Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mailbag: Artifact "Red" (Parallel Axis) Milled Flywheel Cage

Recently there has been some buzz about Artifact's new superstock flywheel products and I have been super excited to see what's up with this low cost, high quality stuff. This was the first of the line to show up in a listing, so it was my first order to arrive.

Motors NOT included.

I used BuyChina here and this was the timeframe:
Order placed July 5.
Shipped July 13.
Arrived July 25.

Fairly good, really. I recently placed another order which contains sets of all three models of Artifact flywheels and one of the canted axis (Super-E, the gold anodized one) cage to complete what I need to put the Artifact cage and flywheel products through their paces.

These cages are CNC machined aluminum, much like the DRS Performance product you probably know about. They are one-piece and mount motors with screws as with all other hobby market cages.

The two cages available now are superstock standard, and intended to fit all Stryfe/Rapidstrike cage applications.

Here I have installed a pair of Banshee-130. I didn't happen to use the motor screws that come with the cage, I had some on hand that came with XP180 motors. The stock ones may be too short for certain motor cans such as the MTB Hellcat.

Test fitting in a Stryfe receiver.

One observation here is that the mounting bosses don't locate the cage with all that much precision, there is some play. Other cages fit the bosses like dowel pins and that sets the alignment. We will see what happens with that shortly. One positive of the clearance is that the cause of alignment issues is often the receiver being itself out of tolerance being that it's usually a crappy toy part. We can use that clearance to adjust and shim out problems. However, I am concerned about the potential to NEED shims or adjustment of every build even with a known good receiver and furthermore the potential for a drop or hard hit to knock the alignment out.

Inner barrel length required for these will be different (longer) from a Hasbro cage if you are switching from one of those. You will have to replace your old inner barrel with a new longer one. There is a counterbore about 1/8" deep at the front of the cage to locate the inner barrel.

These parallel axis cages accept standard-design flywheels, such as common Hasbro cylindricals, Workers, BlasterParts, and Artifact's own. This is unlike the DRS Performance cages which use a different center distance and smaller pitch diameter deep-concave flywheels in order to fit the flywheel rims within the standard cage envelope.

However, the Super-E cages are reputed to not accept certain flywheels, notably Artifact's standard flywheels which are of a mild-concave design. This is likely just a clearance issue. Artifact has specific flywheels for that cage, which are one of those I have on order (they appear to be a more heavily truncated version of the same mild-concave design). Worker flywheels are said to fit both Artifact cage models.

The inside surface of the mount sockets is around 0.5mm farther inward toward the access side versus a Hasbro cage. No caliper so I can't get at the mount socket depth or relative motor position, but I suspect the motor is pulled slightly farther inward here and this is likely why Artifact flywheels have zero hub protrusion on the inside unlike most other designs. A bit more clearance for the bearing housing there.

Now this is one of the more interesting bits of the design. The "red" cage, at least, takes a very laissez-faire approach to round control. That bore you see is the same diameter as an inner barrel! Even a Hasbro cage has tighter guide rails, although it does not present a parallel guide profile prior to and during flywheel contact, and this design does (much like other tubular guide systems and like my main Tacmod's prototype guide rail system).

We will see what happens with this concept when I test it, first with cylindrical flywheels and then with Artifact's concaves. Conventional wisdom is that the lack of round positioning will cause havoc with concave systems, but no flywheel profile like Artifact's has been extensively tested yet; the best parallel to them is the BlasterParts flywheel, which has unsatisfactory crush and doesn't make much velocity but otherwise is acceptable and consistent on Hasbro cages.

You can also see the feed ramp in here which is just a nice big chamfer. Simple, should do well enough.


  1. How long will it be until your Artifact flywheels get a review? Will you try a Tacmod with MTB Hellcats and a 3s Monolith pack squeezed in the stock?

    1. Very soon on the Artifact stuff.

      Hellcats are cool, but I prefer 2 cell packs. The next Tacmod iteration, if you could call it that (I only really refer to it as T17) will be a radical departure from all the previous ones, and will still have a 2S battery and XP180 motors on the flywheels.

      A 3S equipped T2/T3 Tacmod is possible with the Monolith 18650 packs but would be really crammed inside.

  2. Would the included screws be long enough for 3240s?

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  4. Hi I need a wiring and switch guide for an XSW kit in a stryfe with cycle control. Can anyone help?