Archery finger tab and clicker
Starting a hobby can be expensive, especially when the equipment comes at a huge cost.
You can choose to start cheap. Buying the cheap equipment, honing your skills on them and hope you can get the best out of them. But your skill may be shaped in a way what only works for the cheap equipment. When you upgrade to more expensive counterparts, you find you have to relearn some of the techniques. The whole process takes too much time.
Archery is one of the best examples of this dilemma. The most influential modern archery technique is called KSL cycle, and multiple Olympic gold medals are won by athletes using this system. It can be applied to all equipment and archery type, but it is best practices and learned with the “KSL gold” equipment, such as the finger tab and micro-adjustable clickers.
They are the Holy Grail of archery, and needless to say, they are PRICY!!
Now, let’s be honest, I really would like to learn and master the KSL technique, but I am not sure if I would stay in archery for long. I certainly would not buy 2 little pieces of leather and copper which would deprived me hundreds of dollars, and leave them in the dusty attic one day.
I want to start cheap, with rooms to turn around.
Why don’t make them by myself?
Now, a little bit background story. The two pieces of KSL equipment I attempted to “replicate”, are the AAE KSL gold finger tab and micro-adjustable clicker.
Finger tab is the piece you wear when you pull back the string. The padding prevent too much pressure exerted onto your finger, and the hard base plate helps to maintain your hand shape. This technique and the finger tab is best displayed by Jake Kaminski in London and Rio Olympics.
the clicker is another piece that is vital to consistent shot. It normally consist of a single piece of metal that is screwed into the bow riser. It rides on top of the arrow as the bow string is pulled back. As the arrow is pulled back to a certain distance, the clicker is released, knocking the riser and “clicks”, to remind the archer a full pull is achieve and the arrow can be released.
The beauty of the KSL micro-adjustable clicker is the adjustability. Normal clicker pivot to change the position, the KSL clicker slides. This way the springiness of the clicker is unaffected, you will have the consistent “click” no matter how far you adjust. (demonstrated by Brady Ellison)
Okay, enough background knowledge, let’s see how can I make these two KSL equipment.
I planned to use 6mm aluminum as the material for the finger tab base plate, and Cowhide and Cordovan leather for the padding.
The cutting was made easy by WAZER. I can cut all different types of material with ease
For example, WAZER can cut through the leather without abrasive. The intricate shapes can be achieved without too much trouble. This piece was completed within 30 seconds. Can any one beat that?
The assembly took some time, and surprising the final fine tuning took the most amount of time. I guess this is common for all DIY project, because the parts seldom comes out or goes together as planned!
And the end result is amazing! There are some sharp edges here and there, but overall not bad I would say.
As for the clicker, I would say carbon fiber is a good candidate. Thin carbon piece has the springiness I need, and thick carbon plate has the rigidity needed for the slider plate.
The clicker parts are slightly easier for post processing, carbon fiber did not need finishes as it turns out. Once I got the dimension correct, it came out from the WAZER cut bed exactly as I anticipated.
One problem with the thin piece of carbon I chose, later I found out the piece was too thin it did not have the springiness to “click”. The solution is also very simple: bonding two piece of carbon together, and use the bimetal spring mechanism to introduce the curve and springiness.
It turned out great. The click sound was clear and loud, there is no way I can miss it.
I am still working on the sliding and adjusting mechanism. Right now I use two bolts to clamp onto a piece of aluminum slider (also made by using WAZER). Whenever I wanted to adjust the slider, I have to loosen the bolts, move the slider, and re-tighten the nuts. There must be a better way.
I will keep iterating the design till I found the best set up.