Custom Handle Information

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Mike
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Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 07:41 PM

There are several guys in the club making custom Rev handles.
I think it would be a good thing to record all the info here for then next person to who wants to make their own.

What materials did you use?
What worked?
What didn't work so well?
How did you bend the metal?
Etc.

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 07:52 PM

To start it off, I got a really nice surprise a week ago from Tom and Mikey. Here's a set of handles that they gave me.
Tom (Jeepster) drilled and shaped the metal and Mikey got it powder-coated to a beautiful red color.

I ordered some Hypalon grips from here.. It's straight (as opposed to tapered), listed as 5/16" I.D. and 1" O.D.
The metal has a 3/8" O.D. so I was hoping I would get a nice snug fit. I was also hoping that I would get closer to 1 1/8 O.D.

Well, the snug fit worked well. I'm able to friction fit the handles, no glue needed, while I play around with these. I ordered 3 12" pieces and each one has a slightly different O.D., all less than 1". The density is less than all of the Rev handles I own, but it's still good. It's not as squishy as some Rev handles I've seen. Those too squishy ones are not my cup of tea. (Rev factory handles vary in O.D. and foam density)

I like Hypalon better than EVA foam. It's a little softer and affords a better grip.

Less than 1" O.D. is a little too small for me.

Here's how they look:
Image

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 08:00 PM

more on my handles...

My thumb hits the larks-headed leaders on the top and after flying a while, it leaves a dent in my thumb. I'm going to get end caps to cover the top of the handles.

The top leaders are made from nice stiff bridle line and larks-heading works well to hold them onto the handles. The bottom leaders aren't made from bridle line. They're leaders from some B-Series handles. The loops tended to slip around a bit so I tied a different knot that holds them really well.

Here's the knot I came up with:
Image

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BillLamm
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby BillLamm » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 09:26 PM

what did you use for the leader?? I have 100# bridle line doubled but it seems thinner than other handles... I know it is strong enough, just thinking it may be esier to loosen the larks head and not wear as quickly??

My handles are ?? 1/2 or 3/8 inch aluminum tube, I marked and drilled them at the top / 11" / 13" / 15" so I can play around with different length handles to see what I like... my foam grips are made for bicycle with a little extra to shim it up till I get some fishing rod grip or that link you posted..

I like the look of some wood handles I have seen on ?? kite builder ?? and one set was a handle as well as winder for the string

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Jeepster
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Jeepster » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 09:27 PM

The first thing you have to understand is that there is a large variation in the amount and radius of bend in the rod; as well as, variations in the diameter and placement of the grips on REV handles. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. The advantage of building your own is that you can customize the handles to match your particular preference. I start with an extra half inch of rod, bend it an additional 5 degrees and end up with the same tip-to-tip spacing as “mostâ€

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BillLamm
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby BillLamm » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 09:38 PM

conduit bender worked for me... (I would not go out and buy one for this project) I focused on making the two handles match at approx 30 deg... they seem to work fine but I am too new to the sport to say for sure??

cheap can of red paint was my solution (no glossy highvis orange available)

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Jeepster
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Jeepster » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 09:39 PM

BillLamm wrote: ... I like the look of some wood handles I have seen on ?? kite builder ?? and one set was a handle as well as winder for the string


When my son first expressed an interest in flying Revs, I only had a single handle set. So, as an emergency measure, I quickly made a set of wooden handles so we could both fly at the same time. I didn't like them!!! There was something off with them. My advice would be to build an inexpensive prototype before you invest a lot of time and money in a fancy set.

The aluminum was cheap enough that I made handles in 9, 11, 13 and 15 inch lengths (measured along the center line of the rod ... as Rev advertises them). The 11 inch handles are the same size as the early Rev II handles. I don't like them on a Rev II, but do like them on my Half-Pint kites. The 9 inch handles are too small even for the Half-Pint kites ... might as well tie the lines to my fingers.

Cheers,
Tom

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RevJB
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby RevJB » Wed, Aug 26 2009, 10:47 PM

From checking out forums and other sites it appears handle makers are using 3/8 inch diameter 6061 T6 aluminum. Jeepster said he gets his from Fastenal. My father-in-law purchased from a metal supply shop in LA.
John
:LogoRevAni:

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Sailor99
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Sailor99 » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 04:57 AM

One of our guys over here made me some beauties. Not sure which grade of aluminium they are, but they are very similar to what are often called 'pro' handles. He has added a grove at the top in line with the hole the leader goes through. This is because that is almost exactly where most people place their thumb and the grove means the leader is below the surface level of the handles - this makes it more comfortable on the thumb.

I am picking up a set of anodised ones he has made for me at the Portsmouth kite festival this weekend and will try and post some pictures.

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 08:32 AM

Jeepster wrote: I posted a thread on KiteBuilder.com showing how my grips were made from raw EVA material. A band saw was used to do the initial shaping and my trusty drill press was used for the final shaping.
Cheers,
Tom

Tom, can you post a link to the post here? Or even better, copy the same info to a post here.
Can you post photos of any part of your process and/or rube-goldberg equipment?
thanks!

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 08:42 AM

Sailor99 wrote:... He has added a grove at the top in line with the hole the leader goes through. This is because that is almost exactly where most people place their thumb and the grove means the leader is below the surface level of the handles - this makes it more comfortable on the thumb.


The groove would help. I also wonder if a countersunk hole in the back might work. Rather than larks-heading, a single large figure-8 stopper knot could fit into the hole.
When I made custom handles in the past, I used hollow aluminum tube and only had a hole coming out the front. The knot was inside the tube.
The hollow aluminum had a little flex on long handles and I only used the long handles for light winds.

Making the handles out of stainless steel (like Rev does) would allow the knot inside approach without having the strength issues.
You could modify a set of standard rev handles by just drilling a hole in the front and the covering the tips with an endcap to hide the original holes on the side. If you're worried about the leader fraying when rubbing against the hole, you could line it with some plastic tube.
But with stainless steel, you don't get the pretty colors?

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 08:48 AM

BillLamm wrote:conduit bender worked for me... (I would not go out and buy one for this project) I focused on making the two handles match at approx 30 deg... they seem to work fine but I am too new to the sport to say for sure??

cheap can of red paint was my solution (no glossy highvis orange available)


That was how I made custom handles years ago. I didn't do a good job on the paint and it's chipped off though. My conduit bender looked like this:
Image

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BillLamm
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby BillLamm » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 09:11 AM

Mike wrote:
BillLamm wrote:conduit bender worked for me... (I would not go out and buy one for this project) I focused on making the two handles match at approx 30 deg... they seem to work fine but I am too new to the sport to say for sure??

cheap can of red paint was my solution (no glossy highvis orange available)


That was how I made custom handles years ago. I didn't do a good job on the paint and it's chipped off though.


well.. the paint was cheap and keeps my hands from getting oxidized... and the red is easier to see in the field....the tube I used is a thicker wall aluminum, it feels pretty strong?? I don't think I would fly a stack but I have had some gusts that pulled me pretty good and I didn't feel any give in the handles... (again, I am new to the sport and experience may refine my opinion of small details)

is the angle of bend a wrist comfort thing??? (technically you could set the necessary brake on any bend if the lead cords are long enough?? )

the string / thumb thing has not presented a problem??? (yet) I used 1/8 grommets in the holes to soften the edge for the leads

the conduit bender is a little crude but it gives a good sweeping bend... I think I like that better than a tight bend..

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 09:19 AM

BillLamm wrote:what did you use for the leader?? I have 100# bridle line doubled but it seems thinner than other handles... I know it is strong enough, just thinking it may be esier to loosen the larks head and not wear as quickly??


I've used both 100# and 170# bridle line and both hold up fine. It's 170# in the photo on top.

I don't double the leader line. A single line works great, it's strong, it uses half the amount of material, it's slightly easier to make the knots match up, and you don't have to pre-cut the line. I attach the line to the handle, make knots until it's the right length and then cut it off the spool. I don't know of any advantage to doubling the line.

You can see how I make my leader lines in the photo in this post:
http://www.ikeclub.org/Forums/viewtopic ... 9116#p9116

I did add a short loop to the new red handles because I wasn't sure how well the knot would hold on this style handle. You can kind of see it on the top leader in the photo of the red handles. The bottom leader is doubled because that's how it came off the B-Series handles.

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Jeepster
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Jeepster » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 11:29 AM

Mike wrote:Tom, can you post a link to the post here? Or even better, copy the same info to a post here.
Can you post photos of any part of your process and/or rube-goldberg equipment?
thanks!

Linking to the kitebuilder.com thread is best ... there are lots of pictures in that posting and some good suggestions by others.

Link

The pine board end stock shows up in picture three. I finished the ends of the rods by laying the drill press on it's side ... looked somewhat like a lathe then. Tightened the aluminum rod in the chuck with some card stock for cushioning. Passed the rod through the pine board which was clamped to the drill press table. Adjusted the height of the table until the free end of the rod was exposed below the table enough for me to do the necessary "machining." My tools were a file and various grits of wet/dry sand paper ... the file and sandpaper were liberally lubed with WD40 to keep the aluminum out of the grooves and voids.

Cheers,
Tom

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Darkspark
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Darkspark » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 05:15 PM

I'll explain the powder coating part, as Tom requested. For those who don't know powder coating is a method of painting. Instead of being applied as a liquid paint, it is applied as a powder, then baked on. It only requires a few tools and can be done in a garage. You need an electric oven (no gas, and not the one you cook frozen pizzas in), an air compressor, and the powder gun/ powder. The powder is applied at a low pressure so you don't need a huge industrial compressor.less than 10lbs at less than 1cfm. The finished part is durable, coated evenly, and scratch resistant. Car springs are usually powder coated, so it can handle alot of bending before cracking. Quite a few appliance manufactures powder coat the outside of the unit before bending the metal into shape. Pretty much any metal can be coated, as long as it can handle the curing temps, Aprox 400F. Here is a video from Hot Coat, The basic gun can be bought for about $99. And the powder is fairly cheap.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYkYDXsXDEI
It is cool stuff, If anybody wants a big oven for powder coating let me know I can build you one. (What I do for a living, Industrial Furnaces)
Last edited by Darkspark on Thu, Aug 27 2009, 05:17 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Mike
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Mike » Thu, Aug 27 2009, 05:47 PM

Tom: good photos on your link. I like your creativity in getting things done.
Mikey: Powder coating is cool! The video makes it look easy. I want to powder coat everything I own now!

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Darkspark
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Darkspark » Fri, Aug 28 2009, 11:49 AM

The coolest thing about powder coating is watching the powder melt and glaze over. And it really is that easy, as long as you are a stickler about starting with a clean base metal. Other than that it is pretty simple and foolproof. It is easier than spray painting with a rattle can. Just need more tooling. You could do handles and stakes in a small toaster oven.
A bit of learned advice- hang the handles from the middle, under where the grips will be. Prevents leaving a burr where the leaders run through the hole.

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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby cadguy » Fri, Sep 04 2009, 09:46 PM

hey kids, I too, am in the process of make a set or two of handles. I bought some 3/8' dia. rod from one of those home stores - don't know the exact alloy type. The first set will be the same size as my current B-handles.
i first measured the B-handle from the bottom end to the point where the curve starts - the straight part- about 4.5". I then put a mark on the 4' length of al. rod (originally 8', cut in half at the store to get it in the car) 4.5" from the factory end.
My bending process: hold rod near cut end, put other end on garage floor, put foot near the 4.5" mark, lift other end until you get to the "that looks about right" moment, compare to the original handle, tweak as needed, then cut off extra rod. Voila! a bent rod!
Used a center punch-spring loaded- to mark the hole centers. Clamped rod into vice. Drilled the holes with a hand drill. deburred and filed edges as needed. I also filed in a groove on the top hole, on the flyer facing side, for the pigtail line to recess into - as per previous observations.
Just need to paint and add grips. pics to follow.

david

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Jeepster
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Re: Custom Handle Information

Postby Jeepster » Fri, Sep 04 2009, 09:59 PM

cadguy wrote:hey kids, I too, am in the process of make a set or two of handles ...
david


David,

You've missed the whole point!!! The finish product is not the goal ... it's the making of fixtures that's the real fun.

Generally the aluminum from home stores is a softer alloy ... about half as strong as the 6061 from Fastenal. Please, keep us updated as to how they hold up when the wind is pulling you around. If yours don't bend, then the 6061 handles should live forever.

The vinyl end cap is a real thumb saver when the weather turns a little cooler this fall.

Cheers,
Tom


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