For one day battle events, the time spent after the second battle is usually
devoted to driving home and thinking about all your great exploits and not-so-great
exploits during the day. But, for a two-day battle event, the time after the
second battle is the best of all times. Plenty of time to chat with fellow battlers
about all kinds of things, time to have a good meal with friends, and time to repair
things. T001's torn track was top on the agenda, with followers around the world waiting
patiently to see if the surgery would be successful.
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Dr. Frank collected the necessary
tools and supplies from lots of folks: a roll of gaffers tape and glue (John),
a portable drill and bits (Paul/Joe), counter-sink screws and various hand-tools (Frank).
John, Steve, and Mike would assist in the
operation, with numerous others in the gallery providing advice and comments.
The first procedure was to examine the break and determine the cause. After expert
examination, Frank determined the primary cause to be a "faulty Tyng design". Steve
suggested immediately that "faulty workmanship" was the primary reason for the failure,
mumbling continuously about the virtues of "goop". In either case, the debate was set
aside for the benefit of the patient, T001, and the procedure continued.
laying down multiple layers of gaffers tape, overlapping the tape length-wise to achieve
the desired width. After every layer, he and others would reflect on how strong it would
be and Frank said simply "add another layer". The resulting belt section was definitely
quite strong, but nobody would really know until the next day's battle, despite getting
an M1 rating from the "Mangus Test".
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While Steve worked on the belt, Frank drilled out rivets and removed five of the treads around the tear.
Some of the wooden outer tracks were cracked, but nothing that the white oak couldn't handle.
After 8 years of driving around on all kinds of terrain, including pavement and rocks,
the oak outer treads were still in good condition and the polyurethane inner treads were flawless.
After removing most of the treads (some were indeed glued down and wouldn't come up), the
belt was inspected to confirm that it was only the splice failure that caused the break-down.
Indeed, the part that failed was only held by one rivet, which was very close to the edge
of the splice when the blind hole was originally drilled. Had either additional rivets been
installed or glue added to the splice treads (as are both now done on other MAG-built TTS tracks),
the failure would not have occurred. But, at least the failure served a purpose, it showed
just how reliable the TTS design is, even with a bad splice it worked well for 8 years of
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When building tracks in the shop there is an array of stands and clamps that can be used
to support the track. In the field, a more labor-intensive approach is required.
Fortunately, John has special training in field support.
Since two of the treads couldn't be removed from the belt, the tape patch was placed on the
other side and holes drilled to remount the treads. Although Frank had a stash of rivets
in his field box, nobody brought a rivet gun (NOTE: Add to field box),
so stainless counter sunk screws were used to fasten the treads.
John brought a small tube of
3M adhesive that was squirted under each tread. It was fairly certain that the glue would
hold well, because John definitely knows his glues (the results of a mis-spent youth in the
60's). In fact, John calls 3M directly whenever he needs just the right glue for the
right job. When attaching rubber to his PzII roadwheels, a nice lady at 3M guided him to
the proper glue after he explained the desired usage. "You're building what?" was probably
what she asked before recommending the right product.
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One of the wooden outer treads had a crack in it, so it was decided to squeeze some
of the excess glue into the crack. In support of the "green" movement, Frank used
a fallen leave instead of wax paper to help spread the glue.
With the repair completed, Mike pulled Frank across the picnic bench to test the belt
strength and the track was placed back on T001 for use in the morning, after the glue
had fully set. All in all, a successful surgery, and T001 would grace the battlefield once
again on the morrow.