Nov 3, 2007 at 2:27 pm #1225687
After posting some questions in the mountaineering section, and reading the review of the Helix potty trowel (and seeing the upclose pics) – I'm considering making my own "ice axe" for walking – not mountaineering – with the same usability as the helix. My preliminary design/calculations show I should be able to get pretty low in weight (top secret for now). Anybody already try something like this?Nov 4, 2007 at 8:23 am #1407747
The BD whippet, Grivel condor, and I think LifeLink have ski/trek pole toppers that give some purchase. If you are carrying poles anyway, check them out.Nov 4, 2007 at 8:36 pm #1407788
Paul, those are great, but what fun would it be if I just bought one? ;)
I guess I should have been more specific and asked if someone had ever made their own ice axe which didn't meet cetirfied standards and was used for walking up small steep sections where a mountaineering axe would be overkill? Similar to the Helix…
I'm playing around with a few designs but ended up putting together my shaft today. Weighs in at 3.1 oz. Hopefully, I can keep the whole axe at about 4 oz for my prototype…
Nov 4, 2007 at 8:44 pm #1407790
Here's a pic of my axe shaft, weighing 3.1 oz. My Camp Corsa Nanotech 50 beside it for comparison. I'm still working on the pick section – but should just be another day or 2.
Nov 4, 2007 at 11:03 pm #1407797
that is sweet work, can't wait to see the rest!Nov 5, 2007 at 2:16 am #1407801
Shahrin Bin ShariffMember
@zzmelayuLocale: In the shadow of Table Mountain
Wow! Holding my breadth…Nov 5, 2007 at 8:37 am #1407825
I'd love to see your take on crampons to go with.Nov 5, 2007 at 8:52 am #1407829
It's coming along – finished the design of the pick/adze today and cut them on the CNC plasma cutter. Turned out really nice but has plenty of burrs on the edges. I'll clean them up on the sandblaster, but it's busy until tomorrow. Till then.
Here's the solid models of them assembled – I'll post the real pics tonight when I snap some photos.
Nov 5, 2007 at 9:00 am #1407831
I guess I should add that my brain (a.k.a. laptop) is telling me I have a total axe weight (without welds)of 117.67 grams (4.2 oz.)
23.1 g – Pick
8.7 g – AdzeNov 5, 2007 at 10:30 am #1407839
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Is the length of your walking axe in the 55 to 60 cm range? What materials are you using for the shaft and head? I'm very impressed with your machine work. I may MYOG stuff with nylon and spinnaker but metal working tools are beyond my capacity so am very interested in your project vicariously.
– SamNov 5, 2007 at 12:29 pm #1407856
This one will be 50cm – same size as my Camp Corsa…reason is because that was the material (6061-T6 aluminum) I had on hand yesterday. Shaft is 3/4" diameter with a 0.065" wall thickness. Head will be same 6061-T6 aluminum 1/8" plate…so no, I wouldn't want to climb a waterfall with this. :) I actually took a look at the UIAA specs, applied similar loads (FEA software) to my axe, and watched as it failed miserably – that being said, you'd have to be darn strong to bend that shaft with your hands. I want to incorporate a steel tip like my camp axe, but that'll have to wait till Rev 2. If this one truly is functional, I'll build a much better (and hopefully lighter) one afterwards.
Kinda funny – but I always look at you guys making tents and sleeping bags and think – man, wish I could do that!Nov 5, 2007 at 2:09 pm #1407871
My coworker has made ice climbing axes and I'd love to make a bunch of different designs. So many ideas, so little time…for now.
Cool stuff, keep it up!Nov 5, 2007 at 2:15 pm #1407872
Looks really cool steven, I wouldent trust myself with making a tool like this, but you seem to be doin a great job.
CAnt wait to see the fianl product and weight…
do you think you will have problems with snow getting stuck in the holes of the shaft?Nov 5, 2007 at 2:28 pm #1407874
Ryan, I was thinking that aswell after seeing Roger's Helix leak water inside the shelter when the shaft filled with snow and it melted…I originally didn't have the holes, but in the interest of saving weight, I drilled them in. 16 x Dia. 1/2" holes at 1" spacing.
For now, we'll wait and see if it becomes a problem, but it would be slick to fill the shaft with something (i have no idea what at this point).
I envision wrapping the shaft in tape and filling it with a spray foam (window insulation type stuff), then removing the tape afterwards. This would (in my mind) fill all the little nooks and crannies in the shaft – making the handle smooth – and weighing only a fraction heavier. Did that make sense to anyone?
I'm shooting from the hip here, and I have no idea as to the durability of this "miracle spray foam". Any other ideas?
My Camp axe has a soft plastic (I think) inserted into the shaft from the bottom – works well but seems heavy.Nov 5, 2007 at 3:08 pm #1407882
You'd be better off perhaps covering the shaft with a plastic…thinking heat shrink tubing off the top of my head.
The aluminum shafts suck heat like no other but with a crappy conductor insulating your hand you'd do better. Plus it would cover all the holes without giving back the weight you took away.
Turn a quick hollowed out nylon bushing to go in the end of the shaft and anchor it with an aluminum or titanium bolt. That would stop the snow from going up the shaft as well.
On your FEA are you seeing failure in the holes or where the head meets the shaft (end of the lever arm)?Nov 5, 2007 at 3:15 pm #1407886
filling the pick with insulation is an interesting idea.. but I doubt it would be very durable.
Filling it with some sort of nylon or plastic might work, but could crack if it got cold enough.
I dont know if this actually exists, but It would be really cool if there was a lexan tube that fit snugly inside the shaft… or even better, a thin carbon shaft that fit snugly inside the aluminum shaft. neither of these would need to have very thick walls, because the strength is in the aluminum, their only purpose is to keep snow out of the aluminum shaft, for the lowest weight penalty possible. And, if you could source some sort of lexan tube with the right diameter, and the right color, it could make the Axe look really cool.
you would also need something to plug the ends, for this, im sure plastic would work fine.Nov 5, 2007 at 3:18 pm #1407888
I missed Chris's comment while I was posting my own.. sounds like an excellent idea as well, you should definatly have some sort of insulator covering where you are holding the tool at least.Nov 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm #1407889
@kegelhoffLocale: Southern Cal
Why don't we just replace the entire handle with a carbon one that weighs less and should be be 20% stronger !!!
Shoot me the ID, OD, and length you want !
KevinNov 5, 2007 at 3:54 pm #1407900
only problem I see with carbon is that It will be more difficult to attach the adze/pick and the spike on the bottom.. this is the main weakpoint on the HElIX I do beleiveNov 5, 2007 at 3:56 pm #1407901
Not really. There are plenty of high quality epoxies that can make an aluminum/carbon joint. There are some auto racing intake manifolds I have worked with joined this way.
Then you'd just have to turn a quick piece to weld the pick/adze too and join that to the shaft with epoxy and similar with the spike.Nov 5, 2007 at 6:06 pm #1407912
I have to clean them up a bit but here they are.
Shaft 3.1 oz.
Pick .85 oz.
Adze .3 oz.
Total 4.25 oz.
Nov 5, 2007 at 6:21 pm #1407913
The Axe fails in two spots depending where I place the load.
In both cases I fix the tip of the pick (as per UIAA diagrams),ie. we stick the tip into a wall leaving the shaft parrallel to the wall
When load is placed pulling down on the shaft – the shaft does not fail, the pick fails at the inner radius closest to the tip.
When a load is placed perpendicular to the shaft (towards the wall)at the lowest point, the edges of the holes fail -obviousy the ones at the top…but the connection stays strong.
Hope that explains something – I'd post the pics, but I don't have the software handy right now.
Not sure if you have seen the UIAA standards, but they are fairly rugged. This axe would turn to powder before it even came close to passing.
SteveNov 5, 2007 at 6:34 pm #1407916
Kevin, carbon? if it's free I'll take it! :)
Actually, I was chatting with a guy who worked at a golf store regarding getting some thicker diameter carbon material – he was recommending a graphite shaft for my needs. Until I have them both "in stock" I won't know.
As for the epoxy question. Yep, Chris is quite correct. There are some extremely tough ones out there. Some of it is even machinable.
Maybe "Rev 2" will have the carbon shaft…wonder what I could get the axe down to…Sub 3oz?Nov 7, 2007 at 8:49 pm #1408268
Final weight is 4.30 oz. I just tacked it together because I think I can make a much better one if I put some more thought into it…but here's some pics. Not the nicest looking, but there is potential for Rev 2 to look much better…
Nov 8, 2007 at 1:45 am #1408294
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I would be interested in a test under load. I suspect you may find two areas of weakness: the holes in the shaft, especially at the top end, and the lack of reinforcing around the head of the shaft.
Now, V2 … :-)
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