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Palmer's Micro Rock
by Bill Mills
While Glenn Palmer is well known for his custom airsmithing, he's probably even better known for the Rock regulator. The Rock was one of the first aftermarket accessories for the Worr Game's Product Autococker. Glenn took the stable and adjustable regulator he'd been building into his custom Typhoons and Hurricanes, and sold it as a replacement for WGP's stock non-adjustable pneumatics regulator.
The Rock became so popular that "Rock" is often used as a generic term for a 'cocker's pneumatics reg, regardless of who makes it (and now, many companies make them), and hand adjuster knobs for regulators are typically called "Rock knobs." The Rock was followed by the Mini Rock, in a slightly smaller package, and now the Micro Rock, in a package that is definitely smaller.
The original Rock had to handle straight CO2 tank pressure being fed into it, so it not only needed to handle that level of fluctuation but it also needed a relief valve to let pressure out if the CO2 pressures spiked too high in the hot sun. Modern Autocockers are rarely set up on CO2, instead using double regulated compressed air as their standard power source. This meant that a lot of what was inside the Rock wasn't really needed anymore.
By ditching the relief valve and further refining the reg deal and piston assembly, Palmer was able to build a new Rock that was both smaller and lighter.
The Micro Rock features other improvements as well. With the new design, it can be disassembled without any tools. The regulator body is a single piece of aluminum, rather than a tube with a cap in the front like the original Rock. The rear of the regulator screws into the body with hand pressure, and caps the adjuster disk, mainspring and piston disk. The new internals are literally that simple.
Outside of the cap, the double 1/8" NPT connector that mounts the regulator to the paintgun also holds the regulator valve and seal in place along with the spring that pushes them against the piston disk.
In addition to easy access, the new regulator parts have their own seals. There is an o-ring on the double NPT, and on the hose barb that screws into the side of the Micro Rock to route the low pressure gas to the 4 way valve. For users who have ever dealt with the older style flat disk seals squishing out around a barb and leaking, this new captured o-ring seal represents a great improvement.
Swapping out a Micro Rock for an older reg is a fairly straightforward procedure. The project begins with taking off the old regulator. First the pneumatics line from the reg to the 4 way needs to be removed. Then the hose barb needs to be unscrewed from the reg and the reg removed from the pneumatics block.
The NPT connector then gets screwed into the pneumatics block ('cocker side threads coated with thread sealant or PTFE tape first). Putting this on first, rather than having to wrench in the tight gap between the reg and the block makes installation easy going.
With the reg pin, it's seal and spring stacked into the NPT connector the Micro Rock body screws on, hand tight against the connector's o-ring. The regulator body should be twisted to an angle that will put the hose barb in a position that is well protected (i.e. not out to the side where a loop of hose will get ripped off on brush).
The hose barb screws into place, also hand tight. It is important not to over tighten it with a wrench, to avoid stripping out the short section of threads in the regulator body.
With the hose reattached between the reg and the four way, the 'cocker is ready to go. All that is left is adjusting its output with a hex wrench in the adjuster screw on the front. Screwing the adjuster in increases pressure while backing it out decreases pressure. Higher pressures provide faster, more reliable 'cocking (unless they are too high leading to leaks in the four way and blown hoses), while lower pressures reduce the risk of the bolt pinching a ball in the breech. Pneumatics reg pressure is definitely a personal taste setting.
On the field, the Micro Rock provides
the same solid performance Rock users are used to. There were no
real performance differences noted between the Micro Rock and the original
Rock that it replaced for testing. The real changes simply came in
a more compact front end.