After getting some more premium bicycle spokes from a friend I decided to save a few for havin a crack at this—
This is Mark II. Some thoughts—
1. Switched from pen tubing to springs. Springs rock! They’re way more comfortable, and don’t flop around as much. Compared to Mark I (which used pen tubing), the springs also seem to give more stability when snapping. I ‘trapped’ one of the springs up at the front using the snapper’s trap, and added 2 more springs so that I had coverage all along the top part, without the springs flopping around. These springs came from various click-pens, and aren’t deforming over repeated usage. Very, very happy with these.
2. There’s definitely a technique, and tensioning has a lot to do with it. Still learning what works and what doesn’t, and I suspect that different snappers from others could easily work better. For example, I had mediocre results at first, and once I ‘tightened’ my coil by what seemed like the smallest bit it suddenly seemed to be snapping the few locks it did work on way more consistently.
3. Finding thus far fairly limited success on locks with wild biting, and/or lots of security pins (no luck yet with my PiP challenge locks). Wild biting + spools seem to get caught up the most.
4. Added some heat shrink-wrap to the bottom part (black tubing) for comfort. This seems to be a minor improvement, and makes the bottom part more comfortable to hold. I was considering cutting out little bits of the shrink-wrap so that it provided a texture of sorts to further aid grip, but haven’t tried this yet. My other idea was the layer the shrink wrap to bulk it up a bit, but I haven’t tried this either.
5. I need some rosary pliers; I used a padlock’s hasp to create my coil, and while it gave success (more than using generic pliers) I think having the proper tool for the job would be nice.
6. My spoke material came partially flattened (for improved aerodynamics in cycling I guess?), which is fine, but the material felt a bit too thick for my tastes. I used the material as-is for Mark I, and while it works, the entire contraption seemed just a tad too fat for my liking, and snapping seemed harder. I ended up using a dremel and grinded off circa 1/2 a millimetre of material from along the entire length of the spoke. The thin side of the spoke is about 1.2mm thick (from ~1.6mm); the flattened side is still larger, at just a hair over 2mm (from originally ~2.4mm). This is why my snapper has a couple of additional 90° bends in (e.g. to give me a flat edge for the needle). This imprecise removal of material gave the spoke a rough texture, which I sanded briefly with 1k paper, and then straight with 3k paper prior to any bending. This gave the spoke a nice brushed-metal appearance, and didn’t make it too polished to slip out of the hands while using. (There are still scuff marks from the vice grips during the bending stage that are too annoying to sand clean, but hey.)
7. I am just stunned at the beauty of Rai’s golden snapper
that incorporates a single and triple peak + tensioner. I’ve been thinking of finding a way to incorporate these, if not at least a tensioner. Mhh….
Finally: a kudos to Rai, and a big thanks to Piotr for the write-up.
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