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anyone know what good pitons are made of?
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By mike c
From nederland
Apr 18, 2013
woody getting fists in escalante....
does anyone know exactly what type of steel knifeblades, rurps, and beaks are made of. tempered,....hardened.....whats the deal? what kind of steel were the original stoveleg pitons made of? just curious on that one. was making some for fun..... despite the hammer deal,on some climbs, they just fit way more solid than any other new,modern gear you could place clean. the sound of a good blade placement excites me. is the sound an indication of its structural integrity? anyone out there make any and test them?

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By TBD
Apr 18, 2013
Here is a place to start

mrpiton.com/

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By Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Apr 18, 2013
Flaming Pumpkin
I don't make them, but I happen to deal with a lot of steel on a daily basis so I could take a guess. Could be wrong, but I can try.

The process is more than likely a hot forging (stamped) to prevent work hardening. There's a lot of different ways it could be made, but that seems like the most likely. Another option is casting...but I highly doubt that is what was/is used.

The type is probably an HSLA (high strength-low alloy), Cr-Va steel or chromoly steel. I don't think they would have used a plain carbon steel. Quick and dirty test if you have one lying around; get a refrigerator magnet and see if it the piton is magnetic. If it is, you can eliminate chromoly steel.

Other than that, I couldn't even begin to help because I've never used a piton nor talked to anyone who might have made them. But maybe that will give you some sort of a starting point

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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
Generally speaking there are two types of pitons; soft and hard. A few companies still make both kinds. Soft pitons conform to the area you are hammering them in and hard ones stay rigid.

I believe most pitons are made from 4130 or 4340 Chromoly Steel. Most pitons in this day and age are hot forged into shape and then heat treated to final hardness.

The basic definition of heat treating is taking a metal above it's lower critical temperature (usually around 1,300F) and holding it there for a certain amount of time before letting it cool. The time it stays at temperature and the time and way it is cooled affects the material.

If you want to make your own then I would recommend chromoly steel. You'll find it is a lot harder to form compared to soft carbon steels like 1018.

You'll figure out quickly that it is cheaper to buy pitons than to make your own.

The only reason I can see someone making their own is for pure fun or to make some sort of obscure piece that is currently not in production.

If you end up making your own. Find a local heat treating company and see if you can beg your way into them throwing your stuff in the oven when they are heat treating similar parts.

When I was in college local shops were usually very helpful with our projects. I remember getting super cheap powder coating for a bike rack I made but the guy said he could not guarantee color and I got lucky as it ended up gloss black.

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By Buff Johnson
Apr 18, 2013
smiley face
those titanium pins have worked really well for me

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By Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Apr 18, 2013
Flaming Pumpkin
randy88fj62 wrote:
I remember getting super cheap powder coating for a bike rack I made but the guy said he could not guarantee color and I got lucky as it ended up gloss black.


Consider yourself lucky you only needed a powder coating. We had a very thin sheet of steel we wanted coated with an aluminum/silicon alloy for adhesion promotion, but it was too thin to purchase the hot-dipped aluminized steel sold by AK Steel, so we had to get it electrolytically coated (too thin to sand blast so we couldn't thermal spray either) by the only company in the US apparently that would do it. Cost about 400 bucks.

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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
What were you making? Some kind of electronics board?

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By Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Apr 18, 2013
Flaming Pumpkin
randy88fj62 wrote:
What were you making? Some kind of electronics board?


Well at the time we weren't really making anything. It was part of research to test the adhesion with a linear LDPE in a solution that I can't really remember what it was. It had to be thin because of the limitations of the press that was used to heat it. It wasn't my money though...but still.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Apr 18, 2013
...
Metal.

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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 19, 2013
"does anyone know exactly what type of steel knifeblades, rurps, and beaks are made of. tempered,....hardened.....whats the deal? what kind of steel were the original stoveleg pitons made of?"

Forehead crushed Coors Original and PBR cans...

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By chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
Apr 19, 2013
Locker wrote:
Metal.


I heard pitons are fordged by hand by the original Stonemasters crushing them from rock.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Apr 19, 2013
...
"I heard pitons are fordged by hand by the original Stonemasters crushing them from rock."


Weren't those second generation pitons?

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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 25, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers ...
I believe pitons were always hot forged and hammered and hardened by quenching - at least I think that's the way Chouinard made them years ago. I do not believe they are carbon at all. I thought chromemoly myself...not sure tho now.

I and others I know have used them back in the 80's in the caving community that I was associated with - tho used sparingly. They were not malleable at all. Hammering them in or out didn't deform them nor alter their shape due to 'being soft.'

PS Per BD - they are hot forged.

See: blackdiamondequipment.com/en-u...

Per the Mr. Piton web site: "Nearly all modern pitons are composed of either stamp-cut or forged metal alloy, aluminum, hardened chromium-molybdenum steel, or even titanium alloy."

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