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GeckoSub Mirage Evo - And Adventures in 3D Printing Speargun Parts

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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

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Jun 24, 2008
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Maybe a more slippery plastic for the line release lever?
My friend only has one kind of filament (ST-PLA) but I took a Stanley knife to it and removed a thin slice of material where the trigger meets the line release. This removed the layer line ripples and now it’s almost as slippery as Delrin.

In general with 3D printing, if you have your extrusion parameters set correctly (e.g. not under extruding) and you run your temps as high as your filament and design will allow you, you actually have very good fusing of the layers - but because of the Michelin Man ripples on the surface it might not look very homogenous. But once you cut into the part, it should be very solid and smooth.
As for the temps, if you design your parts with minimal overhangs, then you can turn the temp up and the part cooling fan down - which will give you stronger parts.
When I first started this project, I spent weeks testing a particular filament to find the best settings and kept tuning them over time and while it is tedious work, you learn a lot.
For 3D printing peeps out there who are looking for more info on how to get the most strength out of your prints, there's a Youtube channel run by a young German engineer which has really great content and testing. The vast majority of 3D printing content on youtube is just about decorative stuff, but Stefan is all about structural issues. Well worth a visit - just ignore him trying to find his inner anchorman voice...;-)
 
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landshark sa

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For 3D printing peeps out there who are looking for more info on how to get the most strength out of your prints, there's a Youtube channel run by a young German engineer which has really great content and testing. The vast majority of 3D printing content on youtube is just about decorative stuff, but Stefan is all about structural issues. Well worth a visit - just ignore him trying to find his inner anchorman voice...;-)
Thanks for the link, some really useful info there.

Although work commitments have been keeping me from spending much time with my 3d printer, I have done a few prototypes which I'm keen to take further.

Still stuffing around with speargun handles... I made this first version which fits my hand really well but feedback from other guys are the support flare is bit aggressive:

handle_v1_1.JPG


handle_v1_2.JPG


handle_v1_3.JPG


So I knocked up another design which is more generic:

handle_v2_2.JPG


handle_v2_1.JPG


I'm still not 100% happy with it so may end up with with something in between the two. In terms of strengthening the handle I initially used your method of sucking resin into the void of the handle under vacuum. I was unable to get it completely filled so I'm now sticking to creating two sides filling each with resin and then joining the two halves.

handle_v2_3.JPG


Also designed a roller head which I'm keen to retrofit on one of my broken wooden roller guns. Printed with wet :censored: filament so the quality isn't great but the proof of concept is positive so after refining the design a bit I'll move ahead with installing it. The idea is fit the head and then wrap everything in carbon fiber.

muzzle.JPG
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

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Jun 24, 2008
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Thanks for the link, some really useful info there.

Although work commitments have been keeping me from spending much time with my 3d printer, I have done a few prototypes which I'm keen to take further.

Still stuffing around with speargun handles... I made this first version which fits my hand really well but feedback from other guys are the support flare is bit aggressive:

View attachment 55312

View attachment 55313

View attachment 55314

So I knocked up another design which is more generic:

View attachment 55316

View attachment 55315

I'm still not 100% happy with it so may end up with with something in between the two. In terms of strengthening the handle I initially used your method of sucking resin into the void of the handle under vacuum. I was unable to get it completely filled so I'm now sticking to creating two sides filling each with resin and then joining the two halves.

View attachment 55318

Also designed a roller head which I'm keen to retrofit on one of my broken wooden roller guns. Printed with wet :censored: filament so the quality isn't great but the proof of concept is positive so after refining the design a bit I'll move ahead with installing it. The idea is fit the head and then wrap everything in carbon fiber.

View attachment 55319
Well done! Thanks for sharing these:)
Personally, I don’t mind the big support flare. Not on a long gun anyways. On shorter guns you might end up shooting into caves and holes so might need to hold the handle at a weird angle, e.g. a bit behind you and flare is counter productive for that.
As for the resin impregnation under vacuum, I do use a thinner resin made for infusion for that which might help.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

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Jun 24, 2008
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Resin Printers and Tough Resins - Early Thoughts
I just wanted to share my thoughts on resin printers AKA MSLA/LCD printers which recently have become very affordable.
Resin printers' claim to fame is their very high resolution - it is not uncommon to print with 0.05mm layer height whereas 0.2mm is considered on the fine end for a filament printer. This high resolution gives resin prints their very fine details and smooth surfaces - not far off injected parts.
So, why didn't I buy one of these when I first started looking into 3D printers? Well, resin printers were still a tad expensive but worse, the different resin offerings all seemed very brittle and I didn't trust that I could make strong enough parts. So, it was a no go back then and I got myself a "classic" filament printer instead.

But in the past six months or so, a bunch of Chinese manufacturers have gone head over heels into this market and you can now get your hands on a resin printer for about USD 250-300 and equally important there are "tough resins" coming out, too. One that continuously gets mentioned is the Siraya Blu which seems to best PLA and PETG in many tests and sometimes ABS, too. The resins themselves are coming down in price, too. E.g. Siraya Blu is about USD 50 for 1kg.
That coupled with the fact that resin printers have such high resolution that I could probably get smooth o-ring bores in-print with little to no need for secondary machining means I am now seriously considering buying one.
I have seen one mentioning that the resins are quite heat resistant, too. I would expect them to be very accurate, too but would need to research that a tad more.
Finally, I would think resin parts are pretty much 100% homogeneously fused, so the porosity issues I had with my 3D-printed air gun parts leaking through the plastic would hopefully be gone if switching to a resin printer.

On the flip side is the fact that the process is very messy - and that uncured resins may lead to all sorts of potential health issues. Also, the printers are noisy. It's not the type of printer you want to have in a small apartment. Also, you need to add some additional "hardware" like containers and IPA for cleaning the uncured resins off of the parts. E.g. some of the more advanced users seem to be using ultrasonic cleaners, so there's a bit of extra expense there. The parts also need to be post-cured under UV lights - and at least one user reported that curing under elevated temps (in his example 60˚C) make the parts a lot stronger, so a heated UV curing chamber should be considered for structural parts. Again, an added expense.

The build volume is rather small as most of these printers are based of off the same 5.5'' LCD screens, so a normal build volume is around 115 x 65mm in X and Y and then the Z differs a little between brands but is often around 150mm. You can get larger LCD resin printers, but the offerings are still few and instead of paying 300 bucks, you are looking at USD 1400 - 1800. But I suspect the bigger printers will come down in price fairly fast, too.
That said, a part size of 115x65x150mm is still plenty big for the majority of parts I would print for airguns. For example, bulkheads are ø38mm diameter and perhaps 50-60mm tall and nose cones just a few mm bigger in diameter.
Very much as an aside for now, if it is true that a cured resin part can stand a fair amount of heat, then I would consider making molds in resin for carbon fiber parts, and that might be one such use scenario where a bigger printer could come in handy.

There's a lot of info to be had on Youtube about the process and what to consider if thinking of getting one. Often, it is mentioned that a resin printer should perhaps not be your first printer but I think that's most often spelled out as a lot of potential users would be younger people. I think if you are a tad techy, have the space needed and the discipline to take the safety issues seriously, then it would probably still be very doable even for 3D-printing beginners.

The Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon are two out of a handful of printers that often gets mentioned as a good buy, so let's look at some pics of those two.
ELEGOO MARS.jpg


All of these printers pretty much look, operate and perform the same.
As mentioned, in this price class, they also tend to have almost the same build volume (with a few exceptions). I grabbed some frames from a comparison video where the creator showed the largest parts an Elegoo and an Anycubic Photon could print:
Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 18.21.27.png


Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 18.22.13.png


As for test results for the tough resin (Siraya Blu) here's a video by the German engineer guy whom I mentioned in a previous post:

I am not 100% sure, but I think in an earlier video of his, he found that for filament prints, he didn't gain much by printing solid parts, so his test parts are now done with infill. And he also did the resin parts with infill. Here are some screen grabs of his test results:
Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 11.10.41.png


So, in Stefan's test, the tough resin is less strong that PLA and about the same as PETG.
Impact wise, he gets these results:
Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 11.11.19.png


Discount PP which is extremely ductile and though the resin doesn't get close to ABS, it still beats PLA and PETG handily in this area.

But I also found a test by Phil G who printed the same hooks solid in resin vs. infilled when using filament and in his results, the resin prints stand out way more:

Here's a screen grab of the result of Phil's test results:
Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 11.03.07.png


What's interesting here is is that the solid resin test hook withstood 140kg of pull which was way higher than any of the filament parts and it had about the same impact strength as PETG which is known to be fairly tough and perhaps slightly ductile (not brittle). I am not sure how much we can compare Phil's and Stefan's tests but either way, I think the Blu resin looks very interesting. And remember, this is still very early days. So far, the emphasis has been on detail rendition for figurines (think Dungeon and Dragons and Baby Yoda) as that is what is perhaps most often printed on these machines, but I think other resin makers will start making tough resins soon:)

To end this long write-up on a more practical note, one recent part that would have been nice to make on a resin printer was the plastic line release I printed a few posts back. It's small enough to easily fit on the build plate and I would expect to be able to really round the edges in print, hold the tolerances of the holes for the pin and resetting spring and do very little post processing on the parts. Actually, cured resin is supposed to sand really nicely so that's an added bonus. If printed in the tough resin and cured properly, I would think it would have come out stronger than the PLA parts.
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

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Resin Printed Line Releases - I Will Be Trying It Out
My recent thoughts about resin printing made me try to order some line releases from a so-called 'print farm' which is a sort of mini factory that you can mail your designs to and then receive prints back a little while later. These are all over the world but I tried one in China and my prints (parts) are being brought to the Philippines where I am freediving these days.
I choose to have line releases made as the parts are small, the tolerances don't need to be as dead on as for bulkheads and nose cones and it was cheap.

I finessed my previous design a little as with resin prints, you should be able to get away with some curvature that might not work in filaments prints. Here's the design that comes closest to the original, with space for the return spring. I made the rear face of the release, where the line is sitting, as a half sphere which might lead to less sharp kinks in the line with extended use:
GECKOSUB_EVO_MIRAGE_484_800PIX.JPG


(I also made a version without the cut-out for use without the spring - in case the hollowed-out ones are too fragile.)

Furthermore, since I am shooting my old One Air a bit these, I designed two options for that gun, too:
ONE AIR LINE RELEASE_1200PIX.JPG


Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 15.28.27.png


I should have these in hand tomorrow or the day after and will post an update then.
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

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Resin Printed Line Releases - The Parts
I am pretty sold on resin prints already, I think...
At least from just receiving them today and mounting them on the guns. The finish of the parts is quite incredible. I can see what the Dungeons and Dragons type people are all so stoked about. Now, two things; I don't have calipers with me, so I can't check how close the parts hold tolerances and though I specified that I wanted these printed in a tough resin, I don't know the specs of the resin, the print farm uses. But let me get back to that in a bit and instead look at the parts now:
GECKOSUB_EVO_MIRAGE_485.JPG_1200PIX.JPG


The two line releases on the top are for the Evo handle and the two on the bottom are for the One Air.
Next up is (from top down): the original line release in metal, then a filament printed one from a few weeks back (PLA) and the white resin printed part:
GECKOSUB_EVO_MIRAGE_486.JPG_1200PIX.JPG


The discoloration is from handling the part and a slight bit of sanding. BTW, the resin sands very nicely. Much, much better than any filament I have tried (HIPS sands well, but is is not easy to print).

And here two guns with new releases:
GECKOSUB_EVO_MIRAGE_487.JPG_800PIX.JPG


(The reason the One Air needed a new release is that the original metal one is way too short for three wraps of line)

Now, the only slight hickup so far is that the holes for the pins were slightly undersized, but for some reason internal bores often are in 3D printing. But I just drilled them out to size, no biggie.

As for the tolerances, I did a bit more research and how well a printer holds tolerances often has to do with how long each layer is exposed for. Too long and the part "grows bigger" and vice versa. But it seems this can be dialed in very precisely. This was my experience with my filament printer, too (that calibrating well for each type of filament paid off nicely) and I think given how resin printers only have one axis moving, there's much less chance of mechanical slop creeping in. The print farm specs +/-0.1mm and I think it should be fairly easy to hold the same on the cheaper resin printers with a bit of calibration of exposure times and sticking with one good resin.
Speaking of resin, as I mentioned, I don't know how tough this one is, but since the Siraya Blu has tested well compared to filaments and with the print quality I have seen in these parts, I think resin printing could be a viable option for the future for DIY parts. The only thing I am uncertain of is how well the tough resin hold up to days and months under the sun. I have seen the internet selfproclaimed 'experts' say parts will keep curing under UV and go more and more brittle - and I have seen the opposite statement that once fully cured, the parts will stand up to continued exposure better than a lot thermoplastics...

BTW, in case you are wondering what this cost, it was laughably affordable. I paid USD 4.31 for all four parts incl. express postage and it was in the hands of my friend 2.5 days after I mailed off the drawings. I don't suspect print farms in the West to be anywhere near as cheap and the price was also so low since the parts are tiny. E.g. a nose cone priced out at around USD 20. While that is still doable if you are certain of your design and the tolerances it's not great for trial and error prototypes. But if nose cones and similarly sized parts are USD 20-30, an entry level resin printer with 1kg of resin pays for itself in less than 20 prints. That's a piece of math that almost makes it certain, that I will be getting one of these.
 
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ECK

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Resin Printed Line Releases - The Parts
I am pretty sold on resin prints already, I think...
At least from just receiving them today and mounting them on the guns. The finish of the parts is quite incredible. I can see what the Dungeons and Dragons type people are all so stoked about. Now, two things; I don't have calipers with me, so I can't check how close the parts hold tolerances and though I specified that I wanted these printed in a tough resin, I don't know the specs of the resin, the print farm uses. But let me get back to that in a bit and instead look at the parts now:
View attachment 55408

The two line release on the top are for the Evo handle and the two on the bottom are for the One Air.
Next up is (from top down): the original line release in metal, then a filament printed one from a few weeks back (PLA) and the white resin printed part:
View attachment 55409

The discoloration is from handling the part and a slight bit of sanding. BTW, the resin sands very nicely. Much, much better than any filament I have tried (HIPS sands well, but is is not easy to print).

And here two guns with new releases:
View attachment 55410

(The reason the One Air needed a new release is that the original metal one is way too short for three wraps of line)

Now, the only slight hickup so far is that the holes for the pins were slightly undersized, but for some reason internal bores often are in 3D printing. But I just drilled them out to size, no biggie.

As for the tolerances, I did a bit more research and how well a printer holds tolerances often has to do with how long each layer is exposed for. Too long and the part "grows bigger" and vice versa. But it seems this can be dialed in very precisely. This was my experience with my filament printer, too (that calibrating well for each type of filament paid off nicely) and I think given how resin printers only have one axis moving, there's much less chance of mechanical slop creeping in. The print farm specs +/-0.1mm and I think it should be fairly easy to hold the same on the cheaper resin printers with a bit of calibration of exposure times and sticking with one good resin.
Speaking of resin, as I mentioned, I don't know how tough this one is, but the Siraya Blu has tested to well compared to filaments, that with the print quality I have seen in these parts, I think resin printing could be a viable option for the future for DIY parts. The only thing I am uncertain of is how well the tough resin hold up to days and months under the sun.

BTW, in case you are wondering what this cost, it was laughably affordable. I paid USD 4.31 for all four parts incl. express postage and it was in the hands of my friend 2.5 days after I mailed off the drawings. I don't suspect print farms in the West to be anywhere near as cheap and the price was also so low since the parts are tiny. E.g. a nose cone priced out at around USD 20. Which is still doable if you are certain of your design and the tolerances. But not so OK for trial and error prototypes. But if nose cones and similarly sized parts are USD 20-30, an entry level resin printer with 1kg of resin pays for itself in less than 20 prints. That's a piece of math that almost makes it certain, that I will be getting one of these.
I take off my hat for your perseverance and work.
These works look very good.
Two copies of which have a purpose, one will be broken for the test?
What brand of resin?
How much did this work cost?
I completely approve this new path.
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

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I take off my hat for your perseverance and work.
These works look very good.
Two copies of which have a purpose, one will be broken for the test?
What brand of resin?
How much did this work cost?
I completely approve this new path.
I actually didn't print the white parts. I sent the drawings to a "shop" to make them print it. It was very cheap, only USD 4, but the shop is in China and the parts very small - that's why it is so cheap. But sadly, I don't know what brand of resin they use.
I think I will buy a printer of this type in a few months time, then I can test more precisely.

And yes, I agree - I think this "new" type of printer is very intresting, especially since stronger resins seem to be available now.
 
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ECK

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You infected me with this idea again. It is very tempting to do the details of the house. But I do not know how to live at home with a printer. When my wife found out about my plans, she was strongly against it.

How do you solve this problem?
 
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Zahar

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You infected me with this idea again. It is very tempting to do the details of the house. But I do not know how to live at home with a printer. When my wife found out about my plans, she was strongly against it.

How do you solve this problem?
Lover! ;)
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

shooter & shooter
Jun 24, 2008
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A filament (FDM) Printer is not much of a nuisance. In fact, mine is in my bedroom. The sound of the stepper motors moving can be a bit weird but it depends on the driver chips. Some are better at making the steppers move more silently. The cooling fans can be a little loud but again, better ones are more quiet.

As for the resin printers, from what I read, a lot of the resins are smelly and may even be harmful so it’s best to keep that type of printer in a separate room with good ventilation. Also, the LED lamp that does the exposure needs a lot of cooling to resin printers tend to have a bigger, more noisy fan. Furthermore, resin prints need to washed in alcohol and then post cured with UV light after they come off the printer, so there’s more messy work than with filament printers.

There are some very good videos on YouTube about the hassles of resin printers and what to be aware of before buying one.

Remember that 3D printers are only really useful if you can (or learn how to) draw your parts in 3D CAD software. I have taught myself (with the help of YouTube) to use Fusion360 which is an amazing program. So far it’s been free but that might change in the future.

I also want to emphasize that it takes some days (maybe a few weeks) of trial and error to understand how the printers really work and identify why things sometimes don’t print well but with a little bit of technical understanding I think it’s well within the capability of most people.

The prints themselves can also take a few hours to finish so please don’t expect the print or learning process to be super fast;-)


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popgun pete

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How these do printed parts hold up in water, as in do they expand? Some plastics do and in some cases changed tolerances destroyed the reputation of the product with triggers jamming, e.g. the "Pelaj" speargun. Admittedly the tolerances should not be such a problem with a loose fit item like a line release finger. Also although not subjected to much load you don't want an accidental bump snapping the line release finger off if impacted from contact with another object.
 
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ECK

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Thanks for the link, some really useful info there.

Although work commitments have been keeping me from spending much time with my 3d printer, I have done a few prototypes which I'm keen to take further.

Still stuffing around with speargun handles... I made this first version which fits my hand really well but feedback from other guys are the support flare is bit aggressive:

View attachment 55312

View attachment 55313

View attachment 55314

So I knocked up another design which is more generic:

View attachment 55316

View attachment 55315

I'm still not 100% happy with it so may end up with with something in between the two. In terms of strengthening the handle I initially used your method of sucking resin into the void of the handle under vacuum. I was unable to get it completely filled so I'm now sticking to creating two sides filling each with resin and then joining the two halves.

View attachment 55318

Also designed a roller head which I'm keen to retrofit on one of my broken wooden roller guns. Printed with wet :censored: filament so the quality isn't great but the proof of concept is positive so after refining the design a bit I'll move ahead with installing it. The idea is fit the head and then wrap everything in carbon fiber.

View attachment 55319
The handle looks especially good.
But how will it work in water? Or when the glove is on the hand?
I would like to draw your attention to such a solution by Sporasub and OMERAirbalete




They are probably siblings.
This solution allows you to split the handle into two parts.
1. The main one is the “pistol frame”
2. Replaceable grip pad itself.

Part number 1 is easy to model.
Part number 2 can take many forms.
Part number 2, you can try to print or sculpt with your hands.
 
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popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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You can use edit and delete if you want to get rid of the doubling up, but it is not necessary. Many guns such as the Mares pneumatic guns use a post on the rear handle or a hollow core over which a grip cover (part 61) is fitted, unfortunately Mares don't seem to offer any variation in the grips themselves except for changing the colour!
Cyrano detail.jpg
 

ECK

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In fact, these pads are also very uncomfortable. It is impossible to hold the gun correctly





But this overlay is easier to remake than the whole handle
 

ECK

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It’s bad that there is no choice. But it’s good that you don’t have to redo all the parts. Therefore, I did so.


 
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ECK

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It’s very convenient to shoot with such a handle



 
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ECK

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For my labors, I was awarded the most accurate shot in the world. :) :) :)
 
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Diving Gecko

Diving Gecko

shooter & shooter
Jun 24, 2008
1,601
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Shanghai
Yes, I have the same handle on my One Air and also on a Cayman handle, more or less. And I like the basic idea of being able to change out the grips. In fact, if I ever build a whole handle myself some day - the idea was to be able to switch out custom grips;-)

Nice shot, btw!:)


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