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Thread: A cool and inexpensive way to add grip to your anodized rims

  1. #1

    A cool and inexpensive way to add grip to your anodized rims

    I have weak intrinsic muscles in my hands which limit how hard I can grip a standard handrim. I would be able to push more-efficiently with a plastic coated rim. Problem is, I don't want to wear push gloves and the prospect of burning the flesh off of my hands during downhill braking isn't all that appealing either. Some CC members may recall several experiments I did about a year ago in my quest to find some way to modify a handrim to provide both a high friction surface for pushing and a low friction smooth surface for braking.

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=87444

    I eventually, discovered that using just the oval component of a NaturalFit worked fairly well for me. But on some days, especially when my skin is dry, I lose efficiency due to slippage. Several days ago while rolling with a full head of steam, my hands slipped enough during a mini-wheelie to clear an expansion strip so that my casters landed in the expansion strip. Fortunately, my FrogLegs soft roll casters and titanium frame absorbed enough of the impact to limit me to a partial endo and kept me in the chair.

    When browsing through my local Lowes Home Improvement store this afternoon, I came across this product in the electrical section. It is a 3/4"wx5 yard roll of 3M Scotch 2242 Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape.

    While it looks like electrical tape, it is actually rubber and not vinyl It cost under $5 a roll so I figured it was worth a try.

    When I got home I was amazed how much it feels like the plastic coating used on handrims. I applied it around the outer circumference of my NaturalFit along the inside portion. It applied smoothly and conformed nicely to the surface of the handrim. It looks like it should stay Since my NaturalFit's are black, the tape is hardly noticeable. When I grasp the handrim, however, I can definitively feel a difference.

    While I am psyched that it made such a difference in my pushrim efficiency for <$10, it was also frustrating when I thought about the considerable time & money thathave been saved had I known about this tape last year. It would have also prevented personal injury (caused when I punctured my hand with a pop rivet making a prototype).

    I would recommend trying this tape on an anodized handrim for any quad with marginal grasp, those who push off the tire for more traction, or to anyone who liked the "Dual Grip" handrim (now discontinued).

  2. #2
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR

    [...]

    I would be able to push more-efficiently with a plastic coated rim. Problem is, I don't want to wear push gloves and the prospect of burning the flesh off of my hands during downhill braking isn't all that appealing either.

    [...]
    question - does your newest approach resolve this requirement?

    another question - any thoughts yet on how often it will need to be re-applied? i'm looking down at my hand rims and they are scratched to hell and back and i'm thinking to myself: "gee...this may be a good idea, but i think i'd be retaping my hand rims every other day."

    thanks for sharing!
    dale
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Daleb
    question - does your newest approach resolve this requirement?

    another question - any thoughts yet on how often it will need to be re-applied? i'm looking down at my hand rims and they are scratched to hell and back and i'm thinking to myself: "gee...this may be a good idea, but i think i'd be retaping my hand rims every other day."

    thanks for sharing!
    dale
    answer - I can't say for certain since I just found this stuff yesterday, but I believe I met my requirement. The larger diameter & surface area of the NaturalFit allows me to use my grasp fairly well, but I wanted just a bit more friction to reduce the degree of efficiency I lose due to slippage at higher speeds or when going up grades. The area of the push rim that I use for braking is not affected.Those who require a high friction surface along the outer aspect of their push rim should probably stick to plastic coated rims or Pushblacks.

    I applied it along the inner portion of the NaturalFit (one edge touches the welds for the tabs and the other runs right along the centerline of the rim...



    It is somewhat protected, seems to have a decent adhesive, and conforms well to the irregularities near the tab welds. I'm guessing it will last 2-3 months, but only time will tell. At less than $5 per roll, it would be acceptable for me if I had to re-tape every few months .

    Things I'm curious to see in the coming weeks are:

    - Will the adhesive migrate out onto the pushrim so that it gets on my hands? Right now, it is residue free.

    - Will it stay in place if it is hot outside and has been sitting in my car?

    A little off topic, but anyone who uses Schwalbe Marathon Evo tires and keeps them inflated at 145 psi should not keep them in their car on a hot day. I called in sick last week and had not brought my chair inside the previous night. The temperature was in the high 80's and I discovered one of my tires was completely flat when I got to work the following day. When I changed the tire, I found a 4" slit in the tube. It must have made a heck of a bang.

  4. #4
    SCI OTR, have you tried the plasti dip? I have not tried it myself, but it looks promising, and it's sold at pretty much any hardware store.

    http://www.plastidip.com/index.php


  5. #5
    I've used it on tool handles before where it works well, but it would be difficult to apply on any part of a wheelchair without it running or dripping. This tape applied so cleanly, it is difficult to tell it's there. It is tacky enough that I am able to push my wheelchair with just my thumb nestled in the gap between the wheel and push rim.

  6. #6
    I got a wheelchair from ebay before that was in poor condition. The handrims were a huge mess and they looked terrible. So I just used a thing of electrical tape and it looked just fine! Worked like a fine grip too.

  7. #7
    I have used this rubber splicing tape on a lot of electrical connection an splices, but if the splice wasn't permanent, or I was planing on reusing the splicing hardware in the future, I'd apply regular electrical tape first, and then this rubber tape, and more electrical tape on top, because this rubber tape turned into a rubber goo, and extremely difficult to remove.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR
    I've used it on tool handles before where it works well, but it would be difficult to apply on any part of a wheelchair without it running or dripping. This tape applied so cleanly, it is difficult to tell it's there. It is tacky enough that I am able to push my wheelchair with just my thumb nestled in the gap between the wheel and push rim.
    when it comes time to re-apply, if you think of us, please post an update. it sounds like a winner!

    cheers,
    dale
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  9. #9
    Here's a pic. As you can see, it's very difficult to tell it's even there on a NaturalFit...



    ac06,

    Are you sure it was this specific splicing tape? The outside surface is clean and doesn't have any residue on it. I actually wasn't satisfied with my first application and decided to remove it. There was some glue residue left on the hand rim, but it cleaned right up with a little paint thinner. I could see that being an issue with electrical connections, however, because you would not have the luxury of cleaning a flat metal surface.

    As long as it doesn't slide out of place and ooze it's adhesive on a hot day, I'd say this is something anyone who uses an anodized rim should at least try. What a difference!

  10. #10
    I'm not sure how many variations of rubber splicing tape there are, or how many companies make them, but i used the 3m brand. It was really good stuff for splicing, because the raps kind of melted into each other, to were you couldn't see the wrap lines, and became water proof. It didn't turn into a oozing goo, but it did turn into a goo that was pretty much imposible to remove. I'm not sure how it acts at higher temperatures, but the SOP was that this stuff had to be double wrapped in regular electrical tape. I personally just have a bad feeling about this particular application, but maybe it will turn out to be a great product for this. Maybe you could put the heat gun to a little piece and see how it reacts, also, I'm concerned how resistant it would be to oils from the hand. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. Let us know how it turns out.

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