Reliable DIY power ascender

Bart_

Active Member
Location
GTA
Jehinten, is that a worn spot inside the sheave, on one of the teeth? If so how did it happen or was it already there when you got it?

edit: dead center in this except from your picture:
Rollgliss dented sheave tooth.png
 
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Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Jehinten, is that a worn spot inside the sheave, on one of the teeth? If so how did it happen or was it already there when you got it?
Looks to just be the lighting from the flash. I'll check it out in person, but I've not noticed any wear during use.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
Well, I finished my rollgliss R550 setup over the weekend. No major modifications to the stock device. It is not midline attachable. drill is Dewalt DCD996. I use it with the stock 3/8 KM line, and the line is dedicated to ascending. I have another TIP for my climbing system, (DDRT Unicender).
First thing I added was a stainless shoulder bolt to mount my safety hitch cord to. The holes in the steel shackle were already there. Added a couple washers to mind the E2E (8mm Ocean Poly) and lock nut. 8mm locks up nice on the stock 3/8" with Distel hitch.
Next I swapped the drive shafts. Since the rollgliss is intended to be used by a rescuer above the victim, the normal orientation is for the working end facing down. when in this orientation, the black wheel that the R550 comes with is mounted on top. When you use the device like we are, the longer shaft is on the bottom. it works, but then the devices are offset from one another and fabbing the drill twist rod would be tricky. I found it best to swap shafts, so the drill & rollgliss are more of a square package.
To mind the drill twist at torque, I fab'd the threaded rod & mounting plate, simple enough process. I think the clutch cover mounts (M4 size) should hold up OK to the torque of the drill. It is 1:40 ratio after all. I purchased some stainless M4 panhead screws as the stock ones weren't long enough.

First aerial test was today, TIP was 60' up in a wide silver maple. I was rigging over my house, by myself, and so the ups & downs associated with rigging alone were sooo much better with this power ascender.
One thing I did notice, if I will be up & down by myself all day. In reverse and under my descending load, the drill will make a slipping/clinking noise. It happens often. I can't seem to reproduce it on command, so I'm not sure yet what leads to it doing that. But it does sound like the drill is ripping itself apart :( It works fine if you just use it for ascending. And so I was trying to solve this problem: how do I ascend with the device, detach, go about my work, then descend on my climbing system, but then have the drill back at the bottom when I'm ready to go back up?
This conundrum is exasperated because mine is not midline attachable and I'm using it on the stock rope, dedicated for just ascending.

Cheers

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Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
Location
Puget Sound
That's some nice looking work, SamSquatch. But yeah it is extremely frustrating to not have the thing mid-line attachable if one has multiple ascents to do. I used mine at first with the dedicated captive rope and it was just too inconvenient. It is SO nice to be able to use it anytime and on your main climbing rope, with it quickly removable. Saves battery use too, to not have to run the rope back thru it under power.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
how do I ascend with the device, detach, go about my work, then descend on my climbing system, but then have the drill back at the bottom when I'm ready to go back up?
Three options, either run the drill in reverse while in the air, then once it's back to the appropriate place on the rope, lower it to the ground.

The second other option is to use it in basal mode. Disconnect aloft, then rappel down and undo the basal, control both legs of rope to lower the device. Once it's down retie the basal and repeat. The tail of the working side will continue to get longer with each time you do this until you need to reset it due to the basal side no longer being long enough.

The third is to come down with your weight on your climbing device but running the drill in reverse (unweighted) as you go
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
The third is to come down with your weight on your climbing device but running the drill in reverse (unweighted) as you go
I tried this one yesterday, but I was fumbling with the safety hitch, rappelling on the uni, and running the drill in reverse. three hands needed. It would help to remove the safety hitch, as long as I have the climbing system attached this might work OK, but would still require both hands.

For true one handed rappeling, next time I will just take the chuck off the shaft. The way my twist rod works, it will hold the drill in any orientation as long as it has the battery installed. Take the battery out, and I can work it out (also a feature).
In reality, I wouldn't even need the DDRT system for descent like this, because the R550 braked descent is very good, it's about 3ft/s.
But in order to keep all my gear with me on ascent & descent, I would keep the DDRT attached and rappel with it, the clutched R550 just going along for the ride, acting as backup.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
I tried this one yesterday, but I was fumbling with the safety hitch, rappelling on the uni, and running the drill in reverse. three hands needed. It would help to remove the safety hitch, as long as I have the climbing system attached this might work OK, but would still require both hands.

For true one handed rappeling, next time I will just take the chuck off the shaft. The way my twist rod works, it will hold the drill in any orientation as long as it has the battery installed. Take the battery out, and I can work it out (also a feature).
In reality, I wouldn't even need the DDRT system for descent like this, because the R550 braked descent is very good, it's about 3ft/s.
But in order to keep all my gear with me on ascent & descent, I would keep the DDRT attached and rappel with it, the clutched R550 just going along for the ride, acting as backup.
Yup, I forgot about your safety hitch on the rollgliss. when I use mine, which is pretty seldom, I winch up and tend my climbing device as I go. This way your primary climbing system is your backup during ascent with no need for the additional hitch.
 

leaf

New Member
Location
Massachusetts
I'm just getting started on a Rollgliss 550 (five fifty) project, Have read this whole thread in an effort to learn everything I might from all of the experience you all have. My thoughts so far -- posted here for your criticisms (and amusement) are:

-- Midline attachable is too important to forsake. I have gently taken off the outer plate on the drive side and will re-install it with thumbscrews with a hole in the turning knurl of each, through the "loop" of which holes will pass a small safety line. The driving sheave freed from a pin or two that pokes into it, it can be slid off the shaft and the rope freed, or the rope wrapped around it (tightly - but it goes) and put into place, and the cover put on. (The hardest part is not dropping the two little stainless bits (look like tiny kidneys) at the two top corners when you take them off and then put them back on.) No more cam cleat, true, but...enh. I'm pretty sure I will not miss it -- poorly positioned for my purposes, anyway.

-- And I realized I can't emotionally deal with the drill. I tried (weakly). But no. So, I am thinking E-bike style. Lithium battery with a battery manager, etc. +/- $55 (battery hookup.com). Brushed 24V 500 Watt motor (some mentalizing about that and other related matters below) (Whee-Bay) $52. PWM direction and speed control board (15 kHz) China, etc. $18. Right, I can't also use this thing to make holes. (I did take completely apart a deWalt drill 3 speed geared, fancy, 24v, etc. recently - before becoming fully stubborn on this subject.)

-- The "logic" such as it is... goes: Wraptor, etc. talk about ascent at 30 to 100 feet per minute. A good speed to go up a tree we'll call 60 feet per minute, or one foot per second. One horsepower (no kilograms or Newtons here) is ascent against earth gravity for 550 lbs one foot, one second. So (just the way I do my taxes) if I weigh 275lbs (no, not really) but I'm wearing a "saddle" etc) I need 1/2 hp. A hp is also +/- 750 watts, 1/2 hp is +/- 375 watts. Or, it is like putting / pulsing about 16 amps into the 24V motor. A little more to accelerate, a little friction loss, energy wasted as heat, but the 7s battery I ran into discharges at something like 20C (and is several amp-hours).

So, we'll see. Like everybody else, most of all I need the time to work on this rather than do real work. But I believe the numbers are there, and I have experience with the technology of batts/managers/motors/controllers to the effect that properly constructed the stuff is pretty reliable....

I'm sure other people here have thoughtful comments to make -- and I would be grateful for them no matter what the basic view expressed or the conclusion reached.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
I'm just getting started on a Rollgliss 550 (five fifty) project, Have read this whole thread in an effort to learn everything I might from all of the experience you all have. My thoughts so far -- posted here for your criticisms (and amusement) are:

-- Midline attachable is too important to forsake. I have gently taken off the outer plate on the drive side and will re-install it with thumbscrews with a hole in the turning knurl of each, through the "loop" of which holes will pass a small safety line. The driving sheave freed from a pin or two that pokes into it, it can be slid off the shaft and the rope freed, or the rope wrapped around it (tightly - but it goes) and put into place, and the cover put on. (The hardest part is not dropping the two little stainless bits (look like tiny kidneys) at the two top corners when you take them off and then put them back on.) No more cam cleat, true, but...enh. I'm pretty sure I will not miss it -- poorly positioned for my purposes, anyway.

-- And I realized I can't emotionally deal with the drill. I tried (weakly). But no. So, I am thinking E-bike style. Lithium battery with a battery manager, etc. +/- $55 (battery hookup.com). Brushed 24V 500 Watt motor (some mentalizing about that and other related matters below) (Whee-Bay) $52. PWM direction and speed control board (15 kHz) China, etc. $18. Right, I can't also use this thing to make holes. (I did take completely apart a deWalt drill 3 speed geared, fancy, 24v, etc. recently - before becoming fully stubborn on this subject.)

-- The "logic" such as it is... goes: Wraptor, etc. talk about ascent at 30 to 100 feet per minute. A good speed to go up a tree we'll call 60 feet per minute, or one foot per second. One horsepower (no kilograms or Newtons here) is ascent against earth gravity for 550 lbs one foot, one second. So (just the way I do my taxes) if I weigh 275lbs (no, not really) but I'm wearing a "saddle" etc) I need 1/2 hp. A hp is also +/- 750 watts, 1/2 hp is +/- 375 watts. Or, it is like putting / pulsing about 16 amps into the 24V motor. A little more to accelerate, a little friction loss, energy wasted as heat, but the 7s battery I ran into discharges at something like 20C (and is several amp-hours).

So, we'll see. Like everybody else, most of all I need the time to work on this rather than do real work. But I believe the numbers are there, and I have experience with the technology of batts/managers/motors/controllers to the effect that properly constructed the stuff is pretty reliable....

I'm sure other people here have thoughtful comments to make -- and I would be grateful for them no matter what the basic view expressed or the conclusion reached.
nice to see you join the DIY power ascender club!
I often thought about stripping out the drill, because the chuck just gets in the way when I descend, it’s clunky, etc.
I still dream of a smaller device mated to the R550 that has a small toggle switch that I can keep on all the time, limb walks and everything.
But the kicker for me was the gearbox and the clutch. A modern drill already does a decent job compacting motor, board, gearbox, and clutch in one device. So, I’ll continue using mine.

I finally got my GoPros running again, I’ll have to post a vid of my climbing system, I think folks will like it.
 

leaf

New Member
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for your post. I am still working on the "system" part of my climbing (I go from single to double -- depending on who knows what. In my lost past I have gone solo up sailboat masts, and the usual way for that is actually triple (first hoist a block w/ becket on a halyard, then pull 1/3d your weight). I've Hitch-climbered, and variously Petzled, and of course Blaked, etc. added and subtracted pinto pulleys. So I will be anticipating your post. I have a long piece of 9.5 kernmantle w/ the Rollgliss. I'm definitely not cutting it. But maybe it should be mostly in a pile on the ground, I'm not sure.

As to small, one of my complaints about the drill is the wasted size. The chuck is uselessly in the middle. One could, at least, make a 3/8 x 10mm coupling, take the chuck off the drill, substitute, and be fine and happy. Same thing with most of the drill "body" and the trigger. All that plastic and so forth has the functional value of just one potentiometer and one SPDT switch.

I have similar thoughts about the "holding apparatus" that gets used to keep drills in place and to keep them from turning. I can keep a plain ol' motor in place with just a couple of mount bolts.

I'm not at all sure how I feel about the "clutch" question. There is a "something else to fail" argument. There is a "should be done with electrons if the control scheme for the device is fundamentally electronic" argument. I would be interested in any view you might have to the effect that either a) a position brake (as opposed to the descent brake that is part of the Rollgliss) is actually helpful in such a device (given that you are going to hang it from a rope grip - and you are not worried about it leaping "upward") or b) that there is a value to a friction coupling greater than current limiting to keep from over-torquing.

The planetaries in the Dewalt drills are made from decent (a bit small) gears, true. That said, they sit not too nobly in some plastic bits. The Rollgliss is unfortunately only 9 to 1 in the gearing within it. The sheave turns something like 7 inches, .6 something of a foot. If the Rollgliss were geared 1 to 15 it would be about perfect. for that sheave (and the great majority of motors - sorta 2,000 rpm things). And, if it had a sheave about twice as big.... horse-wishing beggars would ride. I know I'm going to heat the motor up a little bit by letting it load up and making the needed torque from electric current. The truth is that I have not run the numbers. But, I'm guessing it won't be much worse than putting a 2 to 1 in between motor and Rollgliss. The added 2 to 1 would get a lot of mechanical wear. Electrons, not so much.
 

Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
Location
Puget Sound
The nice thing about the drill is just that, it is also a drill as well as power unit for the ascender In a second, you remove it from the Rollgliss with a twist of the wrist and have a functioning drill. You have two great devices in one. Also, if it craps out, you buy another at any larger local hardware store and in a few seconds you are back in business with it attached to the ascender.
 

leaf

New Member
Location
Massachusetts
Yes. That said, it could also be nice if a person could buy a well built and readily maintainable electric power ascender for a reasonable market price from a supplies store. True, there is not really that much more to it than there is to a well-made battery powered drill, mostly a different gear ratio and the right rope sheave.with a path that brings the bight of rope around it. I regret that Wraptor went gas and very expensive, and that Ronin was sooo engineering/use/practicalities clueless. Etc. Ours is a world, however, in which there are a few KitchenAid mixers, Unisaws, Stanley No. 5 planes, MS200Ts, original Pexto rollers, and ... a whole lot of other stuff that doesn't just look ugly... I asked Cox (Wraptor guy) nicely to buy just the sheave. He said "liabilty", made another funny noise -- and that was that. Making the sheave is not super hard in "production" but it is challenging for an individual. The answer (for low volume) is to find somebody (or "service") with a CNC mill, send toolpath, get back two sides and clamp them whilst affixing to the output of the gearbox (as with a nut). Casting would be great -- but in some numbers. Other stuff, such as Self-taiiling sailboat winch parts are not that easy to get just as formed netal. So there are obstacles. And we've made some sort of weird collective decision to share them -- but not the solutions.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
I would be interested in any view you might have to the effect that either a) a position brake (as opposed to the descent brake that is part of the Rollgliss) is actually helpful in such a device (given that you are going to hang it from a rope grip - and you are not worried about it leaping "upward") or b) that there is a value to a friction coupling greater than current limiting to keep from over-torquing.
The sole purpose of the drill's clutch (or is it the drill's gearbox?) is that it will hold position. I have tested several drills with my system, an older brushed milwaukee, and 1st/2nd gen FUEL drill/driver, a late gen FUEL drill/driver, a FUEL hole hawg (no clutch.. that one held 0 position!), and older brushless Dewalt and the Dewalt 996. At this point in my testing, only the Dewalt 996 is satisfactory.

Also it's necessary for me to mention: I ascend on the rollgliss as a separate climbing system, so the 9mm KMIII line stock line stays in it. I haven't modified any sheaves to use 11mm climbing lines.
I did have a hitch above the rollgliss as a fail safe and to help with transitions. But now I found it faster if I actually run my MRS system alongside the ascension line, and tend that as I go up. Then it's just unclip the rollgliss carabiner and I'm off to move about DDRT.
 

Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
Location
Puget Sound
. . . I haven't modified any sheaves to use 11mm climbing lines. . .
I found on my second Rollgliss that the unmodified original sheave works fine on every full size rope I have except some big 12.7mm Vortex Cool. I made both of them mid-line attachable finally but used them at first right out of the box with the drill. As others have noticed, the main issue is how to get the drill back down to the ground later without the tedious, battery-draining process of running the drill backwards the whole length. I got by this by detaching the drill and rappelling down on the Roillgliss, the same as the way it is used in industry. Kind of fun, actually, but the added wear and tear on the device bugged me. And it is just SO nice having them mid-line attachable so that it is usable on any rope you are on. I have even used mine a few times on my hook line for power traverses. It really is not a bad job to mod it, just some time at the vise with a hacksaw and file or an angle grinder, to remove the metal that forces the rope in place.
 
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samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Location
SE MN
I found on my second Rollgliss that the unmodified original sheave works fine on every full size rope I have except some big 12.7mm Vortex Cool. I made both of them mid-line attachable finally biut used them at first right out of the box with the drill. As others have noticed, the main issue is how to get the drill back down to the ground later without the tedious, battery-draining process of running the drill backwards the whole length. I got by this by detaching the drill and rappelling down on the Roillgliss, the same as the way it is used in industry. Kind of fun, actually, but the added wear and tear on the device bugged me. And it is just SO nice having them mid-line attachable so that it is usable on any rope you are on. I have even used mine a few times on my hook line for power traverses. It really is not a bad job to mod it, just some time at the vise with a hacksaw and file or an angle grinder, to remove the metal that forces the rope in place.
Rappelling down the R550 is great, that’s also how I come down. The braked descent is cool.
 

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