Everything you need to know about an AEG [Master Article]


In order to get you informed on how AEGs work we have decided to create the ultimate guide on this topic that covers everything you need to know in one place. No more browsing through ten different websites and conducting laborous research at night after your kids have gone to sleep. We’re going to go step by step acknowledging everything there is to know about an AEG, how it works, how it’s build and how to upgrade it and discuss any compatibility issues you might run into, such as incorrect cylinder volume in relation to inner barrel length. All in one place!

In order to take up such a grand project and still make it user friendly, we have decided to release this master article with a contents table that will be regularly updated as more articles get published. If you are curious and willing to learn all there is to know about an AEG, feel free to explore the contents table below.

Contents Table

Automatic Electric Gun Explained

Internal Build – Durability and Performance

  • Inside the gearbox
    • Gearbox breakdown – All parts and recommended brands
    • How to ensure air seal?
    • How to shim your gearbox?
    • What gears ratio should I use?
    • How to increase/decrease FPS?
    • What combination of cylinder volume and inner barrel length should I use?
  • Motor
    • What is it?
    • Types of motors and recommended brands
    • What is it?
    • Is it worth it?
    • Recommended brands
  • Batteries
    • What to choose?
    • LiPo vs NiMh

Range and Accuracy

  • Hop-Up Unit
    • How does it work?
    • How to adjust your hop-up?
    • Hop-up rubber/bucking and nub
    • Advanced – Types of Hop
    • How to make a flat hop? [Illustrated Guide]
  • Inner Barrel
    • What is it?
    • Length
    • Diameter
    • Recommended Brands

How does an AEG work?

Understanding the principles

In order to understand how different internal parts affect each other’s performance, we must first understand how an AEG actually operates. You will find this section helpful especially if you are currently facing issues with your AEG for the first time and are keen to delve into the internals and repair them yourself. To begin, AEG uses three types of energy – electrical, mechanical and finally pneumatic.

  • Electrical Energy – this energy is supplied by the combination of electric current and electric potential that is delivered through an electrical circuit by either a LiPo or Nimh battery into the motor.
  • Mechanical Energy – it is the energy associated with the motion and position of an object. This energy is responsible for the motor moving parts inside the gearbox such as gears and the piston.
  • Pneumatic Energy – this energy relates to the power related to pressurized air when the piston is launched through the cylinder to force air out of the nozzle to fire the BB.
Image credit goes to geniestuff.co.uk – check out their store with great products and great prices!

Step by step process

All contemporary airsoft AEGs use a mechanical system inside their gearbox that contains a combination of three gears and a motor to allow a smooth transfer of electrical energy into mechanical energy. This process begins with a simple trigger pull which in effect results in trigger contacts closing and completing the electric circuit from the battery to the motor. The motor then receives power to begin spinning and engages the first (bevel) gear. In order to ensure the gears do not reverse under operation, the bevel gear is blocked by an anti-reversal latch. The first (bevel) gear then engages the second (spur) gear, which subsequently engages the third (sector) gear.

Created by “Cheesehead” on Airsoft Retreat. Above GIF is public domain on AirsoftRetreat.com

What follows is the third (sector) gear meets the piston and pulls it back in order to compress the spring. Simultaneously, a small nub on the sector gear drags the tappet plate back which consequently also retracts the air nozzle towards the cylinder. This allows for the next BB to feed upwards into the hop-up. The tapper plate then returns into its original position and chambers the BB. Finally, as soon as the piston is released by the sector gear, the spring shoots back and launches the piston through the cylinder to force pressured air out of the nozzle and fire the BB. At this point the mechanical energy is then transferred into pneumatic energy.

Final Words

We hope the above has cleared up any confusion about how an electric gun replica works! Please feel free to ask us any questions or leave a comment below!

Project written and edited in collaboration between Wojtek Lawer and Kamil Turecki

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