BTW, I mentioned a while back that I love my WC Zeros. What I forgot to mention is that they're the newer long version... I also have a pair of original, short ones and yeah, they're too short and people who based their opinion on that version may find they like the longer ones. The trigger bar is still on the narrow side, but I don't find it to be a problem.
I also kind of like the old Splitter Gear 4cams I have, which I mention because the Trango version seems pretty nice. I recently got one of those, but haven't used it yet. The ergonomics are much, much better on the Trango ones.
Interesting thread, thanks for the test data and pictures.
I also prefer Aliens, simply because they are easiest to fit.
Despite the QC problems, it seems that an intrinsic mechanical cam failure is still less likely overall than a failure due to my inability to find the best placement for that cam. It will probably pull from being loaded incorrectly much sooner than it will disintegrate like the ones in the photos. Also, the strongest cam does me no good in a fall if it's back on my harness because I couldn't find a *&^$#@!! way to fit it.
Anyway, the best small cams? Ones that are backed up with a second piece.
I love my aliens but I don't really trust them anymore. Sad because the concepts behind them are awesome and work very well.
I have thought about rebrazing mine. I haven't looked at it seriously but the first thought is you gotta be really careful not to melt the fabic sheath and plastic. The heat might affect the temper of the lobes if you dwell to long also. The weep hole is an excellent idea. I've done my fair share of brazing and silver soldering before I learned to MIG and TIG weld.
The temper might be explained as Chinese 6061 T6. I tested a few samples at the shop a couple of weeks ago that did not measure up to the same specs as US T6 material. Just one reason that I use only US made materials.
The hersay story about torching and quenching doesn't add up. That's how you anneal aluminum. I have done it in my forge. You have to "soak" aluminum with heat for an extended period of time. I haven't heat treated aluminum but I have done various types of steel.
Where's Tom? Probably not up yet. He's a late night kind of guy. He knows the gig when it comes to cams. I'm the machinist, he's the engineer. The fields kind of overlap.
The reason no one is knocking them off?
1) Not cool business to rip off somebody's design.
2) Not great to buy a company that has lost face and might be facing lawsuits you would inherit.
3) CCH has been making cams for decades. They have tooled up for it and know all the ins and outs of it (their QC isn't great though). Investing a lot of time and money up front is what would be needed. Why not? Refer to reasons 1 and 2.
for me, aliens (black through red) place the best and have held my falls. i do understand everyone's concern though. maybe this forum should act as an open letter to the CCH guys to get it together a little more. i love the product and i love that they're hand made by a grass roots company - but if a lot of folks are afraid to climb with them then maybe it's time to sell the patent to a company that will manage the quality control issues a bit better?
It is like this for me. Most of my aliens have held solid falls, including a 45' foot factor 1.8 or 9 on a green. And they fit better where the pro is marginal and or hard to place. Just this past weekend coming out of the bombay on the Naked edge I was able to get two relatively solid aliens where I couldn't get any of my other cams to fit. When you are looking at 50/50 placements a 1% to 5% chance of mechanical failure just doesn't seem that important. That said I like TCUS - new type - the old heads suck for 00-1 sizes, aliens for green to red, with offsets and C4's for anything grey and above.
my standard are TCU's. but smallest C3 will fit in finer seams than the littlest TCU. I pulled an alien on short fall years ago (probably b4 I knew how to place gear well) and have not climbed on them since. ultimately it's whatever you feel safe on, plug it and chug it.
I have one set of Metolius TCUs, one set of Power cams, one set of Master cams and one set of offset Mastercams. The color coordination helps my sketched-out brain know what piece to grab, yet I still have a variety of pieces.
I usually just carry the Mastercams and offsets now, then BD for the big stuff.