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 Post subject: Burton->Voile conversion... with a twist
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:39 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Well, everyone else is doing it, so I figured it was time to convert my Burton to the Voile system. There have been a lot of great posts here with different approaches to doing this. I had similar goals - I wanted to avoid drilling holes if possible, and not have to do too much custom work if possible, and the biggie - I really wanted to find a way to use the Burton touring bracket, so that I could use the Burton crampons.

I had a feeling this experiment was going to be like the old engineering saying: you can have it fast, cheap, or reliable. Pick two. :)

I had some ideas about how I might be able to get the Voile plate working with the Burton touring bracket, but I wasn't sure if it would work, so I figured I would test things out on an older Burton that I had "lying around". I had supposedly sold it to a friend, but he's never picked it up yet, so I figured it was fair game. I started with some Burton touring brackets that I picked up from utahgirl at splitfest. She had already started the process by making the holes large enough to accept the Voile pin, by using a round file. Here's a pic with the modified touring bracket on the left, and the original on the right. You can see that the hole is slightly larger in the one on the left. Note that these are from pre-2004 models (the 04 and 05 models used a slightly different design).

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The slider pin fit, and it turns out that the metal tabs w/holes on the Burton touring bracket line up exactly with the inside edges of the slider plate (as opposed to the Voile touring bracket, which aligns to the outside of the slider plate). However, the slider track wouldn't fit because of two issues. First, the base plastic on the touring bracket was too close to the hole, preventing the slider plate from aligning with the hole and pivoting freely. Second, the inside of the slider plate was hitting the top of the metal piece on the touring bracket, again preventing the hole from lining up.

Fortunately, the Dremel tool came to the rescue!

Touring bracket post-Dremel mod. I had to take off plastic on both the left and right sides of the metal tab.

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Making a slot on the slider plate to accomodate the touring bracket top. The slot is pretty deep but not all the way through the metal. I'm sure this weakens the plate at that point, but I don't think it will be a problem...

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Another view

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After those mods, the slider plate actually fit and worked properly with the Burton touring bracket.

Here, on the front right of the slider plate you can sort of make out why that slot is needed.

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At this point, I could actually install the Burton crampon with the Voile slider plate, but there was one problem - the heel lift. In the Burton system, the heel lift is mounted on the interface plate itself, and folds down from above, so that it drops down on top of the crampon. The Voile heel lift mounts to the board, and folds upward, and thus wouldn't work with the Burton crampon in this configuration. I had to somehow get the Voile heel lift to mount to the slider plate, but not permanently (because obviously there can't be anything there when you're trying to slide the plate onto the pucks). So, I figured I could Frankenstein something together by mounting the heel lift to a slider plate.

At first I tried using one of the factory pucks. I put t-nut inserts in the universal disc, and mounted the heel lift to the bottom of the puck. This kinda worked but really felt like it needed an extra plate of aluminum or something on top of the disc, because not much was preventing the disc from popping out. Although, the top side of the puck is actually blocked by the slider plate when the puck is installed so might have worked OK anyway (kinda hard to describe in words), but I still didn't like it. So then I tried the same thing with one of the DIY pucks. The heel lift plate didn't fit initially, so I cut off the end of the puck. Now it fit, but it turns out the center part of the DIY puck is super thin. I put the tab normally used for the Voile crampon notch underneath to add a little bit of rigidity. This one sorta worked too, and it sorta worked better than the universal one, so that's what I went with for now. Here are a couple pics.

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Also, the one made with the DIY puck was thinner, shown here.

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So, the idea is you slide this little modified puck into the back of the slider plate when you transition to ski mode. In the garage tests it seems to work fine and not be a huge hassle, but it has yet to be tested on the slopes. I think ideally I would cut a custom piece so that it's a bit more rigid. Right now when I pull the heel lift down, the center of the puck gives a bit... but it doesn't seem like it will break.

One other thing, I removed the Burton heel lift pads since they're not needed anymore. Those two inserts are just begging to be filled by... something! I was trying to think of a way to use those for some kind of plate locking mechanism. I was thinking that you could attach some kind of a tab there, and a mating tab on the heel lift/puck thingy, such that it engages when the slider plate is flat and you push the puck forward from behind. Normally that heel lift puck is all the way at the back of the plate. Again hard to describe in words, but I think there's potential there. I would love to be able to lock the heel down temporarily for quick "ski" descents, and when going across flat terrain so you can skate.

But that's a project for later. So, here's what it looks like from the side with the slider plate/lift installed. It's nice and level, and the pivot point is exactly the same as before.

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Now with the crampon installed. It seems to be a bit more of a pain to install the crampon than with the old Burton interface in place, but it is still doable without removing the interface. I think I'll flatten those tabs in the rear (those were there to make room for the old Burton heel lift pad which is now removed). That will make the plate rest flatter in this mode.

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Now with the heel lift down. This system assumes that the heel lift puck is not going to move in the slider plate when in use. It is currently a very tight fit so I don't think this will be a problem, but we'll see after some real-world use.

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And finally, heel lift down/crampon installed. Right now the heel lift rests on top of those elevated tabs in the back of the crampon, but kinda precariously. Again, should be better with those flattened down.

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Now the hard part was done. I just had to mount the pucks for the bindings. I knew from earlier posts that both utahgirl and dishwasher-dave had sucessfully done this using the Voile universal pucks, without having to drill the board, so that's what I tried. I didn't have the alignment tool provided with factory boards for aligning the pucks, so I had to roll my own.

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The rear aligned nicely at my desired angle (6 deg), only about 1/4" inch or so back from my original location.

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The front was a little trickier (18 deg). I couldn't get things to work out quite right, so I ended up drilling a hole in the rear universal puck. This looks a little suspect. I may put a wood screw in that lower slot. Testing it in the garage with the slider plate/bindings attached it seemed to be as stable as the rear, but we'll see.

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The front ended up being about 1/4" further forward than my original location, so the overal stance width is now about 1/2" greater than it was before (20"), which I think should be fine. I mounted the bindings and took a "test run" on the cardboard in the garage, and it seemed to feel fine.

Soooo, since everything looked like it was actually going to work, I then took everything off the board, remounted the old hardware, and moved everything over to my current board. Here's what the final board looks like. At this point, there are ZERO new holes drilled, and a couple inserts left over waiting to be put to use. :)

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I had every intention of doing a day trip on Sunday to try it out... but I was up till 5 AM doing the conversion, so I bailed and went mountain biking instead. Maybe this weekend.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:47 pm 
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Oh yeah, one question for you Voile owners... how necessary are those little rubber pads that are supposed to go under the universal pucks? I had those on there initially, but when I cranked down on the insert screws, the puck would tend to buckle upward at the edges, because there is no rubber pad under the center puck circle where the screws are. It seems to rest a lot flatter without the pads. Are they necessary? Do they prevent the pucks from accidentally moving, or are they just for damping?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:55 pm
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Location: socal
I think they are just for dampening. Nice mods. I especially like how you intergrated to be able to use the crampon. As well as keeping it lower.

When will you be testing?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 2:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:15 pm
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Location: san diego CA
Nice Job Chief, I decided to go with the Voile crampon so my set up uses Voile touring brackets. But just like yours I have drilled one hole into the puck. Now, lets get out their and test our work. Oh yeah, I tried putting my Voile skins on the Burton and the screws for the Burton Tip Clips are too long and wont allow the metal clip to go over them.........looks like more modifications needed. Has anyone evr done that? Voile skins on a Burton board?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:19 pm 
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Location: PDX
good work dude. good idea on getting the burton touring brackets to work with the voile plates...it so clever yet obvious..... :lol:

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JACK
"take it easy, if its easy take it twice..."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 11:14 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Hoping to test it out this weekend and see what happens. Probably just a day trip no too far away so that if it falls apart I'm not stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Will report back here.

p420 I know Fi was using Voile skins with her Burton. I looked at some of my pics from splitfest and there is one of her putting the skins on that shows the metal tip clip of the Voile skin just going across the top half of the Burton plastic tip clip. Check the pics I sent you, it's IMG_4604.jpg, and zoom in on the tip of the ski.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:14 pm 
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Location: California
Nice work jim! 8)

I'm jealous of your Burton-esque crampons.


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 Post subject: rubbber
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:35 am
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Location: Fernie
i found my screws on the slider pucks and the pucks themselves stay tight and in place with the rubber way more... without the rubbe they tended to move around alot


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 3:34 am 
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Interesting. Here I was just thinking about also removing the rubber gasket from the slider plate. Tested it out this weekend and the pucks didn't seem to move at least. If I do end up putting the rubber pieces in I think I'll add a similar piece under the center disc, so that it doesn't bow the edges of the puck up when you tighten the screws down.

So, update after the test run last weekend. Basically everything worked fine. In board mode, it felt like it responded a little differently but I think that was because of snow conditions, slightly wider stance, and mostly because I also moved the bindings slightly closer to the heelside edge. Too many changes at once. Things were great in split mode on the way in. Crampons worked great and can be installed/removed on the fly, though a little harder to do than with the original Burton interface. On steeper slopes, the heel lifts worked fine. When I had to put the crampons in, the heel lifts tended to somtimes slip off the tabs on the crampons (slipping forward in this picture):

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Solved that by just moving the "heel lift puck" a tad futher forward so that they always land in the groove in front of the tab. BTW I tried flattening those tabs - don't do that, they just break off. Probably heat treated and stiffer, but more brittle. Thankfully I stocked up on a couple extra sets of crampons off ebay.

When I got home, I noticed that those little grooves I made in the slider plates had broken through.

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I think this is because the slider plate can rotate upward further than I thought - I thought the toe of the binding would hit the plastic part of the touring bracket preventing the plate from rotating that far upward, but I guess not.

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I think that I will just cut out a notch there instead. This will make the plate a little weaker there, but I don't think it will be a problem. I don't "ski" in split mode much, and when I do it's not agressive. In board mode, the stress is disributed move evenly along the plate. We'll see.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 2:09 pm 
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jimw wrote:
I think that I will just cut out a notch there instead. This will make the plate a little weaker there, but I don't think it will be a problem. I don't "ski" in split mode much, and when I do it's not agressive. In board mode, the stress is disributed move evenly along the plate. We'll see.

Update. I did cut these notches. Here's what they look like .

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In this photo you can see how the metal tabs on the touring bracket fit through the notches when the slider plate is lifted.

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Unfortunately, it looks like I was wrong about this not causing any problems due to weakening that area. I came back from my Dana Plateau trip last weekend and found that one of the pin holes had been elongated into an oval.

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The metal in front of the hole had actually pushed forward. Much more stress and it probably would break clean off. I didn't agressively ski in split mode, but while skinning I think there are more forces there than I originally thought. For example, if you slip while skinning, you can end up with a lot of force and torque on a single ski. This happened a few times when I was skinning up on the icy morning snow.

Have people had this same thing happen in the regular Voile interface case?

In the end, it looks like my experiment didn't really work out. Oh well. For now, I'm going back to the original Burton hardware. Eventually I'll probably finish the conversion using the standard Voile touring bracket drilled out for the Burton holes, and adapter plates for the heel lift like Jack made.

It did seem that the Burton interface is a little stiffer side-to-side. I figure this is because the Voile slider is a narrower mounting surface, so the binding hangs over the side more. Also, it's higher than the Burton interface, and there are a couple areas for slop (the rubber mounting pad on the slider plate, "lifting" play in the pucks due to only having 2 mounting bolts per puck).

Here's a shot showing how high and narrow the Voile interface is. See how the binding is sticking out over the edges? I guess you could mount some bumpers to the board underneath the binding in those areas.

Image

Here's the original Burton interface next to the Voile. You can see how much lower and wider it is.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 4:30 pm 
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jimw wrote:
It did seem that the Burton interface is a little stiffer side-to-side. I figure this is because the Voile slider is a narrower mounting surface, so the binding hangs over the side more. Also, it's higher than the Burton interface, and there are a couple areas for slop (the rubber mounting pad on the slider plate, "lifting" play in the pucks due to only having 2 mounting bolts per puck).

Here's a shot showing how high and narrow the Voile interface is. See how the binding is sticking out over the edges? I guess you could mount some bumpers to the board underneath the binding in those areas.


I think the narrowness of the Voile slider plate provides a nice lever for finding slop in the softer parts of the system, such as the rubber gaskets and plastic binding base plates. I wrote a few ideas for stiffening the system here.


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