April 25, 2008

Here is my solution to the bronze bushing issue. I like the pulley so much that I wanted to use the same pulley, that and the winch was already made to fit it. The pulley is found in most stores. I picked this one up at Peavy mart but I've seen them in Princess Auto and the first one I got from the local welding shop. I did a little internet research and found a bearing used for roller blades and skate boards that's a fad of some sort. They are very small and tough. 608 is the number, 16 mm OD 8mm ID and 5mm wide. Tough to find unless you go to a sport/skate shop. I found them at Sport Check for $3 a piece. I bored out the center to 5/8" (close enough to 16 mm) and pressed in 3 bearings with a vice. This should make this little problem go away and make room for the next one. We had a blizzard last week so towing will have to wait for better weather. In a week it's looking better.

April 18, 2008

Yard maintenance

When I moved into this house 2 years ago the massive poplar tree in the back yard made me shudder. I could just imagine the boat load of leaves in the fall. That turned out to be not much of an issue as the wind here on the prairies blows the leaves in the neighbors yards. But in the spring the little brown sticky bud covers all fall off and litter the ground in a tar mat that ends up in the house. It had to go, and this year it was going. After my eyes settled back in my head from the quotes to remove it I selected a contractor and had it removed. I'm no stranger to tree removal but one of the three trunks leaned over the house which would have involved a crane. Counting up the hours of crane work and loads to the dump and time it was actually cheaper to hire someone.
The contractor was mad he under bid this job. It took 4 hours to get the tree down and just about 8 hours to grind the stump. It was a massive stump with roots all over the yard. My yard just grew exponentially.

April 17, 2008

Ok not that great

I under engineered something. Not the first time and definitely not the last. I heard on some list or something that bronze bushings wear out in the dusty hight stress payout winch environment. But a cheap pulley that lent itself to my application was sitting on the local welding shops' shelf. So I figured I'd get two for when the bushing failed, I could then just replace it when it got loose. Don't be sucked into this mentality. They "wear out" with a catastrophic failure! Wednesday, Jason and I went out after work for some flying. I was doing a whip tow which involves paying out the line as fast as you can comfortably drive and when you run out of line you slow the truck and up the pressure till the line quits paying out and switch to a static tow. Unbeknown to me, the bushing had disintegrated and was wearing on the bolt holding it. The pulley heated to very hot state and upon stopping the drum, melted the line, causing 5000' of spectra to be dragged across hells half acre. End of the towing that day. These little things are the things that drive me nuts but as soon as they are all taken care of, it should be bullet proof.

April 12, 2008

works great

I found a sale on beach umbrellas at a local furniture store and picked one up for 10 bucks. I spent two evenings at the sewing machine and made it into a drogue chute. Today Jason and I tied it onto the line and rolled out 500' and tested it out. It wound the spool uber tight. We then pulled just about all the line off and wound it tight. Jason was first up and had a premature release right off the truck. We figured the chute bridle wound up on the link knife and cut him off early. Extended the chute bridle and tried again. This time the tow went awesome. The line tension gage was dead steady and easy to change. No guessing the tow tension. I hit the end of the road and he pinned off into a thermal and got his first good payout tow and fist good thermaling flight all at once. He stayed up for a half hour and came down to tow me up. We loaded up my wing and up I went. This has to be one of the smoothest tow rigs I've ever been on. About half way into my tow I got into a great thermal and intended to tow through it but as I corrected from a right wing up I felt the tug on my left wrist and like that I was auto released. I stayed in that thermal and topped it out and returned to the ground for another go. I added a little length to my release pull string and went again. This tow was too slow a driver and I was straight over the truck for the duration and not climbing too much. After wondering if I would make it back to launch I released and headed for it. Caught a small ratty thermal on the way to get enough hight to make it there and landed.

I am very impressed with the quality of tow this winch provides. There is no guessing what's going on on the line and rewind is quick. This will lead to quick turn around and easy to operate.

I snapped a few pictures.

The rig all ready to go

Jason landing

April 6, 2008

Testing one two....

Rounded up the guys and went and tested out the winch Friday. A few problems sprang up right away. Teflon makes a crappy line guide. It ate into the side of it and when it hit metal it started to chew up the side clamping the line in the guide. That led to over pressure and the pressure gage needle spun right around so I couldn't see it anymore. James didn't feel any of the problems and got the first tow to 2000' . I ran out of road but not line. Jason was set to arrive when he got off work so I called him and asked him to make up a new line guide when he came out. We waited for him to arrive, the wind shifted 180 degrees so we packed up and moved to the other end of the road. We set up his wing and put the new line guide on and tossed him on the winch. When James towed up it was slightly down wind which caused the line to be wrapped somewhat loose. When Jason hit 400' I heard a tell tale snap. I assumed it was a week link but I didn't see the pressure climb so I was somewhat puzzled. when I went to rewind the line there was none. The line had broken. My best guess is it got bound under a loop of loose line and rubbed itself through. I had to now try and find the broken end that was buried in the spool. It actually wasn't that hard to find. Today I found the end and spliced the line and got it all wrapped back on. I picked up a roller fair lead and mounted that instead of the teflon one. The other problem I need to address is I need more drag on rewind to get the line to wrap tighter. I'm thinking another round drogue chute attached to the parafoil should do it.