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Portrait of a bad braze?
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justthemaid


May 27, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Portrait of a bad braze?
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I recently bought a new set of (#1-#5) ballnuts through the mail. I ended up sending one of them back to be exchanged. Mountain Gear exchanged it quickly with no hassles but I thought I would post my observations for educational reasons.

First let me premise by stating that I although I haven't done much welding, I DO have extensive experience at soldering, and have done so professionally for 15 years.

The ballnut I returned seemed to have the following problems:

1) The welds where the cables insert into the head looked bad. Specifically, instead of a nice smooth, welds with the solder flowing smoothly from the cables to the base of the nut, the joint had slightly rounded edges where the cables inserted into the holes. This indicates to me that the nut wasn't hot enough for the welds to adhere properly.

When doing regular soldering, a joint that looks like that can sometimes be cleanly separated from the underlying metal (not good). My concern was that the cables could simply tear out of the head.

Sorry the shadows at the base of the cables make this a little hard to see.







2) You'll also notice the two weep holes on the top surface above where the cables are inserted are not really clean or flush.

3) The nut itself was heavily pitted with tons of inclusions. Maybe a bad casting?



Here's a picture of a good one:




Notice the nice flowing joint that ramps smoothly from the cable to the base of the nut. Not too little and not so much solder that it causes a stiff/weak part at the base of the cables. The two weep holes on the top are smooth and flush. The casting seems cleaner without all the pitting.

Would this piece I returned have had a catastrophic failure? I have no idea. Perhaps not, but why worry about it. It was easier to just exchange it.

This is just a reminder to check any new gear you buy whether it be nuts or cams or whatever.

Stay safe out there.


(This post was edited by justthemaid on May 29, 2007, 7:48 AM)


iamthewallress


May 27, 2007, 1:42 PM
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Re: [justthemaid] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Thanks for your post.

I've been trying to take advantage of the whole CCH bruhaha to educate myself a bit more about how gear is put together and what sorts of things are key to look at.

Mal and others with metalurgy experience...what's your take? Since justthemaid's post is the only info I've ever read on such issues, I'm curious to hear other insights.


bent_gate


May 27, 2007, 2:50 PM
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Re: [justthemaid] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Very interesting. Anything that gets people to examine their gear is good to see. Though getting educated on what to look for is another issue Wink I have to say that the pitting seems rather strange on a new piece.

Does anyone know if the ballnutz are either tensile tested or placement weighted for testing before being sent on?

I will be interested to hear some of the responses of others, especially those on the Alien forum who have hands on experience with brazing.

It would also be nice to be educated on what the joints look like if a braze has been fatigued/over-stressed from use. But I'm sure that is way too much to ask for on this site. (but I bet the experts are out there!)

Thanks for posting.Smile


Partner kimgraves


May 27, 2007, 3:30 PM
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Re: [justthemaid] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Great post. Thank you.

My question is how did the nut get through QA? If the brazing is being done by hand, why didn't the person doing the work reject it. If it's being done by automation, did no one examine it prior to distribution?

Best, Kim


maldaly


May 27, 2007, 4:46 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Hey Gang,
As soon as that BallNutz comes back to us I'll pull test it to failure and report back here. I've seen better looking brazes, but I've also seen worse. All of the BallNutz are proof tested to 1/2 their rated strength. In this case that would be to 4kN.

More as soon as we get it back.
Mal


(This post was edited by maldaly on May 27, 2007, 4:50 PM)


Partner hosh


May 27, 2007, 4:56 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
Hey Gang,
As soon as that BallNutz comes back to us I'll pull test it to failure and report back here. I've seen better looking brazes, but I've also seen worse. All of the BallNutz are proof tested to 1/2 their rated strength. In this case that would be to 4kN.

More as soon as we get it back.
Mal

I gotta say, the best thing that's come of the AlienGate scandal is the attention that I've noticed from gear companies when stuff like this turns up.

Good on ya Mal for being involved. It gives me confidence in gear when the people making it are willing to accept responsibility when things gunk up.

hosh.


billl7


May 27, 2007, 4:59 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Hey, I much appreciate it Mal. Thanks!

Alright everyone, we've only got a few days at most to get in our bids. So what is your bid to the tenth of a kN?

My bid: 7.9 kN, although I also would have asked for a replacement. By the way, the braze joints on the five BallNutz I recently ordered look much much better than these; now, they're not quite nuclear reactor quality themselves but pretty close.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on May 27, 2007, 5:13 PM)


justthemaid


May 27, 2007, 6:19 PM
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Re: [billl7] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Let me be clear- I'm not trying to slander the manufacturer in any way. I'm a huge fan of these nuts and totally love them. This is the only one I've ever seen that looks even remotely suspect.

I would guess there's enough solder there to hold through some drop tests but nowadays for my $ I'd rather have one that is perfect, not just OK.


(This post was edited by justthemaid on May 27, 2007, 6:23 PM)


healyje


May 27, 2007, 6:21 PM
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Re: [billl7] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Justthemaid - good eyes. Will be interesting to see what Mal finds out on this one. But Mal has been getting after this and any other problems in the production of Trango products like a bull dog long before this whole affair with Aliens. In fact, the contrast with Trango's standard problem response behavior and ever-evident integrity is just another reason why we know things are a problematic at CCH.


justthemaid


May 27, 2007, 6:24 PM
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Re: [healyje] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Mal's rapid respose and attention to detail is quite refreshing.

Thanks Mal.


Partner climbinginchico


May 27, 2007, 6:47 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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This is why I love and will continue to buy Trango gear. A good company, with an obvious concern for their customers' safety.

Not only did I read about the #1 Max cam recall, but the day after I saw it on this site I got a little warning slip in the mail from them, I'm assuming because I got mine directly from them as an EP. Even though I inspected it and it looked fine to me, I sent it in. I got it back less than a week after I mailed it, and it was marked inspected and tested, came with an apology and thank you letter, and a little bag of chalk.

Now that I've seen this, I think I will go re-inspect my own set of BallNutz, because I have yet to fall on those babies.

Thanks again Mal, for being super responsive.


rightarmbad


May 27, 2007, 7:35 PM
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Re: [climbinginchico] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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I have 7 of these and like others I immediately went and checked them. They is all lovely. Looking forward to the day of the Trango Alien launch.


btreanor


May 27, 2007, 8:09 PM
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Re: [justthemaid] Portrait of a bad braze? [In reply to]
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As I noted over at Supertopo...

Everyone please take note:

(1) Mal's reply:
Hey Gang,
As soon as that BallNutz comes back to us I'll pull test it to failure and report back here. I've seen better looking brazes, but I've also seen worse. All of the BallNutz are proof tested to 1/2 their rated strength. In this case that would be to 4kN.
More as soon as we get it back.
Mal

(2) CCH's reply:





















Notice any difference?

There is no failure related to this Ballnut, but Mal is on top of it. We all agree climbing is dangerous, that good (even great) gear can fail under the right (wrong?) conditions. No one (at least not me) is demanding that any other human being be perfect (medical doctors, climbing gear manufacturers, and other high responsibility people are as human as the rest of us).

All I want is for people to try to do what's right--and Mal seems to do that as consistently as anyone I've met.

Brian


dirtbagger


May 28, 2007, 4:10 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Hi Mal

After having read this thread, I went and checked out my 2 Trango BallNuz I have on my rack and found that the #4 looked a bit like the one posted on here above!

The weep holes are also not fully flush and welds, well I can't really tell if they are good or bad!

Here the pics:

Top


Close-up



Front







Now my question is, from the look of those weep holes, I am a bit unsure if the braze was done well or not? Should I be worried or can I be sure they are ok?

Should I send it in? I bought it 3 years ago or so, from MountainTools website I think!

cheers for your feedback

dirtbagger


(This post was edited by dirtbagger on May 28, 2007, 4:19 AM)


Partner j_ung


May 28, 2007, 6:08 AM
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Re: [dirtbagger] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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I heart responsive gear makers. Smile


justthemaid


May 28, 2007, 7:36 AM
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Re: [dirtbagger] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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It would be interesting to get a little education here from someone who knows more than lil' ol' me, but I'll toss in 2 more cents.

The molten metal wicks down the cable and out the holes. I'll wager a guess that it doesn't have to be completely flush to hold the required kn's if the braze is good.

It's the state of where the cables enter the nut that was more of an issue with mine and all the pitting and bubbling and the slightly rounded edges to the weld meant (in my mind) there was an off chance the metals didn't bond 100%.

Dirtbagger- it's a little hard to see, but your nut seems to have good looking brazes where the cables enter. Although the holes aren't flush I probably wouldn't have returned that one.


justthemaid


May 28, 2007, 7:39 AM
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Re: [justthemaid] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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BTW. I just made up "weep holes" .

What the hell is the term for those things anyhow, and why the heck doesn't CCH have one drilled in the shaft of their cams? It would solve a lot of their problems.


maldaly


May 28, 2007, 8:54 AM
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Re: [justthemaid] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Gang,
I've never brazed anything in my life and all I know about it is what Hugh Banner (RIP) told me one evening over a bottle of scotch. What I gleaned:
- The braze needs to be smooth and even at the joint
- The braze shoudl flow arounf and through the cables
- the braze should completely fill and penetrate through the entire depth of the hole.
The "weep" hole indicates if the braze has flowed all the way into the the hole so a slight bit of a dip or bubbling here is not critical. So the OP's unit with an aberration at the entry point is a bit worrisome to me and that's why I want to test it ASAP.

BTW, the OP returned the unit to the shop where he bought it, adding several days and maybe even a week to the turn-around time. I would love it if people would contact me directly and if there's a real concern I'll give you my FedEx # to get it back ASAP.

Stay tuned....I'll break that BallNutz as soon as I get it back and report.

Mal


(This post was edited by maldaly on May 28, 2007, 9:02 AM)


anykineclimb


May 28, 2007, 9:04 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Mal,

The Ball(nutz) Breaker!


dirtbagger


May 28, 2007, 9:26 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Hi Mal

Thanks for the feedback!

Just PM'ed ya, with regards to my #4 Ballnutz

cheers

dirtbagger


billl7


May 28, 2007, 9:59 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
Gang,
I've never brazed anything in my life and all I know about it is what Hugh Banner (RIP) told me one evening over a bottle of scotch. What I gleaned:
- The braze needs to be smooth and even at the joint
- The braze shoudl flow arounf and through the cables
- the braze should completely fill and penetrate through the entire depth of the hole.
The "weep" hole indicates if the braze has flowed all the way into the the hole so a slight bit of a dip or bubbling here is not critical.
Well said, succinct summary. Kudo's to HB! (RIP) ... and to Mal for offering some clarification about good brazing joints.

In my humble non-brazing-expert opinion, if anyone reads that and still has concerns about their pro they should have the piece looked at by an expert.

justthemaid, Thanks for posting the pictures and for the discussion. That took some care to put together and post - no small thing.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on May 28, 2007, 11:17 AM)


the_climber


May 28, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Mal, You da man for the quick responce!

I've always been impressed with Trango gear! In light of all the braising issues with aliens and stuff, and the more common use of gear that is braised (cams, micros,...) I had a thought. Most gear comes with a little pamphlet, would it be possible/usefull to have a picture showing the difference between a good and bad braise in the pamphlet? Just an Idea.


maldaly


May 28, 2007, 8:17 PM
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Re: [the_climber] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Wow!, that's a hell of a suggestion. I'm not sure how inspiring that would be if it came with a piece of gear you shelled out your coin for. Hmmmm. I''ll have to think about that. Keep the good ideas flowing, though.
Mal


JAB


May 28, 2007, 10:56 PM
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Re: [the_climber] Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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the_climber wrote:
Mal, You da man for the quick responce!

I've always been impressed with Trango gear! In light of all the braising issues with aliens and stuff, and the more common use of gear that is braised (cams, micros,...) I had a thought. Most gear comes with a little pamphlet, would it be possible/usefull to have a picture showing the difference between a good and bad braise in the pamphlet? Just an Idea.

While more info usually is better, wouldn't it give the picture of Trango pushing over the quality control to the customer?


bobruef


May 29, 2007, 3:23 AM
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Re; Portrait of a bad braze. [In reply to]
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Maldaly and Trango rock! It's responses like this that make me buy trango when I can. Mal is the man!

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