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Cam lobe metal


Original Post
Caleb Schwarz · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 115

Let me preface: I am not a chemist nor a physicist, so feel free to give your thoughts in technical terms, just make sure to also provide a layman's translation.

I own both Kailas totems and Kailas nucos. In the short time that I've had the nucos, I've noticed that, while they stick to the rock well, they don't deform and scratch as easily as aliens. How hard is the metal compared to aliens?

I know that a cams ability to stick to a crack has to do with a ton of factors (lobe geometry, texture of rock, etc) but out of mere curiosity, could someone rank today's cams from stickiest metal to most durable?
(C4, dragons, friends, totems, basics, mastercam, alien, alien revo, and any others you feel like throwing in)

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,795

Aliens were famous for their softer-than-usual lobes. It also made them wear out much faster than, say, Metolius TCUs. I think it was Aric Datesman who did a bunch of proper metal hardness testing on CCH Alien lobes, and the results were all over the map, suggesting that their material spec and/or heat treatment was no better controlled than their infamous brazing and lobe drilling.  BD has especially hard lobes; I don't know if it's b/c they use a 7000 series alloy or if it's just heat treatment.

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25
Caleb Schwarz wrote:I know that a cams ability to stick to a crack has to do with a ton of factors (lobe geometry, texture of rock, etc) but out of mere curiosity, could someone rank today's cams from stickiest metal to most durable?
(C4, dragons, friends, totems, basics, mastercam, alien, alien revo, and any others you feel like throwing in)

To keep things simple the main two factors are surface friction and the outward force as determined by the camming angle.

For the caming angle order of outward force is: (strongest first)
TOTEM<13.13°(effective)   <   METOLIUS=13.25°   <  DMM/WC=13.75°  < BD ~ 15° < Alien ~ 16°

Surface friction is harder to quantify and get good data on.  Soft does not always mean more friction except possibly in the case of course grained rock where mechanical engagement can occur from deformation.  But overall I don't have the available information to comment.  You could consider non anodised lobes to be grippier.  Totem, DMM and possibly others have moved this way.

On the flipside the ability for a cam to stick in a flared crack reverses that list, the exception is Totem cams as their lobe angle is actually 20.35° so it sits at the top of both lists.
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