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New BD cams - rumor?
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By Rude Boy
From San Francisco, CA
Jul 15, 2012
Scouting
the article says "20 percent more range than other three-cam units". the green alien and #2 c3 have the same range albeit at a slightly different size. so i guess that puts at least one cam with better range than an alien. as for the rest, just gotta wait and see until they release all the specs.

this tickles the gear whore in me too but i'm losing interest until i can actually have one. precious..........

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By Rude Boy
From San Francisco, CA
Jul 15, 2012
Scouting
btw aric, you an engineer. just curious?

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By Aric Datesman
Jul 15, 2012
Some Random Guy wrote:
this tickles the gear whore in me too but i'm losing interest until i can actually have one. precious..........


Me too, but frankly it's really looking to me like it's a riff on the aforementioned 15 year old patent, so actually not all that impressive. And frankly, the micro-cams I've been working on the past couple years blow the doors of these. But they're not available commercially and possibly not going past the folks who did the beta testing, so perhaps that's neither here nor there. That said, I got a Red Alien-sized cam (in both size and range) down to 59 grams though (down from 83) but the baby and life in general got in the way of bringing it to market. And now that BD's thrown their hat in the ring with an Alien knock-off I don't know it's worth the bother, as that hole in the market is quite filled with Metolius, Fixe, Totem and BD (no to mention WC, Trango, etc...)

Some Random Guy wrote:
btw aric, you an engineer. just curious?


Kinda sorta, although spent my career in IT instead. Past half dozen years have been spent in cam design as a hobby, hence being overly critical about these sorts of things. What can I say... it's either building cams or mechanical clock movements (one of my other interests), and only one of those gets me outside having fun.


EDIT- BTW, been a long time since I did anything with theclimbinglab.com, but IIRC there's an article there where I poked into the myth of the advantage given by the dual axle design (perhaps in the forum? Baby showed up and I shuttered the site). In a nutshell the dual axle allows the section of the spiral used for the lobe to be larger, but more limited in rotation. When compared to an equal cam angle single-axle design the added range is ~%10, so really not all that much. And when you get down to it, the dual axle thing was really just a way to get around Jardine's trigger patent, so not surprising BD puts so much effort into reinforcing the dual-axle-means-greater-range myth... the brand actually relies on it and wouldn't be so attractive if others used a 15 degree cam angle. Got a Mathematica program somewhere to support this, if anyone's interested.

EDIT x2- Looks like that that article does still exist... theclimbinglab.com/tiki-index.... There's a couple points I now would qualify in it (re: percentage benefit of dual axle goes up with cam angle), but the math still holds out. And frankly the dual axle thing has an innate tenancy to walk due to lack of a degree of freedom around the axles, but that's a discussion for another thread.

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By Aric Datesman
Jul 15, 2012
FWIW, here's what I'm seeing from the talk of "stacked axle", which is remarkably similar to the axle used in the aforementioned patent:



As with the standard dual axle cam, the opposing lobes rotate on the farthest axle centerline, but in this case the axle is not round but instead has eccentric sections for the lobes to ride on. For obvious reasons the possible diameter for the axles for a dual axle design goes down as the axles begin to overlap, and this is the only realistic solution to allowing them to physically overlap. Of course assembly is a bitch on an axle like that, hence the patent above punting it off to eccentric bearings mounted on a central axle rather than making it one piece. No idea if this is the direction BD went, but the pics sure look like it is. Fun stuff, but near as I can tell the idea was patented 15 years ago (oddly by the guy who appears to hold the dual axle patent).

BTW, lots of fun reading on the USPTO site for those inclined towards reading technical documents for fun.... Mentioned this before, but figured now's a good time to mention it again.

EDIT- Oh, and code in the link above will likely need some tweaking for situations where the axles physically overlap. Lots of fun stuff happens when you play with the center-to-center distance of the axles of dual-axle cams, and a long while back I filed a provisional patent on something related to that. Quite interesting math for those interested, but ultimately you run into the problem with extended range cams being too wide on the small end and too narrow on the large end. It was a fun design though, and like the one detailed in the eccentric bearing cam patent allowed a single axle cam to behave as a dual axle cam. Although in my case it allowed one with a normal cylindrical axle to achieve at least a 2:1 expansion ratio, with expansion ratio increasing with size (big one covered BD5 - VG12). If want a hint, the center of rotation for the lobes doesn't actually need to be confined to the physical space afforded by the crack... Fun stuff mathematically and conceptually, but ultimately flawed due to head width and issues with winding a spring that gives the proper movement. Got a rack of them sitting on a shelf somewhere (BD.5 -4), but have since moved onto more practical designs. Definitely worth poking into if you're thematically inclined. And really bored.

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By doligo
Jul 15, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
Sexy!

Dave Cummings wrote:


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 15, 2012
OTL
Really? Polished?

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By Greg D
From Here
Jul 16, 2012
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />
These cams look great.

These cams won't change my climbing one bit.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jul 16, 2012
Bucky
Will S wrote:
...DAMN YOU BD, DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!"


And I thought Charlton Heston passed away. Huh, I guess he just moved to Josh.

I don't own any C3's, but the color of the cams in the pics above are consistent with my old set of BD microcams (i.e. red 0.1, yellow 0.2, blue 0.3, and grey 0.4). And the sizes of the juniors appear to be the same as well (purple 0.5 and green 0.75).

I am a bit curious why they are making these in the junior sizes though...are the new cams really going to be that different from the C4's of the same size? If anything it just looks like the new jobbys will be heavier with all that added metal instead of the plastic used for the C4's.

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By bearbreeder
Jul 16, 2012
i played with them yesterday

- they are basically mastercams in terms of feel ... trigger feels the same, as does the wire, flexible like a mastercam
- gray and above are double axle with fabric type wires, blue and below (c4 0.3) are single axle with metal wires
- color coding is the same as the c4s generally

i see noting thats game changing, basically they are BDs version of a mastercam with a few differences, but the same feel ... nothing wrong with that, it all depends on the pricing ...

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 16, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
I don't understand what exactly they're trying to do here with these cams- unless it's just for pure competition with Master Cams. If these six sizes are the only offerings, then that leaves you with 000 through 0 (arguably the new red size is the same size as the green C3) that you have to cover with another cam- which people already do with either C3s or Aliens, or Master Cams, or TCUs or something else.

As for the the largest four of this set, basically they're targeting new climbers (or climbers with no or small racks) without double axle, four lobe, flexible stemmed cams, right? They would almost have to be, because me and everyone I know that has a rack, already has doubles or triples in almost all of these sizes, and the vast majority are Black Diamond. Unless these offer a dramatic improvement over the small end of existing C4s like weight or range, which is doubtful, I don't exactly understand their strategy. Hoping that new and shiny from a proven powerhouse in the cam manufacturing market will appeal?

Now, having said that, and doubting a proven expert in manufacturing, design, and marketing field of active pro (an area I might add that I have zero experience in), they do look like very nice cams.

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By jd4567
From New York, NY
Jul 16, 2012
My thoughts:

Another "me too" offering from the marketing department at BD whose marginal C3 has failed to take significant share in the microcam market despite their corporate distribution prowess/ability to beat shop-owners over the head to stock product. While the C3 looks niftier than a TCU, its ultimately got the same fundamental problems as any other U-Stem cam.)

In these sizes, the inclusion of a double axle is near pointless, and possibly inferior, as the added range is trivial and the increased tendency of a double axle cam to walk raises added concerns for placements in anything other than true splitter cracks.

The cute little beaded necklace, nominally included to protect the stem, seems mostly harmless but also unnecessary. All that extra extra shiny aluminum though will surely encourage people to paw them in the shops.

On a positive note, the weight penalty of the double axle in this range, which is felt acutely with the #3 and larger C4s, is probably de-minimus.

For free climbing I still cannot understand why the market has not rallied around the vastly superior Wild Country Zero cams which feature a stem that terminates precisely at the axle and consequently does a much better job facilitating shallow placements. At least in my climbing, I'm much more apt to come across a shallow placement than one too narrow to accomodate a yellow Zero. (I carry a purple TCU for those few instances).

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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Jul 16, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)
Good call Will.. Tilt shift has definitely jumped the friggin shark already.

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By doligo
Jul 16, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
bearbreeder wrote:
blue and below (c4 0.3) are single axle with metal wires - color coding is the same as the c4s generally


These two are already improvements over the Mastercams. Mastercams' kevlar triggers suck, and color coordination with C4s is a plus, IMO.
Judging from photos, looks like the trigger wires are significantly shorter than of Mastercams - that may result in more rigid cams and won't cause them flop like it happens with bigger size single stem flexible cams. I would totally buy them. If they fit in shallow flaring cracks as well as Aliens, that would be a total homerun. And Mastercam owners, don't tell me they're the same, Aliens they're not.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 16, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
doligo wrote:
Mastercams' kevlar triggers suck, and color coordination with C4s is a plus


If you look closely, the .3 through .75 have kevlar (or whatever that is, it's not metal) triggers. As for the sizing, the blue through green are the same size (I'm assuming) as the current C4s. However, the yellow C3 is the same size as the blue C4. With the new 4 lobe cams, the yellow is clearly a size smaller than the blue. So the sizing, once you get below .3 will be different than what people are used to by one size. The new 4 lobe yellow looks like it's the same size as the red C3, and the 4 lobe red looks like the same size as the green C3.

It still doesn't make sense to me why they didn't go smaller because it seems like they're specifically trying to compete with Metolius Masters.

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By doligo
Jul 16, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
According to Bearbreeder, smaller cams have metal triggers...

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By Pete Spri
Jul 16, 2012
Funny that people are already claiming how they are the best, without knowing actual specs on weight or range, let alone feel.

A boast of {20% more} than tcus, which have a reduced cam angle is just funny.

Personally, in smaller sized cams, I'd much rather have more small cams on single axles.


I think we can all agree that BD lovers will snap these up.

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By jd4567
From New York, NY
Jul 16, 2012
Will S wrote:
Second, in tiny cracks the irregularities and grain make more of a difference and I find that tiny pieces generally have much less tendency to walk UNLESS they are a true parallel splitter crack. YMMV, opinions differ, etc.


They can all, always, walk. A more rigid stem: more likely to walk. Wandering route: more likely to walk. Two axles vs. one: more likely to walk. In my experience, a little cam in an irregular crack is much more likely to work its way entirely out of a placement than a larger one -- the amount of expansion required to render the cam useless is very, very, small. With a micro-cam that amount of irregularity in the crack may not be immediately apparent and, if the climbing is difficult, the climber (or at least I) may not have the time required to ensure the placement is ideal or even optimal. When the cam is inserted behind a flake, it may not even be possible to determine what nearby irregularities threaten the placement.

Here are the claimed ranges on some of the larger sized micro-cams:
Yellow alien: 15mm-25mm
BD C4 .4: 15.5-26.7 (proxy for their new cam?) Wow! 12% larger!
Red WC Zero 6: 17-24

These are all nominal ranges and the actual effective range is something like a .9 multiple of what is claimed.

In this size, BD claims the largest range at 11.2mm, WC claims the smallest at 7mm. Its a big percentage difference but on an effective basis it comes to barely 4mm. Having climbed with all of these cams, when it comes to actually placing them, I haven't ever noticed that "oh gee, I seem get a successful placement more frequently with the BD than with the WC"

Drop down two sizes:
Blue alien: 10mm-17mm
Yellow WC Zero 4: 10.3 - 16.0
And lets hypothesize that BD's double axle design again gives it the 12% edge in range over the alien:
BD (guesstimate): 10-17.8 (WOW!)

The difference between 50% retracted and totally open in the BD(guesstimate) cam is pretty trivial 3.9 mm (3.5mm in the alien and 3mm in the Zero.)

Maybe you can gauge and count on avoiding that sort of variability in a dark crack when you're sweating bullets.... maybe you can gap your sparkplugs with a nut-tool by moonlight. Its a matter of opinion, but I'd rather carry the piece thats engineered without a pre-disposition to walk.

But as you point out, the additional expansion range of BD's double axle design gives you an extra margin of error if you choose the wrong cam when protecting a tips or smaller crack. In a larger size mico-cam, that margin is about .9*1.7=1.5mm, in a smaller size microcam its more like .9*.8=.7mm. YMMV.

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By bearbreeder
Jul 17, 2012
Jake Jones wrote:
Yes, that's correct. The two smallest out of the six, one third of the offering, have metal trigger wires. The other four do not. But who really knows? It's not like these things are on the market in their finalized retail state. They could change some. Who's to say that the marketing dept at BD doesn't have a sneaky bastard or two in it, and these pics didn't leak on purpose. All of this speculation and opinions are free feedback. I agree with Spri- brand loyalists will snag these up quick when they hit the streets.



the blue i held in my hand had metal triggers ... and single axle ...

it seemed the same as my blue dragon/camalot, but then i didnt have my cams on me to compare

one thing to note that i forgot to mention is that they felt more flexible along the vertical axis than the mastercam .. of you look at the design you can see why ..

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By Rude Boy
From San Francisco, CA
Jul 17, 2012
Scouting
Jake Jones wrote:
It's not like these things are on the market in their finalized retail state. They could change some. Who's to say that the marketing dept at BD doesn't have a sneaky bastard or two in it, and these pics didn't leak on purpose. All of this speculation and opinions are free feedback.


yup, bd is most likely reading all of this. the pics are most likely prototypes and they are not hitting the shelves for almost another year. be 99.9% certain that changes, even minor ones, will be made. especially after the likes of trotter, caldwell, honnold, et. al. put them through there paces.

why else release these pics almost a year early? only other reason i can think of is so that all the dirtbag climbers out there have time to save up to buy a set ;)

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By cellige
Jul 17, 2012
Jared Danziger wrote:
Two axles vs. one: more likely to walk


I should hope you have some serious tests to back up such a claim. I call bs on that, which fits in to the rest of your bs well..

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By jd4567
From New York, NY
Jul 17, 2012
cellige wrote:
I should hope you have some serious tests to back up such a claim. I call bs on that, which fits in to the rest of your bs well..


BS? Really? This truly is the new rc.com.

That double axle cams are more prone to walk is (or should be) common knowledge. But don't take my word for it: experiment for yourself. Comfortably retract a cam in a parallel sided crack. The double axled cam can walk when force is applied either parallel to the trigger bar (torquing the lobes) or perpendicular to the trigger bar (pushing or pulling on the stem). A single axled cam won't walk as readily when forces are applied perpendicular to the trigger bar.

Anecdotally, I climbed primarily on a set of forged friends for more than a decade and believe that they walked around on me a whole lot less in the field than double axled cams, despite the obvious handicap of their completely rigid stem. Further, while in the last dozen years I've never had a full-sized cam walk out of position on me, I've had micro-cams open completely on probably a half-dozen occasions. And so I'm generally more wary about small cams than large ones -- I think thats a concern shared by most climbers.

Small cams require very, very little expansion to completely open and cause catastrophic failure of the placement. In a fairly optimal placement, 4mm of expansion is all it takes -- and much less if the cam is at all tipped. That amount of irregularity in a crack is common and either difficult, or on occasion, impossible, to perceive. Given those realities, why anyone would want to climb on a micro-cam with an added disposition to walk is a mystery to me. Gear choices are often about trade-offs, but in this case, the added range is so very, very trivial that, to me, there doesn't seem to be any sort of consideration to weigh.

But then again, they do have lots of shiny bits and bright colors.

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By Eric and Lucie
From Boulder, CO
Jul 17, 2012
Aric Datesman wrote:
FWIW, here's what I'm seeing from the talk of "stacked axle", which is remarkably similar to the axle used in the aforementioned patent: As with the standard dual axle cam, the opposing lobes rotate on the farthest axle centerline, but in this case the axle is not round but instead has eccentric sections for the lobes to ride on. For obvious reasons the possible diameter for the axles for a dual axle design goes down as the axles begin to overlap, and this is the only realistic solution to allowing them to physically overlap. Of course assembly is a bitch on an axle like that...



But Aric, what if the axle is built like this (inner lobes riding on a larger diameter). Same (small) gain in camming range due to eccentric design, but easy to assemble, no?

"stacked" axle
"stacked" axle


Now, if the smaller BD units are built using a conventional single axle without eccentricity, then they are simply a nicely built Alien.

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By Aric Datesman
Jul 17, 2012
That would work too, but not as well I think as the key is maximizing the distance between the axis of rotation of the lobes and your way looks to put them closer than a pair of smaller diameter eccentrics. Would have to think on that more, but on first glance that's how it strikes me. That said, no idea if either is actually what they did; just figured I'd do a quick drawing to make what's shown in that patent easier to see.

BTW, I've been patiently waiting for one of these folks with access to them to take a pic or at least confirm/refute whether this is what the "stacked axle" is all about.... Anyone? Please????? :-)

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By Price
From SLC, UT
Jul 18, 2012
Well, here's a pretty good look at them. Interesting how he emphasizes "expensive".

Guess we'll see.


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By APBT1976
Jul 18, 2012
Black Dike 12/25/11
Well, here's a pretty good look at them. Interesting how he emphasizes "expensive". Guess we'll see.
>

But I'm just a poor climber ;)

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