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Who else would like to see more wide cams on the market?
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Jul 9, 2012
Gotcha on the double axle range issue, but one thing to really figure out before you settle on a design is the pushing the cam issue.

These big dogs are the kind of pieces that you'll walk up the pitch, because you sure as hell don't want to carry more of them than you have to due to weight, even if you could afford a bunch of them.

I've got some 6 Friends that I prefer to the old green BD #5 because they were more stable due to the wider head width if you are climbing over them (rather than pushing), but if you put a 6 friend next to a new 6 camalot, and try to push them up a pitch, the camalot is much easier and doesn't seem to get into jacked-up orientations as much (the friend will often rotate some and then have one lobe go umbrella while the rest are still engaged, etc).

This is a primary concern. As I said before, I don't know whether it's cam angle, head width, double vs. single axle, spring tension, or some combo of those, but nailing that down and desinging with pushing it in mind would be vital IMO.
Will S
From Joshua Tree
Joined Nov 15, 2006
1,275 points
Jul 10, 2012
Well, gave it some more thought and figured it best to give Tom@VG a heads up if a 9" cam if what's wanted. I could certainly do it (with a completely different design), but with such a small/niche market I felt it would be rude for me to edge in on him if he's got them sitting on the shelf. If he takes a pass I'm up for it; I just don't want to step on his toes. Btw, smaller than 9" isn't an issue as the only game in town is BD or WC, and me making a couple cams isn't going to make a difference to them. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Hey Aric how bout off sizes. I.E. ones in between what BD and VG offers. I mean if pricing is competitive with VG than just speaking for myself, I would probably buy VG's cams over yours just because they have a proven background. But if you put out some in between sizes (maybe 5"-7" range) I would rather buy those from you than from BD especially if you think yours will push up better.

BD sizes 5 and 6
85.4-148.5 mm, 3.36-5.85 in (size 5)
114.1-195.0 mm, 4.50-7.68 in (size 6)

Thanks for putting the thought into this.
Jul 10, 2012
Good to hear that came across as intended. Tom put a lot of work carving that niche out for himself and I have little interest in infringing on it. Other sizes are fair game if there's interest, so ask around. If we get 4 or 5 per size I'll most likely be able to run them at a rather attractive price, by which I mean covering my costs just to get rid of the material i've been sitting on for years. Ended up I coupdn't figure out the springs for the design I bought the material for (would have covered BD5-VG12 iirc... Theory and practice don't always jive), so the material's been sitting ever since. Springs on traditional designs are no problem, so no worries there; that design was decidedly non-traditional and required some really odd movements of the lobes. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Aric, you make something that versatile I will pay out some serious cash for it! haha. Yeah I know about theory not jiving up to practice. I will ask around see if I can get some more people in my area to want some big cams.
Jul 10, 2012
Actually, it was that design that turned me off to expanded range cams.... While they look good on paper, in practice they end up being too wide on the small end and too narrow on the big end. Trango was interested in the design if I was able to figure out the springs, but ultimately the impact on head width killed that project regardless of where the spring issue ended up. Fun cam though, and took me several years to figure out the math behind it (and an hour or two to convince Mal-formerly-of-Trango and his Engineer that the math was actually correct when demonstrating the prototypes... very non-traditional design that acted in very non-traditional ways to yield the same result but with greater range). That then lead to the design I'm currently working on and was hoping to have on the market this summer, but the combination of the baby (now 2), followed by Fixe&Totem and BD's supposed new entry has my stuff sitting on the back burner waiting to see how things fall out. Beta testers liked it big time, but I missed my post-CCH / pre-Fixe/Totem window and am best off waiting before sinking more money into that project. Kept working on it until the BD rumors came out since the beta testers liked them better than Aliens, but I'd rather wait and see what all they have coming rather than getting an undeserved cease-and-desist patent infringement letter in spite of developing it independently (ever look at what all they try and patent? Sheesh....)

Anyway, time to make dinner. I'll likely float the semi-custom-off-size thing on ST later tonight so see if there's interest there, as there's precedent for open-source gear design over there (the D5 hammer and Luke's revival of the Hurricane, as well as my ongoing attempts at making the Hurricane tool-less).

BTW, there's a really interesting patent from a while back that attempts to address the head width issue, as far as I know it didn't go anywhere. Basically the lobes were conical sections... patentstorm.us/applications/20...
Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 10, 2012
Just curious, but wouldn't you be opening yourself to some pretty massive liability selling homemade cams? Vaughne
Joined Mar 21, 2011
28 points
Jul 10, 2012
Liability? Quite possibly, given the litigious nature of our society. There are ways to protect myself from it though, which I obviously would investigate. I wonder if climbing gear would have developed as fast if Choiunard and the Lowe brothers had to deal with the constant threat of lawsuit like this? I'm thinking no, but that's a discussion for another time... :-) Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 10, 2012
Erm, didn't mean to lump myself in with them... was speaking more towards the shift away from self-reliance and acceptance of buying life protection equipment out of the back of a van. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Aric I believe if you sold it to me as a "as is" product. I do believe that would clear you. But I ain't no lawyer. But if our word is worth anything these days, some of us would give Aric our word that we are buying a product from him and assuming the full resposibility of the product.
Jul 10, 2012
The route in it's entirety.
I agree Aric. How many hardmen and women of yesteryear used homemade equipment or gear climbers of today would deem suspect and inferior? Yet those people climbed the routes we see as classic today.

After borrowing a VG #9 this past spring I was completely blown away by the quality of the cam and how bomber it seemed.
Greg G
From SLC, UT
Joined Oct 3, 2008
599 points
Jul 10, 2012
Greg G wrote:
After borrowing a VG #9 this past spring I was completely blown away by the quality of the cam and how bomber it seemed.


Yup, Tom does good work. And out of respect for him and the service he's provided the community I'll pass on infringing on his niche unless he says it's ok. :-)
Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 10, 2012
J Hazard wrote:
Aric I believe if you sold it to me as a "as is" product. I do believe that would clear you.


Thanks. I'm not one either, and frankly figuring out the liability thing has been on my to-do list for ages now and I really need to get around to taking care of it. If this is the nudge I need to get around to it, that's cool by me.
Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 11, 2012
Roadtrip!
Aric, I'd definitely be interested in some big cams. I don't really have any particular sizes in mind, I'd have to put a little more thought into that, but I'd definitely be interested in putting some cash down for some different, but well made big cams. ssimonson09
From Gladstone, OR
Joined Jun 9, 2010
11 points
Jul 12, 2012
Aric Datesman wrote:
Pondered this a couple days, and figured wth.... If there's enough interest in them I might be able to be talked into knocking out a small run of big cams. IIRC I have +/-8 feet of 6" wide by 0.250" thick 6061-T6 sitting on the shelf that was purchased for this sort of thing years ago, and I'm tired of looking at it. Probably some 4" and 5" as well. Would have to get consensus on size, single/double axle, rigid/single/U-stem and whatnot, at which point I could run the costing. I've got a CNC machine shop in the basement, so while possible to do it all with a hacksaw and file I'd instead take the easy route. Heck, for the right price I'd even dig out the anodizing tank and make them all pretty. Oh, and obviously they'd be proof tested to some agreed upon load... Any takers?


I would be interested in a couple units sized at #4.25 in the old BD scale. The old BD #4 is a horror size and it would be good to have a better transition to the next size up (old #4.5/new #5). A double axel design is preferred. *#%$ BD's new sizing in this range!

I would also be interested in the transition size from the biggest BD (old #5/new #6) to the 9 VG. Want in general and for one route in particular.
Kent Pease
From Littleton, Colorado
Joined Feb 13, 2006
122 points
Jul 12, 2012
gg
Stem length:
I had to make a longer stem because the lobes were big enough to hit your fingers as you pulled the trigger. Making the trigger travel length shorter by anchoring the wire closer to the axle could have worked, but that would have made the trigger a real bear to pull.
Gregger Man
Joined Aug 15, 2004
838 points
Jul 12, 2012
Quick bump to say I'm still waiting to hear back from Tom@VG. Word is he has some 9" sitting one shelf and will be starting another run of them in a month or so, but I'd like to verify that with him directly. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 12, 2012
Still waiting on a response from Tom, and frankly the wait is making me lean towards going through with it. Still going to give him a week or so as I work the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon thing to get to him, and will update both here and on ST regardless of how it ends up. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 16, 2012
Well, I heard back from Tom@VG and while he has a couple sitting around he's fine with me making some. I'll give some thought to design over the next couple days and do some rough cost estimates, then report back. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Jul 16, 2012
My most adventurous memory
I've painstakingly designed an 11" piece that I wood be available to reproduce by request. The beauty of the design is that it is customizable to the exact width of yer project OW catastrophe (great for all those odd sizes) and with the right tools it has an unmatched range for one-time placements on lead. It currently only comes in one color "Nude", but don't let that discourage you... most people know exactly where it is on their harness without even looking. So branch out from cams and don't pine for that VG, instead spruce up your rack with the Woody 11"

11"
11"
Matt Kuehl
From red rock
Joined Nov 29, 2010
1,388 points
Jul 16, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
Matt Kuehl wrote:
I've painstakingly designed an 11" piece that I wood be available to reproduce by request. The beauty of the design is that it is customizable to the exact width of yer project OW catastrophe (great for all those odd sizes) and with the right tools it has an unmatched range for one-time placements on lead. It currently only comes in one color "Nude", but don't let that discourage you... most people know exactly where it is on their harness without even looking. So branch out from cams and don't pine for that VG, instead spruce up your rack with the Woody 11"

hilariously well put

have you fallen on the W11?
Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Dec 12, 2002
3,757 points
Jul 17, 2012
My most adventurous memory
No falls onto the W11 yet... it's proof that this ground breaking product increases your climbing ability ten folds.

And it's pretty difficult to fall out of an 11" crack unless you're too big to fit inside, which is possible i guess...
Matt Kuehl
From red rock
Joined Nov 29, 2010
1,388 points
Jul 17, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks
Kent Pease wrote:
The old BD #4 is a horror size and it would be good to have a better transition to the next size up (old #4.5/new #5).



I love the old BD #4!! It is perfect hand stacks for me. The #4.5 is perfect hand/fist stacks. LOL

I agree the new BD sizing sucks.
Princess Mia
From Vail
Joined May 22, 2006
427 points
Jul 17, 2012
I'd really like to see that woody 11" pull tested!! Siberia
From Birmingham, AL
Joined Sep 14, 2011
45 points
Jul 22, 2012
Ok Folks, finally got a chance to run some numbers and think on it some, and here's what I propose.... I still don't like the idea of edging in on Tom@VG, so the price will be $175 for a 9" cam, same as Tom's. He's got some sitting on the shelf, and knowing just how much time and money he has tied up in it I'm not all that inclined to undercut him for a similar design. I've got a couple improvements in mind that up the manufacturing costs (mostly in the proof of concept/testing area), so if the higher than expected price is a turn-off, sorry. Tom's got several sitting, so give him a holler if a proven design is more your speed.

That said, what I have in mind is an open-source custom-made cam made to whatever basic layout you all decide upon. Improvements I have in mind are much, much larger diameter axle to help prevent buckling, a quasi-log spiral on the lobes to exchange holding power for expansion range in the last 25% of rotation (proven concept and used on the SuperCam, in case you weren't aware), and a couple weight saving tweaks to the stem and trigger system. I'm still not convinced one way or the other on the single vs dual axle thing, so I'll leave that all up to you. If I get 4 people to commit, I'll make them. Mind you, delivering 4 will involve making 6, of which 2 will be pulled to failure (one at 25% expansion, one at 75% expansion). And to be honest, I'll probably make 8 so I get one and can send one to Stephane at the Nuts Museum, but I'll eat those costs.

Thoughts / comments?

-aric.
Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points


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