otherwise known as the frame for people with more money than brains .
So I decided it would be fun to see if I could make a backpack frame out of titanium. Some of you may have noticed my fetish for titanium in the past.
I started with some titanum tubing ordered online.
I bought some new tools (excuse to buy tools!!!)
A weekend later I have this
It didn't come out exactly perfect. It is a little wider than I had intended and a mistake in measuring (I promise I measured twice but sill made a mistake) resulted in it not being taller. It is about the same size as a regular Alice pack frame, but I had hoped to make it adjustable to be longer.
I have not tested it yet. Most Saturday mornings find me walking with my dog in a local park with me wearing a 35 pound alice pack so hopefully soon I can try it out.
Original alice pack frame is 2 pounds. Titanium alice pack frame is about (just under) 1 pound 2 ounces.
Materials (titanium tubing) were around $250. Some of that is shipping as I am not aware of a local titanium supplier.
Tools that I had to buy: $50 drill bits (wouldn't buy these again as it isn't the best approach) $20 dremel bits (much better than drill bits for making holes) $100 pipe bender (platform homemade from scrap) $50 MAP torch
I already had some nuts and bolts, drills, dremel tool, small bench vise, etc. A new bench vise might be nice though. Mine is small and not as sturdy as I would like for a task like this.
I guess overall I dropped around $500 just to see if I could do it. I don't so stuff like this everyday (smile).
Wow, that's a lot of money and work. I hope it isn't too wide to fit the ALICE pack over the top. Did you weld the connections? If it was me, I would ditch the loops that hold the kidney pad. They aren't needed. I would also make it taller and thinner, but I think you said that was your original intent. Good luck and tell us how it performs.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
I applaud your incredible work!! The basic problem w the ALICE ruck is the design restrictions ie soldier must be able to raise his helmeted head in prone position while wearing this ruck and the ruck must be capable of carrying so much load.The ruck was never properly designed to shift load up and down the torso but rather it shifted it perpendicular to the back. The design would then never transfer the load to the hips, the ALICE would always pull you back. In short, it would drive you into the ground like a tent stake. It was brutal to carry with a combat load. Consider looking at some of the Infantry sites to see what they prefer. They carry a ruck all the time & try to survive & fight....an Old Soldier
I agree that the ruck was designed to allow the helmeted head mobility, but I must disagree with the rest.
The main problem with the ruck (specifically the frame), in my experience, is that it came in one size. This size didn't fit most people. This is one of the reasons I am making my frame adjustable and a new aluminum version will be posted soon, maybe a week or two. It only takes a day or so to make but getting that day is the issue (smile).
I feel the reason solders felt driven into the ground had more to do with the weight they were carrying. I recall carrying a ruck that weighed as much as I did when I was in the army (150+lbs). No ruck is going to be comfortable at that point.
Ironically, the standard size ruck actually fit me pretty well and with a load of 35 pounds is as comfortable as 35 pounds can get. Using the hip belt and chest strap will help with weight transfer, at least it does for me. I am mainly after a weight reduction with my design.
EDIT: I appreciate the comments. It keeps me thinking through and hopefully improving my ideas!
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Wow, that's impressive Perry!
I've bent a bit of steel and aluminum tube and it's pretty tough figuring out how to get the shapes you made. I know it always took a few shots for me to learn what the distance the leg of a bend would be from a fixed point on the tube.
It's that pesky spring back effect that metal has, and they're all a bit different.
Anyway, yours came out sweet and that's going to be like the Ferrari of packs when you get it finished.
This was my first attempt at bending. It helps that I am blissfully naive about how the level of difficulty of the tasks I undertake so it never seems too difficult, but there are still surprises. It probably would have been prudent to buy some cheap metal tubing at the home improvement store for practice before attempting to work with expensive titanium.
I ordered enough Aluminum 6061-T6 tubing for two more frames, then hopefully will take another crack at titanium.
Preheating the area to be bent helps to avoid springback.
If you look on the "bushcraft" forums, the ALICE pack is well loved. Currently there is a trend to modify it with MOLLE suspension. You basically take the ALICE frame and bag and add MOLLE hip belt and shoulder straps. Much more comfortable. The same company that makes the MOLLE plastic frame also makes a few different styles of plastic frame that will work with an ALICE bag and MOLLE suspension. Another mod is to make the frame from PVC pipe. Those that have done it claim that it works great. Can't argue with experience. Anyways, good luck and keep us posted.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.