RD’s Adventures – 2011 Big Bear Forest Fest XIV

The IE4W club puts on a great event called Big Bear Forest Fest and I was able to attend this year’s 14th event to show-off the new Axial Wraith to several off-road enthusiasts. We teamed up with Rebel Offroad and created an attention-getting display.
Axial Vendor Display

On hand we had one of each of our current chassis lines for people to look at, the original AX10 RTC, the scale oriented SCX10 RTR, the competition winning XR10, and the all new ground pounding Wraith. Friday was a great day to get up the mountain and get setup.

Falken Tire hosted a hot dog dinner at their trailer for anyone that wanted to come over and get in line. As check-in closed and night fell, we decided to go for a short trail ride; so we headed out the 3N16 to the bottom of 3N93 (Holcomb Creek). This trail, 3N93, was supposed to be opening (closed since 2006 due to fires) for the event but work crews could not get it done in time. Keep an eye out for my adventure on this trail soon.
Saturday was the day of the trail runs. We signed up for Dishpan Springs, 3N34, which is a down-and-back moderate trail, but very well known for rolling over several rigs at “The Wall”.
Group Shot

Over the years The Wall has gotten worse and worse and is quickly becoming by-passed by several of the short wheel based rigs. On the way down we all took the by-pass to avoid gravity getting the best of us and we continued down to our turn-around spot, Deep Creek, to have some lunch and enjoy the great mountain weather.

Deep Creek

After we had lunch it was time to head back up the trail and attempt to climb The Wall. On the way up we found a really cool spot on trail to flex the rig.

After watching a few people attempt it and some making it, it was my turn to drive up.

Attempting The Wall
Headed up The Wall

Picking a good line and keeping a steady pace helps keep the rig stable and stick well to the rocks. So up and over I go…. No issues.
Cresting the Wall
Once we got back to the even site it was time to get on with the vendor show and show off more of our stuff. IE4W provides a catered dinner during the vendor show where everyone in attendance gets fed. This year was tri-tip steak, chicken, and a bunch of sides, followed by strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Waiting for dinner

Raffle Prizes
A friend of mine, named P-Diddy, was the MC for the raffle and though he knows Axial, every time he mentioned Axial through-out the raffle he could never get the name pronounced right… Calling it Axle, Axile, and whatever else could slip off his tongue. It was quite humorous to hear him and the laughter it caused. I think it help us show our product, in a way, cause we had several people come by after the raffle asking about the name and the products.
Raflle Attendees

On Sunday we decided to head out and explore a little and find a place to get some time in driving the Wraith before we headed back to down the mountain.

We took some time to stop and find a Geocache along the way. Drove the Wraith all the way up the hill to the cache site and had a great view of the lake.
Wraith with a Lake View
Air Time
Durability Test


First Place Brian Lorenz, Second Place Brad Dumont, Third Place Don French

AWCC FINALS 2011 2.2 PRO COMP CHAMPIONS Brian Lorenz, Brad Dumont, Don French
First Place [center] Brian “BURBO” Lorenz
Second Place [right] Brad “Bender” Dumont
Third Place [left] Don French

First Place Spencer French, Second Place Chris McMullin, Third Place Mike Boling

AWCC FINALS 2011 2.2 SPORT COMP CHAMPIONS Spencer French, Chris McMullin, Mike Boling
First Place [center] Spencer French
Second Place [right] Chris McMullin
Third Place [left] Mike Boling

Axial SCX10 Recon G6 Challenge 1.9 Scale Winners:
First Place Thom Kowatch, Second Place John Ripplinger, Third Place Andy Berryman

Axial SCX10 Recon G6 Challenge Winners: Thom Kowatch, John Ripplinger, Andy Berryman
First Place [center] Thom Kowatch
Second Place [right] John Ripplinger
Third Place [left] Andy Berryman

Axial SCX10 Recon G6 Challenge 2.2 Scale Winners:
First Place Justin Halbohm, Second Place Brandon Coonce, Third Place Wesley Klein

Axial SCX10 Recon G6 Challenge 2.2 Scale Winners: Justin Halbohm, Brandon Coonce, Wesley Klein
First Place [right] Justin “J-FAB” Halbohm
Second Place [center] Brandon Coonce not present [Brian Parker standing in]
Third Place [left] Wesley “Sloyota” Klein

AXIAL West Coast Championships – OFFICIAL JUDGES TEAM
AXIAL West Coast Championships - AWCC FINALS 2011 Cisco Grove, CA JUDGES TEAM
These guys are all winners in our book!

Ryan Gerrish recipient of the G-Degree Award at Axial SCX10 Recon G6 Scale Challenge

The G-Degree Award is given to the challenger who received some bad luck while out on trail from the adventure gods as they make us walk back with our rigs in a critically non-operational state. Our buddy Ryan gets a little life-support from Brian Parker, the AWCC 2011 Master of Ceremonies.

Brian “BURBO” Lorenz of the Backyard Boyz came to Cisco Grove and laid down rubber to rock and took home the metal.

How the West was won…. Axial XR10 in the hands of Brian “BURBO” Lorenz

Futaba Sponsors AWCC 2011

Axial Inc. is proud to announce that Futaba has been added to the sponsors list for AWCC 2011!!!

Futaba sponsors the 2011 Axial West Coast Championship with a 4PL – 2.4GHz S-FHSS Radio System! Weekend warriors rejoice: you now have a new weapon for claiming victory! The 4PL 2.4GHz S-FHSS offers many of the advanced features that car, truck and boat racers desire — in particular frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology. You’ll enjoy virtually interference-free operation and super-secure dependability, and without the need for crystals, binding plugs and waiting for a free channel.


Camelbak Sponsors AWCC 2011

Axial Inc. is proud to announce Camelbak to the sponsors list for AWCC 2011!!!

It’s 1988. Bicycle enthusiast, Michael Eidson, is competing in the “Hotter’N Hell 100.” And that’s exactly what it is: a 100-mile road race in the grueling summer heat of Wichita Falls, Texas. Water is vital to surviving the race, and there are few places to refill a water bottle. Eidson, an emergency medical technician by trade, decides to fill an IV bag with water and slip it into a white tube sock. Yes, a tube sock. Then he stuffs the contraption into the back of his bike jersey, throws the thin hose over his shoulder and clamps it with a clothespin. Hands-free hydration is born. And Eidson is able to drink as he pedals…while the other racers laugh and fiddle with their water bottles.

Jeff Wemmer, a competitive cyclist who fell hard for CamelBak, was so impressed by the product that he started bringing packs to races to sell them. Talk about a fan. CamelBak eventually hired him, and in 1993, Jeff embarked on a road trip to keep the start-up running during very tough times. Company lore has it that Jeff visited bike shops from Florida to California, pitching our renegade product from the back of his motorcycle. Each order Jeff faxed back to the factory literally breathed another day of life back into CamelBak.

It took courage, conviction and imagination to evolve from an IV bag in a tube sock sold by a motorcycle-driven sales force of one. Our core values remain the same and drive everything we do – from inventing the hydration category to becoming the world’s leading maker of hydration solutions. Oh yeah…about those bikers who laughed at Eidson? Well, chances are they’ve got a CamelBak strapped to their back or in their bike cage these days. Go figure…


Prizes For AWCC 2011

Vanquish | Tekin | MaxAmps | Futaba | PIAA | TJM USA | Dragon | PureFit | Mechanix Wear | Oliver Knives | CamelBak

Just unpacking some boxes as they come in from the sponsors:

Mechanix Wear Items
Mechanix Wear Gloves & Hats for AXIAL AWCC FInals 2011

Dragon sunglasses
DRAGON Sunglasses & Hats for AXIAL AWCC FInals 2011

Dragon Sunglasses Axial AWCC 2011

MAX AMPS Batteries for AWCC 2011
MAX AMPS Batteries for AWCC 2011

PIAA 540 Xtreme White Plus Lighting System for AWCC 2011

More to come…

Oliver Knives How-To Build for AWCC 2011 Prizes

From Dwane Oliver of Oliver Knives

I get this particular knife cut out at a water jet place back east. It saves me about 1.5 hrs. This is the only one I do this with. The rest of my knives I cut from barstock. When I get them I aneal them , put them in the oven at about 1400 deg F , let em get up to temp and then just shut the oven off and let them cool real slow. This makes them dead soft.

Then I flatten the edge so I can mark it with a sharpie and mark the grinds. This is the tool I use for that.

Then I get my sander set up to do a flad grind. I built this sander from scratch , it’s built just like the ones you can buy , but mine has a 2hp DC variable speed motor, and I built a vertical 5/8″ shaft on the other end. I can put several different tools on it.

I built a small work rest to do flat grinds on , it helps to hold the blade still.

The belt direction is down , I always grind into the edge , never away.

Here is one that has been ground next to one that hasn’t.

I start on a 60 grit belt then go to a 120 grit and then 220 grit before heat treat.

Here they are , ready for the oven to be heat treated.

My digitally controlled oven , it will go up to 2200 deg I think.
1095 High Carbon steel heat treats at 1550 , I take them to 1600.

They are in there , wow that’s hot.

When I take them out of the oven I dunk them in the quenching oil , that cools them off very fast. As long as your grinds are even you don’t hear a pop when you drop them in. If you do ……its cracked and now scrap iron. lol , its has happened to me before, not in about 5 years though 8)

After they cool off to about 200 deg , I put them in the toaster oven at about 325 deg for 2 hours.

Here they are after the heat treatment , that’s the oil burned on the blade.

I then go back to the grinder on a 120 belt , 220 , 320 , 400 then a burishing 3M belt. Makes a great brushed finish. Here they are after that…..I had some others at the same stage and just shot them all.

While the blades were in the oven I made the handle material. I buy the G10 ( fiberglass composite ) in different thickness and colors and then laminate them together. Not all of the choices , just custom ones like this.
I sand each side with a 30 grit block and then use Devcon 5 min epoxy to hold em together. I put it in my 20 ton press and squeeze the chit outa it.

Cut up and ready to put on the blades.

Here they are again , with handles on them , epoxy drying , it dont take long before I can start shaping them. I also put 4 brass pins all the way through the handle. this helps with latteral strains.

Sanding and shaping is done on the belt grinder , I have a .500″ wheel that works great for the finger groove. I use a Hook-it II system( 6″ disks with hook and loop straps on them , real fast to change grits ) mounted on the vertical shaft to finish sand handles on. Missed a pic of that.

Now its time to make the Kydex sheaths. Kydex is a heat moldable ABS based plastic , its super tough stuff , and really cool to work with. If you mess up a mold , you just put it back in the oven and try again.

Here is my home made Press , it just has 2″ of a real dense foam on the bottom and then 1″ on the top.

Here is the first one ready for pressing. I tape the chit outa the blade to give it some room inside the sheath , the square on the handle is for the loop to attach to. The Kydex I decided to use has a silver carbon fiber look to it , i think it looks cool. It goes in the oven at 325 deg F hard as hell and comes out soft as dough.

Its pretty simple , put a piece of sheet down , the knife on that and another sheet on top and press…..2 min later and take it out and here it is.

I have a system of holes for these sheaths that will accept 2 different kinds of attachment , there is a rhyme and reason for the layout. It can be worn right or left handed , cross draw or upside down. Pretty cool I think. The rivets closest to the handle are critical in placement. They are the ones that dictate how tight the knife fits the sheath.

Drill a 1/4″ hole and put a rivet in it and press it in the arbor press.

I make my own stencils for marking my name on my blades too. I use this light sensitive material , its like a silkscreen. You put the negative on the glass and then put the stencil material on top. Close the lid , turn on the light , wait 2.5 min and turn the light off. Take it out , peel a clear film off each side and put it in the developer for about a min…..done.

Then I just tape the stencil on the blade and etch it on there , comes out cool most of the time. These came out pretty good.

AND here they are. As Parker would say…Those drivers that Do Work , will reap the rewards. The winner of each class will get a hand made knife.
Here are the two for the 2.2 pro and Sportsman classes.

And a special one for the winner of the G6 scale competition.
It has Moon Glow in the center of the handle , man its some bright stuff and glows for hours. The lanyard has glow string in it as well. It is also equipped with a whistle and a Black Crater cord light flashlight. Of course all of the knives have a ferrocerium fire steel in the handle as well.

Well I hope you enjoyed my little how to here.
I wish I was going to AWCC , but it just ain’t meant to be I guess. There will be a little bit of my sweat there though , these were fun to make.

Oliver Knives – Official Sponsor of the AWCC 2011

OLIVER KNIVES teams with RECON G6 Challenge and Axial Inc.

Axial Inc. and Recon Crawlers are please to announce OLIVER KNIVES in addition to the 2011 AWCC Sponsors list.

Dwane Oliver, head of Northern New Mexico Rock Crawling RC Club and chapter member of RECON Crawlers, is also a custom knife maker! Oliver Knives is graciously hand making something special for a prize award for the 2011 AWCC Finals at Cisco Grove, CA.

Oliver has recently hand crafted a survival knife while also recently attended his first G6 Challenge. Dwane has named this new knife after the RECON G6 Challenge, the G6 SK. A special Oliver G6 SK is also getting another custom treatment of which will be presented at the 2011 AWCC Finals to the first place winner of the Axial SCX10 G6 Challenge. As Brain Parker, founding member of RECON Crawlers says, “DO WORK! And a very special Oliver G6 SK will be bestowed upon you!”

Dwane Oliver – Custom knife maker since 2004. As many people do, I enjoy a good knife, only problem was I couldn’t afford one. Solution … learn to make knives. I am a self taught maker. I learned a lot from the Internet, a wonderful tool. I began making custom handmade knives in 2004. I do not use grinding jigs or CNC machines, these knives are all hand-made and shaped. I have sold knives all over the United States, Ireland, England , and Australia. I had several knives in the Iraq war and with my sons in the Marine Corps.

As with all of my knives, the G6 SK (G6 denotes the RECON G6 Challenge and SK denotes Survival Knife) is made to stand the test of time. The High Carbon 1095 Steel is precision ground (by my 2 hands) to a rugged size with a durable edge. The handle materials on a G6 SK are chosen for their durability in any conditions, wet or dry, hot or cold. Handles are always textured to give maximum grip , even is slippery situations. Removable Ferrocerium firesteel is placed in the handle to get you out of a tough spot on a cold night. Add a good Para-Cord lanyard, and you have the makings of a real tool for the outdoor adventure seeker. The Kydex sheath is heat molded to each individual knife. The tubular rivets that hold the sheath together are grouped in a Tek-Lok or a Molle-Lok pattern. Handling the G6 SK is truly ambidextrous and can be worn in any direction.

example of an Oliver G6 SK:
OLIVER KNIVES teams with RECON G6 Challenge and Axial