FWF Screwless Epee Tip

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by jjefferies, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    i recently tried out an FWF screwless epee tip, courtesy of Dwight Chew. In general I liked the tip. The central post appears to be somewhat thicker than Estoc's and therefore I thought more robust. And the screw in tip has a longer barrel which meant that the central post could be longer to accommodate a regular contact spring. (Estoc's which is similar, by comparison, requires shortened contact or special contact spring.) But after a couple of weeks of use - and I used it constantly in preference to other weapons - the tip died when the central post pulled free and came completely out of the tip. It appears that it is held in place by a relatively small plastic washer and when the occasional blow of tip on bell guard happens the end cap (what you see as the actual tip end) can be separated from the tip. Just a heads up to anyone who might be interested. It looks a lot like the Estoc screwless epee tip just with some refinements. If they can get the central post better attached inside it will be a superior design as it has less stiction than your ordinary epee tip with screws. One more iteration of design should just about do it.

    BTW, I've had the same thing happen with Estoc screwless tips but very infrequently. Not sure if this was just a statistical fluke or if there is some inherent design flaw.
     
  2. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    This type of failure is uncommon. I had the same type of failure with a conventional FWF tip last week at practice.
     
  3. damianip

    damianip Podium

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  4. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Nice photo Damianip, in the case I'm looking at the stop got pulled through the plastic washer and the post with contact spring and stop popped out of the tip. Weak point is the plastic washer. Surprised that it stayed together as much as it did.
     
  5. Don Treanor

    Don Treanor Rookie

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    The biggest problem I have with these is that because of the "novelty" of the screw less design I have had armorers unscrew them to see how they worked. In the process of checking them out the contact spring gets kinked or otherwise out of adjustment (I know, I like to keep them on the razors edge of passing) and if I forget to check them, or don't have time, I end up on the piste with an Epee that fails the gap test. The lesson here is never rely on your club armorer to set these up as you will need to check them after weapons control and you will need to know how to adjust/replace the contact spring.

    This one is my own fault, I have also had a tip that was loose and came partially unscrewed during a bout. Trust me, know matter how hard or how many time you hit something if the tip is slightly unscrewed it will never register a hit.

    For the problem you had with the tip, my guess is that the contact spring stop became loose and the total gap on the point increased enough that you caught the tip on a bell guard and pulled the tip out through the plastic washer. To have the contract spring stop pull through the plastic washer you needed to have the point catch on something as you pulled back.
     
  6. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    It depends on who your club armorer is. :)
     
  7. nasnem

    nasnem Made the Cut

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    No, it depends on whether or not your club armorer is at the tournament to reset the the tip before you fence. ;)
     
  8. star

    star Rookie

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    I've decided to use FWF screwless points for all new wrings and I have had the problem as you explained of the contact spring stop coming undone a few times (But I've never lost a tip because a loose spring will leave the light on so I can pause the bout and switch blades). What I've done to mitigate this is adding a few dabs of thread-locker around the thread post before putting the contact spring stop back on.
    Overall I'm quite pleased with the tip because it can freely spin in the socket, acting like a sort of piston, which makes for a consistent press in all directions. Also because there are no side holes, there is barely any space for the elements to enter into the barrel.
    My biggest complain is the finish FWF used on the parts. After enough humidity penetrates the finish it will flake and rust will show itself. On tips I've been using for 6+ open-bouting sessions, on a rainy day or in overly humid club I can expect things to get rusted up. I have to open the tip and clean the inside and undo the tip by removing the contact spring stop. -1 contract spring each time.
    I've tried using gun lubricant to clean and protect and it works great at first but it doesn't negate the result of the rust creating an uneven surface (even after cleaning) that works against you when you try to hit from an angle. Someday I'm gonna try sanding it down with fine grit to make it more loose and see how that fares.

    Because the tip can freely spin in the socket the contact spring can hit the contact posts in all directions. This can be a problem if the contacts are unlevel, since a contact spring is uneven by design (the sides of the spring have to end somewhere). But because a contact spring has the ability to bend and wiggle, it makes up for any slight unevenness. But the tolerance of shimming will be slightly more varied than what I can achieve with a regular point. I don't find this problematic because its approximately .1mm. But those going for a .45 mm shimmed point won't like this point.

    I found that that the space where the pressure spring sits is slightly shorter than a regular point which means the tip can hold a little bit more weight than the same spring used in a regular point. I've shorten pressure springs by about half a circumference to make them more reasonable with the 750g weight.

    When I use fresh tips the screwless points are reliable in every way (provided I use some thread-locker). So if you wanna go with FWF screwless points they'll do very well in competition blades.

    So in a nutshell you'll be using more springs despite the absent of screws, but you'll never lose your tips as often as other fencers.

    Pros:
    no lost screws
    no lost tips
    double wrenching of tips to place and remove (no screwdriver)
    stays clean longer (until it starts rusting)
    free spinning tip
    contact area of tip deforms less & doesn't scratch because of a harder steel.

    Cons:
    needs to be shimmed with slightly more tolerance
    requires a thin 7mm wrench.
    requires changing of contacts springs more often
    expensive @ $13.6 a tip (as of 20180903 @ the fencing post)

    The best analogy I can come up with is FWF screwless points are like sphynx cats while regular tips are like regular cats. most cats shed hair like tips shed screws while sphynx cats have special needs.

    If FWF made these out of titanium they wouldn't rust and they would easily be the best tips on the market. Yes, even more expensive but would be worth it because of high durability and thus lasting.


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