Product development: flake clamp fail

I spend a lot of time dreaming up new bits of gear — trying to solve problems I come across while climbing.

It’s fun to prototype and test ideas, I learn from the failures and enjoy problem solving and mucking around in the workshop.

This one was intended as a clamp for gripping a thin granite flake edge in aid climbing. You don’t want to put protection behind a flake, any load could dislodge the whole flake or break the edge off. You can hear how hollow the flake is in the film clip below. Though a flake is usually lying against the main wall sitting on a ledge or jig-sawed in with enough traction for a vertical load — if you move delicately!

So the idea was to put this over the edge of the flake and place a nut on the curve side, locking onto the flake as it was pulled down. I thought the body weight load on the nut would jam it enough to be able to move up. I got it to grip but just wasn’t stable enough under full load.

Ideas cross over — this one is based on a simple clamp that boat builders use: made from a fork of timber and a wedge and used to clamp clinker planks together in construction.

Not that I’m disparaged, just changed track on this one and put the flake clamp on the back-burner.

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