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DIY Walking Axe
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Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
DIY Walking Axe on 11/03/2007 15:27:50 MDT Print View

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?

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
tried the whippet? on 11/04/2007 09:23:19 MST Print View

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.

http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&partNumber=757953&preferredSku=7579530010

Edited by Paul_Tree on 11/04/2007 09:25:31 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: DIY Walking Axe on 11/04/2007 21:36:03 MST Print View

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...
Solidowrks Axe Shaft

Edited by Steve_Evans on 11/04/2007 21:36:37 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Ice Axe Pic on 11/04/2007 21:44:42 MST Print View

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.
IA Compare

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
wow! on 11/05/2007 00:03:29 MST Print View

that is sweet work, can't wait to see the rest!

Shahrin Bin Shariff
(zzmelayu) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Table Mountain
WOW! on 11/05/2007 03:16:20 MST Print View

Wow! Holding my breadth...

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
matching crampons! on 11/05/2007 09:37:17 MST Print View

I'd love to see your take on crampons to go with.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Pick and Adze on 11/05/2007 09:52:48 MST Print View

Thanks guys...
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.
Assembly

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Pick and Adze on 11/05/2007 10:00:59 MST Print View

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 - Adze

Edited by Steve_Evans on 11/05/2007 10:13:42 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
DIY Walking Axe on 11/05/2007 11:30:23 MST Print View

Steve,

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.

- Sam

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Axe Specifics on 11/05/2007 13:29:24 MST Print View

Sam,
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!

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
axe on 11/05/2007 15:09:27 MST Print View

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!

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Pick and Adze on 11/05/2007 15:15:45 MST Print View

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?

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Pick and Adze on 11/05/2007 15:28:56 MST Print View

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.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 11/05/2007 15:29:31 MST.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
axe comments cont... on 11/05/2007 16:08:32 MST Print View

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)?

Edited by Pivvay on 11/05/2007 16:09:59 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Pick and Adze on 11/05/2007 16:15:04 MST Print View

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.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: axe comments cont... on 11/05/2007 16:18:55 MST Print View

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.

Kevin Egelhoff
(kegelhoff) - F

Locale: Southern Cal
Carbon ? on 11/05/2007 16:25:27 MST Print View

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 !

Kevin

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Carbon ? on 11/05/2007 16:54:21 MST Print View

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 beleive

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Carbon ? on 11/05/2007 16:56:52 MST Print View

Ryan,

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.