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Zephyr Arm broke during a shoot yesterday

Zephyr arm broke bent

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#1 Brent Johnson

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

First off, I know this thread should be in the Arm's section of this forum.  I'm posting here to get more views, admins if you would like to move it, go ahead.

 

Nope it wasn't the spring that broke.

 

I was oping a music video with a Red One, red drive, vlock batt, a nikkor 50mm, red one monitor, and a Bartech on the top stage.  After balancing my Zephyr I began loading the Arm, it was maxed out, but still properly operable.  The arm's were slightly raised.  After Oping on and off for 6 hours or so, I was in-between takes talking to the Director and KACHING.... the whole rig dropped. Luckily I prevented the rig from hitting the ground.  See picture below.  I emailed Dan Ikeda via advice from a local Steadicam Operator and friend in the SF Bay Area.  Now I'm asking you guys, what to do next?  I Have insurance with a $1,500 deductible as well. 

 

Brent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo1.jpg

 

 


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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

Brake bent steel was never going to hold much weight
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#3 John Brankin

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:15 PM

By the looks of it, the pin came out just enough so it only penetrated the bottom half of the arm.  It doesn't look that bad though.

 

Correct fix - send it to Tiffen

 

Quick fix - clamp it in a table vise and bend it back into place with a long adjustable wrench  


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#4 James Puli

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:24 PM

You say you didn't overload the arm...

All everyone out there thinks of in regards to weights on the arm is springs ... Not all the the other components! .... Many of which are alot weaker then the springs!

For starters I would have ripped off the red monitor and battery... I would have powered the camera from the sled!

6 + hours of probably too much weight = busted pin! Oh well live and learn!

Not to mention the combined wear and tear and stress on these parts if this wasn't your first time pushing the limits of your rig.

JP
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#5 Alan Rencher

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:39 PM

I have to agree with John. The pin was not fully seated. You should always put your pin in in such a way that there is no way for it to loosen and fall out, a fail-safe if you will. That means that the key-ring should always be at the top, and the pin should be pushed down into the arm, not up. Gravity is a harsh mistress, and after hours of movement, the pin worked it's way out. That's why only one side is bent; the top separated the weight of the load bent the bottom parts.


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#6 Bryant Swanstrom

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 06:31 PM

Had the same thing happen with my flyer.. This is user error, the pin wasn't seated all the way in. I did it and had tiffen fix it. The exact same damage. Those pins tend to get loose when packing and unpacking the arm and transporting. Always check that it is all the way in from now on. I never really did like how they can just slide out.

 

Bryant


Edited by Bryant Swanstrom, 04 March 2013 - 06:32 PM.

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#7 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:07 PM

I was actually thinking about that today when cleaning my Zephyr, I was annoyed by the keyring getting stuck under the dial of the arm and was thinking about inverting it.  I didn't do it because I thought that gravity would play me a trick.

I'm sorry for your rig. Thank you for sharing. i guess you will not make the same mistake again now. ;)

fly safe


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#8 Erwin Landau

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:11 PM

I don't want to be the party pooper, but... you get what you pay for.

 

If you constantly are flying at the top end of the loading range, you will have to expect material fatigue, no way around it. Should it break? of course not, but if you get a lower quality arm it's just a matter of time... There is a reason why they are costing considerably less then the full size arms...

 

I managed to break a PRO arm... unconverted Panavision Gold several years ago... bad idea and I paid for it. So why are you surprised?

 

Call Tiffen, go get it fixed and don't do it again... or get an Arm with a higher weight range (don't forget to also upgrade all other components like the Gimbal, the Vest etc.)

 

Take it or leave it, up to you.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

PS: I will put it in the arm section, people that are interested will find it there too... if everything would end up in the general discussion, nobody would ever find anything on the forum... also the view count argument not withstanding.  


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#9 Brent Johnson

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:37 PM

Thanks for all of response's.

 

I'm going to chalk it up to experience and a little less weight in my wallet but most definitely a lesson learned.

 

 I'm going to make a locking pin so that it never happens, ever again, for any reason.  

 

When made, I'll come back and post on how I did it or where I bought it for any other Zephyr Owner/Op interested in having a secure pin.

 

Cheers


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#10 Alan Rencher

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:29 AM

It's not an issue of overloading or a locking pin. If the pin was put in from the top, and not the bottom, there would have been no issue.


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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:52 AM

Echo'ing what Erwin said but really?  that's the best way that Tiffen can figure out how to attach the arm to the socket block connector?  I can think of a dozen better ways that are just as cheap (YES CHEAP) And yes Brake Bending sheet steel is no way to build a decent arm


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#12 RobinThwaites

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:43 AM

Looking at the parts it is the lower piece that is bent suggesting that the pin was put in from the bottom and not located in the top hole. The material is perfectly strong enough but will of course bend if only the lower section is engaged. I would recommend always putting the pin in from the top.

 

Robin


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#13 Brent Johnson

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:03 AM

Looking at the parts it is the lower piece that is bent suggesting that the pin was put in from the bottom and not located in the top hole. The material is perfectly strong enough but will of course bend if only the lower section is engaged. I would recommend always putting the pin in from the top.

 

Robin

 

Yeah the pin was inserted from the bottom, thus it fell out while operating and ended up bending the arm...  But really?  That simple of a thing to happen with no warnings from the manual or anything... I'm a bit disappointed in who "OK'ed" that engineering decision.


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#14 James Davis

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:06 AM

Brent, if you put your arm on upside down, then it fell out of the socket block and got damaged because it wasn't secured properly would you be blaming Tiffen for that too?
You should be disappointed in yourself because your own inexperience made you think that you knew better than the manufacturer.
Accept responsibility for your mistake and move on before you embarrass yourself any further.
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#15 Brent Johnson

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

Brent, if you put your arm on upside down, then it fell out of the socket block and got damaged because it wasn't secured properly would you be blaming Tiffen for that too?
You should be disappointed in yourself because your own inexperience made you think that you knew better than the manufacturer.
Accept responsibility for your mistake and move on before you embarrass yourself any further.

 

I accept 100% responsibility.  Doesn't mean I can't be disappointed in the Engineering for a 10K product. Answer me this:

 

How about your camera stage, if it didn't have the protected "stops" for the fore and aft movement of the steadicam dovetail.  Would you be "disappointed in the engineers" if one day, for a split second, you didn't realize that the dovetail wasn't locked down fully and you had 30lbs of camera on it.  Then you go to operate the camera.  5hrs into the shoot you tilt down 90 degrees for a shot and *plop* all the camera gear goes crashing to the water! (Because you were getting a reflection shot off a pier in a very still lake.)  And the production is screwed, and it's your fault.

 

All because an engineer, didn't think to protect the customer.  

 

But we have those on our stages to protect us, and I'm sure many have been saved because of it.  


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