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Warning, balance stud could break off.


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#1 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:03 AM

Guys, I have just broken my 3rd, yes 3rd balance stud. Im sorry to say, but my gorelock/hill docking mechanism has shown a very bad, weak part. The screw that holds down the balance studs is not strong enough to handle the weight of my sled. I have an XCS ergo handle and an MK-V rig. The extra stress of the Ergo handle is putting to much torc on the part. Yesterday it began to bend. Twice before, it snapped off and almost dropped the rig (quick hands). Im posting this as a Warning to guys with similar equipment, don't take your hands to far off while balancing. At a close look at this design, it needs improvement. The stud should pass through the rail much deeper to avoid this and a larger, stronger connection has to be implemented. Huge problem here! I suppose its possible that the stud gets knocked around a bit in travel and could weaken the part... I should mention that I have owned this product for almost 8 years, (aprox), and I love it along with all Hill products, but this has to be addressed immediately before someone looses a camera and sled. Check this part frequently!

Jeff
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#2 Ramon Engle

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:48 PM

Thanks Jeff. I'm having my CNC guy take a look at it.

Ramon
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#3 Tom Wills

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 12:57 AM

Where did it break off/begin to bend? Do you think something as simple as a longer bolt and a deeper hole could fix this?
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#4 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 04:54 AM

Thanks for sharing Jeff. By chance, could you add a pic?
Thanks
F
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 06:14 AM

The only way that this could be happening is if the bolt is loose. The bolt is not over stressed In this application even with a 100lbs plus rig on an ergo
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#6 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 06:33 AM

The only way that this could be happening is if the bolt is loose. The bolt is not over stressed In this application even with a 100lbs plus rig on an ergo


Eric, 2 screws have snapped, if the screws are becoming loose, and I dont believe they are, this is still a major problem. I'm not making up a story here, when it happened this fall, a Pana XL came falling into my hands and injured my wrist. Regardless of how this is happening, don't you think a fix is necessary?

Jeff
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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 07:54 AM

Jeff,

The 1/4-20 bolt that holds the stud in place has a yield strength in excess of 600lbs. The bottom of the balance pin is machined flat so the when held in place by the bolt the joint is "in shear" the only way to bend that bolt is for the pin to be loose. One way that you could be having loosening issue is to not use loctite on the bolt.

I do not believe that there is an issue with the balance pin, mine have been fine for years and I balanced some rather portly pigs on mine
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#8 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 08:00 AM

Jeff,

The 1/4-20 bolt that holds the stud in place has a yield strength in excess of 600lbs. The bottom of the balance pin is machined flat so the when held in place by the bolt the joint is "in shear" the only way to bend that bolt is for the pin to be loose. One way that you could be having loosening issue is to not use loctite on the bolt.

I do not believe that there is an issue with the balance pin, mine have been fine for years and I balanced some rather portly pigs on mine


Agreed on the bend issue. The 2 snapped screws, another story. Non the less, once you see this happen, it is extremely unsettling. I am looking into a fix.
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#9 MarkKaravite

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 10:08 AM

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for the heads up. One can debate the rated strength of hardware all day long, but the fact is you ended up with a rig falling into your hands, and that's unsettling to me. I can't count how many times I've walked away from the rig (even a few feet) for a quick discussion while I'm balancing. Not any more! I think my Gorelock / Hill bracket is about 7 years old.

When I build later today for a commercial tonight, I'll heed Eric's advice & check the bolt is tight & apply some locktite. Then off to my machinist the next day off. Is there a harder strength bolt that can replace the current on, or is Jerry's the hardest available?

Are you using Tom Gleason's Hill bracket adapter?
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#10 Benjamin Treplin

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 11:46 AM

Be careful when locking down that bolt. Over tighten a screw can weakening it considerably.
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#11 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 12:30 PM

According to Tiffen/Steadicam, who is now offering up the Hill Docking Brackets, they spoke to Jerry regarding this.

Jerry is currently using Stainless Steel screws holding the stud into the bracket.
Tiffen is going to replace the screws with Zinc plated steel ones that are 2x stronger.

JMTC . . . .
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#12 Joe Lawry

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:07 AM

I was just about to place an order with Jerry, currently have an rig in at Tiffen, maybe i should order through them.
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#13 Jerry Hill

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:21 AM

Hi Guys,
I have contacted Mr. Jeff Muhlstock. I have asked him to send me his docking bracket, so I can inspect it first hand to see what is going on!
I will keep you guys informed as to the results. Stay tuned.
Thanks
Jerry Hill
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#14 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:25 PM

I was just about to place an order with Jerry, currently have an rig in at Tiffen, maybe i should order through them.



Hi Joe and everyone .
If I was you I would hold off doing that .Jerrys docking bracket is the BEST out there by far .I know he will find out what the problem is with Jeff bracket and he will let us all know . I have had mine for 11 years and not a problem .Its one of the best brackets in my kit apart from all of my other Jerry made bracketsI have .
This may be a one off problem so lets just weight until Jerry gets back to us all .
Louis Puli
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#15 Dave Isern

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 11:58 AM

I had a similar incident with the arm studs on the docking bracket a year ago. While wheeling around on the stand the arm stud snapped and my arm fell to the ground. Luckily my arm was fine. I don't think ops should hang their arms on the thin arm studs on any docking bracket that I'm aware of because most of them are thin and can easily snap.

Just a warning.....
Dave Isern
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