Propeller tools

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RobertDoak

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So where can the propeller repitching tools be found to buy...and what are the proper names for them..i know one has the dial indicator ..and the other is the block with many steel balls...
May as well get the tools...looks like I'm in it for the long haul...
 

Mark Anderson

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Robert get something like the Woods gauge, a pair of cupping pliers and get bending props. I rarely find a use for the anvil type setup. I used to use them exclusively, but spent a few days with Andy Brown at a race in Montana watching, asking questions and learning. Completely changed the way that I did props for the better.
 

RobertDoak

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Hey Mark and Tom...
Thanks for the reply...so the prop pitch gauge is from woods....the pitching pliers from....
And the ball anvil is a BAM item...?..
Oh and a bending prop...is that a spare or kick around item to learn on....
 

Mark Anderson

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I made my pitching pliers. Bam makes anvils. Mike Hughes might also have some in stock. Check with both of them for pliers. I should have said get to bending props, not get bending props. Only way to learn is do it.
Work the outer 1/3 of the blade toward the trailing edge. You want any change to be smooth and progressive. The more you up the pitch the further up the blade you need to go. Measure a stock prop and run it. Make a change and pay attention what it does. The anvil can be used to work the leading edge to pull the cone tighter and reduce lift some. I normally just use the pliers, but have developed a feel for changes. I have a pretty accurate thumb just feeling the prop. There is a definite limit to how much you want to increase trailing edge pitch before you go to a higher root pitch prop. The ABC props have so many different pitch combinations it has eliminated this to some extent. There are still gains to be made, but just having a series of props is a great tuning tool. On my sport boat I have used the 1455x3 for ever. I change prop pitch as much as I do needle setting. I run a set pipe length and change the prop pitch for conditions. For years with the Picco the pipe was welded so not adjustable. I sold the prop off it so often that I never made a progressive set for it, just tuned the prop every heat.
Along with bending the prop, I like to do a soft heat treat. Heat the prop in a 500 degree oven for 3 hours and turn the oven off letting it cool slowly. This greatly stiffens a beryllium prop, but leaves it workable.
 
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RobertDoak

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Hello Mark..
And thank you for all the info...there is a lot in that post which is Awesome...i will call Mr. Woods about the gauge and I have alan's # also...any pics of the pitching pliers...or even better....a video..i would love to see the tools in action....one last thing...the "balls" are these the same as what come out of a CV axle when disassembled...
Thanks very much for the info...
 

Mark Anderson

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Yes they are different sized ball bearings welded to studs that thread into the plate. The set that I used had an arm with a threaded hole the proper ball was threaded into. There was a shaft that the prop was put on. position the arm to put the ball in the correct location. Then one blade could be done, rotate the prop and the other done. They should be the same afterword. The set pictured above requires you to hold the prop in the correct location.
 

Mark Anderson

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Here are a couple of pics. The pliers have one jaw ground smooth covered with brazing rod and smoothed. The other jaw is built up with brazing rod and filed to a domed shape. The pitch gauge is one that I made after seeing Andy's. I had to borrow some tooling from Hughes so he has one just like it. You can see what I was trying to describe on the anvil setup. The locating collar for the prop height is adjustable as is the arm to dial in the ball location. It allowed great repeatability. The balancer is a Geraghty that I have been using for over 20 years. He convinced me to start doing props for people. I told him that I wouldn't do it unless he sent me one of his balancers.
All of my early props were bent on the anvil. Nothing was ever measured. If I came up with a prop that I would want to build multiples, I made a duplicator block. Later I switched to using the pliers and pitch gauge. I can make very minor tuning changes this way.
 

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RobertDoak

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Thanks for the pics...those really do speak volumes...i have ordered tooling and should be hacking at my own to learn on soon...thanks very much...
 

Chris Wood

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i used to use pliers with a ball on them. i got away from that and got a SMALL pair of vice grips. grind the teeth out and use them. what i found was the ball dimpled the prop causing issues. plus big handle pliers make it easier for people to OVER BEND. the pliers with the ball welded to them also bends the prop in a difference shape and changes the cup of the prop.

just my 2 cents
 

Alan Elzer

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i used to use pliers with a ball on them. i got away from that and got a SMALL pair of vice grips. grind the teeth out and use them. what i found was the ball dimpled the prop causing issues. plus big handle pliers make it easier for people to OVER BEND. the pliers with the ball welded to them also bends the prop in a difference shape and changes the cup of the prop.

just my 2 cents
Hay stranger.. it about margarita time and some fun. How new job going
 

Chris Wood

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hey Alan how are ya. ya man we need a margarita LOL!!! would like to get together with everyone at some point.
 

RobertDoak

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So ...in my quest to learn more about the art of propeller tuning...a fellow club member mentioned he had a prop tool...so I got it and read the instructions, played with it and even put a known professionally done prop on it and can't truly figure out what it's doing...this is the tool...anyone else use this..?..some insight would be much appreciated...
 

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Mark Anderson

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What specifically are you having trouble with? Some of the known "professionally" done props have some interesting numbers and made up terms. You never know exactly where they measured the prop, so you probably won't duplicate someone elses measurments. Check each blade in several areas and compare the 3, they need to be the same blade to blade. It takes a little time to develop getting repeatable measurments. You need to get comfortable with the meter.
 

RobertDoak

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Mark Thanks for your input...well first...what is this device and who makes it....
I sort of thought each prop person has there own methods of doing things...so I'm playing with this tool a lot and it seems like it's used more for checking symetry while making prop changes...am I on the right track..
 

Mike Hughes

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All prop gauges use the same principle. Your measuring the pitch over a distance. The orlic pitch gauge does it with set degree numbers so you end up with different measurements. The woods, speedmaster, hughey, and the custom one Mark built for us use set measured block to measure the degrees in two spots. Both use a chart to change that info into a pitch number.
Mike
 
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