How Are Paintballs Made?
Although it was initially designed for other purposes, paintball is now an important item of recreation. The paintball is made of non-toxic foods and it can be simply described as a dyed capsule, manufactured with the help of complex machines. Many of these work off fully automated processes. The shell of a paintball is the outer layer that holds in the paint-filled center. This hollow shell of the paintball is made by pouring water into a heated mixing bowl. After that, a combination of food ingredients, a preservative and sweetener are added. In order to obtain the shape of the shell, gelatin is used. After that, the contents are mixed and heated for approximately 30 minutes. Later on, they are moved to a 'gel tote' (heated vat). Here the food dye is added while a blender will mix the contents for another 20 minutes or so. In most cases, at the same time the shell is being manufactured, the 'fill' is created (inside of the paintball). The fill is made out of usual non-toxic ingredients like polyethylene glycol, which is the same liquid that you will find in your cough syrup. They use the same wax found in crayons in order to be thickened. The 'feed room' is the place where the fill and the shell mixes come together. In here, these are poured into an encapsulation unit in a lower floor. The gel or shell mix is then spread over a cooling drum which after that makes it into a very thin sheet, also known as 'gel ribbon'. This intense cooling process will harden the gel, allowing it to be molded into the shell of the paintball. The gel ribbon is then pressed into a die which will form one-half of a shell. Two halves are aligned and the fill is injected. That same machine will later on seal these two halves together in order to make one complete paintball. There is a special type of dual-color paintball which is made by using two different color patterns of gel ribbon in the encapsulation machine. Taking into consideration the fact that the new paintballs made are soft, they need to be dried in order to maintain their physical shape. For this reason, the paintballs are sent down a conveyor and after that they are transferred into the tumble dryer which will pre-dry them. After this process is complete, the paintballs are sent through the automatic counting unit. At the beginning, the first paintballs used oil-based paint in order to leave a lasting mark but after the sport became more and more popular worldwide, this type of paint was changed to a water-based one in order to be washable. Nowadays, all of the paintballs are created by using biodegradable, water-based paint so that the clothing can be easily cleaned after a fun day of paintballing. As a fun ending note, Charles Nelson invented the paintball not for the sport, but for the forest industry as it needed something to mark the trails and the tree. After that, the paintball hype began.