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Tech Tip: Question New Canyoneering Descender

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Bootboy, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    A few months ago, over on the Bog, I started a thread to gauge interest in a new, purpose built canyoneering descender.
    I posted a picture of a prototype rendering I had done on paper. I've gone back to the drawing board, and based on feedback I've received from different sources, I have revised the design to achieve greater function, lighter weight, improved safety, and a more streamlined design. This would be a product that integrates many of the best functional features from many different products currently on the market. Ive been in contact with a couple different shops that have expressed a willingness to produce it. But likely in aluminum instead of the stainless I was hoping to get originally. Unless the production volume is high, stainless is simply not cost effective.

    The new design adds material in the high wear areas that typically wear out first on other devices, rendering them unsafe in short order in the harsh canyon environment. One of the most important design features, one of the things I found lacking in MOST devices currently available, is the ability to add friction safely while on rappel, both single and double strand, and safely be able to lock off and unlock safely and smoothly.

    With all of that I have described, and without posting my final prototype, I'm again trying to gauge the potential interest in such a product. Please leave your thoughts and let me know if you think you'd be interested and what you do or don't like about what you currently use for this application. Particularly improvements you think need to made to existing products.

    Thanks everyone,

    Taylor
    Jimmy Olsson likes this.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I'm working on one too, slowly. It is hard to get it all to work out. We are pasting onto plywood and jigsawing out, then sanding smooth, then running a rope through it. It seems very hard to get the rope path correct, at least with the design I am trying to achieve.

    Sense of the volume? I sold 51 Piranas last year.

    Tom
  3. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Yeah, I remember you saying that you didn't sell many last year. It's certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme. I like the ply wood idea though. I'll have to keep tinkering...

    The reason I ask if people are interested is because if I can even get 10, it makes things easier for me to get a couple and share the love a little.
  4. Deerchaser

    Deerchaser JB

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    I'm a 'gear head'. I'll usually buy it if it's shiny
    dweaver2130 likes this.
  5. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    You and I have he same affliction my friend :)
  6. Scott Chandler

    Scott Chandler Wildness is a necessity-John Muir

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    If it rivals the pirana or ats I'd be tempted to use it. I like those systems.
  7. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Better than a piraña
  8. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Comparable to the ats, but smaller
  9. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

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    Nice, I'll be anxious to see it. Can you give us a scale of what the cost might be? Kickstarter maybe?

    If 10 people go in, what would it cost? I always like new toys...
  10. Sam G

    Sam G

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    "If 10 people go in, what would it cost? I always like new toys..."

    I'm also interested if the price is right.
  11. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    I remember your idea and preliminary design. Count me in for one. (As long as I don't have to get a co-signer).
  12. Christian Lupercio

    Christian Lupercio

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    Kickstarter is a good starter ;)

    So far, I have used the Pirana the most, but more recently I have been liking the ATS more. So if it resembles that and it's smaller, I am interested. The one I haven't tried and really don't see myself ever trying is the Totem, just seems like too many options for me, maybe if I did climbing as well but I don't. Plus, I like how the ATS and Pirana stay put where the Totem doesn't.

    Personally, I'd pay more for stainless. Everyone seems to say that on prototypes or if stainless steel versions would be made of current descenders. I feel you on its originality, but know the price must be higher. Thing is, I have never seen that spike in price addressed. Personally, I'd pay up to $60, maybe $70 for a good descender that was made out of stainless steel. I don't have experience with other steel gadgets, but is it even significant the durability of steel over aluminum? Perhaps a silly question :/
  13. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    I'm in. Recommendations? Don't know that I have any ground "braking" ideas but I am intrigued by a better mouse trap. What I dislike? Aluminum residue... makes pretty rope ugly! :eek:
    Deckerj likes this.
  14. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    I'll be meeting with 2 separate machine shops next week. I've got to source materials and their computer setup time will run me between $40-$80/hr.
    I'm hoping I can get aluminum ones made for a retail of about $30. This would be a trial version and I wouldn't plan to pocket a lot of dough. I just wanna get them out there.
    Christian Lupercio likes this.
  15. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    My opinion is that a descender made of a 304 or 316 stainless would have a life span many times greater than aluminum. You'd probably never need to buy another one.
    Kuenn likes this.
  16. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    My current rendering has ears for adding friction and locking off (easily) on both sides. It has a single slot for auto-block mode, which when used, would be easy to release. The symmetry of the design makes it ambidextrous and would also allow for reversal of the device once worn on one side. It would have an O-ring retainer like the ats or piraña. I'm ironing out getting the rope to run and not rub itself when in a high friction mode. I did some wood cut outs today and will have have just a few more tweaks to make early next week after I get home from Moab. :)
    I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel, just a better rolling one...
  17. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Just got off the phone with the machine shop. I'm going to send them all my dimensions and specs. They have a quote for me next week. I'm thinking an initial run of 10 in aluminum for R&D purposes. I can send a few out to be field tested, After which I'd want them sent back to me for analyses and with any comments and feedback from field trials. Once tweaked we can do a final run in stainless steel, with slight modifications to account for the lower coefficient of stainless.

    Like I said. I don't have a final price per unit yet. I would just need enough money from field testers to help cover a little more than shipping, when returned to me, I'll take your info and be sure to cut you a good deal on the final product. I'll be out of town this weekend so no rush.

    Any one who is interested, send me a PM with your info and a brief intro to who you are and why you want to be a field tester. I may need to analyze this from a legal standpoint too, and have a waiver of liability drafted. But lets not go there just yet...

    Thanks for the expressed interest everyone, you're all helping me make this dream a reality.
    Dan Ransom likes this.
  18. John Diener

    John Diener

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    Interested for sure. Would it be possible to throw up a pic or drawing in this thread?
    -john
  19. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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  20. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Maybe a good reason to test with an autoblock. ;)
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