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Anyone done homemade ice tools?
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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Jan 21, 2012

I am at a university where I have a friend running the composites lab. Basically that means access to carbon fiber, fiber glass, and kevlar tow, vacuum pumps, resin, ovens. I was wondering if anyone has experience making their own ice tools, specifically composite tools.

I was thinking of either buying Nomic or Grivel picks and building the shaft from there. The Grivel X-Monster would be easy to copy because it's a flat shape. I think that a tubular shaft would be a more complex project than waterjetting something out of a flat sheet of CF. The Nomic would be a cool design just because it is such nice tool. I was thinking of something like two flat sheets of carbon fiber on either side of the pick with some foam or cork in the middle and maybe one layer of kevlar around the whole thing for durability.

My early plan is to make something like 5 tools. Two pairs to use and one to pull test to failure. I would appreciate any inputs or important considerations before embarking on this project.


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By Adub
Jan 21, 2012

I'm not for certain but If you make a flat sheet of CF for a shaft I feel your in for a big problem. It will be to flimsy and chances are a side load will flex and shatter the shaft. A tubular design like BD cobras is tubular for a reason. You may be able to create some sort of triangular shaft (Hollow is important). Maybe some sort of I-beam shaped shaft with reinforcement risers stabilizing the flanges of the shaft. I would definitely contact an engineer before making flat sheet shafts of carbon fiber.

I am not an engineer. I was a steel erector for a long time, I also have a small background in fiberglass and mech. engineering. The above is just a first glance guess at what I see as potential problems and or solutions. I am also sure some of the MP wizards will be in here putting some hard facts against or for what I have said.

Anywase good luck and keep us all posted. I would love to see what you come up with...

If you have access to that much CF you should make awesome CF helmets! I need a helmet...


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Jan 21, 2012

I've been considering doing something similar using the general X- Monster design. I plan on using high-alloy steel sheet for the shaft. I feel that the X-Monster can be improved with a distal taper near the handle and a grip that actually fits my hands. Beyond that, I think the experimenting with swing and pick geometry would be enlightening.

I think that steel is a much better choice than cf sheet. Woven CF laminates get all of their strength from continuous fibers. Shaping the handle from sheet will cut into those fibers. Maybe you can use a non-woven composite like CF-reinforced PEEK, but it would be extremely costly (several thousand per tool). The other alternative is to do a lay up on a lightweight frame like Grivel does with their Quantum Monster.


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Jan 21, 2012

Dobson wrote:
I've been considering doing something similar using the general X- Monster design. I plan on using high-alloy steel sheet for the shaft. I feel that the X-Monster can be improved with a distal taper near the handle and a grip that actually fits my hands. Beyond that, I think the experimenting with swing and pick geometry would be enlightening. I think that steel is a much better choice than cf sheet. Woven CF laminates get all of their strength from continuous fibers. Shaping the handle from sheet will cut into those fibers. Maybe you can use a non-woven composite like CF-reinforced PEEK, but it would be extremely costly (several thousand per tool). The other alternative is to do a lay up on a lightweight frame like Grivel does with their Quantum Monster.


You mean like some kind of core for the shape and then wrap the carbon around that instead of cutting it from a sheet? I looked at the UIAA ice axe ratings and it all seems like the loads are pretty light. For example, the X-Monster, to replace that spring steel with carbon fiber, using an isotropic strength and ballpark properties, you end up with a ridiculously thin shaft. Using 1/8" piece of CF (the same thickness as the regular steel shaft) would come out to something like 1/5 the weight and 3x the strength.


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By Dobson
From Butte, MT
Jan 21, 2012

Yes I do mean wrapping layers around a core. Carbon panels are far from omni-directional. A strength table found on Performance Composites shows an 81% reduction in ultimate tensile strength when the panel is loaded 45-degrees from the primary axis. Loading across the fiber planes is even worse. CF is also prone to grain tear out and chipping, a big issue when drilling and cutting, (especially with a waterjet). Steel is no match for CF in terms of ultimate strength to weight ratio, but it does have advantages, especially for us amateurs. It is easy to work with, (mostly) omni-directional, and easy to engineer. A high alloy steel with good heat treat will be stronger per-dimension than a composite, (though considerably heavier).


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Jan 22, 2012
At the matching crux

There's a guy who climbs around NY (Catskills and Adirondacks) who has homemade tools. CF shafts with hand carved hickory handles. He shaped the picks himself as well out of raw steel plate. The tools are a near-replica of Nomics. They are absolute works of art. I asked him if he would consider making a pair to sell but he declined. He's a materials engineer by trade and has access to a full fabrication shop. I don't remember his name but he's originally from the Eastern Bloc - perhaps Ukraine or Lithuania and lives in NYC?

I seem to recall that there was a discussion of him and his tools on NEice about 2 years ago... it might be worth doing a bit of digging. He seemed pretty happy to talk about his design choices, methodology, etc.


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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Jan 30, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!

Check this out www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_f>>>


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By sonvclimbing
From bolder city
Jan 30, 2012
cowboy over tower

made this about 10 years ago before I was blessed with fabrication skills. Got me up mt. whitney's mountaineers route.

homemade piolet
homemade piolet


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By Gunkiemike
Jan 31, 2012

Jon H wrote:
There's a guy who climbs around NY (Catskills and Adirondacks) who has homemade tools. CF shafts with hand carved hickory handles. He shaped the picks himself as well out of raw steel plate. The tools are a near-replica of Nomics. They are absolute works of art. I asked him if he would consider making a pair to sell but he declined. He's a materials engineer by trade and has access to a full fabrication shop. I don't remember his name but he's originally from the Eastern Bloc - perhaps Ukraine or Lithuania and lives in NYC? I seem to recall that there was a discussion of him and his tools on NEice about 2 years ago... it might be worth doing a bit of digging. He seemed pretty happy to talk about his design choices, methodology, etc.


That would be Rolando. I posted the photo of his hickory/walnut-shafted Nomic clones on NEice. Don't know if it's still up on the site.

I also made ergo-style handles on my old BD X-15s. It's pretty easy to do with plywood/fiberglass layers, wrapped overall with more FG. Mine were crazy strong, but I didn't get the geometry right and the picks tended to pop out of the ice. Sold 'em to Brent E. Photo of my work:

www.rockclimbing.com/photos/Misc/Frankentool_46592.html


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Feb 1, 2012

Did a shafts for a form design project in school (the head is a rough form of the fusion heads). Not sure that fiberglass would be the best, that's what I did mine in and turned out about 300 grams heavier than I would have liked. But that being said I don't know anything about fiberglass other than how to work with the process we used. I would have an reservations swinging this guy (since it's almost solid :P) but getting the junction between the head and the shaft seems like it would be the crux of the construction


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By Alex Swan
From West
Feb 1, 2012
Rather Grand

Rolando's tools
Rolando's tools


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Feb 1, 2012

C Blank wrote:
but getting the junction between the head and the shaft seems like it would be the crux of the construction


Yeah after a bit of research and design work I've come to realize that too. Carbon fiber and bolts don't seem to mix well. The only solution I can think of is to machine an aluminum head to bolt a pick onto and then bond that to carbon fibre. This seems to be what Grivel and BD do. The other question is how to shape the handle and what materials.

I also learned that carbon fiber and aluminum can cause galvanic corrosion, so you need to separate the two with a layer of fiber glass.


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By weisseseis
Feb 1, 2012

Wow, Rolando's tools are beautiful and probably warmer and more comfortable to grip than anything mass produced.


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By Syndicate
Feb 2, 2012

See this thread for tools made from denim. Yes, denim.

www.gravsports-ice.com/icethreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showfla>>>


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By Woodchuck ATC
Feb 2, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

milfred wrote:


! ! a woodworker and metals too. Very nice budget tools, imagine the hours spent were labor intensive though.


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