I find it interesting that it uses a pancake/clapper solenoid, but it doesn't trip a sear, to my knowledge. Is this the first time this kind of solenoid has been used in this way?
No. Off the top of my head the Mokal Aura/Valken Proton gun used a pancake solenoid to push a spool.
When we look at solenoids however, a pancake pushing a spool isn't that different from a typical direct acting solenoid. The coil energizes and moves an armature, which is connected to a spool that redirects a flow of air. In this case, the pancake is the coil and armature, and the spool is still the spool. The size of everything is a bit bigger and the whole of the package is no longer in one little self contained unit like a typical solenoid, but it functions in the same way.
This is a MAC 43, a direct acting 3-way solenoid. Notice how it has a coil around the armature, which is directly connected to the spool. The coil energizes, and moves the armature, which moves the spool. Exact same process as the D3fy solenoid setup, just in a self contained and small unit.
Edited by andrewthewookie, 09 December 2013 - 01:43 AM.