Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Benjamin Airbow - Missing Accessory

Last spring, I got one of the most fascinating "toys" (which is not really a toy at all, but I still can't think of a better word.)  I'm talking about the Benjamin (Crosman) Pioneer Airbow.  If you found this post by an internet search, you probably already know what the Airbow is, and what it does, and I don't really have anything to add to the product info on the Crosman web site. https://www.crosman.com/airbow

One of the very first things I noticed when I unboxed my Airbow was that the arrow tube is "floated" and sticks out in the front about 4.5" with nothing to protect it from getting bent, dented, scratched, covered in dirt, or any number of other things that would make the Airbow perform poorly or not at all.  Another thing that doesn't seem ideal, is that Benjamin put the air gauge right up on the front of the Airbow.  Besides the fact that you have to aim the Airbow at or near your face to _see_ the pressure reading, the gauge's bezel is only slightly protected on the lower side, but otherwise exposed to anything the front of the Airbow might hit.

At first I didn't worry too much about it, but one of the first few times I tossed the Airbow into the back of my car to take it over to the local archery range, on the way over, someone pulled out in front of me, and I had to stomp the brakes to keep from hitting them.  The Airbow was in the Benjamin soft case (shown in the pictures) but the whole thing went sliding and stopped against the back of my seat.  Luckily it was oriented such that the stock end hit the seat, but if it had been the other way, I'm almost sure the arrow tube, the gauge, or both would have been damaged.

That's when I decided to put my CAD skills and my 3D printer to work and make something to guard the front of the Airbow without having to buy an expensive and bulky hard case for it.  After I made it, I started thinking that it would also be much better protection for the sensitive, exposed parts of the Airbow while it was being hoisted up into a tree-stand or just carried through brush to a hunting spot.  Transporting a bow or rifle into the field in one of those bulky, heavy hard-cases is not my idea of fun.

By the way, hunting with the Airbow isn't really an option where I live because the Airbow isn't approved for hunting any kind of game in my state, but I'm still hoping that will change.  Or, I may travel to a neighboring state where they have approved the Airbow for hunting.

Most of the time, I wouldn't even share an idea like this, because I would assume I'm the only one who thinks the problem really needed solving.  However, I suspected that I might not be the only one who had these concerns about the Airbow, so I posted a short video clip on YouTube to show what I had done to "fix" it.  As it turns out, several people who have Airbows, and have found my video, actually did have the same worries about the arrow tube and the air-pressure gauge.

Some of those people have requested that I make an Airbow Guard/Cover for them.  So, I did some digging to find out how much it costs, for comparison purposes, to have a 3D printing service make the parts.  I checked on https://www.treatstock.com/ and found several companies that, based on reviews, probably have some level of competence.  Many of them charged close to $80, which I thought was a little too much.  Shipping one of these things within the contiguous U.S., via UPS, is just a bit over $10.  With that as a basis, and considering the time and material costs, I decided that it would be worthwhile to make one for $50, so with shipping (to the "lower 48") that would total $60 (unless you're in a UPS "Extended Area" which costs about $8 more to ship, so $68 total).  I could also ship one elsewhere if the requester wanted to pay $50 + actual shipping costs.

I can tell there's some interest based on the YouTube video, so I'm posting this "blog" as another way Airbow owners might be able to learn about the Airbow cover I made.  I also wanted to tell a little more of the story behind it (hope I didn't rattle on too long).  I'm not really set up to mass produce these things, but I can make one or two a week.  If you are interested in having one of these, just send me a message at airbowcover @ liveintellect . org (remove the spaces) and we can work out the details.

Here's the YouTube video, if you're interested...

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