Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes
Display Avatars Sort By:
Cat Jasins
(CatJasins) - MLife
Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes on 02/05/2008 21:09:54 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes on 02/06/2008 08:17:05 MST Print View

I'm starting to think that the BPL MYOG difficulty and tools scale must end at 8. If this is a 7 I can't imagine what project with a difficulty of 10 would be.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes on 02/06/2008 10:35:08 MST Print View

Hi Jonathan,

Stay tuned for our "Make your own Lightweight Trailhead Vehicle" three-part series ;-)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re levels of difficulty on 02/06/2008 17:23:55 MST Print View

Hi Jonathon

> I can't imagine what project with a difficulty of 10 would be.
We hope to give some examples later on. :-)

Actually, while this one requires some use of tools, it does not take very long to do. Making a sophisticated pack or a double skin tent takes a lot longer. But that's how I get exactly what I want.

Cheers
Roger

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes on 02/07/2008 19:05:39 MST Print View

Roger,
You know I'm going to make these :) - great project. Having never handled Ti at 0.02" thickness, do you think you could have gone thinner? The bends will stiffen it up, but in the interest of UL, how thin can we push here?
Steve

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes on 02/08/2008 02:15:37 MST Print View

Hi Steve

> Having never handled Ti at 0.02" thickness, do you think you could have gone thinner? The bends will stiffen it up, but in the interest of UL, how thin can we push here?

:-) :-) :-)
You can go as thin as you like. But whether the pegs will go into the ice, hold the tent up in a storm, and then take being stomped on in the morning to break them loose (or bashed by a Ti/CF axe) ... Ah well.

You can also get 0.016" 6Al4V Ti sheet from Titanium Joe. I have some. I am sure that gauge would be OK with just a fraction more care in the field.

Below that ... dunno. Need to try it out. Somewhere along the line it will all go crinkly. :-)

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Ti snow stakes on 02/09/2008 19:17:41 MST Print View

Well done. In Fabrication circles, I believe your bending jig is referred to as a sheet metal brake. FWIW. These would be great in alpine zones or on glaciers, why not just use sticks below tree line? dig, run guy line under stick (perpendicular) bury, stomp, let set, tighten. In the am, just pull your guy cord, leave the stick and move on. 0 cost, 0 weight penalty.

When the trail head vehicle build comes up, let me know, I can spin a wrench and even burn some metal with the 'ole mig welder.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ti snow stakes on 02/09/2008 20:30:39 MST Print View

Hi Ryan

> why not just use sticks below tree line? dig, run guy line under stick (perpendicular) bury, stomp, let set, tighten. In the am, just pull your guy cord, leave the stick and move on.
Yes, and I have done just that. Works fine.

But many of my camp sites have been well above the tree line, and what then? I have to allow for that of course.

Also, there is a problem with the 'tighten' bit. UL Spectra string (0.5 mm) does not take knots very well at all. A fixed loop is possible, but not the sort of easily tied and untied knots you would need. Been there ...

Donald S Bosch
(manofmt) - F
titanium stakes on 02/10/2008 08:57:44 MST Print View

Looks like a great project. I have found that using the nano stuff sacks filled with snow and buried works great. It also has the advantage of double use.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: titanium stakes on 02/10/2008 14:15:17 MST Print View

Hi Donald

> I have found that using the nano stuff sacks filled with snow and buried works great.

Yeah, a good idea in the right conditions. I have looked at using the idea myself, but in our snow it isn't that easy - I would often need an iceaxe to dig the hole in the evening and to get them out in the morning. Especially the latter. Pity.

shawn weld
(Spoon) - F

Locale: NorthEast
titanium stakes on 02/10/2008 18:11:19 MST Print View

What??? I can't even read this on my own.

John McLaine
(John_McLaine) - F - M

Locale: Tasmania
Fantastic effort Roger. on 02/14/2008 04:04:21 MST Print View

Fantastic effort Roger. I've been meaning to make some for years but not followed it through. I have a sheet of 1.0mm Ti kicking around somewhere that I was going to use, and never got around to it. Your 0.5 would be more suitable anyway.

For those deterred by the process tasks, many high quality stainless steel fabrication workshops would do the bending for you in minutes on their press brake for a very small fee. They would also do a neat job of the cutting in their guillotine.

I am a bit wary of the bungy cord attachments. I have spent a rough night in a friend's Macpac Olympus with good quality bungy attachments of a gauge similar to yours. One by one all the bungy loops on the windward side shredded between about midnight and 4 A.M. Yes, the pegs held, but the bungy stuff was a comparative weak link. Admittedly I'm referring to rather breathtaking wind, the kind you really need to crawl around in when you are attempting to obtain some tent security in the small hours, but I vowed never again to use elasticised cord for any structural element of my tents. I'd rather use static cord and spend some time to get the tension just right. Just a thought.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Cheap snow stakes on 02/14/2008 19:24:42 MST Print View

About 30 years ago I made a set of aluminum snow stakes for my old REI double A-frame tent. This required about 10 stakes to set up.

While the Ti stakes are likely much stronger, these were quite cheap and simple to build. They are about 6 inch tall by 4 inch wide (bent), and weigh 38 grams each.

I found the Al at a metal "shorts" dealer. I fortunately had access to a metal shear, brake, and hole-puncher, so I made about a dozen of these in next to no time. They could easily be made with a tin snips and drill press, and bent over a piece of wood.

Note: be VERY careful cutting holes in metal sheet goods, as the bit will grab the metal and start it spinning, and you can slice your hand up pretty badly. Best to always clamp sheet metal when drilling.

The Al is soft, and these sometimes bend, but I've never had a problem. But I've never used them in a really windy storm, though.Aluminum snow stake, about 6 inch high by 4 inch wide, 28 grams each

Edited by ewolin on 02/15/2008 06:46:58 MST.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Fabric Snow Anchors on 02/15/2008 18:59:00 MST Print View

I've used fabric snow anchors on countless windy encampments in a wide variety of snow conditions with zero failures. Any type of shovel (including the light flexible plastic sheet type sold on this site) will suffice to set and recover them.
Cut a pack cloth or silnylon square 8" on a side. Attach cord at each corner and bring cords to a central attachment point. Dig a hole, place anchor in hole like an upside-down parachute and fill hole with snow.
Much cheaper, faster and easier to make and waaay lighter than metal.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Fantastic effort Roger. on 02/15/2008 22:49:11 MST Print View

Hi John

> I am a bit wary of the bungy cord attachments. I have spent a rough night in a friend's Macpac Olympus with good quality bungy attachments of a gauge similar to yours. One by one all the bungy loops on the windward side shredded between about midnight and 4 A.M. Yes, the pegs held, but the bungy stuff was a comparative weak link. Admittedly I'm referring to rather breathtaking wind,

Yes, I remembered your 1 mm sheet Ti, but it is far heavier than I needed for this. :-)

> many high quality stainless steel fabrication workshops would do the bending for you in minutes on their press brake for a very small fee. They would also do a neat job of the cutting in their guillotine.
But warn them that the stuff is like high-tensile steel. You would need a heavy press brake and a heavy punch or guillotine. Actually, I have reservations about attempting to use a punch on this stuff at all. (I have a Roper Whitney one, and won't use it.)

Now, the bungee cord. If the edges of the metal are sharp under the bungee cord, you may get fraying. For this reason I avoid running the bungee cord over any sheet metal edges. Both the eyelets and the wire present nicely rounded corers.

I have found that the quality of commercially available bungee cord varies considerably. The stretch of the rubber varies and the toughness of the synthetic braid cover varies. I am using the best I could find: not cheap Chinese stuff. The nylon braid is excellent.

But in addition, the bungee cord I am using at the ends of the tent is 4 mm diameter: this is very tough stuff! The braid is correspondingly thick. The proof of the pudding may be in the eating. The pic near the end of the orange tent in a storm: one of my tents, using the 4 mm bungee cord. No signs of wear after many years.

Cheers
Roger

Edited by rcaffin on 02/15/2008 22:50:53 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Cheap snow stakes on 02/15/2008 22:50:26 MST Print View

> Note: be VERY careful cutting holes in metal sheet goods, as the bit will grab the metal and start it spinning, and you can slice your hand up pretty badly. Best to always clamp sheet metal when drilling.

Amen.
G-clamps are wonderful.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Fabric Snow Anchors on 02/15/2008 22:55:00 MST Print View

Hi Al

>Any type of shovel (including the light flexible plastic sheet type sold on this site) will suffice to set and recover them.
Ah ... you haven't seen our morning boilerplate. Plastic digging implements bounce. Aluminium bounces, or bends. Carbide-tipped ski poles bounce - or the tips break off. Think ice-axe. This is really wet snow frozen to -10 C overnight. That's why titanium!

Of course, under more benevolent conditions fabric anchors may work fine.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Cheap snow stakes on 02/16/2008 06:25:57 MST Print View

Note: be VERY careful cutting holes in metal sheet goods, as the bit will grab the metal and start it spinning, and you can slice your hand up pretty badly. Best to always clamp sheet metal when drilling

Indeed! Also, ordinary drill bits leave the edges of the hole very jagged. unibits are said to be the bee's knees for that sort of thing.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Boilerplate on 02/16/2008 15:40:08 MST Print View

Roger writes < Ah ... you haven't seen our morning boilerplate. Plastic digging implements bounce. Aluminium bounces, or bends. Carbide-tipped ski poles bounce - or the tips break off. Think ice-axe. This is really wet snow frozen to -10 C overnight. That's why titanium!>

I understand that you find axes are necessary to break through the boilerplate, but once you're through why not excavate a hole with a plastic or metal shovel, lay the light, cheap fabric anchor in place and fill hole with snow/ice?

My old Chouinard 7075 T6 aluminum shovel is great at chipping ice. Maybe a similar tool would cut through the boilerplate and excavate the hole?

Al

Edited by Al_T.Tude on 02/16/2008 15:45:31 MST.

John McLaine
(John_McLaine) - F - M

Locale: Tasmania
bungy cord on 02/16/2008 19:47:58 MST Print View

Thanks for your extra thoughts on the bungy cords Roger.

And to the other posters, I can support Roger's remarks regarding snow in Australia. It is very inconsistent stuff. I've found over the years that pegs not too far removed from standard pressed-sheet tent pegs offer the most versatility in our marginal conditions.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Boilerplate on 02/17/2008 13:53:53 MST Print View

Hi Al

> I understand that you find axes are necessary to break through the boilerplate, but once you're through why not excavate a hole with a plastic or metal shovel, lay the light, cheap fabric anchor in place and fill hole with snow/ice?

Sounds good, but the maths doesn't work and the physics is uncertain. When you factor in the weight of an axe plus the weight of a plastic or metal shovel, you find you are carrying far more weight than a few titanium stakes. We do not normally carry either of these. It's total weight that counts after all.

We would not normally need an axe to make the hole late in the afternoon. Often the snow has softened by then - although by the time I am pitching camp the stuff may be starting to freeze up again. Gets cold early. No, the big problem is in the morning. There I am with this solid block of frozen ice with a fabric anchor somewhere inside it. It's frozen solid: I would have to carry a couple of kilos of ice until the sun is warm enough to melt it.

Different snow conditions - very different.

Cheers

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Re: Ti snow stakes on 02/17/2008 16:52:47 MST Print View

>> why not just use sticks below tree line? dig, run guy line under stick (perpendicular) bury, stomp, let set, tighten. In the am, just pull your guy cord, leave the stick and move on.
Yes, and I have done just that. Works fine.

But many of my camp sites have been well above the tree line, and what then? I have to allow for that of course.

Also, there is a problem with the 'tighten' bit. UL Spectra string (0.5 mm) does not take knots very well at all. A fixed loop is possible, but not the sort of easily tied and untied knots you would need. Been there ...<<

Yes, of course, above tree line your Ti deadmen seem a superb solution. It would be interesting to look at the weight comparison for using a bit thicker cord - trip tease or similar perhaps, or dare I say P-cord and sticks (assuming below treeline travel) and the 0.5 mm spectra w/ pickets/deadmen. It would not surprise me that you already have these numbers, if so could you share them with us? Thanks! And again, nice work.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Ti snow stakes on 02/18/2008 00:24:01 MST Print View

> It would be interesting to look at the weight comparison for using a bit thicker cord - trip tease or similar perhaps, or dare I say P-cord and sticks

Sigh - you are probably right. A thicker cord would not weigh a real lot more. Probably not worth the hassle in fact. But I have this big reel of the 150 lb 0.5 mm Spectra kite line you see, and I don't have any of the triptease line for comparison. (sorry)

One thought. I have mentioned that the Spectra line does not hold a knot very well. In practice I find that it does not tangle very easily either. This can be very useful at times.

I am experimenting with ClamCleats, which are (I think) what BPL sells with some string. They won't grip on the 0.5 mm line - yet, but we are working on that.

The company made an interesting comment to me on the holding force of the clamcleat: would you prefer the clamcleat slipped, or that the guy rope ripped off the tent? A point to ponder!

Cheers

Josh Leavitt
(Joshleavitt) - F

Locale: Ruta Locura
Titanium sheet on 02/23/2008 19:29:00 MST Print View

If any one is interested, I have about 4 sheets, 36"X48"X.020" of Al6V4 Titanium sheet. We currently have no use for these, and can let them go for a deal.

email Josh or DJ at info@titaniumgoat.com for details

Mike Bozman
(myarmisonfire) - M

Locale: BC
Cutting speed on 03/01/2012 08:39:54 MST Print View

I don't see cutting speed was mentioned in the article. Having worked extensively with ISO S materials (that include titanium alloys) speed is your enemy. For the greatest chance of success with drilling the holes set your drill press as slow as it will go. About 400 rpm from a 5mm drill is good. An oil based cutting oil will help as well. If you use a dull drill or use too little of a feed rate you can quickly work harden the material and it will become much more difficult to get your drill through. A carbide tipped masonry reground (sharpened) like a regular HSS drill will work very well and only cost a few dollars more than a decent HSS drill. My preference for materials like this is to drill the holes in a single operation and not step up drill sizes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Cutting speed on 03/01/2012 16:53:17 MST Print View

Hi Mike

You are right, I should have mentioned that. Yes, for Ti, you cut slow and deep, to avoid work-hardening.

I do sometimes drill a pilot hole and then a final hole. I drill both quite fast. Works for me with a mill.

Reground masonary drills - an old trick! Cheaper than a solid carbide drill too. But grinding them requires a green wheel (or a diamond wheel), which few have. I find the green when very messy and don't like it. A resin-bonded diamond cup wheel is very nice.

Cheers

what not
(firestarter01)

Locale: Bay Area
Suppliers on 12/12/2012 11:47:30 MST Print View

Roger,

Where did you get the Ti? OnlineMetals.com? I ask since I have many projects in mind but haven't found a good supplier of Ti around the bay area. It seems as though it's mail order only.

Thanks for the ideas (quite sufficient in metal working so you know i'm going to do this),

Edited by firestarter01 on 12/12/2012 11:51:00 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Suppliers on 12/12/2012 14:37:17 MST Print View

Hi Matt

OnLineMetals is $$$$$
I use Titanium Joe. He has always given me very good service.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re Guy ropes on 12/12/2012 14:49:32 MST Print View

> > It would be interesting to look at the weight comparison for using a bit thicker cord
> > - trip tease or similar perhaps, or dare I say P-cord and sticks
> Sigh - you are probably right. A thicker cord would not weigh a real lot more.
> Probably not worth the hassle in fact. But I have this big reel of the 150 lb 0.5 mm
> Spectra kite line you see, and I don't have any of the triptease line for comparison.

Update:

I now use 1 mm Spectra cord sheathed inside 1 mm tubular Dacron cord for the winter tent. The Dacron surface allows knots and friction. The long sheathing means the Dacron does grip the Spectra properly. The Spectra adds core strength. The end result is closer to 2 mm thickness, but very light.

I could not buy this combination at the time, so I bought the two separate cords and ran the Spectra inside the Dacron myself. I did it several metres at a time. Yeah, fiddly, but that's what MYOG is about: getting exactly what you want.

I use the smallest Clam Cleat as a toggle, next to the tent. The 2 mm cord is gripped very nicely by the cleat. By not having the cleat at the end of the line I don't get tangles, and adjusting the guy length is much easier at that height above ground too.

Cheers