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Ever wonder what’s inside an Ultralight Camalot?


Original Post
Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2

(EDIT:  Correction- pulled out some samples from FSE, NE, and Samson, and it matches 3mm, not 2.5mm)

(EDIT x2:  Seems people are missing a post below...  I keep all of the gear I test/dissect, as I often have to refer back to it for additional measurements.  Please stop emailing asking if you can have the remains, or any other broken gear I might have.  Not going to happen.  Case in point, just tonight I pulled out stuff I broke 15 years ago to do hardness tests on.  I can’t do that if I don’t hang on to the samples.)

3mm dyneema 12 strand, spliced.  Lock stitched an inch or so down from the splice.  Maybe 20-ish stitches spread over 0.9”, not a bartack.  Surprisingly short bury, at 2.5” (a proper bury is 72 diameters, which is almost 9” for this diameter cord).  Also, the bury is un-tapered.


And to answer the obvious question: I needed to know the diameter of the pin they looped the dyneema over, and GearX had cosmetic 2nds relatively cheap.

Oh, anyone want to buy a slightly used purple Ultralight?  Never fallen on, still has tags!  ;)
Noah R · · VT · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Sweet! Interesting about the spliced/stitched dyneema.

You gonna put it together and whip? Haha I hope so, or just put it back togetherish and return to REI.

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2
Noah R wrote: Sweet! Interesting about the spliced/stitched dyneema.

You gonna put it together and whip? Haha I hope so, or just put it back togetherish and return to REI.

FWIW, spliced is how they show it in the patent, and lock stitches like that are par for the course when splicing 12 strand.  Well, not like that.  They’re typically at the splice so that the load can be carried by the bury rather than the stitching.  Not sure why they did it like this.

Doubt I’ll put it back together, as I didn’t care for the feel of it and and have no need for another purple.  It’ll go in a bag and be filed away with all the other gear I’ve dissected/broken over the years.

Edit: here’s the patent, in case you want to compare the pic to the drawings:  https://patents.google.com/patent/US10143892B2/en?oq=10%2c143%2c892 
Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 316

To an untrained eye (I'm not an engineer, but instead studied art), the exploded view of this cam in pieces is sort of magically beautiful, considering that this is used to keep someone from dying.

 

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2

Hm...  got a couple emails.  Sorry Folks, I keep all of my dissected gear, as I often have to refer back to it for measurements later on.

Chris K · · Clemson · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 56

how did you undo the cam pins?

edit: i'm surprised the lock stitching was so short. not surprised by the splicing. we knew that all along. 

Matt Castelli · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 240

Glad someone is putting in the dissection needed prior to making the pink totem! 

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2
Chris K wrote: how did you undo the cam pins?

edit: i'm surprised the lock stitching was so short. not surprised by the splicing. we knew that all along. 

Meaning the freeing the side plates from the axles?  They’re riveted together.  Grind of the head, then use a pin punch to separate.


As for splicing, well, I got into an argument over that in another thread recently.  They were convinced it was bartacked.  Saw another thread a day or two later where someone did not know about the dyneema stem.  

Anyway, per Samson’s splicing guide (they make Amsteel) only a couple lock stitches are needed, so not surprising at how short it is.  

https://www.samsonrope.com/docs/default-source/splice-instructions/12strand_c2_end_for_end_web.pdf?sfvrsn=25bec1f7_2
Matthew Campbell · · Redondo Beach, CA · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
Former Climber wrote:

Anyway, per Samson’s splicing guide (they make Amsteel) only a couple lock stitches are needed, so not surprising at how short it is.  

As I recall, the lock stitching is mostly to prevent creep from cyclic loading. This keeps the bury from working itself loose, so you can confidently use a shorter bury than the otherwise recommended 72 diameters.


I am still surprised they went with such a short bury and didn't taper, though. 
Nathan Sullivan · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

-9/10, this is super informative.  Thanks for your $64.99 sacrifice!

What actually holds the loop in the head piece, the small silver pin?  Looks like by friction alone, though I guess if it started to walk you'd notice it binding on the lobes.

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2
Nathan Sullivan wrote: -9/10, this is super informative.  Thanks for your $64.99 sacrifice!

What actually holds the loop in the head piece, the small silver pin?  Looks like by friction alone, though I guess if it started to walk you'd notice it binding on the lobes.

Yup, the small silver pin.  Sling gets inserted, pin pushed through, then riveted.  It’s 0.170” diameter IIRC, nonmagnetic.  Feels like titanium.

Ryan Williams · · London (sort of) · Joined May 2009 · Points: 1,265

Really cool. I don’t know much about splicing. Does a continuous loop rely only on friction provided by the bury? I am aware the stitching is present, but if I’m reading the above comment correctly, it’s the bury that usually takes the load, not the stitching. Correct?

Is there a reason this type of continuous dyneema loop is not more prevalent in the climbing world?

Nut Tool · · Portland, OR · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0
Ryan Williams wrote:
Is there a reason this type of continuous dyneema loop is not more prevalent in the climbing world?

I would whip on a dyneema loop that I spliced... But it's important that my partners trust my gear too, and people aren't familiar with the material/technique. But if the greater climbing community would come to accept the notion, I would experiment with splicing my own slings immediately. That said, I'm not sure the durability/cost/weight would prove all that superior to sewn slings. Although getting the bar tack out of an Alpine draw would be classy AF.

Lazy question: what diameter dyneema cord would best meet the 22 KN benchmark?
Sawyer W · · Van · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0
Former Climber wrote:

Yup, the small silver pin.  Sling gets inserted, pin pushed through, then riveted.  It’s 0.170” diameter IIRC, nonmagnetic.  Feels like titanium.

But what does it taste like?

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2
Sawyer W wrote:

But what does it taste like?

Victory.  It tastes like victory.

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2

Correction noted in the OP:  Pulled out some labeled samples and it matches up with 3mm, not 2.5mm.

Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2
Nut Tool wrote:

Lazy question: what diameter dyneema cord would best meet the 22 KN benchmark?

Lazy answer:  https://www.neropes.com/products/performance/product/detail/endura-12/


Per the Samson link above:

So...  3mm?

That said, I was getting failures in 3mm around 15kN.  I don’t recall if these were loaded over a biner or 1/4” pin (was literally a decade ago, and I didn’t note on the tags).  All of them broke at the pin/biner rather than the splice.  Perhaps not surprising, as you have to de-rate it an unknown amount for low pin diameter/cord diameter ratios.  I’ve talked with Tech Support at NE about this a couple times, but they have no test data to share as rigging around small diameters is not commonly done.
Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2
Ryan Williams wrote: Really cool. I don’t know much about splicing. Does a continuous loop rely only on friction provided by the bury? I am aware the stitching is present, but if I’m reading the above comment correctly, it’s the bury that usually takes the load, not the stitching. Correct?

Is there a reason this type of continuous dyneema loop is not more prevalent in the climbing world?

Depends how you do it.  Typically yes, it’s a Chinese finger trap friction thing.  Putting a couple lock stitches over the splice causes this to have greater effect , thereby lowering the length of the tuck a bit and securing it from coming apart.


Another option is locked brummel, which feeds ends through each other before the tuck.  In theory you can have even shorter buries then.

Of the broken samples i posted above, I only bothered lock stitching one of them. The others were entirely friction.
Matthew Campbell · · Redondo Beach, CA · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
Ryan Williams wrote: Really cool. I don’t know much about splicing. Does a continuous loop rely only on friction provided by the bury? I am aware the stitching is present, but if I’m reading the above comment correctly, it’s the bury that usually takes the load, not the stitching. Correct?

Is there a reason this type of continuous dyneema loop is not more prevalent in the climbing world?

Like others said, it is similar to a finger trap: the harder you pull, the tighter it constricts, and therefore the stronger the friction.


The only reason I can think of explaining why splicing isn't more popular in the climbing world is that splicing is hard to undo and redo in the field, so knots give you more flexibility. That said, splicing is extremely common in sailing, arborism, and slacklining.
Former Climber · · PA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 2

May as well throw this here as I can’t find my notebook at the moment.

Calibrated the hardness tester with a certified HRB96 sample, spot on.

Lobe from this cam tested HRB70-72 (3 tests).

Known piece of 6061T6511 came out HRB58, which is in the ballpark for 6061T6 (~HRB60).  Don’t happen to have any 7075T6 at the moment, but that should be ~HRB87 (hence calibrating with the HRB96 sample, as I thought they use 7075T6).

Not sure what to make of this.  I don’t recall anodizing throwing things off this far, but maybe it’s skewing 6061T6 high?  No time at the moment to skim it on the mill and recheck.

Anyone got an authoritative link for the material BD uses for the lobes?

Edit: found a piece of 1” OD x 1/2” ID 7075t6 in the drawer.  I don’t trust the result as it’s hollow and I don’t have a certified cylindrical sample to calibrate the V-anvil with, but it came back as HRB89.  It was 1/4” too tall to fit vertically, sadly.

Sam Skovgaard · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 87
Former Climber wrote: 

And to answer the obvious question: I needed to know the diameter of the pin they looped the dyneema over, and GearX had cosmetic 2nds relatively cheap.

So, the next obvious question is:  why did you need to know the pin diameter? Or the hardness of the lobes?  What sort of chicanery are you REALLY up to? 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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