Airsoft bearings

NPB® Bearings is a specialized manufacturer of airsoft bearings and airsoft gun bearings. NPB® Bearings are well known for their quality of craftsmanship and durability.

Ceramic airsoft bearings offer greater load handling than traditional nylon bushings, and lower rotational resistance than either nylon or steel bushings. This in turn, should lead us to a greater ROF and lower trigger response times. I expect these should be a dramatic improvement over the stock nylon bushings, but how much?

Materials and Construction

Technically, these are hybrid ceramic bearings. Hybrid ceramic bearings feature silicone nitride ball bearings inside a steel inner and outer ring. Overall they look to be manufactured well, without any notable blemishes or imperfections that would hinder installation or performance.

Performance

First I just want to fill you in as to why ceramic is better. Ceramic bearings can be made of various forms of ceramic (silicone nitride, silicone carbide, zirconium dioxide, etc.), but in the end they share a common characteristic. Friction is the enemy of efficiency, and ceramic is the weapon to fight it.  Ceramic airsoft bearings have a lower coefficient of friction than steel or even nylon bushings and as such create less heat. That in turn means faster rotation with less energy applied… or greater efficiency.

Silicon Nitride ceramic balls do not have as high a toughness or ductility as steel. But, due to their high strength, stiffness, and microstructural make-up, they are actually much more durable than steel balls. Compare The Material Properties of Silicon Nitride Balls to Steel Balls.

Ceramic balls are >60% lighter, >50% stiffer, >70% smoother, and much, much harder than steel balls. Ceramic balls have >100X better rolling contact fatigue life in comparison to Vacuum Melt 52100 Steel.

Enough of the science lesson and on to the performance…

The bearings all seated easily into place with the exception of one, but that ended up being due to loose tolerances on the Dboys gearbox not the bearing. With the bearings installed and the gearbox shimmed properly it was out to the range for testing.

Before installing the airsoft bearings I had installed a G&P M120 motor and clocked the gun at 17.5 rps on a 7.4v ThunderPower 30C 2250mAh lipoly battery. After installing the NPB® Bearings the performance jumped to a very nice 20 RPS. Seeing an increase of 2 RPS just by putting in bearings is pretty remarkable.  Usually an upgrade like that yields maybe one round per second.

Conclusion

NPB® Bearings makes a beautiful package with an excellent set of bearings inside them. The gains archived from switching from stock nylon bushings to hybrid ceramic ball bearings was incredible. I had expected to see maybe a 1 RPS increase, but it looks as if was underestimated the performance of the ceramic airsoft bearings. I will definitely consider NPB® ceramic airsoft bearings in my future upgrades, and I highly recommend them based on the findings of this test.

6mm Bearings 6mm ABEC-3 or better steel bearings for all chassis that take 6mm bearings or bushings. These bearings come with metal shields, a premium light grease and are ready to install. 3x6x2.5mm (MF63ZZ) or Ceramic 3x6x2.5mm (MF63ZZC)

7mm Bearings 7mm ABEC-3 or better steel bearings for all chassis that take 7mm bearings or bushings. These bearings come with metal shields, a premium light grease and are ready to install. 3x7x3mm (F683ZZ) or Ceramic 3x7x3mm (F683ZZC)

8mm Bearings 8mm ABEC-3 or better steel bearings for all chassis that take 8mm bearings or bushings. These bearings come with metal shields, a premium light grease and are ready to install. 3x8x3mm (MF83ZZ) or Ceramic 3x8x3mm (MF83ZZC)