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The Trango 2009 Homemade Cam World Cup

Submitted by j_ung on 2009-01-01 | Last Modified on 2012-11-15

Views: 12961

by J. Young

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Click here to discuss this contest, ask questions, etc.

Welcome one and all to the 2009 Trango Homemade Cam World Cup! Have you ever fondled an old-school milled Friend and wondered how hard it would be to make your own? Why not put your curiosity to the test – safely, simply and with a possibility of winning prizes? Wood cams, steel cams, aluminum… whatever your heart and mind desire are eligible for entry. Will the next revolution in climbing gear happen right here? Who knows, but what have you got to lose?

And just in case you think you don't have the equipment or skills to compete, our Resident Lab Proctor, Adatesman, will be posting complete instructions on how to build a cam with a minimum of tools in the very near future. Keep an eye out for it, as you might find yourself surprised at just how easy it is!

All of the entries will be judged in a single division, but there will be prizes for the entry with the highest combined score and for the one that gets the most votes in the Beauty Pageant. Don't feel you have to build something that would actually be safe to climb over though.... An entry that's utterly weak but totally pimped to go after the Beauty Pageant prize is fine with us. As an example, an all-wood cam with ebony and mother of pearl inlay might not do so well in the strength tests but may have a decent shot in the Beauty Pageant. We'll still do the other tests since breaking things is fun, but if you ask nicely and it really is that pretty we may make an exception. For those who don’t enter, be sure to vote for the prettiest specimen when the time comes.

And just what, pray tell, are the prizes for the 2009 Trango Homemade Cam World Cup? For the overall winner: Trango Big Bros, sizes 1-4! And, for the winner of the Beauty Pageant: a complete set of Trango Ball Nutz!

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Here’s how to win:

For the Beauty Pageant, well, it'll be an online poll here on and if you know to predict the outcome then you're already a step ahead. Other than that, your guess is as good as ours.

For the Main Event, scoring will include tests for the three main features people look for in cams, plus some evaluation for usability and then a bunch of ways to get bonus points. The big three are:

  • Strength: We’ll award 5 points each for holding 5kN at 25% expansion and at 75% expansion, and then ultimate strength (expressed in kN) at 50% expansion minus 10. For example, you’d earn 15 points for a cam that holds in both 5kN tests and then fails at 15kN in the final test. The stronger your cam is, the more points it earns.
  • Expansion Ratio: We'll be using a calculation of 25 * (ratio - 1), which should give ~15 points for a cam with a 14 degree spiral.
  • Weight: Adatesman played around with this a bunch to find something that would be size-neutral and it looks like using a ratio along the lines of Range to Weight will work. The actual calculation will be 100 * (range in inches) / ounces, which gives somewhere between 10 and 20 points for most commercial cams.

The usability tests are fairly straight forward:

  • Ease of Placement: 10 points for devices that are quick and easy to place, 0 points for devices that require 3 hands and a bit of luck to place.
  • Removal & Re-racking: 10 points for pieces that are quick and easy to remove and rerack, ones that you would only use when you're mad at your second get 0.
  • Stability: Unquestionably bomber gear gets 10 points, stuff that pops out if you look at it funny get 0.
  • Fit & Finish: This is an evaluation of how nicely the cam is built, with 10 points awarded for quality comparable to one of the nicer commercial cams (such as Trango).
  • Independent Lobes: 5 points for a trigger design that allows the lobes to move independently, which is needed for proper cam function in outward flares.
  • Edge Loading: 5 points for having stem that can handle being loaded over an edge. (For solid stem cams a hole in the stem for a Gunks Tie-off is sufficient.)

And the bonuses:

  • Innovation: If you create something that hasn't been done before you get 10 points. If you need inspiration spend some time browsing Stéphane Pennequin's Nuts Museum and the Compendium of Climbing Patents here in The Lab.
  • Hand Tools Only: If you put in the time and effort to build your cam by hand, you get an extra 10 points. Hand tools include things like grinders and drill presses, but not milling machines (manual or CNC).
  • Beauty Pageant: Since we're doing it, we might as well count it in the overall score. Points awarded will be inverse rank, so it will depend on how many people enter.
  • Bling: Pimping your cam gets you another 5 points, and will probably help in the Beauty Pageant as well.
  • Cannibalized Parts: Parts from commercial cams will be allowed, HOWEVER there will be a 5 point PENALTY for it. In fact, there’s a limit to how much cannibalization we’ll accept. Putting custom lobes onto a commercial stem and trigger will be allowed, but swapping lobes on a pair of commercial cams to get a DIY offset will not. Ask here, if you have any questions.

The fine print:

  • There is no purchase necessary to enter and win.
  • Our Resident Lab Proctor, adatesman, will be the sole judge and arbiter of what is and isn’t allowed entry, and of which entrant wins the main portion of the Cup. users will pick the Beauty-Pageant winner in a thread-based poll.
  • Multiple entries are allowed, but they need to be different designs. You must have built them yourself/yourselves.
  • If your cam hasn’t arrived on adatesman’s doorstep by the end of February, you missed the deadline.
  • International entries are fine, but when sending it make sure to take into account how long it will take to get there. The deadline is immutable and non-negotiable.
  • Feel free to make any size you want, up to 12" or so when fully expanded (limitation of adatesman’s crack simulator fixture).

The really fine print:

  • If you win, you’ll be required to fork over an email address, snail-mail address and phone number in order to claim your prize.
  • By entering a cam in this contest, you give Trango implicit permission to post a photo of it in their marketing material, including their catalog, website, Facebook page, etc.
  • Expect threads related to this to be moderated aggressively, but good-natured jokes and heckling will almost certainly be allowed.
  • By entering a device in this contest, you grant rights to display pictures of it and write about it as we see fit anyplace on this website. However, as far as we (Trango and are concerned, all original ideas belong to the people who contribute them. Entering your brainstorm in this contest does not yield any rights to any entity, other than previously mentioned.
  • As always in climbing, your safety is your responsibility. Homemade cams are for fun and entertainment only. If your entry holds any weight at all in contest pull testing, it is NOT a guarantee that the device is safe to use for actual climbing or to hold weight of any kind. Use your brain!

Happy Cam Building! Don’t forget to look here for contest discussions!


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