What would be the best material with which to print pieces that can withstand a PAINTBALL hit?

What would be the best material with which to print pieces that can withstand a PAINTBALL hit?  

Active Member

Hey all, 

I am looking for the best material for making a paintball loader. As such it will need to be able to withstand a direct hit. Paintballs are around 17mm in diameter, travel at 280fps, and burst upon contact. 


So far, PETG has been satisfactory for very small loaders with 3mm walls, however, when going larger, even when using 4mm walls, PETG is not up for the task if the ball hits parallel to the layer lines or a wide flat surface. 


The part does not need to be totally rigid, but definitely needs a hardness around where PETG is.


So, out of Nylon, ASA, PC, ABS (or any others you can think of), which material do you all think would be best? I currently have these materials on their way, but would like some insight meanwhile.  


Thanks so much in advance!

Posted : 01/07/2020 12:39 am

I would try TPU... 98A  hardmness should be fine!  I have used Sainsmart and there is a prusa profile for using it.  but the price is quite high

more recently I have used 

which is about 1/3rd of the price of Sainsmart...



I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK...
Posted : 01/07/2020 1:03 am
Active Member


Appreciate the reply. 

We've actually already tried TPU. While it certainly can withstand a hit, it flexes so much that the balls inside will break!

Posted : 01/07/2020 1:06 am
Illustrious Member

If all else fails, try Schuerzen. Stand off, replaceable plates of any material should prevent damage from a single hit. Mesh would probably work. Or cover the thing in hedgehog spikes!

Nylon is probably a good choice for the job.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 01/07/2020 3:16 am
Trusted Member

I was just gonna suggest perhaps a double-walled (hard inner and outer) shell with a soft middle.

Maybe also internal structural support. Think a thin cross or triangle-shape to help distribute impact load more evenly.

Posted : 02/07/2020 6:57 pm
Trusted Member
Posted by: @bobstro

Or cover the thing in hedgehog spikes!

😂 That’s actually a great idea, even though it made me laugh at first. But seriously, have you considered making some “spikes” on it, so the balls burst before full impact. That’s if you’re designing it yourself.

Please let us know of any progress you make, good or bad.

Posted : 03/07/2020 4:07 am
Active Member


That's an idea, but a small profile is kind of the main reason I'm designing the loader. I'll update if I make any headway. I've ordered some ASA, 2 types of nylon, and PC for testing. 

Posted : 03/07/2020 4:09 am
Trusted Member


Please update failures as well, it’s as valuable as success.

Good luck!

Posted : 03/07/2020 4:25 am

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