Let's play: name that cam!

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thegreatms

Sport climber
Cambridge, MA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 2, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
Can someone help me identify a cam? This was booty found a few years ago by a friend and he gave it to me to help fill out my beginners rack.

Credit: thegreatms
Credit: thegreatms
Credit: thegreatms
Credit: thegreatms

the only marking is the "DW" in pic #3.

They look kinda like wild country tech friends, without the extra plastic sheath. Maybe it's an old version or has been modified...?

Thanks for any help!
Mike
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Nov 2, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Yup looks like an older "FRiend"
DesertRatExpeditions

Trad climber
Flagstaff, Arizona
Nov 2, 2013 - 12:42pm PT
Looks like a WC flex friend to me.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Nov 2, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
Name that cam? How does Barney sound?
thegreatms

Sport climber
Cambridge, MA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
Name that cam? How does Barney sound?

Purple is not really my thing...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 2, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
#.5 Wild Country Technical Friend.
You are correct - the original versions did not have the black plastic sheath over the cable which stiffened it.
bajaandy

climber
Escondido, CA
Nov 2, 2013 - 02:02pm PT
+1 to what Clint said. Technical Friend for sure.
Reeotch

Trad climber
4 Corners Area
Nov 2, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
Yeah, I always thought those stiffeners were stupid. I stopped using WC when they did that. I still have a couple like the one above. Simple and functional design.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 2, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
Love the ole Tech Friends .. I'd say .5

Gotta say I'm loving the new Heliums now too. Like em better than the BDs .
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Nov 2, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
Heliums better than BD's? Why do you believe that?
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Nov 2, 2013 - 07:29pm PT
I found the Helium's to be really light weight which is a plus, but they seemed to always be sticking and hard to remove.
I've found that the Totem cams are the superior gear of any of the cams out there. If you are a hardcore trad climber, you HAVE to try the Totems. They make you a believer once you use them. They lock off solid in places the other cams flop around and walk in. To me the Totems are a automatic upgrade, because its your life that's on the line, and once you try them out climbing, the money doesn't seem such a issue.
Didn't mean to highjack the thread. Bring on the weird and rare cams!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Nov 2, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
Love the Totems, just wish they were available more places.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 2, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
I found the Helium's to be really light weight which is a plus, but they seemed to always be sticking

Nuff said :)

Yep the totems will be my other set in that size range.
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 2, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
I have several of those style cam, in different sizes. Seem to work just fine.

What's the lower one?
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328647
on the left?
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328648
ruppell

climber
Nov 2, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Wired Bliss?
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
Nov 2, 2013 - 10:54pm PT
Looks like one of the original Metolius TCUs.

Curt
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
Nov 2, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
The last photos look like Metolius TCU's
Just sent some of them to Metolius for reslinging, they did a great job.
Rewired some too. Just like new

I thought "older" Friends had rigid stems !!
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 3, 2013 - 12:13am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328664
You mean like that? Yep. But I've managed to pick up a few of those flex friends which look just like the OP. Some were a little sticky, but they cleaned right up. I also like them better than the ones with the plastic. Noticed sometimes the stem likes to bend a little without the plastic, but not enough to bother me.
Thought maybe that one with the pink sling might be an older TCU, but didn't find any marks on it. Didn't know if someone else made those, like ABC etc. Came in a lot with other cams, tried to sell those two off on ebay, but didn't even get a bid. Now they just live on the rack.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328665
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Nov 3, 2013 - 08:43pm PT

'D W'

Dwain Warren ?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 3, 2013 - 10:01pm PT
I have several of those style cam
Longtime cam users would be shocked at lumping these different cams into the same "type".
Unless you think there are 2 types:
1. Camalots
2. non-Camalots
I suppose that is legit, but most folks consider the way the stem connects to the axle to be an important part of the type. And the number of cams on the axle is part of the type also.

I thought "older" Friends had rigid stems.
There are several generations of Friends (and Camalots, too).
The oldest generations of Friends have rigid stems, but the cable stems got mixed in at some point.

Some folks like myself prefer the rigid stems, because they are (suprisingly) lighter than the cable stems, and also give you more control in placement and removal.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 3, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
Poorly placed....you mean f*#king potential disaster! Revoke
his leading licence and put him back to school.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Nov 3, 2013 - 10:28pm PT
Got this one on Tobin's Dihedral, the Dome Rock Classic...

Logo on mystery cam
Logo on mystery cam
Credit: Ksolem

Mystery cam...
Mystery cam...
Credit: Ksolem
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 3, 2013 - 10:38pm PT
Ha ha, yeah, donini, that's why it was a mock lead - his first-, on top rope, with him trailing the lead rope to make him clip something. He only follows me, he does not lead. He probably never will.

And Clint- I meant the type similar to the OP. Single cable in the center, four lobes, etc. I also have tcu's, fcu's, single stem camalots, rigid friends, and a few miscellaneous in the mix. Sometimes on the same rack.
To me, the really important thing is that I place them well, and they do the job. The rest doesn't make much difference because I still climb slow and easy, at the lower end of the scale. At this point in life, I'll settle for mediocrity in most things, and hope if I ever reach exceptional status it will be in my efforts to raise my children well and give them a better life than mine.

Seems quite a few people make efforts at home-built rigid-stem cams. I've got one slightly larger than a #4 where they butchered the cam angle spiral, thus it sits in a drawer disassembled (and here as my avatar). Waiting for some of them to show up here...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 4, 2013 - 12:30am PT
OK, sorry, I thought your photo was intended as an example of the cams of the initial type (single cable stem).
I agree that most cams are good in a vertical parallel crack in good rock.
It's when the crack gets trickier, harder, or you are trying to leave the ground at Indian Creek with 12 cams of the same size that design differences and weight could make a difference.
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 4, 2013 - 12:46am PT
No worries. All my cams came from Ebay, Craigslist, or Mountain Project, and the odd assemblage of what I've got will never be cutting-edge. About all I do these days is drag newer noobs than numero uno around on these old dinosaur cams, sometimes a hex, and a handful of surplus pins that I just hammer back in shape after each use. It's all good for a laugh, especially when I try to complement a really good climber. You'd think I was a touron... they usually do. Ha ha

photo not found
Missing photo ID#328804
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328805
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 4, 2013 - 09:27am PT
I dunno, Jonny.... Looks like a pretty good fit for just above a 10 degree cam angle. If you've never played with it, the Cam Fitter at Dorringtonclimbing.com is quite useful for these sorts of things. http://www.dorringtonclimbing.com/imagebin/cam_login.html



(edit- In case you're wondering why I had to clip and rotate your pic, the Cam Fitter only works with the lobe facing upper left or upper right)
MisterE

climber
Nov 4, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Just got off the phone with the Cosmiccragsman - he is still incomputercado.

Thanks to Trundlebum for the tip-off.

He heard about this cam and was curious if it was his. As far as he knows, he is the only person to metal-stamp his gear DW.

Additionally, he said he had a HUGE amount of gear stolen from him in the summer of 1988.

We talked back and forth - I did some research on-line -
and found the timeline for Wild Country that shows the Flexible Friend released in 1988.

http://www.wildcountry.com/about-us/product-timeline/

Dwain remember the Flex Friends being released "late 1987 or early 1988".

Basically, if this is a first generation Flexible Friend, it is probably Dwains.

drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Nov 4, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
Looks like a plastic trigger though.

I believe mine may be a first gen flexi friend, not sure.

Credit: drljefe

Edit: not cosmic's!
MisterE

climber
Nov 4, 2013 - 10:21pm PT
Good eye Jefe - the first gen's had aluminum trigger bars?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 5, 2013 - 01:39am PT
Nice work on the cam angle, Aric.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Nov 5, 2013 - 05:56am PT
In response to a comment upthread, I'd be a little leery of buying cams from Ebay, etc. You'll probably pick up some booty cams with unknown history (dropped from high places, stolen, etc.) Check the teeth for flat spots, which could indicate having stopped a hard fall.
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 5, 2013 - 09:25am PT
I tend to stay away from soft goods on ebay, thus harness and rope are new, as is most webbing. Cam slings being the exception, and the hard goods are easy to inspect.
I looked at my flex friends, almost all of them are stamped similar to the OP or with a straight number. Maybe a lot number? Anyway, unlikely to be initials.

Going to have to sign in to that cam profiler and play with that. Indeed, the home-made cam came closest to a 10 degree profile, except the lobes are pretty funkified and did not follow the profile as well as the picture you rotated, nor was the axle hole centered. I keep thinking of trying to reprofile them to a 13 degree curve, but haven't the time. Maybe in a year or two.
And as almost an afterthought, with used cams or even with your own after a fall, consider that the smaller the cam is, the more a dent or a flat spot is going to affect the profile.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328979
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328980
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328981
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Nov 5, 2013 - 10:48am PT
@Johnnyrig.. your pink-sling cam pg 1... my first impression was Wired Bliss. Just a guess though.

Dwain Warren cams. He says there are a couple floating around out there locations unknown. Most (not all) are stamped DW or ROK

Credit: justthemaid
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 10:56am PT
Please do play with the Cam Fitter, Jonny... It's quite a useful tool, and was put together ages ago by a guy named John Field, IIRC, to make it easier to spot incorrectly located axle holes on CCH Aliens. It can work several ways, but the coolest is to simply let it analyze the shape of the lobe itself, which will cause it to detect the edges of the curve and then best-fit a log spiral to it with a calculated center point. Alternatively you can manually select a center point and have it best fit a curve to the lobe, or manually define the edges of the lobe with hand picked points (which I did in this case since the graph paper was confusing the edge detection). It's really quite the piece of software, and wish more people knew about it.

BTW, it works best if you can put the lobe on a flatbed scanner, as that eliminates a lot of distortion in the pic. Alternately a pic from arm's length perfectly in line with the axle works ok.

-a.
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Nov 5, 2013 - 11:10am PT
What exactly is the purpose of the lobe scanner website thingy?? I mean what practical purpose would it serve me?
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 11:13am PT
Well, Batrock, unless you're interested in reverse engineering cams, probably not much use for you. But if you are interested in it, it beats the hell out of hand fitting curves to a cam lobe.


Edit- Here's an example, Batrock.... Ever notice that the axle on an Orange CCH Alien always looked out of place compared to the rest of the sizes? It's because it *is* out of place. This scan was done with hand selected points at the ends of the teeth and a calculated center. The resulting curve calculated out to 16 degrees (as you'd expect for Aliens) and fits the lobe profile very nicely along the entire curve. The axle, however, is quite far from the center of the spiral, which causes the cam to do some pretty funky things in terms of range and holding power.



Can't say if this is happening with Fixe or Totem Aliens, as I've never looked at them. There's oodles more pics (mostly CCH) here: http://www.shariconglobal.com/misc/pulltesting/RSaliens/index.html

Also, if you don't find this interesting, then no, the Cam Fitter is not of any use to you.


Edit x2- oops.... This scan was fitting a defined 16 degree spiral, not a calculated best fit. Minor point given how well the curve fits, but needed to be corrected. Been ages since I looked at this stuff, and misread the settings in the pic.
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Nov 5, 2013 - 11:22am PT
The angle calculator looks pretty cool. Cam angle is an important design principle and a safety issue. If I bought a home-made looking cam on the interweb (which I wouldn't) I'd be concerned about how well designed it was. This is a good way to check it.
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Nov 5, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
So it sounds like there was some pretty sloppy production runs on Aliens BITD. Any newer cams having similar situations? I guess I just never really thought about it. I'll have to dig out some of my older cams and take a look.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
Orange CCH Aliens are the only ones I've ever seen problems with, Batrock. Haven't ever run it on Fixe or Totem, but have no reason to think they have issues.
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 5, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Changing the axle centerline would effectively change the camming angle at the moment of contact with the rock, thus instead of a constant cam angle, you might have a ten degree cam angle when fully retracted and a sixteen degree angle when tipped out, or visa versa. That would change the amount of force exerted against the rock. All the more reasmn that smaller cams need closer manufacturing tolerances.
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Nov 5, 2013 - 03:28pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#328665

I originally thought this was a old Clog flex cam, but they had black tubing over the cable.

adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Quite right, Jonny. It screws with the effective cam angle royally. Here's a pic of a yellow/red CCH that wasn't so good.... Tipped out the cam angle was pretty close to normal, but not when retracted:



I have the angle measurements notated somewhere, but not sure where at the moment. Easy enough to throw a protractor on the screen if you're that interested.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Nov 5, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
Wasn't there a recall of a particular batch of orange Aliens with misplaced hole?
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Nov 5, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
Just got to the Library and saw that first pic of the tech friend.
It sure looks like one of my old friends.
Besides having a lot of my gear stolen in the late 80s,
in 1993 I had my 1982 Toyota 4x4 with a campershell stolen out of my driveway in Victorville. The Toyota was found about a week and a half later,
gutted and without the campershell. in the camper was about 2 to 3 thousand
dollars worth of climbing gear. Tech friends included.

The poster looks like he is from Massachusetts, and if it was my friendI wondered how it made it's way back to Mass. A couple of years ago I gave a bunch of gear to Trundlebums niece, Athena and wondered if maybe she had lost a piece or given one of the cams I gave her away. I talked with Trundle this morning and asked him but he says she still has all the gear.

Oh well. It's been so long since that gear was stolen there's nothing I could do about it now, but I sure wonder if it is a piece of my old gear that was stolen how it made it's way back to Mass. I bet it has a story to tell.
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 5, 2013 - 05:42pm PT
How did you mark your gear? The stamps on these, the characters look like factory stamps, only about 1/16 inch tall, and though a couple have W, they are followed by a 9 or a 6. If I ended up with one of yours somehow, and you can ID it, its all yours. Theives suck!
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Nov 5, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
Johnnyrig

I metal stamp punch all my gear with a D and a W.
I've done it since the 70s even before Friends.

No worries, All the gear was stolen in the late 80s and 1993.
I've got more gear than I actually need now so no worries about sending it back if it was my gear.

I hope it's kept you safe and that's all that counts.

It's just funny to see some gear stamped with DW on them and not in my possession.


:)

jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 5, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
True. Things have a way of turning up in strange places though sometimes. Who really knows the story on Fleabay gear... like ya said, as long as it works. But a little bit of karma doesnt hurt.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 06:58pm PT
Wasn't there a recall of a particular batch of orange Aliens with misplaced hole?


Not that I recall, Scuffy. All the ones I've seen are that way, which is why John Field built the Cam Fitter in the first place.
Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 5, 2013 - 07:56pm PT
The axle, however, is quite far from the center of the spiral, which causes the cam to do some pretty funky things in terms of range and holding power.
So could you describe the funky things? Seems at a first guess that it'd be larger range and less holding power in general?
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 08:18pm PT
Seriously didn't mean to drift the thread this far, so apologies to the OP.

Greg- Good news/Bad news. I found the angle measurement data, but it's buried in this 7MB pdf: http://theclimbinglab.com/tiki-download_wiki_attachment.php?attId=12&page=CCH%20Alien%20Testing&download=y

A very quick scan of the document turned up that within the 20 or so CCH Aliens I tested, effective cam angle at the limits (fully retracted/tipped out) and at the midpoint ranged from 7 degrees to 28 degrees.

Edit- Should probably point out for those not into cam design, 7 degrees means severely limited range and much higher holding force and 28 degrees has fantastic range but holding force below what typical rock-on-aluminum can support. Meaning it'll skate out *every time*. IIRC the empirical limit on typical North American rock types is ~18 degrees, with limestone and shale being much lower ~14 degrees.
jonnyrig

Trad climber
formerly known as hillrat
Nov 5, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Well, if you knew what cam angle each company used, you could throw a lobe up on that program and use that to help ID it. Or, at least you'd know what rock type it's built for best. And in the case of sketchball cams or home-made cams, you can at least guestimate whether the thing is even useful.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Nov 5, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
Actually, Jonny, he already has the cam-angle-by-company thing worked in. It's the dropdown box in the upper left, and is used when the "best fit" box isn't checked.

Alternatively use the best fit (with the calculated center to verify validity of the fit) to calculate the cam angle and then back into which manufacturer it might have been.
nutstory

climber
Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Dec 6, 2013 - 03:38am PT
I missed this thread so I am sorry to be late.
Jonnyrig, I suspect that your Three Cam Unit (with the pink sewn sling) is an early Cable Cam #2 made by Canadian Alpine Manufacturing (David Oldridge’s second company) in 1986.
CANADIAN ALPINE MANUFACTURING Cable Cams
CANADIAN ALPINE MANUFACTURING Cable Cams
Credit: nutstory

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