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Old 03-31-2014, 02:24 PM #1
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Etek 4 Drop Forward HELP

So recently, ANS had a deal of the day sale on a Dye Standard Drop Forward. for $5, I said why not?

I don't feel surprised that it didn't come with mounting screws, but aside from that, it's not even close to fitting my Etek 4 LT.

So my question is: what can I buy to mount the drop forward? Or is it not worth trying because there just isn't any sort of compatibility? I couldn't find any reasonable information online and every retailer doesn't even say anything other than "high grade material" and what not, so I figured I'd try here
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:18 PM #2
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How does it not fit? The rail won't slide INTO the grip frames rail system, it should sit flush against it from below. Then you screw it in to the two screw holes.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:06 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theVicious1 View Post
How does it not fit? The rail won't slide INTO the grip frames rail system, it should sit flush against it from below. Then you screw it in to the two screw holes.
It simply just doesn't work. The rail is flush with the bottom of the grip frame (though I still need screws to keep it in place) but I cannot see how the ASA will mount on the other end of it.

These pics aren't the best quality but hopefully enough to show you what I mean.









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Old 04-01-2014, 03:10 AM #4
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The asa wont mount because it is a t-rail, something particular to eclipse markers. You will need a new asa if you want to use the rail.

Are there no screw holes at all in the bottom of the LT frame?
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:13 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theVicious1 View Post
The asa wont mount because it is a t-rail, something particular to eclipse markers. You will need a new asa if you want to use the rail.

Are there no screw holes at all in the bottom of the LT frame?
do you think the POPS ASA that PE offers is also T-Rail? Otherwise I'm not really about buying a new ASA regardless but I'll see what I can do. Also, know where I can buy some mounting screws for the Drop Forward?

& unfortunately, the LT frame doesn't have screws or anything of the sort on the bottom :/ the stock ASA mounts with screws but they're a LOT smaller than the screws needed for the drop, and they don't screw INTO the frame at all, but just seal the ASA on it.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:19 PM #6
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I had to custom drill mine to mount a drop. PE uses the dumb T rail system for no other reason than it forces players to buy ASAs from them. The problem you will have is even if you wanted to do what I did, you will need an AM frame. I had to create an aluminum shim to slide into the T slot, then drill and tap through it, into the frame to get a standard 2 hole setup to mount. The good news is I can always go back to the T mount if I want to since it did not effect that. You cant do this with a LT frame as you can not thread into the plastic and I would not trust the shim alone to hold the tank onto the frame.

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Old 04-05-2014, 12:11 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russian pandas View Post
do you think the POPS ASA that PE offers is also T-Rail? Otherwise I'm not really about buying a new ASA regardless but I'll see what I can do. Also, know where I can buy some mounting screws for the Drop Forward?

& unfortunately, the LT frame doesn't have screws or anything of the sort on the bottom :/ the stock ASA mounts with screws but they're a LOT smaller than the screws needed for the drop, and they don't screw INTO the frame at all, but just seal the ASA on it.
Yes, both the pops and oops asa that PE offers come with a t-rail compatible mini-drop.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:52 AM #8
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I'm working on a similar problem, in my case putting an Eclipse drop (which I have) on an Etek 4 (which I don't have yet). My current plan is to use t-nuts from a Sherline mill, which are 10-32, same thread as a standard .75" bottom line bolt pattern, to attach the drop to the grip frame, then the OOPS ASA will directly attach to the t-slot on the bottom of my drop.

I don't see a way around getting a new ASA for your setup since the dovetail and t-slot are radically incompatible and I've never seen an adapter for sale other than the one I made years ago for a customer. I don't have the tooling to pull that off again, unfortunately.

The good news is that you'll be able to use the same setup as me to hold the drop to the grip frame. If it works, and I have no reason to believe it won't, I'll let you know specifics on parts needed and all that. I suspect the Sherline t-nuts will have to be ground down from .100" to .070" at the bottom flange (.200 to .170 overall height) to fit the rail, but the rest looks like it'll fit.

I'm considering doing one of my trademarked "don't try this at home, and I'm not taking pictures that could be used against me in court" stupid ideas and throwing some 6061 flat in a toolholder on the lathe, a 3/8" end mill in the chuck, and seeing if I can make a 1" long t-nut with a 10-32x.750" bolt pattern. I've done stupider things and gotten away with it, but if I don't post back soon send flowers to my widow
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:23 PM #9
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so you are putting the head of the bolt into the T slot if i am reading that right? Not a bad idea, my only concern would be play, either side to side or forward and back since you would be basically clamping onto the flanges of the T slot, I would worry more about side to side. It would be really nice to find a bolt with a shoulder on it and mill that down to fit exactly in the opening of the T slot, that way you would not have to worry about any side to side play as the bolts would be wedged in there and unable to move side to side
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:33 PM #10
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No, t-nuts go in the slot, then a 10-32 screw through the drop into the nuts. It doesn't take much torque to hold stuff to t-slots, just past snug is enough to hold parts on the mill even when facing with a shell or flycutter, which is a ton of force, so I'm not worried about anything moving. Plus, the drop itself will back up the flanges of the t-slot so there's not much worry about distorting it. It's actually marginally stronger than putting the OOPS itself in the slot because of how the OOPS is fixed with screws bearing on the flange. It's hard to explain, but the screws vs. male side of the t-slot (the part milled into the OOPS) are less balanced than the t-nuts vs. the drop. The setup as it comes from PE puts tension on the web of the male rail, which acts to bend the flanges of the slot towards the OOPS, but the t-nut/drop put the flanges in compression and the only force working to flex the flanges comes from force on the tank/ASA/drop/etc.

Ideally the t-nuts will be a very close fit to the slot in all dimensions. Within .002" I'm thinking (though that depends on the tolerances of the slot).
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:30 PM #11
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I actually got lucky and found a t-rail to dovetail adapter on Ebay. I just wanted to use my RAPS II asa instead of the OOPS that came on my Geo +. So if you look in this thread there more info about it and a user who made similar adapters. CS900 is his user name.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:20 PM #12
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Ok, I actually have my Etek in my hands now. I took a look at it and discovered that the t-slot on the grip frame is actually aluminum. Didn't know that. So here's a possible plan. Before I start, I don't recommend this or encourage anyone to do it. Don't even think about it if you don't know what you're doing, own a center punch, and know how to calculate SFM for a mill or drill press (that should weed out the people that don't need to be touching guns with power tools). If you do this and screw it up you can't hold me responsible. Ask my wife, I'm the least responsible person she knows. Now that that's out of the way:

The metal bit at the bottom of the grip frame could be marked, punched, drilled, and tapped 10-32x.75 and a standard drop screwed to it. This isn't an ideal setup since the first half inch of the screw outside the grip frame would be unsupported, so it would be best to use a screw with a long enough shank to minimize the unsupported threaded parts. Again, not ideal, but functional. Just don't go buttstroking wipers with your tank.

The best way to do it is going to be a custom t-nut that fits in the t-slot and accepts the standard 10-32x.75 bottom line stuff. I'm doing some CAD geekery right now that will, in theory, give me something better than my usual doodles on bar napkins that even I have trouble working from, and I'm good at this stuff. The good news is that the t-nut-in-slot setup was strong enough when I thought the t-slot was in plastic. Now that I know it's in aluminum it'll be the strongest connection in the sport. You'll break the slot off the frame or shear the reg off the bottle before the t-slot fails.

With a little luck I'll be able to mill the thing on the lathe without losing any body parts. If I don't report back in a couple of days assume I'm in the ICU after having an end mill removed from somewhere painful. And no calling dibs on my guns, they're getting buried with me.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:21 AM #13
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as its been a few days, we all wish you well in the ICU

you dont need to custom mill a T slot nut, all you need is a shim to take up the extra space in the T slot itself, a flat piece of aluminum cut and filed to fit the slot as close as possible.

Thread the frame as you said but also thread THROUGH the shim piece into the frame so the threads are one continuous path through both. Leaving the small space in between the vertical section of the T slot actually works out because then you are pinching the horizontal section with whatever you mount, exactly the way PE does it with their ASAs (actually if anything this is better as it spreads the load out rather than having a few screws putting pressure in one area.) do not just rely on the frame alone to hold the screws in place though, it is very thin in that area

here



thats how I did it and you dont need very sophisticated tools to do it either. I will say I have a lot of jewelry training which really helps me make things by hand VERY precise but all I used was some common sense, a center punch, ruler, a small table top drill press and I would argue this could be done with a hand held drill as well, a few bastard files and a LOT of patience to do things right. O also the tap of course

All I did was make the shim first (I think I actually made 2, the first one did not fit as closely as I wanted) figured out where to drill the holes, punched and drilled them (but did not tap them yet), check with your drop forward to make sure you got them drilled right, then slid the shim back in do figure out where to drill into the frame, punched and drilled that (withe the board OUT, dont do dumb things people) then threaded straight through both, bam, done, no mill or CAD required
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:28 PM #14
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That will work, but won't be adjustable. Perfectly fine if you know where you want it, though. I think I'd drill the shim to clear the screws, personally.
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:41 PM #15
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2 hole mounts are never adjustable in the first place. anything that runs a 2 hole setup bolts on where it bolts on, you would have to re-drill the holes in order to move anything, in reality, PE should have mounted the T rail on something like a dovetail or 2 hole setup to begin with in order to give players flexibility

of course that would mean that they couldnt force players to use their ASAs though.....gosh, what was I thinking

and what do you mean drill the shim to clear the screws? It is drilled through
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Old 04-23-2014, 03:35 PM #16
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The t-rail is actually much superior to the dovetail. Much stronger. They kinda cheaped out with the set screws that lock the ASA to the rail, but it works.

I meant to drill clearance holes instead of tapping the holes, but after thinking about it, it kinda negates the existence of the shim in the first place. It's not usually good to tap two pieces that sit next to each other and put a single screw through both parts, basically it means that something isn't going to be bearing it's share of the load. A better setup, short of machining a t-nut (I'll get around to that eventually), would be a stainless shim that's tapped and screws just long enough to reach completely through the shim. That'll put the load where it's design to be, and if the screws do reach too far and hit the frame it can always be drilled to clear them.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:25 PM #17
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I disagree that the T rail is stronger, In certain cases yes I think it will fair better, in others it will not, but thats another issue and not really one that would prevent PE from mounting a T slot onto something like a 2 hole setup

the load still is where it is supposed to be. The lower flange of the T slot is being pinched between the drop forward and the shim. If anything this is better than the way PE does it because with the PE ASA, the top of that flange is pinched sure, but the bottom only has the 2 screws from the ASA pushing on it. Hence why they gouge the metal there and you can see where they were on my photo. The shim is an extremely tight fit, there is no play in it in any direction so threading straight through it makes sense. It is sharing in the load as it can not move up or down and like I said, I would not trust the frame alone right there to carry the load. its just too thin, so the shim pushes down on the top of the T slot flanges while the drop forward pushes up. The frame itself is threaded just to ensure the whole setup cant slide forward and back more than anything. That and the shim alone is still just a little thin for my liking if it was the only thing threaded. but this way pretty much anyone can do it at home with some basic tools

disclaimer: I am not responsible for you messing up your marker if you attempt to do this

rather than needing something custom machined. The aluminum is even a standard size 2mm, not sure what gauge that is though. 2mm x 12mm x 45mm. the 45 is not too crucial but the 2 and 12 are. you can do this at home with hand tools and patience
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:26 PM #18
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The area in shear on a t-slot is much thicker than the area in shear on a dovetail. On top of that the angles on the dovetail act to force the sides of the female dovetail apart. The same forces on a t-slot are tension in the web of the slot and compression on the flange. With the leverage you can get with the length of the tank it's pretty easy to pop a dovetail out of it's slot if they aren't made perfectly (put a DP ASA on a standard rail and you'll see what I mean). When I machine a dovetail it is for a specific mating part, first measured with gage wires and/or dowel pins, then adjusted to mate with the part. Sometimes that means the part won't mate to another manufacturer's component, but I'd rather that happen than have a weak connection.

The load in your design is purely compressive through the web of the t-slot because you can't preload the shim if both the shim and the bottom of the slot are threaded. Once the screw is engaged with both the shim and the slot, the shim can no longer move relative to the slot, so it can't be pulled tight against the flange of the slot to put it in compression. In that case it would be better to have the shim completely fill the slot, but drill it to clear the screw. Then the shim will back up the flange of the slot, brace the screws in shear, and let the screws compress the ASA/rail/drop/whatever through the flange and shim into the base of the t-slot.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:00 PM #19
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The area in shear on a t-slot is much thicker than the area in shear on a dovetail. On top of that the angles on the dovetail act to force the sides of the female dovetail apart. The same forces on a t-slot are tension in the web of the slot and compression on the flange. With the leverage you can get with the length of the tank it's pretty easy to pop a dovetail out of it's slot if they aren't made perfectly (put a DP ASA on a standard rail and you'll see what I mean). When I machine a dovetail it is for a specific mating part, first measured with gage wires and/or dowel pins, then adjusted to mate with the part. Sometimes that means the part won't mate to another manufacturer's component, but I'd rather that happen than have a weak connection.
but this isnt the design of the dovetail that is at fault then, only the tolerances that certain manufactures use. its like saying "the wheels fell off my car so the car is a weak design" and ignoring that you were using the wrong lug nuts. In the decade or so I have been playing I have always used a dovetail and have never had a single problem. I will say that I use both a CP drop and CP asa on all my stuff so they will match up quite nicely but loose tolerances is not a design fault just a manufacturing fault

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The load in your design is purely compressive through the web of the t-slot because you can't preload the shim if both the shim and the bottom of the slot are threaded. Once the screw is engaged with both the shim and the slot, the shim can no longer move relative to the slot, so it can't be pulled tight against the flange of the slot to put it in compression. In that case it would be better to have the shim completely fill the slot, but drill it to clear the screw. Then the shim will back up the flange of the slot, brace the screws in shear, and let the screws compress the ASA/rail/drop/whatever through the flange and shim into the base of the t-slot.
You are assuming the shim has wiggle room though and it doesnt. Once the scews are in the shim carries the bulk of the load with the frame threaded as a backup more than anything (and so i can use standard length screws) If it helps, think of the shim and the frame as one piece as they act as such more than separate. The tolerances on the shim are far FAR tighter than what PE uses for the ASAs. without the screws in the only direction it can move at all is forward and back

While I see what you are saying by filling the whole T slot with the shim, it has a few drawbacks

1) custom milling, while doable is not open to everyone who would want to mount a 2 hole setup onto a T mount
2) friction only hold. While yes this is done in the industry, I have never enjoyed mounts like this as if anything loosens, your first knowlege of it is when your ASA goes flying off your mount. Threaded mounts will be easy to know when its loosing before something goes flying off the marker
3) custom length/shorter screws, drilling to clear the frame is an alternitive yes, but if you are doing that anyway, custom milling the shim is a lot of time and effort that is not needed if the shim can just be made the way I did it in the first place and not needing a mill. Also, while it is possible to just thread the shim the way I did it and also drill to clear space for the extra length of the screws, I felt it was not going to be strong enough on its own so I also threaded the frame, my worst case scenario is the threading in the frame strips out and I am left with that result anyway but at least its an option down the road, if I drilled those to clear from the start, there would be no going back

Im interested to see your result. I think it will work just fine, all im saying for my way is its open to just about anyone who has some time, common sense and some basic tools without needing to custom mill something
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