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Homemade carbon tiller and extension

mange

Member
Hi,
I've just started my winter project - building a carbon tiller + extension.
A fun thing to do and it saves me a bit of money too...if I succeed :)
Perhaps someone else is interested or have some own experience to share.
I think I've solved most 'how-to-do' details, but I have some wonders about the length, both for the tiller and the extension.

The tiller length vary between brands, from 96cm (37,75") to 99cm (39").

The length of the extension is a chapter for it self and my own skill is a limitation. The current extension I use is 110cm and reaching to the center of the ratchet block. This is a bit too short for me and I figure I can learn to handle 115cm, maybe even live with 120cm:confused:.

What is a good combination and compromise of tiller + extension?

Also the placement of the tiller/ext. joint have some influence on overall length.

Now a little more about the project - for those who find it interesting:
After some study of professional built tillers, I've found out very useful parts to use picked from Hockey and Fishing:D :
- For the tiller I've bought a hockey shaft made of carbon. Its super stiff and more over, it has the perfect dimensions to fit into the rudder head. The vertical thickness is 19mm so it will be almost as low as many carbon tillers on the market. I bought it for 30 Euro = 35$.
- The extension is a shaft for a fishing (my next hobbie) landing net. Its made of high modulus carbon and is very stiff and light weight. The diameter is 22 mm. Also affordable, about 25 Euro.

The tiller has to be modified in both ends:
- The tapered rudder head end - I will make a small mould out of plastic sheets wich copies the rudder head fitting. Then I will use thickened epoxi reinforced with chopped carbon fibers to fill the mould. After curing it has to be grinded until it fits perfectly.
- The front end will be tapered (like Acme and many others) on the bottom side so that the tiller clears from the traveler cleat. I will cut the shaft to this profile. The hockey shaft is hollow and needs to be filled at the cutted end and reinforced with epoxi and carbon twill. Otherwise it will break easily. After doing this the fixing point for the tiller/extension joint will be solid and about 7 mm thick.
After sanding and finishing the tiller will be painted with some transparent varnish to protect against UV. Finally a wear plate of stainless steel for the traveler is glued on, Omniflex joint and a rudder cleat is mounted.

The tiller extension is fairly strightforward - just cut the fishermans shaft to the 'best' length and fixing the Omniflex rubber joint with epoxi and winding fibercloth around (as desribed om Acme's site). The grip of the shaft is really good, if it suits a mucky fishermans hand it should be ok for a Laserman.

The project cost is about 80 Euro = 95$ including epoxi, omniflex join, etc.
Figure it will not take so many hours to complete.

Any comments - sure I missed something?

/Magnus
 

WestCoast

New Member
39" tiller
48" Tiller extension

universal joint is at the very end of the tiller

I see the taper end that fits the rudder head being the most challenging part to do, you want it fitting snug and there is a lot of geometery going on inside.

That's a good price though, retail those things are $180 tiller + $85 t. extension.

Good luck with the project, how bout some pics when it's complete?
 

LooserLu

LooserLu
mange said:
...I figure I can learn to handle 115cm, maybe even live with 120cm:confused:. ...
Hi Magnus,
greetings to "Santa Luzia" and with short words in the moment (time aft 24:00 o'clock is expensive for me) I just got a new C-tiller-extension from Ebay.co.uk and it was nearly as cheap as yours. This extension (already with the RWO-joining-part for tiller-ext.) has a length of 126 cm at all. It is a bit longer than my alloy-tiller-extension from Ronstan (Model "10-X" / or X-10"), that has a length of total 120. The Alloy one is not long enough for me, to sit full at the mast during the downwind leg in low winds, but optimal in heavy winds (means: not to long for getting entangled with the Mainsheet during a tack).
To give the tiller-extension a perfect grip, I used/covered a rubbertube for the handle-bar for racing bikes that are cheap to get in the sores for biking.

Thanks for your interesting idea for the tiller. Thats exact what I need now. :) :)
I know from professional sailing Laserites here, that they made c-tillers of old carbon-paddles form canoeing. I cannot post a pic here, because of the copyrights of the magazine, where they made it public. Maybe you can get somewhere the German sailing magazine "Yacht" at Sweden (the pic with the tiller is to find at No 9/2004, Side 130).

Skôl
LooserLu

P.S.:1"[inch]= 2,54 cm
 
Sounds great! I didn't know there were carbon hockey shafts.
I agree with westcoast that the tapered part will be the most labor. I guess you could also buy a plastic something (a bar, or sheet I think); cut or saw it in the right shape and glue it to the carbon shaft. It is the tiller itself that needs to be strong. As far as I know the plactic part in the rudder-head can be much weaker since it only has to keep the tiller in place (also the acme has some kind of molded plastic here). This would make the project much easier. I am not sure what type of plastic to use, any ideas?

GWF
 

ACHMED

New Member
Hi Magnus,

Great ideas!

How about putting the hockey stick in the rudder head and just pouring the epoxy in? I bet it will be an excellent fit. You will have to block off the back of the rudder head with something first, so the epoxy doesn't just run out.

If you have extra length on the hockey stick there are a couple of things you could try for the tapered inboard end.

get the last 5 or 6 inches of the stick REALLY hot, then jam it in a vise and squeeze away. Don't laugh, crazier things have worked. Don't get it too hot though, (or not hot enough) or you will trash that end of the stick. Feeling lucky?

OR you could try cutting out the side sections of the stick for 6-7 inches and then glue the top and bottom together. Just make sure the top of your new tiller stays straight, that is one of the few rules of the Laser tiller.

Have fun.
Achmed
 

mange

Member
Good suggestions!
Achmed, I've also thought about moulding the hockey stick in place, but how to remove it after the epoxi has cured?
Maybe have some thin oil or wax or something on the inside of the rudder so the epoxi doesnt glue it all together?
If this is solved it must be the best way and there will be 100% fit.
Georg, using epoxi with filler and some graphite fiber into will result in one strong and solid unit - also easy to do.

I addition, I'm thinking of glueing a stainless steel plate on the bottom side (before epoxi moulding), the alu sides of the rudder head isnt that much for a hockey shaft to rest on. Works as a wear plate also.

Now the tapered front end:
Achmed, is the heating and changing the shape really possible?
Great it it works, but never heard that the carbon composite (guess its epoxi bound) tube shape can be altered after heating.
I know the hockey club-makers are heating the shaft after the blade is jammed in. Thought this was some kind of melting glue.
Acme tillers describes a heating procedure for exchanging broken tiller joins.
I'll try this on the cutted off part. But the tapered end will also be quite wide after flattened - do I understand you right?

Next suggestion of yours is also interesting - cutting the sides. But I think the lower bottom has to bend too much and still they must be epoxi glued.
But if the heating works the bending won't be a problem.

My idea was to cut the shaft to a proper tapered profile and then fill the gap with epoxi and carbon fibres - no built in stress in the fibers and a solid termination of the hollow shaft since there is no stress support after cutting the lower part of the tube away.

LooserLu, I've also seen those paddles, but are they round tubes? Will the diameter fit inside the rudder head? If they do you will still have the paddle shaft which is maybe "higher" than may hockey shaft.
I'm thinking of keeping the tiller as low as possible for the traveler.
The shaft I bought has a rectangular profile of 19 x 27 mm. This is a junior shaft size and the stiffest they had i the store. The senior shafts are even stiffer, really nice, but they have a profile of 19 x 32 and thus too wide to fit in the rudder head.
Suppose you can find hockey stores also in Germany, I've seen at least some German hockey players fooling around (which we Swedes like to beat;) )
Thanks for the description of tiller extension length and the grip.
Ok, I'll start with a long one (120+ cm) and cut it shorter if impossible to handle.

I'll post some pictures when ready, WestCoast is welcome to sign on as reseller;)

/Magnus
 

LooserLu

LooserLu
mange said:
...LooserLu, I've also seen those paddles, but are they round tubes? Will the diameter fit inside the rudder head? If they do you will still have the paddle shaft which is maybe "higher" than may hockey shaft.
/Magnus
Hi Magnus

From the tiny photo, that I have from that Yacht-Magazine, I made a little scetch about the line (in blue colour) where they have did cut to the paddle. I guess they did a lot of sanding, to get the suitable form. Also I belive, they did some reinforcement in that way you already described above. The diameter of the paddle seems to be rectangular and not to be tubular(/ not hollow).

For the joint use one, that can rotate. All the Roostersailing-c-tiller-extensions do that to be easier to handle.
Another joint than that from RWO-Omniflex is from Windesign (Optiparts): No. 652950 with a rope inside (to be able to finish a race, if the joint failures suddenly)

Ciao
LooserLu
 

Attachments

mange

Member
LooserLu said:
Hi Magnus

From the tiny photo, that I have from that Yacht-Magazine, I made a little scetch about the line (in blue colour) where they have did cut to the paddle. I guess they did a lot of sanding, to get the suitable form. Also I belive, they did some reinforcement in that way you already described above. The diameter of the paddle seems to be rectangular and not to be tubular(/ not hollow).

For the joint use one, that can rotate. All the Roostersailing-c-tiller-extensions do that to be easier to handle.
Another joint than that from RWO-Omniflex is from Windesign (Optiparts): No. 652950 with a rope inside (to be able to finish a race, if the joint failures suddenly)

Ciao
LooserLu
Ok, got it!
Think this will work well as long the paddle shaft is solid.
Why not turning the paddle 90 degrees (flat align the paddle blade)?
Then you can skip the long side cutting of the shaft, which will weaken the shaft in all cases - the strength lies in the outer laminate.
It doesnt matter if the shaft is wider than the rudder head fitting since you will cut out this more narrow from the paddle blade.
The cut out pice will be weak in the rudder head join (since the paddle blade is flat) but if you use my/achmeds approach then it will be very strong.

Remember that the class rules say that top side must be straight except for the last 30mm closest to the rudder head.

I would also do the tapering of the bottom front end.

About the extension joint - I bought the Omniflex and yes, I want it to rotate. First I have to remove the moulding imperfections in the rubber with a sharp knife so its smoth and round. Then cover the rubber with wax and wind some glassfibre wetted with epoxi around to build up a total diameter to fit inside of my extension. After curing I'll have a tube which can rotate around the rubber join. Finally some finishing and glue it on the inside end of extension.

Good luck and keep on posting your project proceeding and I'll update from mine.

/M
 

Chris123

New Member
Having finally broken my stock aluminum extension, I made a nice one in about half an hour using a piece of 1" (25mm) carbonfiber tubing that I got surplus a while back and was saving for just such an adventure.

I took a piece of wood dowel that just fit inside the tube, about 2" (50mm) long, and drilled a hole into the end of it to accept the end of the rubber universal joint. I soaked the wood in epoxy, roughed up the inside of the tube, and stuck it in. When cured, I put in the universal joint, drilled a hole crosswise through the carbon, the wood, and the universal joint, inserted a small bolt, fastened a locknut on the other end, and wrapped black tape around the tube where the nut and bolt protrude. On the other end of the tube I put a rubber cap of the kind that is used on the bottom of chair legs.

The tube is 48" (122 cm) long.

I've been out with it only once so far. In a light air day it was great to be able to sit far forward without having my arm stretched way out toward the stern. As the wind picked up I started having trouble getting the extension through the sheet during a tack, but before I start cutting it shorter I want to give myself time to learn the technique a little better.
 

Chris123

New Member
Georg W.F. said:
Chris123,
Sounds good! What kind of tube did you use/ where did you buy it?

GWF
I don't know what special technical properties it has -- it's carbon fiber / epoxy; I bought it from some guy on e-bay. I would have used a hockey stick shaft or a golf club shaft but I got tired of dialing around asking sport shops if they had them.
 

mange

Member
Chris123 said:
I don't know what special technical properties it has -- it's carbon fiber / epoxy; I bought it from some guy on e-bay. I would have used a hockey stick shaft or a golf club shaft but I got tired of dialing around asking sport shops if they had them.
I've spoke to I guy here in Sweden - he's addicted to kites - quite advanced stuff. He built them with carbon tubes from Excel (made in Finland).
These carbon rods are top quality made from high modulus carbon fibre, Excel also make other carbon tubes for floor hockey shafts etc.

The Kite guy had Excel carbon rods in different diameters (20mm), but they all where 100cm. He could order from an "special kite maker" somewhere I don't know. Take a look at his "material" url: http://www.algonet.se/~andmat/Kolf.html In Swedish:eek: , but you can read the data spec's for the rods ("kolfiberrör" = carbon fibre rod)

My tip for you is to find a local kite specialist or someone who sells Excel or other carbon rods OR go to the local fishing store and ask for a carbon shaft for landing nets (like I did) OR buy the real stuff from Marstrom or similar.

Good luck!
/M
 

ProATC

Member
Digging through archives; Mange, as you may know, the Excel company makes Innebandy (Floorball) sticks, I will be using one for my tiller extension. Did you ever finish this project?
Skål !
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
That's what I like about ya, ProATC... you're willing to improve performance by adopting creative solutions. Moi, much the same way when it comes to sailing (or anything else in life), but again, I was never held back by any class rules & regs, restrictions, etc. I like nautical gear & equipment that's bulletproof, even if it seems like overkill to other sailors... one good swim miles offshore will give a hand new perspective, LOL. :confused:

Funny thing (but true), sometimes I would use my experience as a technical rock climber to devise a superior method of rigging, or a superior method of securing gear for overnight voyages to the islands. Also, early adoption of rock climbing harnesses for all mast work aboard larger craft, rather than using an unwieldy bosun's chair. Conversely, I would occasionally use my nautical experience to improve some aspect of field camping life & technical rock climbing... :rolleyes:

When it comes to sailing, I'd adopt or employ any method/equipment in order to improve performance... and sometimes, to be perfectly honest, I would find that the old ways were preferable to the new, therefore I'd return to the old ways. Of course, MARINE SAFETY has always been my top priority, and it should be considered whenever one experiments with new gear, techniques, whatever... friends & I partied hard on our voyages, so safety was important. ;)

Somehow this reminds me of a classic line from a commentator during the '95 Cup Series off San Diego, back in the days of IACC boats. This hand said that the perfectly-designed IACC boat would fall apart as it crossed the finish line... and he was right, LOL. But those pros like to push the boundaries where speed and performance are concerned... remember oneAustralia? John Bertrand was always one of my heroes, but that boat sank like a rock, LOL. :eek:

ANYWAY, I LIKE THE WAY YOU'RE TACKLING PROBLEMS AND DEVISING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS... MAKES A GOOD SAILOR BETTER, AYE? :cool:

Edit: Oops, that oneAustralia sinking was in '95, my memory is slipping, LOL... I watched too many races back in the day, many from my Laser. ESPN coverage of the Cup Series was pretty good too, heaps of racing action & excitement captured by those onboard cameras. :)
 
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