When I first started playing paintball, I was very intrested in the technology that went into the creation of markers and other accessories. Now, many years later, I'm a part of that industry and want to teach others as much as possible. This is my plan to help other people become interested in the manufacturing field while at the same time helping paintball as a sport to grow and prosper.
I've spent years scouring the internet for information on this topic, but realized it was useless to keep it saved only on my harddrive. I've organized any pictures, videos, or other information into individual pages for each company. If you have any useful information or corrections please contact me and I will be glad to share your insight. Remember, text commentary isn't as valuable compared to things people can SEE.
The companies below are organized by approximate size and capability of their manufacturing operation.
Smart Parts (Loyalhanna PA, USA)
Dye Precision (San Diego CA, USA)
Ninja Paintball (Crystal Lake IL, USA)
Planet Eclipse UK (Trafford Park MCH, UK)
Leads Metal Products; AKALMP (Indianapolis IN, USA)
Nummech Products (Ann Arbor MI, USA)
Inception Designs (Sewell NJ, USA)
ValveFlow; Vanguard UK (UK)
Niche Paintball (Riverside CA, USA)
BBT; Shocktech (Lansing IL, USA)
Other manufacturers from within the US or Europe:
Custom Products (Gilbert AZ, USA)
Bob Long Technologies; BLAST (Mokelumne Hill CA, USA)
Tippmann Sports (Fort Wayne IN, USA)
Eaton Precision (Sacramento CA, USA)
Crossfire (Kalamazoo MI, USA)
Indian Creed Designs (Nampa ID, USA)
New Designz (Cheshire CT, USA)
Off The Break OTB (USA)
AirGun Designs Europe (Colchester ES, UK)
Freeflow Technologies (New York NY, USA)
Regency Paintball (SE)
Other manufacturers made in Asia:
Getting a start in manufacturing:
In addition to running the Nummech machine shop, my dayjob includes teaching college courses on machining, robotics, and general factory automation at the nearby community college. I started officially teaching in 2009 and have been doing it ever since. Helping others to obtain their start within the manufacturing industry is a large sideeffect of my job for which I don't receive any special bonus outside of personal recognition and gratification. This is the reason behind the Manufacturing in Paintball section of my website.
If you're interested in this topic, I would highly recommend investigating your local vocational school, technical college, and/or any other local resources you may have that cater toward machining, welding/fabricating, robotics, fluid power, industrial electronics, or any other subset thereof. My most successful students often use their hobbies as anchors for relating coursework being learned while taking technical courses in college. For me this was paintball, and it might be the case for you too. For better pragmatism I don't recommend limiting yourself to one particular aspect, instead use your hobbies to branch into other areas you may not have yet considered. For instance, an interest in paintball can easily lead to a more accessible job within the robotics industry due to their heavy reliance on solenoid valves and pressure systems.
Other common easily-applicable hobbies that I often see include firearms, biking/cycling, electronics (raspberry-pi, arduino, etc), RC vehicles of any type, photography, fabrication as an art (especially welding and sheet metal), automotive performance/tuning, and others. Your hobbies and interests might allow the subject matter to be easily-relateable.
The first world nations of the world (North America and Europe primarilly) are in a labor shortage right now, which will likely continue for many years. Bystanders are led to believe that manufacturing is a dead career path. This is demonstrably incorrect and extremely far from reality. The world's reliance on cheap manufacturing is turning poorer nations into environmental disaster zones, leading more and more developers to reach inward for a reliable production chain. If you've read this far then YOU are the exact type of person that can help provide that service, and achieve a high-paying and rewarding career at the same tiem.
Haas CNC Magazine: Haas is the largest manufacturer of machine tools in the US; you will see many Haas machines on my website since they are used extensively in every branch of the manufacturing industry (including paintball). Haas produces a promotional E-magazine called CNC Machining where they showcase machine shops and applications using their equipment. The articles can be somewhat technical without a reference of the project at hand, but nevertheless they are well-written and accompanied with pictures of many items before, during, or after production.
Edgefactor: Makers of high-budget manufacturing videos, specializing in education and marketing for the manufacturing industry as a whole. Most of their work is intended for use by schools and therefore isn't free, but anyone can appreciate the selfless effort put forth to inspire interest in students by watching even the short preview clips available online (Metal and Flesh, Gnarley Metal, Life Changer, etc). The courses I personally teach rely heavily on Edgefactor's video presentations because they protray the subject matter in a very interesting light.
Crash Course in milling, from Glacern: These videos are a great introduction to shop vocabulaty by mixing it with terrific clips of demonstrational metal cutting. The videos were produced by an engineer named Sol, who currently works for a company called Orange Vise. Speaking of which...
Titan America: Titan is the name of a popularized machine shop located in California. The shop is featured in a reality film series which might hopfully become available to view on the internet someday.