Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Quick Review: Artifact Gen 2 Plastic Flywheels

Some time back, Artifact released a new wave of plastic flywheels. As I missed my chance to get more flywheels the previous time they were available, I quickly jumped on getting four pairs this time around. Shortly afterwards they ran out of stock, however they are currently available from Monkee Mods. Given I quite liked the previous Artifact plastic flywheels even with all their flaws, I was very much looking forward to receiving these Gen 2 wheels to test out.
Note that while the G1 wheels were available in both "full" and "truncated" forms, the G2 wheels were only ever available in this particular shape.

Like the G1 wheels, the G2 wheels have a minimum diameter of 34mm, slightly wider than stock flywheels.
My G2 wheels all weighed in between 5.1g and 5.4g on my small scale. I paired them up according to weight afterwards.
G2 wheel next to a stock flywheel, I believe from a Stryfe.
Here's a G2 wheel (top) next to a truncated G1 wheel (bottom). While they have the same minimum diameter, and I believe similar curvature, the G2 wheel has a much larger curved surface area than the truncated G1 wheel. Note also that the G2 wheel is at its widest, a little wider than the truncated G1 wheel.
Here's a G2 wheel (top) next to a full G1 wheel (bottom). While they have a very similar contact surface area, of note is the larger chamfered top edge of the G2 wheel, which is very narrow on the G1 wheel. Dimensionally, they turn out to be around the same diameter, with the G2 wheel being slightly taller.
These shots give a better comparison of the G2 wheel (left) and full G1 wheel (right).

The Artifact G2 flywheels work perfectly in their red flywheel cage, and with a little trimming can fit in stock flywheel cages as well, in this case a Stryfe. More trimming is needed than for a truncated G1 wheel however. It seems that the G2 wheel may have been designed exclusively for Artifact's flywheel cages.

Muzzle velocity data can be found on the "Artifact G2 Wheels" page in this document. I was getting results roughly comparable to truncated Artifact G1 wheels, around 130fps with heavily used gen 3 grey Koosh.
Compared to Artifact G1 flywheels, the G2 flywheels are roughly the same weight, and are also a little variable in weight. However, I found G2 flywheels to be much more round and consistent shape wise, and so produce a much cleaner and more harmonious noise when spun up. I found them to also be much more difficult to physically deform than the G1 flywheels. Additionally, I felt like the G2 wheels shot more consistently in terms of dart flight path, though this is purely anecdotal and muzzle velocity is similarly variable. The comparable weight leads to a slightly increased spin-up time compared to stock flywheels, though with good motors this is largely unnoticeable anyway.

I am pretty happy with the results I'm getting out of the Artifact G2 flywheels. They are currently serving in my two most used blasters (Bullpup RS and Stryfe) and have performed admirably in a number of MHvZ events. Nowadays however, there is a larger variety of aftermarket plastic flywheels, including (but not limited to) Hooligans and CC Cyclones, the former of which I have a set on the way. Furthermore, recent flywheel developments such as the Open Flywheel Project have made it much easier to achieve good flywheel muzzle velocity with a variety of aftermarket flywheels and setups.
Artifact G2 wheels are quite a good product, and have worked very well for me, however I would like to reserve final judgement until trying out the other smooth plastic flywheels on the market. The weight variance is an annoyance as it requires matching a bunch of flywheels together to form the most balanced pairs. As mentioned previously I have a set of Hooligan flywheels on the way, and while I would love to also test out ContainmentCrew's Cyclones, there is no Australian supplier and shipping from the US for a pair of those puts the total cost up to about 40AUD, which is way more than I want to pay for a single flywheel set.

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