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Discussion: Fibreglass or aluminum?

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 15, 2018 6:46 PM # 
What are the pros/cons of fibreglass & aluminium stands?

Our club's always used the aluminium stands and been happy with how they work, and how they store. But they do tend to bending when being pressed into hard ground. Because we run our junior program (SOGO) four nights a week the stands are getting much more use that in the past, and as a result they are bending a lot.

So, we're thinking of getting fibreglass stands for the Junior program. But we don't know much about them.

Any advice?
Apr 15, 2018 6:59 PM # 
Whether fibreglass or aluminum make sure the stands have a good foot press so the pressure in to the ground comes from below the shaft. I guess that rules out aluminum shafts.
Apr 15, 2018 8:28 PM # 
Yeah, I think that is the problem with the aluminium stands - the lack of a foot press.

Perhaps the solution would be to invent one? Would it be possible to build a foot-press tool that you could carry around and slip onto an aluminium stand when it is time to put it into the ground?
Apr 15, 2018 11:48 PM # 
Otherwise use a spike to make a hole for the stand
Apr 16, 2018 12:15 AM # 
Fibreglass is in common use around here, and appropriate brackets are cheap as they are made in volume for farmers' temporary fencing. The bits include a foot step and spike which works in most ground. But there's a exception - volcanic ash soils are too granular and the club with lots of this terrain doesn't like them. Sometimes in sand they are a bit loose too, but its usually possible to push them waaay in.
Apr 16, 2018 12:41 AM # 
I am not a fan of putting out stands, so much more work than just tying them up. I do use them though, and have a large canvas quiver type bag in which I carry about 10 alu stands. I carry the flags and boxes separately in a backpack.
I have been experimenting with using fiberglass driveway marker poles. So much lighter and can carry a lot together. Just have to work out how to attach the box cradle.
The idea of carrying a spike appeals as none of our stands have foot press.
Apr 16, 2018 1:04 AM # 
I believe DVOA course setters use or have used a large nail (~8” long) and a mallet to create starter holes for posts. I remember being shown something like that at NAOC2012.
Apr 16, 2018 2:25 AM # 
rm: SI unit can actually be hung rather than placed in a cradle, at least for, say, non ranking events. Some orienteers dislike it, as it's not as easy to punch single handed, but it works, and I've used it for a goat race that didn't allow stands due to fossils, and for a couple of other events. Simply route the string that the control hangs from through the hole of the SI unit. It helps to have a demonstration control before people start, so that they understand, and to suggest in the event notes not yanking hard on the control to pull the punch close to you, which can be a tendency. Not perfect, but in my opinion adequate for most non-championship events.
Apr 16, 2018 2:39 AM # 
The step-in fiberglass posts that you can insert by stepping on the step work great in loose soils like in the woods or pastures or fields. But, in an area where the soil is compacted, even around sidewalk intersections, near roads, etc. they can be really hard to step-in and it may take some searching before it can be adequately embedded.

There is also a step-in PVC post that has an aluminum (or steel?) spike on the end. These are a bit more robust but the posts are about an inch square so it's not easy carrying more than about 6 unless you have a case/quiver.

You can buy one of each for a couple Dollars at a farm supply store and see what you think.

For myself, I think I have a pretty good set-up using fiberglass posts that I modified. I can carry a dozen easily in one hand though I have to carry the spin on bracket and Si boxes in a backback with the controls.
Apr 16, 2018 5:08 AM # 
Boris has the solution (see page 23)
Apr 16, 2018 11:48 AM # 
Ah - cultural learnings of Tasmania for make benefit glorious sport of orienteering.
Apr 16, 2018 12:02 PM # 
I thought he was going to light them and take off like Rocket Man.
Apr 16, 2018 1:42 PM # 
The best non-stand solution I've seen so far is one in which the SI cradle has a couple of long-ish wires attached to it. These are light/easy to carry in quantities and can easily be attached to a tree by running the wires around the trunk and twisting them together in the back. This obviously won't work everywhere -- you have to have a tree or pole or something to attach to -- but it can greatly cut down on the # of stands needed. And far easier to punch than using the string-through-the-hole method.
Apr 16, 2018 3:21 PM # 
Thanks fossil, that could be useful for Florissant Fossil Beds, if we decide to go back there. Nothing allowed in the ground, unless we pay to have a ranger visit every site, in order to protect the world class specimens that the place is known for.
Apr 16, 2018 3:49 PM # 
@Hawkeye - that's great! I also love the kid's drawing showing how to go orintiring
Apr 16, 2018 6:29 PM # 
The fibreglass stands can give you slivers—con
I’ve used Fiberglass stands that have the step in feature which is useful—pro

Aluminum stands can make your hands dirty—con
Aluminum stands tend to get bent out of trueness—con
Apr 17, 2018 12:26 AM # 
And here I thought this was going to be about what type of canoe to purchase!

Agree with BrianJohnston about the con for fiberglass - the fiberglass ones we got from a farm supply store and used for the early 1990's were nasty for splinters, and got worse with age.

Personally I like OCIN's modular PVC stands designed by Matthew Robbins and Dick Arnett. They will work in most soils (in soft or marshy ground, just push them in deeper for stability). They won't work in solid rock, compacted gravel, or solidly frozen ground, although carrying a lightweight battery operated drill can usually solve those situations. For use on paved surfaces, we have small concrete bases, but it would be a pain to carry those too far from roads.
Apr 17, 2018 4:20 AM # 
Mike are you sure your splintering experience still applies today? The suppliers have to please zillions of farmer customers who handle them too.
Apr 17, 2018 5:25 PM # 
Some of the fiberglass posts today are coated so you won't get splinters. That isn't the kind I have so I wear a leather glove on the hand carrying the stands.

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