies, like Armatec. Problems came when people sent in guns for warranty claims to Mike Kelly who could clearly tell these were not his parts. Eventually Mike Kelly bowed out and left manufacturing of bodies and bolts to others Richmond had found. An unknown quantity of these were made and sold before all distribution rights were sold to Gen-E Sports, who got raw bodies from a nearby machine shop in New York.

Dave "Fatty" Cardoso, Greg Duncan, and their friend Joe Bender show off the first prototype Matrix at SkyBall 2000

Gen-E’s distribution started as sort of a bet between owner Paul Sattler and Richmond Italia. As Paul describes, Richmond approached him with this new Matrix gun and asked if he was interested in becoming the distributor. Paul declined, at which point Richmond asked, “Why not? Don’t think you can handle it?”

His manhood questioned, Paul accepted, and Generation-E Sports became the sole distributor for the Matrix (See main article: Generation-E / Toxic Performance). The Matrix went through many changes while at Gen-E, and really became a polished gun at this point. Also many private label Matrix guns became popular. Well-known aftermarketers would mill their own body designs, as well as some team editions. Because of its incredible smoothness, softness on paint, and capability for high rate of fire, the Matrix was a very popular tournament gun, usurping the throne of the Autococker. Many companies who made popular aftermarket ‘cocker parts began offering or switched to Matrix accessories, including FreeFlow, KAPP, Shocktech, Dye, and others. The Matrix was also responsible for the launch of some companies, like Tadao.

In late 2003, Dave Youngblood at Dye bought the patent from Lee, Mike, and Roger.

Dye had been interested in the patent for about a year. Mike and Roger were happy with the deal, and that was that. Personally I didn't want to sell, but I was outvoted. Honestly I was just the guy in the background. Mike was the businessman and handled all that sort of stuff. I've never even met Richmond Italia or Dave Youngblood. Heck, the closest I ever got was playing a tournament in 1991 against Dave in one of his famous pinstripe suits. Back then, Leertech was just a part time hobby where I got to tinker with things. Paintball was a lot different then. When the lawyer crap happened we finally got to the point where we'd had enough.
-Lee Kirwan


This marked the end of Gen-E’s distribution. Dye made a few aesthetic modifications to the gun and began mass-producing it as their company’s flagship gun. The HPR and LPR were replaced with Dye counterparts, and the bodies featured a deeper recess in the milling before the battery chamber. Dye also added an elongated milled teardrop into both sides of the grip frame. The stamped Gen-E serial numbers were retired. The factory gloss anodize jobs were dropped in favor of a more durable dust ano coating.

Dye offered, and continues to offer full service and support for all Matrix guns, even Gen-E models. However, they quickly tired of people sending in guns with aftermarket bolt parts installed wrong, causing gun malfunctions. To counteract this, in 2003, Dye sent out their infamous cease and desist letter, threatening legal action to anyone making aftermarket Matrix parts that infringed on the Omega patent filed in 1997 by Lee Kirwan and associates. This stopped the majority of aftermarket parts and Matrix components. Dave had bigger plans for the gun.

Later, in 2004, a completely revamped version of the Matrix was unveiled as Dye’s DM4. It featured a completely redesigned contoured body shape, and had every other component completely modified. The only interchangeable parts between a DM3 and a DM4 are the grips and the feed neck. Since then, every year, Dye released a slightly lighter, slightly more compact DM, with a sequential number that corresponds to the year. After the DM4 came out, people began referring to the traditional Matrix as the DM3, as Dye’s production run began in 2003.



The electronics board inside the Matrix was originally fairly simple. It was either on or off, and the only settings the user could change were front and back pulse through 4 DIP switches. Over time, the stock LED boards offered slight refinements, and higher rates of fire. People soon realized there was a lot more this gun could do if the user could only have control over certain aspects of it. The first mainstream adopter of this was Eero Kaakkola (aka Egi). He designed and made a more flexible board that gave users extra options, like Dwell, ABS, and Trigger Bounce. The board was marketed as the NYX eggeye board, and shipped stock with the NYX guns. He also developed his own eye system for the board. This is when eye systems were new and necessary; the force-feed hopper as we know it had not been invented yet.

The Egi eyes worked, but needed to be refined. The person to impact the eye design process next was Duane Parsons, the machinist responsible for milling all the Ironmen guns, as well as many of the NYX and Toxics. Duane’s friend, Rich Telford then of team Ironmen, was showing off the new (Egi) eyes that had just been installed on his gun. Duane thought he could create a more refined eye system. He milled off a large chunk of the breech, and created a U-shaped carrier. He requested a smaller set of eye wires and eyes for his, and Gen-E delivered some. His original models are on all 120 Ironmen guns. The design was refined and modified by Dave at Toxic Performance, then sold as the Toxic Eye Carrier. Duane continued to manufacture them and sell them to Gen-E under the new name. Gen-E began offering them as a stock component, and they were installed on the majority of Matrix guns.

Around this time, Gen-E began offering a new version of their gun with a highly customizable board featuring a complete LCD screen. Not only did it offer most adjustable settings their competitors did, it also added in features of arguably useful merit, like a thermometer and buzzer. This LCD board was used in all subsequent Matrix guns, including Dye’s run with them.



Originally, the guns did not ship with a low-pressure regulator (LPR), although there were mods in the works. The very first LPR for the Matrix was a Palmer MicroRock with a hose leading into the Dead Air Chamber, and a series of frightening o-rings with razor-thin tolerances. Richmond had asked Greg to produce a Low Pressure Reg to be able to manipulate the bolt actuation. Greg sketched out a design for the back, hose, and o-rings on a McDonald’s napkin, which he then described over the phone to his machinist friend, Mike Kelly at Advantage Tool in Ontario, at 10 PM that night. Mike worked all night long and created 10 prototypes, which he then Next Day Air shipped to Greg. All of them worked, miraculously.

Exceedingly pleased, Greg and Fatty took the prototypes to Richmond’s field and tested, shooting at trees. This went on for some time until Richmond arrived and told them they couldn’t shoot at the trees, and that the trees had to be cleaned. Greg quickly purchased two Super Soakers and spent the rest of the night with Fatty shooting the trees, this time with water, to clean them.

This first iteration LPR with the hose can be seen in a video on pigtv.net. It was an awkward system, and not at all marketable. Something better had to be done. Richmond wanted to make a hoseless LPR, so he sent a test gun off to Shocktech and asked if one could be made. (See main article, Trinity LPR)

LPRs instantly became a popular and necessary mod, and many companies started making their own. Rob Staudinger and Paintball Central (PBC) began offering their own regulator, basically a copy of the Aardvark Trinity. Gen-E wanted to add an LPR as a stock component, but didn’t want to lay more burden on the machinist making the bodies and bolts, so they decided to outsource. PBC was picked as the OEM supplier, and hundreds of the PBC LPRs were ordered. As such, they are probably the most common low-pressure regulators seen on the Matrix. When Dye took over production rights, they used their own v2 “Torpedo” LPR, a copy of AKA’s Soda Can Mod (SCM).

In summation, the LPR project that started out as a Palmer MicroRock became a PBC LPR which is a copy of an Aardvark Trinity which is a bored out ANS Jackhammer which is based on the design of the Palmer Rock anyway; later it became a Dye Torpedo which is a copy of an AKA SCM. Incidentally Palmers does offer a Matrix-friendly LPR if you’d like to return to square 1. (Palmer-Pursuit.com)



Another change to the gun was made in the form of the solenoid valve. Early versions of the gun used a solenoid made by NuMatics. It worked, but it had several drawbacks.
  • It did not make a click sound when fired to let the user know it was working
  • It did not have a test button the user could press to diagnose board or solenoid (NON-VALVE) failure
  • It could not be repaired if damaged
  • It had a fairly low burst capacity
Because of these problems, the switch was made to a solenoid made by SMC which did not suffer from any of the above issues.



The Matrix bolt design only received one major revision in its production run. The early Matrix bolts, or v1, had extreme efficiency problems, and occasionally had issues with bolts physically snapping. These problems were effectively solved when Greg Duncan designed the Aardvark Blue Bolt (see main article: Aardvark Red/Blue Bolts)

The Red and Blue bolts performed admirably, so they were copied and added as a stock component. It adopted the name Image after Team Image. They shipped with most Gen-E guns, and all Dye ones.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 12-03-2010 at 09:09 AM.
  #3  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:41 PM
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Aardvark Custom Paintball Products

2001-April 2004

Produced: Tequila, Tequila Sunrise, Entity, Blue/Red Bolt kits, Slam Bolt, Triggers, Feed necks, Breeches, Trinity and Mini-Trinity LPR, Volumizers, .45 Frame
Key People: Greg “Aardvark” Duncan*, Dave “Fatty” Cardoso, Drew “Dumb-Kid-Drew” Nelson, Steve Duduj


*Greg Duncan has dealt with a condition known as gender dysphoria throughout life. In a very few words, this is described as, in this case, being a woman born into a man’s body. In the past few years, Greg took steps to address the issue, and is now officially and legally Rachel Duncan. In this article, to keep confusion down, we will be using the name everyone is familiar with: Greg Duncan.



Aardvark Custom Paintball Products began after Greg Duncan and Dave Cardoso left Procaps. The company was named after the paintball field Greg and his wife owned. The name was chosen for two reasons: Primarily because it came first in the alphabet and would therefore come first in the phone books, and second because, as Greg put it, “Aardvarks are cute; I like them. Aardvark literally translates to Earth Pig. How can you not like that?” The company logo itself is of an Aardvark, shooting paintballs from its face, with a cloud of smoke over its head.

The distinct advantage this company had over others was that the person in charge was also, for all intents and purposes, the creator of the electro-pneumatic gun we know as the Matrix. Almost every component and design feature was pioneered and made by Greg Duncan and his crew.
Aardvark specialized in highly customized Matrices and Matrix parts. Each component of each bolt was tested with each marker for optimal fit and lowest friction, a process that Drew Nelson described as taking 10-12 hours apiece. The tolerances on Matrix parts varied quite a bit once everything came back from the anodizer. Because of this, some parts wouldn’t fit or slide right which would cause poor performance in the gun. Drew personally recalls one instance of going through 250 top hats to find the right one for a particular gun. Greg confirmed this was common, and that getting the right feel for a bolt isn’t something that can be explained.

“I can only think of three people who know how all the components are supposed to correctly feel, and I’m one of them.”
-Greg Duncan


After the people at Diablo had settled on naming the gun the Matrix, Aardvark took the theme and ran with it, naming many accessories after characters from the popular movie. Examples include the Trinity LPR, Dozer feed neck, Switch trigger, the Cypher chip, Sentinel volumizers, and more. Of course, not everyone was a fan of Aardvark products.

At one event some kids approached me angrily and claimed the so-called ‘volumizers’ did nothing at all.
“That’s not true,” I said, “they add displacement.”
“Displacement?” the kids asked, confused.
“Yeah. If you put the gun underwater without volumizers it would only displace so much water. If you add volumizers it would displace more water.”
They all walked off with brand new volumizers after that.
-Greg Duncan




Aardvark products are recognizable, usually because they are very visually busy. They even designed a barrel at one point, which accidentally caused internal drama. The Aardvark barrel was, two-piece and ‘cocker threaded, with a very unique design that seemed to fit with the Trinity LPR. Because it was the front of the gun, and as the company name was Aardvark, Greg thought it fitting to name the barrel the Snout. To announce the new product, Drew Nelson spent the evening on PBN talking about the new barrel. Spelling, however, has never been Drew’s strong point. Somehow Snout became Snort in Drew’s posts, and he extolled the virtues of Aardvark’s new Snort barrel. The next morning Greg saw the damage.

“Drew! The barrel! What is the name we decided on?!”
“Uhhh, Snout?”
“Right. Read your posts on PBN.”
“Uh oh. Woops.”


By this time it was too late. The damage was done, and the name Snort stuck.

Over the years Aardvark refined and improved the originally inefficient design, the gen 1 bolt. Most Matrix bolt designs stemmed off Greg’s original bolt. It is important to note that all Matrix bolts are functionally the same, and only a few people deviated from the red/blue bolt design. A few exceptions were the enigmatic Aardvark Slam Bolt, the Evolve X-93 Bolt, and the Leertech Leethal v2 mod.

In 2003, Aardvark was rumored to be working on a new gun of their own. Known only as the Hedron (pronounced HEED-run), it was to have virtually zero kick using dual solenoids and heating chambers to actually warm up CO2 and keep it from freezing the gun down at high fire rates. In the picture below, you can clearly see the tank is iced over, but Greg insists the chambers were warm to the touch when this photo was taken. It used a hybrid cross between a Slam bolt and the valve system identical ICD Freestyle. An early un-milled prototype showed up at one paintball event.


By this time, Richmond and I had long since parted ways. The early prototype Hedron was unmilled and had all sorts of strange hoses and tubes snaking through its body. It was an eyesore and no one wanted to come near it. I attracted the attention of someone at ProCaps and offered to let him shoot it.
“That? No, no thanks” was the response.
Nevertheless, I persuaded him to give it a try. Every shot was consistent and, if I recall, ball-on-ball accurate. Just then, Richmond walked up. With a smirk, Rich asked him what he thought of this so-called gun.
“Richmond,” the man said, handing the gun back to me, “you should not have °°°°ed this guy off.”
-Greg Duncan


Unknown to the people at Aardvark was their valve was identical to ICD’s Variable Pneumatic Sear, patented mere weeks before. There was no way around this design, so in April of 2004 it was officially announced that the gun would not be produced and Aardvark was closing its doors. The only existing Hedron resides somewhere in Greg’s basement in Canada.

There was one other obscure gun created at Aardvark. An Angel and a Matrix were cobbled together into a strange hybrid gun by Greg and dubbed the Mangel (Matrix-Angel). Only one prototype was ever made. One day, Greg was test firing it with CO2 which, after a while, completely froze the regulator, bolt, and barrel. It got so bad the gun would no longer cycle, and the barrel was gunked up with paint.

I brought it to a sink to run hot water through it and unfreeze the gun.
A kid watching spoke up. “You can’t run hot water through that! There’s electronics! You’re gonna ruin it!”
Annoyed, I plugged up the sink and filled it with hot water. I then dropped the Mangel inside and started swishing it around to clean it.
“You’re gonna ruin it! YOU’RE GONNA RUIN IT! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?” the kid persisted.
I pulled the soaked gun out, added a hopper, fired a string of paint out, and exclaimed, “Because that’s how I clean my Mangel. How do YOU clean YOUR piece of **** gun?”
-Greg Duncan


The legacy lives on, as all Aardvark guns hold the highest resale value of any private label Matrix, rivaled only by the KAPP Flame.

I didn’t set out to make a lot of money doing this. In fact, I was in the red when it was all said and done. We were doing it for the fun of it.
-Greg Duncan

Last edited by Z-man : 06-27-2010 at 11:01 AM.
  #4  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:42 PM
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Z-man Z-man is offline
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AirTech / Diablo / ProCaps
Key People: Richmond Italia


Based in Canada and headed by Richmond Italia, ProCaps is a large, well-established company with many faces. Primarily they were known for the Diablo brand paint. Nowadays ProCaps' company, Draxxus, has taken Diablo's place in paint manufacturing.

In the late 90s, Richmond was approached by Mike Lukas who had an unusual paintball gun design. It was fully pneumatic, and unlike anything else on the market. Mike called it the Omega, and was looking for someone who would buy his design and produce it. Richmond evidently liked what he saw, and purchased the distribution rights. His only stipulation was that he wanted the gun to operate at lower pressures and be electro-pneumatic; replace the manual valve. Lee Kirwan, Mike's partner and inventor of the Omega, said this wouldn't be a problem, but electronics were not his strong suit. Greg Duncan was brought in to solve the problem, and the gun's name was changed to the Matrix.

Wanting to protect his assets, Richmond set up a company, Airtech, to be fully liable in the event of a lawsuit involving this new gun. Diablo became the Canadian distributor for his Airtech brand and sold the guns until Richmond could find a suitable American distributor, Generation-E Sports. Gen-E made and sold many Matrices, but Richmond still had the final say on direction and creative input. Not wanting to fall behind WDP and their Angel LCD, Richmond pushed for an LCD board to be added to his baby. He also pushed for refinements early on, like a low pressure regulator and a higher efficiency bolt.

In 2003, the patent was sold to Dave Youngblood at Dye, ending Richmond's run.

As of 2009, Italia decided to team up with the Gardener brothers of Smart Parts under the name GI Milsim. They are currently pushing for a .50 cal conversion of the sport.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 02-10-2011 at 07:51 AM.
  #5  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:42 PM
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Evolve

2002-????

Produced: v.1.1 Gold Bolt, X-93/94/95 Bolts, Vertical Frame, Evolve Breech, Volumizers
Key People: Paul Garry, Sam Smith, Martin Carnall


Evolve Paintball began as many aftermarket companies started: Paul had ideas on products for guns and began making them. He started originally making Intimidator grip frames, a reverse .45, but that did not pan out for him. Around this time, the Matrix came out. He was intrigued and wanted to experiment with it as well as the aftermarket parts available. Unfortunately, try as he might, he found it nearly impossible to get anyone to ship things to him in England. The London Tigers used Matrix guns, so he went through them to get Matrix gear. Eventually he decided to just start making his own improvements and selling them to others.
His first design was also arguably his most successful: the famous Evolve v1.1 “gold” bolt kit. To this day it remains the most efficient bolt kit released on the market. As a testament to its extreme efficiency, its legacy lives on through other companies. Quite often, companies making high-efficiency bolt kits will dub it their Gold Bolt Kit.

With the success of the gold bolt Paul moved on to produce accessories for the Matrix like the vertical frames, breeches, and volumizers. He also moved into the Shocker market, patenting his own bolt system. In 2004, when Dye issued their cease and desist letter, Paul began studying the patents that Dye held over the bolts. The patents only applied to US sales, but since the majority of the paintball market is located in the US, Paul began looking for a way around to regain his market. Discovering that the key to the whole patent was tied into the x2 #9 o-rings on the bolt tail, Paul simply designed a bolt that did not use those 2 o-rings. By this time the DM4 had been released so his new X-94 bolt debuted for it.
When Dye did not try to stop Evolve from producing the bolt, the design was updated for the DM5 (the X-95 bolt) and, later, retroactively for the original Matrix (the X-93 bolt). The X-94 suffered at the hands of engineers making frequent undocumented changes, and could never live up to the 1.1’s efficiency numbers.
In November of 2009, Paul, released CAD work of a new v2 Gold bolt for the original Matrix that would be made in a limited run in 2010. Notably, it will not feature a brittle delrin bolt option, and will also have bumpers on the bolt sail to give the bolt a longer lifespan. It will not be released under the Evolve name. It is to be released under a new company known as Contraband Paintball.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 10-12-2010 at 06:55 PM.
  #6  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:42 PM
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Generation-E Sports / Toxic Performance

2001-???

Produced: Gen-E Matrix, Toxic Matrix, NYX Matrix, Ironmen Matrix
Key People: Paul Sattler, “Toxic Dave” Rotunda, Robert Hamski


The Matrix was designed in Canada by Canadians. Richmond Italia of Procaps needed a US distributor. He approached Paul Sattler of Cousins Paintball in New York.
“I’ve got this new Matrix gun. I need a distributor. You interested?”
“Ehh, no thanks Richmond,” was the response from Paul.
“What, don’t think you can handle it?”


With that exchange Gen-E Sports, a division of Cousins Paintball, secured distribution rights to the Matrix. Over the course of their 3 year run, Gen-E built and sold a lot of Matrix guns, including some of the most famous designs. Gen-E guns are identifiable by the serial number on the back, just below the back plate. The Matrix went through several revisions and changes during its tenure with Gen-E, and became a very polished gun.

Working at the same time, in the same building as Gen-E, was Toxic Performance, headed by Toxic Dave. Also owned by Cousins Paintball, Toxic was originally formed to produce low-cost accessories, such as pod packs and drop-forwards. When Gen-E took over manufacturing rights for the Matrix, Toxic jumped right in and began manufacturing parts. It is important to note that Toxic and Gen-E were essentially the same company. Employees working at Gen-E worked at Toxic and vice versa. As Dave put it, “We all pretty much did everything.”



The Gen-E crew had fun with Matrix products. Replacement detents were sold in replica Tic-Tac boxes, complete with nutritional information on the back. It reads: Ingredients: Rubber. Do not eat.

However while Gen-E chiefly concerned themselves with the Matrix, Toxic was free to explore other areas of the market. Toxic produced many aftermarket Matrix parts and bodies. Gen-E and Toxic ended their productions after the patents for the Matrix were sold to DYE paintball in 2003. Dye shortly thereafter issued their cease and desist letters to any companies actively producing guns or accessories. Toxic went on to make products for other guns, such as the Shocker.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 02-04-2010 at 09:35 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:42 PM
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Pacific Paintball dba KickAss Performance Products (KAPP)

Key People: Chris Haggin, Sean Scott, Michelle Thom, Brian Duffy


Like FreeFlow, KAPP was a well-established company in the Autococker world. KAPP's products were eye candy: polished chrome, beautiful ano jobs, good aesthetic lines. Their limited edition flame autocockers remain coveted possessions. It is no surprise they were able to lend their same sharp craftsmanship to create one of the rarest and most sought-after of Matrix designs, the limited edition KAPP Flame Matrix. Only 24 were made.

In addition to the 24 Flames, KAPP made 3 other parts for the gun: KAPP Rhino LPR, the Bio-sleeve, and the adjustable top hat.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 02-10-2011 at 07:55 AM.
  #8  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:43 PM
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Professional Products dba FreeFlow

199x-200x

Produced: Lockout + FreeFlow Lockout Matrix, FreeFlow Matrix, FreeFlow Trauma Matrix, Anderson ramping board + optical trigger, bolt kit, adjustable bolts
Key People: Ethan Steiner


FreeFlow made a name for itself in the Autococker world. Primarily interested with increasing the airflow for faster cycle rates, Ethan brought his expertise to the Matrix. The primary difference between a FreeFlow gun and all other Matrix was bringing the Dead Air Chamber back to life. That is to say, a hole was tapped into the chamber at the front and back, identical to the right side air chamber. Both air chambers were then considered “live” and fed the bolt. Because of this, eye wires could not be run through the DAC and all FreeFlow guns were blind. When eyes became popular, people who wanted them could send their guns in to Ethan who offered to plug the air chamber back up again.
As sponsor and former team member of Lockout, Ethan made special FreeFlow Lockout editions of the Matrix. These are fairly rare, as only about 20 were made.

FreeFlow’s most famous Matrix was made when they partnered with Baltimore Trauma to make the FreeFlow Trauma guns. With the exception of the exceedingly rare guns that just say LOCKOUT on the side, all FreeFlow guns feature the FreeFlow logo on the front lower quadrant. FreeFlow guns typically have intricate acid wash anodize jobs.

In addition to gun bodies, FreeFlow kept busy with several bolts and bolt kits. The FreeFlow bolt kit was a partial kit that featured a top hat, spacer, rear wall, and back plug. These were colored in a purple/black acid wash pattern that is very distinctive. Additionally, 4 FreeFlow bolts were made. One was an acid was orange/red. There was also a blue venturi-style bolt made. The last two, and most interesting, were adjustable bolts. Coming in either black or gold, these bolts had 3 different bolt tails that tapered at slightly different points, impacting when air was released from the shot chamber to fire a paintball. It was left to the user to decide which bolt tail they preferred for their use.

Not content with just gun bodies and internals, FreeFlow announced they were working on an electronics board for the Matrix. Dubbed the Anderson Ramping Board, it had several interesting features. True to the name, ramp setting was one of the boasted features. The board also offered a radical departure in a different area of design: optical trigger sensor. As opposed to a microswitch being tripped, the Anderson board read the trigger movement through electronic eyes. Settings were controlled and monitored by an orange LCD panel that was much easier to read than the traditional stock LCD board. Lastly, the Anderson board’s software was all open source. A big fan of Apple computer in that respect, Ethan encouraged users to modify or write their own software to control the board.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 06-02-2010 at 01:57 PM.
  #9  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:43 PM
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Roughneck Paintball / Demonic Products
200x-2004

Produced: Demonic Matrix, Delrin Roar Bolt Kit, Demon's Tongue Trigger, Strangler Feed Necks
Key People:Tez Patel, Steve Marchek


If you have any way of contacting Tez, please let us know. Otherwise we're sort of at a dead end.


Tez was the captain of team Roughneck Riders. He also liked designing and milling guns. Initially he designed a line of Demonic Autocockers and parts for other popular guns, like the Impulse. When the Matrix came along, he decided to make a Demonic version of it as well. Our information is limited, but it appears he may have worked with Ethan Steiner of Professional Products / FreeFlow on some of his gun parts.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 02-04-2010 at 07:47 PM.
  #10  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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Shocktech

199x-Present

Produced: Shocktech LPR, Image Matrix, Shocktech Matrix
Key People: Renick Miller, Danny Love


Owned by Renick Miller, Shocktech is the machine shop, Bad Boyz Toyz is the retail face, Aftershock is the professional team, and the Badlandz is their giant field. Their machining and design work is done by Danny Love. Shocktech adopted the Matrix early in its life, and most of their guns have serial numbers that predate Gen-E's distribution. The two well-known Shocktech guns are the one that bears their name and logo, and a gun that was made for Team Image, and has their name instead. Other than that, the two guns are identical.

The lesser-known Shocktech Matrix was made for team Baltimore Trauma, after Ethan Steiner from FreeFlow made his version. The Shocktech Trauma has an entirely different design than the previous two guns. Shocktech also made some very early aftermarket accessories that were not well-received, specifically an LPR and a delrin sleeve.

Last edited by Z-man : 06-15-2010 at 03:09 PM.
  #11  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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Tadao Technologies

2004-Present

Produced: Tadao 1.1 3.0 4.0 & 5.0 Matrix board
Key People: Will Roberson


Tadao Technologies was one of the companies that got its start with the Matrix. Will Roberson, founder and brains behind Tadao, kindly wrote out a brief history of how he got started back in 2004.

Egi (head of R&D at Dye) had prototypes of his eye system floating around in early 2003, which was later introduced with the NYX Matrix, but wasn't available otherwise. The only way to get it was to buy the very expensive NYX.

I was still in college, and my roommate at the time was an electrical engineering major. He happened to look at the electronics inside my Matrix and commented that they were very basic, and with my software background, we could put something together and I could have full control over the software.

And that's how it started. He helped me with the hardware design, while I self taught myself to do PCB layout, and used a friend’s miniature CNC mill to slice up the breech of my Matrix to mount the eye system. It worked so well that my friends on Trauma all wanted their own, so I continued to build additional circuit boards by hand, only outsourcing the blank PCB production. Then the owner of Trauma (Rob Staudinger) wanted the board to be his own to distribute, so we worked out a deal and it became the TMC (The Matrix Center) eye system. He managed to buy the nifty two-piece breeches from Paul Sattler/Toxic, since they were actually the manufacturer at the time.

From there I kept revising it, and released the stand-alone aftermarket board as the Tadao 3.0 Matrix board in April 2004. I was just finishing up my senior year of college, and building hundreds of them by hand. Heck, my mom even helped assemble quite a few boards when I was back home during breaks, since she's a fair hand with a soldering iron.

Once I graduated I took the chance and decided to make a go of it as a "real" job, and by then I had switched over to using contract assemblers to do full production runs of the newer 5.0 Matrix boards (both to save my sanity and to increase volume). My product line had also increased to include boards for the Shocker and a few others.

As of late I've had requests to do a Yakuza OLED or Ebisu USB board for the old Matrix markers. I don't know if the demand is there, but I may go retro and do something for them. We'll see!
-Will Roberson


Tadao quickly established a reputation for both good products and service. Not only was there full support for TMC and Dye eyes, but the boards were easy to adjust and tweak to the user’s preference through trigger pull interaction; no frustrating DIP switches. Will kept busy by constantly rewriting and upgrading his own software. Each revision was usually accompanied by a slew of new features.

With the success of the Matrix boards, Tadao branched off and began manufacturing for other high-end guns, and has become one of the major aftermarket board suppliers in paintball today.

There is a current interest check thread on PBNation for those who want Tadao to make a Yakuza or Ebisu board for the original Matrix guns. If you would commit to buying one or more, post it in the thread.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 02-10-2011 at 08:02 AM.
  #12  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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The Matrix Center
Key People: Rob Staudinger, John Tinker, Bobby Sink


6/28/2010- expect a complete overhaul of this article in the near future. Been talking to John Tinker and he's full of juicy information.

Richmond Italia's plan was to have several key American service centers for his guns to provided easy-access repair work for broken guns. The first, and probably largest, was The Matrix Center. Richmond met Rob Staudinger when they were both on Team Image, and knew he was a competent, reliable person. Rob was put in charge of TMC.

I was given a great big bag of o-rings and a bunch of broken guns to fix. That was my introduction to it. We really weren't any kind of big name or anything until they put the URL to our website on the retail box of the Matrix. Then we were flooded with business.
-Rob Staudinger


The Matrix Center carried everything related to the gun. They provided full warranty service and repair work, and even sold some unique and innovative products. They were truly a one stop shop for anything Matrix related. Through Rob Staudinger's friendship with Will Roberson, the first Tadao products debuted on TMC: The Trauma Eye board and TMC eyes.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 06-28-2010 at 03:03 PM.
  #13  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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Aardvark F1 Prototype Matrix
Producer: Aardvark Custom Paintball Products
Number produced: 5
Weight (no battery, barrel or ASA): ~ 3lb 6oz
Date produced: June 2001


Stock Components
-Blind
-Gen 2 LED board
-Aardvark Tank volumizers
-Aardvark .45 grip frame
-Aardvark Blue bolt
-Trinity LPR
-Beehive HPR
-Aardvark Switch Trigger

While every other Matrix listed in this thread can be called a distinct “brand” or milling pattern, the F1 series are exceptions. The 5 guns that make up the group are listed here because they were the prototypes that Aardvark paintball built when they were experimenting on how they wanted to produce the Matrix. While they do not stand out as the lightest nor the flashiest, each one was unique.

“The F1 aren’t the first customs we did. Greg took his prototype, the one that really started it all, and did some minimal milling, then had it nickel-plated. Then I built my ‘trix and we did the F1 based on the design of my marker.

First gens were mostly all solid ano, no windows, all slide switch, and blue bolts. First gen volumizers, stock high rises / dozer rises. The trademark milling is the design on the top back of the gun, the ACPP design above the ASA, and an aardvark on the sides near the back of the gun. Some F1s had tapered breeches and the corners of the gun rounded. Others didn’t have either. Some were also made with chrome accessories. We later scrapped that due to the chrome flaking off.”
-Drew Nelson


The pictured gun is the first prototype with a blue-red “Superman” ano. This is the one designed and built by Drew Nelson of Aardvark, referred to in the passage below.

“The light scratches are mostly from me. There should be a noticeable scratch on the left side that will run the length of the body (from a tournament). Most of the other ones are wear and tear from several tournaments and also from bushball and scenarios.

The flawed ano - well, long story. I built her in 36 hours, slept for 3 hours, then played my first paintball tournament with her un-ano’ed (buffed and came out looking nickel plated). During the tournament it stormed and, well, the Matrix got wet and, yeah, it corroded because it was untreated metal. After the event I went back and tried to buff most the flaws out but they still came through when I stripped it down and ano’ed it.

The beehive is beat and has been rebuilt 3 times when I had it. I had a custom beehive that allowed the marker to shoot at 500fps (don’t try it you will blow the ‘noid and the parts may be different). The trigger, Trinity, and low-rise have all been swapped out. When I sold her she had a silver low rise, sliver gator trigger and sliver mini Trintiy. She also was sold with a stock slide-switch board, grip frame, and switch trigger. Both a Slam bolt and red bolt were with it. I ran a dye UL and a freak on her, but do believe I sold her with the stock J&J and Snort.

This gun was my primary marker for 5 years of balling three times a week and has seen close to a million plus paintballs when it was in my hands; who knows what she is at now. I never once changed the ‘noid/manifold but the matrix has seen 12 different bolts, 6 trinities, every Aardvark part and some other tester parts.”
-Drew Nelson



Aardvark with Prototype Butthole

Most of these were sold to friends of Aardvark or early customers. They are likely still in the greater Toronto region. One of the F1s was scrapped at the last stage of milling; the mill ate the body right at the Aardvark’s butt, as seen in the above picture. Thinking this hilarious, they kept it around as a functional test gun. It still worked just fine as only the battery chamber was compromised.

Last edited by Z-man : 04-18-2011 at 05:22 PM.
  #14  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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Tequila and Tequila Sunrise Matrix
Producer: Aardvark Custom Paintball Products
Number produced (Tequila): Either 17 or 29. Discrepancies. Who knows.
Number produced (Sunrise): ~50
Weight (no battery, barrel or ASA): ~ 3lb 2oz (assumed as most Matrix weigh about the same)


Stock Components
-Blind
-LED board
-Aardvark volumizers
-Aardvark tapered breech
-Aardvark 45 grip frame
-Aardvark Red bolt with Lexan Spacer Tube
-Trinity LPR
-Beehive HPR
-Aardvark Alligator Trigger

Tequila


The Tequila Matrix was the first “official” limited edition run of Matrix that Aardvark produced aside from the F1 prototypes. The most immediately unique feature was a lexan window that allowed the bolt movement to be seen. The lexan replaces the sleeve in the traditional Matrix bolt, adds two o-rings on each end to ensure a seal, and became a trademark of all production run Aardvark guns.

Also unique to the design were the 4 diagonal slices through the left and right air chambers, which had steel insert sleeves run through to allow airflow. The word ‘Tequila’ was also etched into the front lowers of the gun.
As Aardvark often did, each Tequila Matrix was slightly different in some way, both in anodizing and in milling.


Tequila Sunrise






This is the gun most people associate with Aardvark, as it had the largest production run. The layout of the Tequila was refined and improved. The lexan ports were shrunk down to reduce stress on the tube and improve their lifespan. The upper back quadrant was given the famous line art sun rising over water design. The word ‘Sunrise’ was added under the ‘Tequila’ on some guns and, yes, it was inspired by The Eagles' 1974 Hit "Tequila Sunrise". Some buyers requested the word Sunrise not be added.

“They thought word Sunrise was a little too gay, so they told me to leave it off.”
-Greg Duncan


The Tequila and Tequila Sunrise look very similar at a glance. There are, however, differences between them.
  • The Tequila generally has 4 diagonal cuts into each side of the body rather than the Sunrise’s 3.
  • The Tequila generally has larger lexan windows than the Sunrise.
  • The Tequila Sunrise features a line art sun rising over water on the sides. This is the only feature that is exclusively found on the Sunrise
The Tequila (and later Tequila Sunrise) Matrix were originally designed to be distributed through Valley Diesel Paintball in New Mexico. Aardvark was unable to bring this to fruition as they couldn't purchase raw bodies from Richmond in quantities needed to proceed. Note that Aardvark gun bodies do not have the early Mike Kelly serial numbers on the bottom, nor the Gen-E serials on the back. Instead, the bodies were from some of the outsourced 3rd party companies that had been returned due to warranty claims; Greg was not allowed new production bodies. It's safe to say that Richmond Italia and Greg Duncan did not get along. They do feature the other company's serial numbers, but oddly enough Aardvark would file the number off the back and re-stamp the exact same number on the front.

Lexan Spacers


An Aardvark signature, the addition of a viewport that let the user watch the bolt movement in a high-pressure chamber was unique. Aardvark realized if they took the shot chamber sleeve and sealed off the outside with o-rings, there would be no reason they couldn’t cut off the body and get a view of the bolt. The only problem would be to find a material durable enough to handle the constant fluctuation of pressure in the shot chamber.

“I had this… well it’s sort of like a bicycle tire pump that goes up to super high pressures. I got a couple different materials out and tested. Acrylic, I discovered, would blow up and shatter into horrible jagged pieces at about 1200 PSI. Lexan cracked and began leaking at 2200 PSI. Obviously I went with lexan for a longer lifespan. I would NOT recommend making a replacement tube out of acrylic.”
-Greg Duncan


Lexan is a material used in some airplane cockpits. It’s also marketed as being bullet-resistant. Of course, this has to be tested as well.

“Guns are illegal in Canada, so that made the bullet testing a little harder. Despite this, we had a friend with .22 pistol who agreed to help us out. We went down to my basement and set up a Matrix with a Lexan tube and a blue bolt inside. He carefully took aim and squeezed off two shots. The first shot made a dent in the tube. The second one penetrated and ended up lodged in the lexan, touching the blue bolt. Not too bad.”
-Greg Duncan


Despite lexan being a very rugged and durable material, it will eventually go bad. Every time the Matrix is fired, the shot chamber is emptied and refilled with air, fluctuating between 0 and ~225 PSI very rapidly. Every time this happens, the lexan expands and contracts, like breathing. Over time, this causes stress fractures and, eventually, leaks. The Tequilas had a fairly large viewable area of exposed lexan. The more exposed area there is, the less support for the expansion and contraction of material. When Greg realized the limitations of the lexan, he shrunk down the size of the window for the Tequila Sunrises. This gives the tube more support and lets it last longer.


Replacement tubes have nearly impossible to find since Aardvark closed its doors, much to the chagrin of Aardvark gun owners. There are, however, a handful of spacers available from Aardvark for $40 apiece. If you are in need of one, send me a PM.

After Aardvark's stock is cleared out, I will be manufacturing my own for sale. Considering how helpful the Aardvark crew have been in formulating this article, it's only fair to let them clear out their old inventory first.

Last edited by Z-man : 12-30-2010 at 01:34 AM.
  #15  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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Entity Matrix
Producer: Aardvark Custom Paintball Products
Number produced: 17
Weight (no battery, barrel or ASA): ~ 3lb 2oz (assumed as most Matrix weigh about the same)





Stock Components
-Blind
-First revision LCD board
-Modified Aardvark Sentinel volumizers
-Gen-E LCD Grip Frame
-Aardvark Red bolt with Lexan spacer
-Gen 3 "Jet Engine" Trinity LPR
-Beehive HPR
-Aardvark Tentacle Trigger

The final and by far the most garish of Aardvark’s limited run of Matrix was unquestionably the Entity. Designed for Team Ironmen, they predated the infamous asymmetrical Ironmen Matrix. In traditional Aardvark line art the Entity sports the profile of a squid, whose tentacles reach out over the body of the Matrix and extend very creatively into the breech and even to the unique volumizers shaped to look like tentacles complete with sucker markings. Like the Tequila and Sunrise before it, the Entity also featured lexan windows. While they are located physically in the same locations as the Tequila, the Entity windows are cut to match the tentacle arms of the squid. The Ironmen shield logo was milled into the upper back parts of the gun. Additionally, the word ‘California’ was etched in the front lowers of the gun, a nod to Team Ironmen’s home state. Of course, the traditional Aardvark logo was found in the usual place. All in all it’s a very visually busy gun design.
The Entity is also the only Aardvark gun to use the standard LCD frame instead of the smaller Aardvark .45 frame. The LCD board is just physically too big for the Aardvark frame. The guns did, however, feature the Aardvark Tentacle trigger, a milled-out reverse S design. These triggers were made available for the general public after the guns came out, and remain fairly rare.

17 Entity Matrix in total were produced, 14 of which went straight to team Ironmen and the remaining 3 were kept by people working at Aardvark. This, of course, means that the Entity was never actually sold to the public and any found for sale were likely the ones from team Ironmen. The in-house ones are said to be under lock and key.

From the immediate release the Entity was criticized for its unorthodox milling that many found flat-out ugly. Ironically, it is one of two Matrix designs to actually appreciate in value since its introduction. When asked if the squid design was an H.P. Lovecraft fascination, homage to Jules Verne, or something else, Greg Duncan replied:

“Because squid are cute.”

As with all Aardvark Matrix the solenoid manifolds were milled out for better air flow and smoother operation. The Entity had the first revision LCD boards, which later became a stock component. Rumor has it these early model boards had a high fail rate and were often unreliable.

Last edited by Z-man : 03-07-2012 at 05:28 PM.
  #16  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:52 PM
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Airtech Matrix (the original E-Matrix)
Producer: Airtech/Diablo/Procaps
Weight (no battery, barrel or ASA): ~ 3lb 6oz


Stock Components
-Blind
-Gen 1 Black or Silver bolt
-Beehive Regulator
-LED board
-2 finger trigger
-Sexy pewter grips*

*During the interview process of this article, I was on the phone with Greg Duncan at one point. I was discussing some mod that lightened the bolt components, at which point he cut me off. "Lighten the bolt... lighten the bolt???? You realize these guns shipped with pewter grips at first, right?"


It is in any company's interest to protect itself. Richmond Italia, owner of Procaps, knew this well. Some products are considered riskier than others, and precautions need to be taken in these situations. The Matrix was considered "risky". One of Richmond's employees had come up with a mask design that looked like a skull. It was also considered risky, and so Richmond set up the company Airtech to distribute it. Should a lawsuit occur, Airtech would take the fall and Procaps would be protected. Thus, the Matrix was released under the Airtech brand.

Debuted at the 2000 NPPL, the Matrix was marketed as an ultra low pressure electro-pneumatic marker designed to complete with tournament level markers like the WDP Angel & the Smart Parts Shocker. Much of the Matrix design is credited to Greg Duncan who not only redesigned the marker into its electronic from, but also made highly successful aftermarket guns and components.

Originally the Matrix did not ship with an LPR to cut down bolt cycle pressure. Even so the marker caught the attention of the public with its unusually quiet operation and smooth firing cycle. Its largest problem was its previously stated terrible air consumption (firing around 700-800 shots per 68/45 tank) which was due to the gen 1 Black bolt design (see gen 1 & 2 black bolt article). Although the bolt was redesigned relatively early into the markers release, the stigma of the Matrix being a gas hog plagued it for years.

While the Airstar Nova is cited as the first spool valve marker, the Matrix is the first wildly successful one. The key selling points was its low operating pressure that allowed you to "shoot farther into the tank". Ironically the marker got even less shots per tank than any other design at the time, including the AGD Automag, which was considered an air hog in its own right, demonstrating that hype easily sells people. Questionable marketing techniques aside, the Matrix was a very significant and successful design refined now over nearly a decade.

Its very low kick and quiet sound signature was one of the greatest selling points. Much of the “low pressure operation” sold on the market is just snake oil and fluff but one thing that is without question is that low pressure markers make less noise when they cycle. The lack of a sear also contributed to its gentle and quiet operation. With only 1 moving part and a few o-rings to grease, a properly cared for Matrix could run almost indefinitely. There are no wear points other than inexpensive o-rings, no sears hammers or springs to wear out and no significant metal on metal contact points.

The bulk of the Airtech bodies were produced by Mike Kelly in Ontario, but some were outsourced to third parties. Mike Kelly bodies have the serial numbers on the bottom of the gun, only visible by removing the grip frames. The Airtech Matrix was later contracted to be distributed by Gen-E Sports.

Last edited by Z-man : 07-03-2014 at 02:33 AM.
  #17  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:54 PM
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Z-man Z-man is offline
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Location: Carmel, CA
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Demon Guns

Produced: Custom Milling Work
Key People: Travis Wilson, Mark Jacobs


Demon Guns was a custom milling house. They never produced any off-the-shelf Matrix a customer could buy complete. Instead, people sent in their guns for the people at Demon to modify. Their most common work involved removal of the left or Dead Air chamber as seen on the Ironmen guns. However, the crew at Demon were always up for a challenge and willing to design pretty much anything the customer wanted. Hand milling work was done by Travis Wilson. CNC work was done by Mark Jacobs.

"I did this stuff by hand. It would take me like a whole week to do one gun. Man, if I only knew then how to do the stuff I do now I could probably do two guns per day."
-Travis Wilson


The most recognized and well-known Demon Gun was done all by CNC, seen above.

"Yeah, some guy from Louisiana sent us his stock gun body and told us he wanted 'something cool' done to it for his kid. He didn't care what design they did just as long as it was cool and in red and black."
-Travis Wilson


Travis has hinted that if there is enough interest, he might be talked into once again shaving the dead air chamber off people's guns.

Last edited by Z-man : 03-14-2010 at 11:23 PM.
  #18  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:54 PM
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BonesJackson BonesJackson is offline
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Location: California
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Roughneck Paintball / Demonic Products
200x-2004



Produced: Demonic Matrix, Delrin Roar Bolt Kit, Demon's Tongue Trigger, Strangler Feed Necks
Key People:Tez Patel, Steve Marchek


If you have any way of contacting Tez, please let us know. Otherwise we're sort of at a dead end.


Tez was the captain of team Roughneck Riders. He also liked designing and milling guns. Initially he designed a line of Demonic Autocockers and parts for other popular guns, like the Impulse. When the Matrix came along, he decided to make a Demonic version of it as well. Our information is limited, but it appears he may have worked with Ethan Steiner of Professional Products / FreeFlow on some of his gun parts.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 05-02-2010 at 08:15 PM.
  #19  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:55 PM
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Z-man Z-man is offline
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Dye Matrix
Producer: Dye (Dave Youngblood Enterprises)
Number produced: lots… 1000+?
Weight (no battery, barrel or ASA): ~ 3lb 1oz



Stock Components

-Dye Eye design
-LCD Board
-Gen 2 Black bolt (Dye produced)
-Dye LPR (v1 “Rocket”& v2 “Torpedo”)
-Dye Hyper 2 HPR
-Dye 2 finger trigger

The Dye Matrix is what most people incorrectly call a DM3 and was the result of Mike, Roger, and Lee selling the Matrix patent to Dave Youngblood in 2003. Dye did virtually nothing to the design pneumatically and made only small external changes. Dye produced their own HPR and LPR and changed the length of the large circular cuts along each side of the body. Pre Dye Matrix cuts ended right above the trigger pin. Dye moved the milling back almost 2 inches placing it in the middle of the grips. As an accessory to the Matrix a stylish curved back plate (with integrated snatch grip) was offered that could accommodate a kind of sight rail.

Dye offered warranty repair work on their guns should the customers need help. In 2003 they were receiving many warranty claims from people who had incorrectly installed 3rd party bolt systems. Frustrated with solving problems that were not their own, Dye hired attorneys to write up a Cease & Desist order for all aftermarket Matrix bolt designs. Despite accusations and scorn from the public, Dave Youngblood insists this move was solely to maintain the highest quality standards for their guns. Drew Nelson at Aardvark felt otherwise:

“You can thank Dye for that. When Dye bought the rights to the Matrix from Richmond Italia, Dye made it so no company could release aftermarket parts. The custom side was: you give Dye your designs, they do the work, you pay $1850 per unit and they are done in mass runs, 12 units at a time I believe. They ship the marker to your suppliers or customers. At the time DM3 and DM4s were going for $1400, so by the time you add your price you have a $2100-$2200 [gun], vs. the cost of a new DM - Dye pricing yourself out of business. After this went down, everyone stop making Matrix parts. Some companies went to other markers. Other companies went out of business.”
-Drew “DKD” Nelson



Less than a year after purchasing the rights to the Matrix, Dye unveiled their redesign of the Matrix and their new flagship marker, the DM4. This, coupled with the Cease & Desist, was the end of the original Diablo/Airtech Matrix design and the beginning of a long line of “DM” series spool valves that are still found today. Below is a copy of the legal letter Dye sent out to Aardvark.

"Richard D. Clarke
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEY
3755 Avocado Blvd., #1000
La Mesa, CA 91941-7301
Telephone 619-670-1702 Facsimile 619-670-7585
October 28, 2003
VIA E-MAIL AND U.S. MAIL
Greg Duncan
Aardvark Paintball Direct
29 Player Street
Stradford, Ontario, CANADA
N5A1V1
Re: Infringement of Dye Precision’s “MATRIX”
Gas Powered Gun/Piston and Cylinder Patent
Our Ref. No.: 03-DYE/920
Dear Mr. Duncan:
My office represents Dye Precision, Inc. (Dye) regarding certain intellectual property matters. It came Dye’s attention that your organization has been manufacturing and/or marketing individual parts integral to the “Matrix” gun and gun bolt design. In particular, Aardvark Paintball Direct offers for sale on the world wide web an Aardvark Bolt Kit, Bolt, Front Wall, Front Can, Stop Plate, Top Hat, Spacer, Rear Wall and a Rear Cap. We believe that these items infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,613,483. Dye exclusively owns all such patent rights. Dye believes your “Matrix” gun, and piston/cylinder patent infringement tarnishes Dye’s reputation and is causing significant goodwill loss. There have been numerous documented cases where Dye Matrix guns were sold and returned with warranty claims with malfunctions directly related to insertion of your company’s parts into Dye’s Matrix gun. Dye will not tolerate this blatant violation of its proprietary rights. Therefore, the purpose of this letter is to put you and your organization on notice of this potential infringement. In this regard, we request that you cease and desist from all manufacturing and/or marketing of any gun bolt parts related in any way to the “Matrix” gun, and in particular parts which are integral to the gun bolt, piston and cylinder. Patent infringement is governed by federal patent law and is a very serous legal matter. If you do not immediately (1) immediately cease and desist making and selling the infringing articles; (2) liquidate all inventory within the next 30 days and document such liquidation to Dye’s reasonable satisfaction, and (3) remove all advertising related to the making and selling of the infringing articles from all media, including the World Wide Web and all print media, we will take legal action in federal court. Our remedies in federal court include obtaining an injunction against you and your
organization, filing and prosecuting a lawsuit against you and your organization, in which we will demand a full accounting of all sales of infringing items and we will seek damages that will include..."



When Airtech/Diablo/ProCaps took over, they sent me a brand new gun. When Gen-E took over distribution, they sent me a brand new gun. When Dye took over, they sent me a lawsuit.
-Lee Kirwan, LeerTech


What’s really interesting about this is the advent of Google Patents. Every patent is easily viewable by anyone with an internet connection. Loading up patent# 5613483 http://www.google.com/patents?id=J-Q...age&q=&f=false will show you exactly the patent that Dye held. This is the Omega mechanical gun created by Lee Kirwan in 1995.

Last edited by Z-man : 06-17-2014 at 01:49 AM.
  #20  
Old 02-04-2010, 07:55 PM
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BonesJackson BonesJackson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: California
Posts: 467
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Lockout Matrix
Producer: Professional Paintball dba FreeFlow
Number produced: ???
Weight (no battery, barrel or ASA): ~ 3lb 6oz


Stock Components
-Blind
-LED board
-Freeflow bolt kit
-PBC LPR
-Centerflag HPR
-2 finger trigger

Made for Ethan Steiner's professional team. Pictured gun is NOT a pre-FreeFlow Lockout.

Last edited by BonesJackson : 02-04-2010 at 08:14 PM.
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