Preliminary Test

I have been away on vacation, so not much has gotten done and I am heading out climbing this weekend so my progress will not be accelerating any time soon. But I am still plugging away at this and last night I did a little testing: I ran the wall without planks on.

Second chain assembled and mounted. Test motor in place.

The motor and driver are borrowed off another project, so it won’t be quite the same on the final assembly. I am hoping to get away with a slightly smaller motor, which should be both cheaper and a little quieter. This one did produce a bit of a whine when running.

Success…. So far.

Sorry the video is a little shaky, I am holding down the “go” button way off to one side while holding my phone in the other.

I only tried a couple, slower speeds (up to ~8 fpm) but so far everything seems to be running smoothly. Top speed will, hopefully, be around three times faster. The motor bracket provided great alignment without any tweaking.


Final Assembly: Part 1

With the last of my parts picked up I could get down to business again.

Next up was assembling the chain. To attach wooden planks (2x8s) to the chain we need to swap out every 14th link with an attachment link. This was a lengthy process since it requires pushing out 116 pins to replace 58 links so we can mount 29 planks. It’s a lot of time with a chain breaker.

2 down 56 more to go. An attachment link is shown in the top left. They have 2 bent flanges that we can use to screw the link to our moving planks.

Additionally, I needed to make a spacer since I am using a bearing on the drive shaft that I hadn’t accommodated in the design. So I cut one out of some scrap plywood, I think it will be stiff enough to support the bearing.

bearing spacer

I had to go buy some metric bolts for the gearbox (which was a surprise) then we could get down to business and mount the drive shaft and chains. This ended up being a two man job: one to support the shaft and the other to ram it into the gearbox. It might have been easier, if heavier to lift into place, to get the shaft in the gearbox on the ground and then mount the whole assembly to the wall.

The shaft, gearbox, and bearing in place. The chain isn’t really done yet it was just up to check the length. Everything is still working as it did on my computer.

With all the attachment links put in the chain we put it on the sprockets. It looks like there will be 28 7″ wide planks and one small 2″ plank to fill the remainder. ie. the chain length was not evenly divisible by 7″.

chain in place


Next up will be a bunch of woodworking to rip our planks to 7″ width from standard 2x8s.

Road Trip

On Saturday I went down to Sweetgrass Montana to pick up bearings, idler sprockets, and chain attachment links from a McMaster-Carr order. (If you build or design stuff and haven’t checked this company out you should, but they won’t do small orders to new Canadian customers so my parts are sitting in Montana.)

This trip almost got put off again due to a plague of boils hitting our home (hand, foot, and mouth disease… I have a toddler). Last time it was thunderstorm. So I have been getting anxious to get things moving again.

It’s a nice drive down to Sweetgrass with a view of the Rockies to your right for most of the way so i decided to take some pictures. But they came out grainy and terrible on my phone.

Hitting the open road. Yeah it’s pretty flat.

This was really the only one photo worth sharing. The sweetgrass hills. With ~3000ft of relief these are really mountains poking out of the middle of the prairie. I am convinced there is climbing hidden somewhere on them. Hopefully, climbing with a rock type other than limestone, which is what we have locally (that is within 2.5hrs drive).

The sweetgrass hills: untapped climbing mecca. (ok probably not, but even a couple routes would be cool.)


Frank Slide Bouldering

Well I don’t have any work on the wall to report this week. I have parts waiting at the border that I need to proceed but I haven’t gotten there yet. Instead I am going to share a little about a day engaged in my other hobby: climbing.

I got packed up the night before and optimistically included my drill in the off chance we might finish up our outstanding projects at frank slide and move on to put up a sport route. It turns out I was the only one to even bother bringing a harness, so the drill was clearly excessive.

Packing for a day out in the Crowsnest Pass. C’mon bosch sponsorship, just look at that product placement!

I rode out with Trent and Mark D. After stopping in at the Frank Slide interpretive centre to use their luxurious bathroom we warmed up on some easy slabs and a pit problem near the highway on our way out to The City of Giants. I won’t get into too much detail beyond what I photographed ’cause I am sure Trent will deliver on that in his blog when he catches up.

Kyle arrived in time to join us at the CoGĀ  for a lap on the techy slab problem Casper. We were also joined by Dan A. around the same time.

Kyle on top of the spooky slab problem Casper (V2)

After climbing Casper (and whatever is next to it) I broke off from the group to work on the problems on the Alberta Meat Market boulder. Until it started to rain.

The Giant. For scale my crashpad is the little black rhombus to the right of centre. It is sitting below the problem Deadpool (V5) while I hid from the rain.

Our afternoon was largely consumed with working out the moves on a project (formerly known as unbreakable). The key to which turned out to be using a jam in a shallow pod. Mark D. snagged the first ascent and named it Force of Will, an accurate description of how he pulled through the crux.

Trent moving with ease through the crux thumb-stack on Force of Will (V6?)
Kyle on the last hard move of Force of Will.

This problems difficulty seems to be highly dependent on your jamming ability and/or pain tolerance, regardless of its difficulty I thought it was a brilliant problem.

I rounded out my day climbing a crack which Trent found a few months ago (I think or maybe Kyle found it years earlier), just north of the At First Light boulder in the upper CoG. It proved to be quiet thuggish and sequence dependent. Following mainly finger jams from deep in the overhang where the crack turns horizontal all the way to the lip. Not a five star problem but this kind of climbing is a rare find at Frank and it was fun.

Crack Problem. Sorry I don’t have any photos with climber present. I would guess V4ish.