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  1. #1

    Default Homemade Reels for Sumps (picture heavy)

    Hi all,

    Got asked by a few folks to try and explain how to homemake reels for sumps.

    Before I get going, a few disclaimers:
    1. I mainly dive in 8inch to 3 foot high, zero vis sumps. Normally at the end of a long dry cave. These techniques are especially suited to these conditions
    2. I'm English, some words may not make sense and I'll infuriatingly switch between inches and metric.
    3. All sumps are different and these reels are generally designed with a single trip in mind. Optimise, use, ditch it.
    4. I've not actually made a reel for this guide. Just used bits and photos I had lying around.
    4. Don't listen to me, you'll die.
    6. I can't count.

    So, first thing you need are some spools.



    One of those is an electricity reel, ones from a DIY store that they use to hold small chain etc on.

    You can use any spool made from plastic. My favourite is the DIY store as you can alter the length with some PVC pipe.



    Drill holes all the way around the spool to help with using double ender (picture later). Choose an appropriately sized spool.

    Next, you need a handle. To make the simplest, you need two different diameter lengths of PVC pipe.



    Put it through the middle of the spool. Drill a hole in the handle one side of the spool and put a zip tie through it or a nut and bolt. Do the same the other side of the spool.

    The handle doesn't have to be a tight fit to the spool. I've used 1inch diameter PVC for the middle of the spool before and 1/4inch for the handle.

    Load with line. Now you have a reel.



    Now your reel is done and comes apart easily for dry transport!

    Of course, this isn't the only way to make a reel.



    This is a reel I made to hold 230m ish of 6mm polypropylene with a complicated system of line tagging and belaying.

    I used a spool from 200m of 8mm SRT rope, chopped it in half, shortened it and stuck it back together with some cut up sections of bottles of pop stapled round the drum in the middle.

    The handle is made from an electric reel with washers on either side of it. Held in place with zip ties for assembly and disassembly in caves.



    Here's that photo of holes for clipping off double Enders.



    This isn't my reel, but I have one identical. DIY shop spool as above, PVC pipe, 90 degree and T-pieces makes a fancy reel that works just as good as any halcyon one. One of my favourites.



    This is my reusable handle a friend made me. It's pretty self explanatory. Need to remember to take a spanner down the cave though.

    A word on line, in the sumps I dive, 6mm polyprop is best as you can feel it in zero vis and it's very tough. It is floaty though, that's not nice. Please pay very careful attention to tagging line for zero vis sumps, because you can't see anything you tag it with!



    I use cable ties. Two together indicate the way out. I space these every 3m to make surveying easier as well.

    Very tight sumps (12inches and less) or digging may have hard progress, few belay points and be a bit of a nightmare! Enter the Derbyshire tube.



    It's a length of steel scaffolding, as long as you fancy but normally 6-18inches. Tie the line through the middle.



    Take a bight of line and feed it under a snoopy loop at one end, repeat for other end, repeat for other end and so on and so on.

    These are great! They're cheap, free, will hold about 40ft of line and the tube can be used as a belay under almost any circumstances!

    Other tight sump solutions are a pop bottle with line tied through it, feed it out the cap. Typically fit about 15feet in these.

    I've also used a caving tackle bag with caving rope in it before to the same effect.

    This is good for very tight sumps where you may need to lay caving rope to a bolt and use an ascender to help squeeze your way through!

    There...think I've rambled enough.





    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  2. #2
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    Default

    I use wire spools too, when I don't expect to take the line back out. I usually stick a big screwdriver through the center hole for an axle. I think I have laid about 4 miles of line that way over the years. I laid 6000 feet in one cave alone. I do use "commercial" reels for shorter runs, but I made those too, since I was a gear manufacturer years ago. My first few sumps I used thick line. The first one I actually used rope. I switched to parachute cord for a long time, but finally settled on #24 braided, if I can see, and specially designed sump line if the visibility is low. Not sure if I already told you, but I am CDG, Welsh section. I did discover that American line arrows don't work very well on 6mm poly line.

    Forrest Wilson (with 2 Rs)
    Any opinions are personal.
    Sump Divers

  3. #3

    Default

    Line arrows are possible if you make special large ones out of the side of sofnalime tubs

    But normally, no permanent tags are Left on our line, and only personal tags are used, clothespegs placed into the braid and reinforced with snoopys are the norm!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutOfTest View Post
    Line arrows are possible if you make special large ones out of the side of sofnalime tubs

    But normally, no permanent tags are Left on our line, and only personal tags are used, clothespegs placed into the braid and reinforced with snoopys are the norm!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yea, I didn't have any clothespegs in Wookey Hole, so I used small carabiners instead

    Forrest Wilson (with 2 Rs)
    Any opinions are personal.
    Sump Divers

  5. #5
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    Very cool. ive always been curious about the other side of caving...the dry/sump stuff. not for me, but i sure can get an appreciation for the stuff u guys do


  6. #6

    Default

    It's always worth having a go patpicos. There's easier stuff too that isn't miles away from surface or ball crushingly tight.

    Some are almost resurgence flops!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  7. #7

    Default

    But it is worth remembering that Pozo Azul, Wakulla (before the WKPP got exclusive access) and numerous distance and depth records were all pushed by sump divers!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutOfTest View Post
    But it is worth remembering that Pozo Azul, Wakulla (before the WKPP got exclusive access) and numerous distance and depth records were all pushed by sump divers!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Absolutely

    Forrest Wilson (with 2 Rs)
    Any opinions are personal.
    Sump Divers

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by OutOfTest View Post



    This isn't my reel, but I have one identical. DIY shop spool as above, PVC pipe, 90 degree and T-pieces makes a fancy reel that works just as good as any halcyon one. One of my favourites.
    One of mine - I made a load of these for the CDG training camp in June. This one is fluorescent pink with pink line for a certain female cave diver. I also sprayed one matt black with black 6 mm polypropylene line and back cable tie line tags for another diver (as a joke). I also handmade some bigger line arrows cut to fit UK sump line (again in pink, black or whatever colour you like).


  10. #10

    Default

    Ha ha. All these uk cdg folk posting on forums across the pond. I am the proud owner of the black one duncan refers to. Yes ash...its john

    Technical Diving Equipment & Custom Stainless Steel Accessories - www.darkside-diving.co.uk


 

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