Frontier Play T-clamps vs: NRS Low Pros - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-15-2015   #1
 
telluride, Moab, UT
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Frontier Play T-clamps vs: NRS Low Pros

Thinking of expanding my 16ft double rail frame to fit my 18" canyon raft for a Jan Grand Canyon launch in 2016. I have a 4 bay frame currently made with the 1 5/16" OD 6061 NRS size tubing and hve been using the T-clamps from Frontier Play. I like the T clamps better than NRS ( or the"speedrail" fittings w the tiny set screws that seize up and strip out, my least favorite frame fitting!!).

I know the t clamps are heavier as they are cast iron, but they are half the price of NRS, are easier to install and adjust, have a huge stainless set screw which in 8 years of use and many adjustments has never seized, stripped or failed (I put anti-seize lubricant on the threads). I do not know enough about engineering to understand which material has the most strength and proper flexibility for rafting/flipping/pinning situations. I was hoping some mechanical engineer types or other knowledgeable folks might be able to break this down for the rest of us to be able to understand.

Not worried about weight, so much as the best strength for a bomber 18 ft double rail frame which is going to hold a huge amount of gear in an overloaded 18 ft boat for a 30 day trip. With the double rail design, there will be a lot of stress put on the inside fittings which will be hanging in air space (and holding up weight of giant cooler, dry boxes and drop hatch) vs the outside fittings which will be directly sitting on the main tubes of the raft.

I have another frame with 10 of the older NRS lowpros I could swap out with the t clamps I already have and then buy 6 more to get the 16 total I will need for my frame design, if that would be the best choice. It would be nice to compare the older low pros to the newer low pros to the T-clamps.

Please do not get into the american vs Chinese deal, just like to know which has most strength. I have done business before w Frontier Play and with NRS and know them both to be awesome to deal with and have great boating gear, thanks!!

Here are some links for the parts:

Frontier Play T clamp made w BS EN-1562:1997 weldable cast steel BS 3100:1991 w galvanized finish https://www.frontierplay.com/TClampQuickFit

NRS New Lo Pros: Hot forged 6061 aluminum NRS LoPro Frame Fittings at nrs.com

Old NRS Lo Pros Cast aluminum ???

My best guess is the old lo pros might be the weakest as cast iron steel is probably stronger than cast aluminum and also less brittle???

Not sure how the new lo pros compare to the t clamps???

Thanks so much for your help!!!

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Old 12-15-2015   #2
swimming
 
Coastal, Oregon
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Oh snap,this one is for Gary. You are going to get a scientific answer you don't understand here soon.
Buy the way I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a FP T clamp, I would start with the company Kee Klamp for specs on that.

It amazes me people scrap together a bunch of pipe and fittings then worry about strength, its a silly world out there. Carry on
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Old 12-15-2015   #3
 
Great Falls, Montana
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Go LoPro. They are strong, tight and adjustable. Speedrail fitting require a screw which disables adjustment and That screw will eventually loosen, and or strip and or fail requiring new screws, and taping the old holes which will also eventually fail. JMO
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Old 12-15-2015   #4
 
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Post Falls, Idaho
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No engineer here but I'd much rather work with the much larger ubolts/nuts than tiny set screws if anything came up on the river.
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Old 12-15-2015   #5
 
telluride, Moab, UT
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Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate the link to Kee Klamps. I wondered what they really were. I like the large stainless set screws on the Kee Klamps and they work so much faster then messing w the 2 small nuts on the low pros and are infinitely better than the tiny set screws that seize and strip on the speedrails. But I do question the strength compared to low pros and hence my post.

I own a frame of each design, lo pro, speedrail and the kee klamps, and a 4th old expedition style welded rectec frame, so very familiar with the options and how they all work. I have put the kee klamps to a lot of abuse and stress, but never a problem so far w the Kee Klamps failing. But no pins or flips with the Kee Klamps, so I am questioning them for my 18 ft boat, loaded to the max. I can redesign my lo pro frame into a double rail by buying 2 long bars and 6 more low pros. Then I will have a 108" long 5 bay double rail frame, if it means I get a stronger frame, then I see the advantage.

Has anyone ever tested these fittings to find out the amount of force required to reach failure?? Or will the bars fail first. I wish there were better fittings for the larger diameter pipe, I might go that route. Not into a welded frame, I like to be able to adjust the frame to different boxes, coolers and hatch configurations. Trying to make the best choice. Thanks so much.
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Old 12-15-2015   #6
 
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Don't have any experience with kee klamps. They look beefy. The hollaender speed-rail fittings seem to hold up and take the stresses that a cataraft puts on the fittings. The alumaguard speed-rail fittings on the other hand don't do quite as well. I've seen more than one crack on different cat boats. Click image for larger version

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Old 12-15-2015   #7
swimming
 
Coastal, Oregon
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Wow Rockgizmo, now that is interesting. I just finished up some dryboxes and a woven floor for someone today who dropped off a pipe frame with those fittings. I questioned the integrity of those on the size frame it is. It is a 16' cat boat frame.

We did a woven floor for him the whole way which is contradictory to the concept of moveable bars which I made clear as well but it was what he wanted. Hope those things hold or there goes his tight floor.

I am not one to run something I have to wonder if it will make it down the river. Makes me a bit uneasy
Mcmarcia forgive the sarcasm in my first post at the bottom it was just a little fun poking
You probably won't find stronger than the forged lopros. Then it comes down to pipe span failure.
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Old 12-15-2015   #8
 
telluride, Moab, UT
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Very interesting to see the failure of the aluminum fittings. I have used the hollaender fittings extensively since the early eighties, just wish they would figure out a bigger/better set screw design. Invariably, the stainless steel set screw reacts to the aluminum and results in corrosive failure. I think I will keep the existing double rail frame I have w the Kee Klamps for my 16 ft boat as it is a perfect fit and has worked just fine for so long w big loads in big water, plus I can move it around by myself pretty easy. I will use the NRS frame I have to convert into a 5 bay double rail frame for the 18 footer boat. I can use (4) of the new style forged lopro fittings on the 4 main corners where the most stress would be.

So with my new frame design, I know the width I will want for the outside long bars that sit on the main tubes and how I like my oarlocks positioned. Any input on how folks like the inside long bars located? For reducing failure of the fitting, it would be best to have the bar sit on the inside of the tube, but for utility of getting straps around it for tie downs, I prefer the inside long bars to sit inside enough to be able get straps around it, but not so far inside to block access for things like water jugs that could hang next to a dry box and the main tubes. My boat is 18' X 8'1" wide w 25 inch tubes. Just curious how others design their double rail frames?? Thanks again!!
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Old 12-15-2015   #9
 
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Tigard, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmarcia View Post
I like the large stainless set screws on the Kee Klamps and they work so much faster then messing w the 2 small nuts on the low pros
I found that I hardly ever change my bar spacing so I don't ever mess with the u-bolts. I have linchpins in place of the bolt that attaches the lopro to the bars and breakdown the frame by pulling the pins. It makes setup and breakdown way faster.
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Old 12-15-2015   #10
 
telluride, Moab, UT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriBri1 View Post
I found that I hardly ever change my bar spacing so I don't ever mess with the u-bolts. I have linchpins in place of the bolt that attaches the lopro to the bars and breakdown the frame by pulling the pins. It makes setup and breakdown way faster.
I have used that system before when having to fly into obscure put ins in small planes. Mostly now I load my trailer with the frame put together. I have different boats, boxes and coolers and like to adjust my frame for the trip dependent on how I set up the boat, box, hatch, cooler, etc. On the long trips when the boxes never come out, I will loosen the bar fitting and then smash fit the bar to squeeze the box tight so there is no play. Keeps the box snug in it's spot and maxes out my hatch space.
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