Spyder Upgraders FAQ

Please note....Many of the items mentioned in the FAQ are Diamond Lab Products. Since they no longer appear to be in business and we no longer have many of these items in stock, I will need to redo this article as I have the time......

Okay, I'm tossing this article together since lately we've been getting quite a few orders from Spyder owners that really don't know what they are doing when it comes to upgrading their guns. Hey, we all had to learn sometime. Regulators ordered just to discover there is no place to screw it into the gun, etc. Hoses no longer fit on one end, etc. I just have to say this; "bloody Kingman"....make the gun metric with no standardized parts. Gee, even Brass Eagle can use a standard bottomline.....

Air Entry into Gun: Photo shows the hose that runs from the factory bottomline into the body of a standard Spyder, Spyder One, Elite, and even the TL - although on it the hose runs through the front grip. A Hardline is used on the SE's but even the expansion chamber that comes on the gun is a non-standard thread when it comes to "upgrading". Only the Compact and Compact-A have a standard ASA attachment.
I hear all the time - get the TL, it comes with all the upgrades. Well, until you actually decide to change something - then it's toss quite a bit of it into the spare parts box because nothing you buy will fit it.....



Air/Vertical Adapters

Now, if you don't have a Compact or Compact-A you will have to purchase a vertical adapter.

Photo (Above-Left) shows a LAPCO Vertical Adapter on a Spyder One, same for the Spyder Standard. For the SE, Elite, and the TL, something akin to the Bob Long or TASO Assembly shown in (Above-Right) will be required.

Note: the BL unit is designed for use on the Compact with single mounting hole. If you have the older model that uses a screw in either side - you will have to drill a new hole in the body....The TASO unit will fit either model.


Attachments - Regulators and Expansion Chambers
There is really only two, either a Regulator or an Expansion Chamber. Personally, expansion chambers are usually a waste of money but you'll buy one because everyone says you need to. If you underfill 20 oz tank to say 16 ozs and use an anti-syphon tube, it will do the same things unless you like to shoot at the ground quite a bit. The Regulator is today's choice. It will keep a regulated supply of gas flowing into the gun no matter what the tank pressure is doing. No more wide velocity swings. And, contrary to popular belief, they all aid in the control of Liquid Co2; oftimes better than an expansion chamber.

(Above-Left) is the Diamond Lab. These work great on any gun - including a LP Spyder.

(Below-Left) AirAmerica Vigilante. Available with two springs for standard operation or LP applications. Note: Not recommended for Co2 use..

In other words, if you buy one of these, flood the gun with Liquid Co2, then blow the piston O-Ring, don't ask me to feel for you :) - I've warned you.

And Please, get an Anti-Spyphon Tube properly installed in that Co2 tank.


(Below-Right) Palmer Vertical Stabilizer. Overall, the best for Co2 use. Internal o-rings seem to hold up better. The Vigilante sometimes freezes out the piston orings if you can't keep your Spyder from burping when the pressure drops. If the gun is set up properly, this should rarely occur. The Vigilante is much less expensive.


(Below-Left) Palmer Female Stabilizer. These mount and act as a bottomline. Less overall cost since a vertical ASA adapter is not required.
(Below-Right) Typical Expansion Chamber. There are literally dozens on the market. Pick one if you insist.




Hoses and Fittings

Okay, so now we can attach either an Expansion Chamber or Regulator of choice. Oh, but the fun is just beginning. The Reg. or Exp. Chamber is standard thread rather than metric - so how do we attach the old hose? Easy, we don't.... As the photo (Above Left) shows, you'll need an elbow and a new hose....
Image in photo (Above-Right) shows standard 1/8" NPT hose with a Metric Thread Adapter. This Adapter will screw into the Factory Spyder Bottomline, thus completing the least expensive mode of adding an ASA Standard Expansion Chamber or Regulator....

Frames and Bottomlines

Photo (Below) shows a 45 Grip Block. This attaches to a standard Spyder frame using the existing grip screw. It not only converts the standard or plastic 45 frame to an aluminum version, it also allows for standard bottomline attachments. Photo also shows the Angled Bottomline made to align with this particular block.
Base is drilled and tapped for either the factory offset bottomline or any standard WGP/AGD spaced devices. This includes bottomlines, drop forwards, HPA system cradles, etc. Photo (Above) Shows a nice Diamond Lab 45 Double Trigger Frame. These are great. Not only will it give you an oftimes desired two-finger trigger, it also has a "may be" required trigger guard.
New Item! LAPCO Drop Forward

This item is now being produced with the Spyder offset hole pattern so no adapters are required on factory frames. Wroks with any sized Co2 tank and up to most 68 cu in HPA systems.
Diamond Lab Tech Tips: Diamond Lab did an excellent job on these frames. They were about the first to supply them "complete" in order to alleviate the problems associated with swapping your old parts onto a new frame since they often would not fit properly due to Kingman's lack of production consistency. However, on a few occasions, both myself and our customers have had problems with the sears not latching the Striker properly.
Fix: This again, is due to Kingman's lack of consistency in the production of the gun's body. (Above) shows the top edge of the trigger - this as as a forward trigger stop by abuting the gun body. The top surface may require "lowering" in order to permit the trigger to ride further forward, thus allowing the sear to rise into a higher position.

Note: Install the frame. You may probably notice that the gun body will push the trigger back. This is ok. However, it can't push it back so far as to not have any slack before the trigger release engages the sear. In other words, there should be a short "take up" before you feel the trigger touch the sear. If you grind too much off the top of the trigger you will have excess slack. Luckily, in all gun bodies I've seen there is a small hole drilled in the body just above the trigger. If you have too much take up slack then thread a short 8-32 set screw into the hole, adjusting for needed depth.

Diamond Lab Sear:
This part may also present a problem - although I have only heard of it on the TL. If anyone has ever wondered why the factory trigger pull has a 1/2" of travel before it engages, it's again because of the gross inconsistencies in the manufacturing. After marker manufacturers such as Diamond Lab, in order to produce a "tighter" product, cannot possible guess what sloppiness will be needed from one production run to the next....

(Above-Right) Arrow points to where the sear rests on the frame pin. This pin prevents the sear from rotating too far upward in the rear. On all TL's I've seen, along with some others, the rear of the sear does not ride high enough to reliably grab the sear. If you operate the gun manually it catches just fine but when the gun is gassed up, things happen much more quickly. Where the arrow is pointing may require trimming.

Another feature; it includes all of the internals so no need for any type of "trigger job", This baby is short and light, no creep, and little backlash. A gross improvment over the factory trigger. By the time you bought a trigger, had it worked over, spent money on bottomline conversions and the like, this will probably save you money....It's also available in a single finger version at reduced cost. Any 45 grips will work for the most part....

Photo (Above-Right) shows proper way to tap from bottomline. Another 90 degree Elbow is used and it's always nice to have a Quick-Disconnect in case you have to remove the Regulator or Expansion Chamber in a hurry.

Internals

Valves: Shown (Left) are the two best valves going. (Top) is the Diamond Lab Turbo Valve. "Seat" is made into the valve body and is reversable - construction is from stainless steel. (Bottom) shows the AKA Tornado Valve - top of the line but almost three times higher in price. If you want the absolute best, then go with the AKA. However, I use a DL Valve and am very pleased with it's performance.

Comment:
Personally, I do not recommend the AKA valve for use with Compressed Air Systems. It's a real pain trying to pull enough blow-back volumn at the operating pressure of this valve.....The idea is reliability, not how low can you go. An extra 50-75 or so psi won't kill you.

Bolts: (Top): AKA Lightning Bolt. Best if you wish to see just how low, pressure wise, the gun will run at. (Center): Bob Long Cyclone Force II. Excellecnt bolt. (Bottom): Diamond Lab Venturi Bolt. By far the best for less.

The AKA and the Diamond Lab are drilled and tapped in the rear for Rear Cocking Assemblies. The Bob Long Bolts we're getting in these days are pseudo "rear-cocking" capable. They're 8-32 thread rather than 10-32 so redrill and retap if you insist....

Rear Cocking Bolts: (Left): Photo shows the Bob Long Cyclone III Bolt (Nickel Plated) and the new Diamond Lab Rear Cocking Bolts. Gun photo shows the Diamond Lab installed in the gun and the portion that protrudes in order to grasp the bolt to cock the gun. These are basically made for replacements for the TL Series but will work in any Spyder model. Saves money and if you don't care for the looks of the seperate Rear Cocking Units then one of these may be for you.

LPC's - Low Pressure Chambers


Are these necessary? Nope. Especially on a full size Spyder. I can maybe see it on the Compact versions since their valve chambers are much smaller than on the "Regular" Spyder. People at the field will tell you you have to have it because John Doe said so; you'll buy it. At least they're inexpensive.

(Above-Left) shows the Shocktech version. (Above-Right) shows the ACI model. There are quite a few others but they all do the same exact thing so there's no need to spend more than $15.00 for one....

Springs: These must be the most commonly overlooked item in the arsenal to achieve a performance gain. If you're shooting Co2, you often have to cut the main spring in the summer to get the velocity down.
What happens when Winter rolls around? Now the gun won't shoot fast enough. The Maddmann spring sets include 3 main springs. It also includes a lighter valve spring - a must for achieving proper Low Pressure operation. The lighter springs will also prevent much of the low tank pressure "burbing" that likes to blow out those striker orings. Of the majority of items on this page this is a performance "Must Have". Sets also include lighter trigger and sear springs to lighten up that trigger pull.

Barrels
Ok, so another "Must Have" item. For accuracy, efficiency, a proper barrel is especially crucial for Low Pressure applications. If your paint to bore fit is too loose, there's no way enough low pressure gas can build enough push behind the ball to accelerate it to speed. For true LP use you can't use those heavily ported barrels since they vent too much gas in order to lower the sound signature. My only recomendation is the LAPCO and depending on paint most commonly used - I usually suggest the AutoSpirt Aluminum with it's .686 bore diameter. Best all-around would be the BigShot with a .689 ID....Paint seems to be changing these days and I'm having better overall accuracy with the larger bore.


Gauges

Yes, so you insist on having a gauge to impress the guys at the field. They're not accurate, and they're often in the way. (Left) I prefer to "body mount" mine - as shown in the photo. Just drill and tap for a 1/8" NPT. The body is plenty thick enough - just don't run the tap in too deeply or you may have problems sealing the threads.
If the regulator does not have and output pressure port then about the only other way to handle the task is to use a Dual-Adapter as shown in the photo (Right). The only bad thing using this method, in my opinion, is that it makes for a "long" regulator assembly and may collide with some "Drop Forwards".
Velocity Adjusters



Although not a "biggie" in the performance catagory, they do often make things a tad easier. It's a combination of Main Spring tension and Rear Adjuster tension that determines how hard the striker will smack the valve. Which, in combination with Valve Spring tension and input pressure, determines the valve "dwell".....or how long the valve remains open in order to pass the required volumn of gas at it's given pressure....
Often a turn on the rear adjuster will lessen the required input pressure.....everything works together in order to provide the best in performance. These are not just slap on mods that can be expected to perform out of the box.....they require tinkering and adjustment to find just that right combination to provide you with the very best in performance.....


Note: A short, simple lesson in flow dynamics. Most players out there will slap a combination of parts into their respective guns - limited only by their budgets. What they often wind up with is a poor performing piece of equipment. Through lack of experience or not wanting to admit they goofed up, they often have something akin to a slug after spending a ton of money. Myy advice is normally to buy a "done deal", an upgraded piece from a reputable source that specializes in performance Spyders. In a way I really hate to recommend this because I think it is very important that you learn to do these things yourself; because if you ever have a problem, then it should be much easier for you to determine it's source....

Ok, back to the lesson...trigger is pulled, main spring and rear adjuster tension determines how hard the striker hits the valve stem. So, the valve now opens. How far is usually limited by the length of the valve stem protruding out of the valve body. The time the valve stays opens "dwell", is determined by the kenetic energy of the moving mass; weight of the stricker, bolt, etc.

So, if we need to propel a projectile (paintball), we need a given amount of force to accomplish this. The lower the pressure applied, the more volumn of gas is required to do so...if the volumn of gas is passed too slowly then the ball will never accellerate to speed. It's basically a matter of passing the volumn of gas as determined by it's pressure, as quickly as possible....the longer the dwell, the worse the shot to shot consistency becomes (usually always). So, we need to keep the valve spring tension as stiff as possible but still allow the valve to remain open long enough to pass gas :) Also, the longer the dwell, the lower the pressure being applied directly to the ball; since it's expanding as it enters a larger cavity - in this case, the path through the bolt and the "firing chamber". From a technical standpoint this still happens very quickly so it is usually not a concern but I have fired guns that I could pull the trigger faster than the gun can properly cycle at.....that's not good...

On blow-backs, such as the Spyder, we have another concern that doesn't complicate such guns as the AutoCocker. The Spyder requires a volumn of gas to pass through the valve body (AKA Valve) or around the valve stem in order to build pressure in the lower body to push the stricker and bolt to the rear in order to "cock" the gun, preparing it for the next cycle. So, we have the dwell and pressure bit coming into play again. The weaker the main spring, the less pressure is required to cycle the gun. The Maddman valve spring set includes a valve spring that when used with the proper main spring counterpart will allow the gun to properly cycle down below 100 psi.....No more burping full-auto that Low Pressure Spyders are know for.

Please remember this....Most players miss this point.....the idea is not to achieve the lowest possible operating pressure although most seem to think so. It's not something to brag about that you got your Spyder to shoot below 300 psi for bragging rights to your friends; that you turned your gun into a slug. The idea is to find the pressure, that in combination with the selected components, works the most efficiently.


Minimum Recommendations - Best for Less

Spyder Standard Spyder Compact Spyder TL/SE
LAPCO Vertical Adapter
DL Regulator
90 Degree Elbow
New Hose
Metric Thread Adapter
DL Turbo Valve
Diamond Lab LPC (NR)
LAPCO Barrel
MM Spring Set
TASO or BL Compact LPC
DL Regulator
90 Degree Elbow
New Hose
Metric Thread Adapter
DL Turbo Valve
LAPCO Barrel
MM Spring Set
Choice in attaching
Bottomline
TASO or BL Compact LPC
DL Regulator
90 Degree Elbow
New Hose
Metric Thread Adapter
DL Turbo Valve
LAPCO Barrel
MM Spring Set

Recommendations - Better

...Substitutions...
AKA Tornado Valve for Diamond Lab
AKA Lightning Bolt for any other Bolt
Palmer Male Stabilizer for DL Regulator

Recommendations - Best

...Add Ons...
Diamond Lab 45 Grip Frame. Or,
Diamond Lab 45 Grip Block with DL angled Bottomline, or
For the Best Trigger, the complete DL Frame
Hogue or APP Grips
Another 90 Degree Elbow
Quick-Disconnect
6" Hose


"Other" Stuff......

These are all either Performance Upgrades or Cosmetic Upgrades. I haven't even delved into the addition of swapping out the body. The Bob Long Millenium Body was used in the Spyder Scratch Build Project and we're currently underway on another build. The quest for the Ultimate Blowback. I'm not calling it a Spyder since the only Spyder part will be a Striker...perhaps I can find an aftermarket one of those :) The new Project will use an AKA VLM body....it uses Cocker Barrels and Vertical Air Adapters alonf with Angel Feed Adapters. ....Stay Tuned....

For Photos of how the Body is progressing go to the "Jackal Machine Page at:


Cosmetics - Useful and Otherwise

Sight Rails are often useful if you wish to place a sight on your Spyder. The facory sight rail leaves much to be desired since only an occuded eye sight such as the Armson doesn't need to see over the power feed. Photo (Left) shows a typical "Sharkgill" sight rail. How many times have you seen these on guns at your local field but they don't have a sight on them.....
So, these are often used for a looks only item. A good "point" shooter usually doesn't require the use of a sight since it just slows the process of snap shooting quite a bit. Sights can sometimes be helpful trying to hit a dangling foot or elbow protruding from behind that bunker. It's up to you....
Slot Covers

Another nifty Cosmetic Item for those using Top Cocking or Rear Cocking Bolts. These just cover up that unsightly cocking knob slot.
Rear Cocking

Rear Cocking Assemblies? Useful - nah....look cool - you betcha. I use one myself. Not too many bolts accept these without modification. As mentioned above, the Diamond Lab and the AKA Lightning Bolt work great with these.

Drop Forwards
About any standard attachment will fit your Spyder if the frame has been changed. However, since the Spyder Factory Frame is a "One Off" design, someone has finally made a Drop Forward that will fit onto the factory frame and allow you to use your existing bottomline. I prefer other styles myself but this one will save you some money. Downside of this one. Manufacturer drilled the inline holes metric rather than 10-32 standard....If using with a "standard" bottomline, it's best to redrill and retap...
Now's here's a fairly usuful item, fairly new I may add. This is an Eclipse Product that screws onto the factory frame and provides inline holes for standard bottomline and cradle attachments. Cheapest way out to get "standard" parts onto the Spyder Grip Frame.
...Personal Recommendations...

The Spyder winds up being one of the most expensive by the time all the upgrading is done. By the time you've purchased all the parts necessary to even install a Regulator you are almost up to the base price of a '99 AutoCocker. If you have the Spyder, wish to spend a ton of money to see just what she'll do, then that is understandable. We often wind up with more money in these things than any sane person would believe. But remember, the idea is to improve the thing, not just add some parts to impress your Buds at the field. Choose wisely......learn the game, learn to shoot, not just hose the field, this is what will impress others. Thanks for reading this, I hope you got something from it.