Parts of an Ion: (technical information, theory, upgrades, etc)
Ion Clone marker tech (Epiphany, SP8, SP1, IOS, IonXE, Vibe)
Adjusting and Maintaining
Troubleshooting and Repair
Enter the Ion, once one of the cheapest and best performing platforms in the entry-level price range. The Ion is a small and compact single-bore marker which uses only one main moving part (bolt). It is also a fully-electropneumatic design, meaning there is no sear to trip and no springs to tighten. Everything is driven by electronics and a special solenoid valve designed specifically for the gun. The Ion is priced to perform out of the box.
The Ion is a base-model marker thriving from the shadow of the late Impulse, in that you buy cheap and upgrade both the performance areas as well as the cosmetic ones to fully-customize the marker for your personal tastes. It's a stable platform designed for use by any paintball player, anywhere, anytime. Its low cost makes it perfect for the new paintball player. Upgraded performance that comes when you accessorize your Ion with aftermarket products makes it also greeted by professional players as well. For a combination of the two, the serious recreational players will also enjoy the Ion. This marker brings light to everybody playing paintball regardless of the stature or income.
As said, the Ion's bolt is its only moving part. In a sense the marker's bolt is its own valve; when it slides forward to close the breech, air transfer ports within the bolt itself become open to allow the pressurized air to be released through it. In simplest terms, the action of the bolt moving forward actually shoots the marker. If you wish to know how this works in technical terms, read onto the Parts of an Ion page to learn more about how it works. The valve classification used in the Ion is referred to as an electropneumatic, spool valve blowforward; other markers which use a slightly similar design include the Automag (mechanical blowforward), Freestyle (electropneumatic blowforward), Matrix (similar bolt design), and a few others.
If you wish to learn more, move onto the Parts of an Ion pages above.
The low cost and high performance of the Ion is what brings most users to it. Other standard characteristics include...
· Operates with any preset tank using an output above 400-psi.
· Stock operating pressure of 140-200 psi.
· Vertical pressure regulator.
· Electronically-controlled, patented single bore, open bolt action.
· Design employs no external moving parts.
· Maximum rate of fire of 20-bps for the stock model; upgraded Ion can reach 30-bps.
· Stock electronics capped at 17-bps.
· Aluminum construction with interchangeable polymer body "exoskeletons".
· Stock firing modes: semiautomatic, three-shot burst, rebound ramping, and fully-automatic.
· Transmissive (beam-break) Vision eye with internal wiring.
· Smart Parts one-piece stock barrel, Impulse threads.
· Vertical feed body with dual ball detents.
· Stock double trigger with adjustable pull weight, pre-travel, and post-travel.
· Operates on one 9 volt battery, housed in the grip frame.
Ion MSRP is now $225 for the base model alone (at the time of this writing).
The research and design of the Ion was one of the best-kept secrets in the paintball industry to date. Unbenounced to anyone at the time of its release, the Ion had been in development for over one full year before being released in February of 2005. Smart Parts put their full marketing and advertising onto the other new markers, the Shocker and Nerve, so while both of those were being sold and used all over the world, the Ion was quietly being designed and tested in the background the whole time...and nobody was the wiser. And rightly so, too, since the Ion incorporated a completely new body design as well as an entirely new solenoid valve specifically designed by Smart Parts for use in the new marker.
The idea behind this was not only to show that Smart Parts doesn't operate off propaganda and hype, but also so that competing manufacturers wouldn't be able to move to adjust their products so they would compete directly with the new Ion. The Ion delivers great performance for next to nothing when compared to other markers in its price range, and even now (several months later at the time of this writing) the value of nearly every other paintball marker available has gone down as a result of the massive support for the Ion.
The purpose behind the Ion is to put aside the massive price markup that is found throughout the industry, and actually deliver performance for low cost. Not too many other markers have been able to claim the same. The Ion is geared for all players, regardless of budget or standing. The hope is that perhaps other companies will develop their own additional low-cost, entry-level markers as well. From now on, players everywhere will question the thousand-dollar pricetag on markers that cost only a few hundred dollars to manufacture (ie. nearly every other paintball marker in production).
Ion with stock parts; Ion with aftermarket parts (Q-lock feedneck, Freak barrel, Max-Flo MF-I, Pro-touch grips).
All pictures courtesy Smart Parts.