An Epee Fencing Repair Jig
One of the frustrations of an epee fencer is dealing with the replacement or repair of the point. Once in a while, a point malfunctions and it needs to be replaced. When I was younger, it was no big deal since my eyesight was much better and my hands are steady. Now in my old age, it becomes more and more dificult. I invented a simple jig to help.
- Jan. 2019
It is not just me but I have watched other fencers struggle with replacing the tiny screws with one hand while holding down the tip under spring pressure and making sure it is aligned with the holes. It helps if you have a vice to hold the weapon still but we are not always near a vice.
My solution is simple and I am surprised no one else have comed up with it. The hardware of the epee have not changed in the 40 some years since my days fencing on the varsity team. The epee weapon consists of a blade with a V channel that has two wires glued down. The two wires ends at the tip where a holder containing two small round contact points separated by a small distance. This holder barrel is screwed to the tip of the blade. It also has a round bore shaft where a flat pointed tip fits snug into it. The tip also has a small contact spring attached. This tip assembly fits inside the bore shaft and a larger pressure spring keeps the tip extended while two small screws holds the tip in place 180 degrees apart at a right angle. When the tip is depressed fully, it closed the contact and makes an electrical connection. This is how it register a hit to the scoring machine. A shimmer test is applied before competition to make sure the gap is 1.5mm. The tip must also withstand a weight of 750 g of weight. This insures the touch to be of sufficient pressure to puncture skin and register a good hit.
Detail Drawing of an Epee Point
One problem that may arise over time is that the contact spring is worn out or of the wrong distance, either too long or too short. Too long, the contacts won’t close, too short, it fails the shimmer test. To repair this, one needs to remove the two tiny screws and replace the contact spring or adjust the distance. The spring can be adjusted by turning it clockwise ot counterclockwise.
Another problem is the spring may be off center. This will create dead spots when your weapon is depressed. The contact spring must be aligned to the center of the hole.
To help with replacing the tip I have created a simple jig. This piece of plastic is made from a 3D printer. Luckily, I have a friend that has one and knows how to design models to print on it. I provided him with the specifications and he made the final product. This jig consist of a rectangular box of sufficent length and a U shaped knotch of the proper dimensions such that an epee tip will fit inside as shown in the photo above. Once inserted, the spring will keep it in place and you can rotate it to access the screws. You can remove the two screws and replace them easily on a flat surface.
A Modified Version with Key Chain Hole
EPEJIG Trade Mark
Another Idea (EPECAP) TM
This will protect the point of the epee while storing in the fencing bag. Made from the same 3D printer technology.
A New Invention EPEROD TM
This item will protect the blade while in transit in bags. It is light weight and water proof and rust resistent.
It is easy to use, just slip it over the blade.
It complements the EPECAP which protests the tip.
It weighs less than half of the current PVC pipe.
This item is currently in prototype mode.
This was a simple and cheap solution. A typical part of his size cost $0.40 to make. This was just a model which can only create a handful of parts. Each part takes abount 30 minutes to print. If I wanted to mass produce this part, the design data can be converted to files that will be used by injection moding companies which then can make thousands of parts at much cheaper cost. There is a cost of creating the mold but once made, the pieces will be pennies to make.
I am grateful for the works and expertise of my friend Rostislav Perision. He was very responsive and patient when working on the various iterations of the design. It took us three tries to get the dimensions just right.
This design from start to finish took only 4 days. He also made the improvement to add the keyring. Thanks.
Some Related Info
Are you up for some more fencing history on this blog, fencers? We certainly are! After looking at the history of foil fencing (part 1 and part 2), our expert Malcolm Fare today breaks down the history of epee fencing for you.
© 2019 Jack Lee