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SMC

Short Straight Straight with SMC SS bars Straight with Howell-N-Mann Bars Angled N.F.P.A. N.F.P.A.
Short Straight Straight with
SMC SS bars
Bars
Straight with
Howell-N-Mann
Bars
Angled N.F.P.A.
Straight 18"
/w On Rope 1
modifications

Overview


Short
(#2446)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Bob & Bob in 2017.

My SMC Short rack is 311 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 20 mm. thick, and weighs 557 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 33 mm. and a 27 mm. diameter welded eye. There are five brake bars. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter The top four are 63 mm. long and the bottom one is 71 mm. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 60 mm. for spreading the bars.

All five bars are stamped "B & B" and the frame has the SMC logo stamped on one side of the eye.

Comments

This is a short rack, so it lacks the range of friction adjustment that full-size racks provide.

I used three different types of Bob & Bob brake bars on this one because I acquired the rack and the bars when Bill Liebman was liquidating his brother Bob's inventory. The first, third, and fourth bars are standard bars. The second bar has a straight slot. Some people like these because they feel that it provides a safety advantage - the bar will immediately pop open if the rope is rigged on the wrong side of the bar. I do not like this feature because it causes the bar to flop around when the rack is not on rope, and I don't think that there is any chance that I would rig a rack backwards or not notice it if I did. The bottom bar is a longer, providing a better grip for adjusting bar spacing. This adds some weight that may not be justified.


Straight
(#384)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Inner Mountain Outfitters at the 1992 NSS Convention.

My SMC straight rack is 367 mm. tall, 63 mm. wide, 35 mm. thick, and weighs 711 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 34 mm. and a 27 mm. diameter welded eye. There are three 25 mm. diameter and two 19 mm. diameter aluminum alloy brake bars. The three larger bars have rope centering grooves. All five bars are 63 mm. long. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope gives a 78 mm. for spreading the bars.

All five bars are stamped "SMC," and the frame has the SMC logo stamped on one side of the eye.

Comments

This is a fairly normal rack. I have this one set up with three oversize bars in the top positions. The larger bars have more heat capacity, but with their large offset, they create more friction and hence more heat to absorb. The frame is long enough for a sixth bar, and I probably should add one.

 


Straight
with SMC Stainless Steel Bars
(#2411)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

My SMC Straight /w SMC SS C-bars rack is 364 mm. tall, 68 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 802 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 33 mm. and a 28 mm. diameter welded eye. There are six SMC stainless steel C-shaped brake bars. The bars are 3.1 mm. stainless steel bent into a channel. Each bar is 21 mm. high and 68 mm. long. A lock nut holds the bars in place. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 72 mm. for spreading the bars.

The frame has the SMC logo stamped on one side of the eye. Each bar is stamped with the SMC logo.

Comments

Comparing this rack to the standard SMC straight rack shows that switching to SMC stainless steel brake bars increases the weight by 91 g., or about 13 percent. By comparison, my Howell-N-Mann Custom Standard is about the same size as the SMC straight rack, but weighs only 459 g.: a total savings of 343 g., or 42 percent over this rack.


Straight
with Howell-N-Mann Bars
(#1323)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Jeff Levin in 2012.

This rack is 365 mm. tall, 102 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 681 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 34 mm. and a 27 mm. diameter welded coiled eye. There are six Howell-N-Mann brake bars made from 6Al/4V titanium tubing with hollow 6061-T6 aluminum inserts. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter. The top bar is a 102 mm. long double hyperbar, the fourth bar is a 99 mm. long bar with two posts to facilitate using one's fingers to rotate the bar on the frame to increase friction, and the remaining four bars are 62 and 99 mm. long standard bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope and 20 mm. for the spacers leaves 57 mm. for spreading the bars. There are two 1.5 mm. brass spacers between the first and second bars. A lock nut holds the bars on the frame.

The frame has the SMC logo stamped on one side of the eye.

Comments

Comparing this rack to the standard SMC straight rack shows that switching to the Howell-N-Mann brake bars only saved 30 g., or about 4 percent. Replacing the unnecessary hyperbar and even less useful finger bar with standard bars would reduce the weight further, but a stainless steel frame is still heavier than a titanium frame. By comparison, my Howell-N-Mann Custom Standard is about the same size as the SMC straight rack, but weighs only 459 g.: a total savings of 252 g., or 35 percent.


Angled
(#383)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from L&S Sporting Goods at the 1989 NSS Convention.

My SMC Angled/welded rack is 345 mm. tall, 68 mm. wide, 46 mm. thick, and weighs 743 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 33 mm. and a 27 mm. diameter welded eye centered and set at 90° to the plane of the bars. There are two 25 mm. diameter, 63 mm. long, aluminum alloy brake bars with rope centering grooves, followed by four 25 mm. tall, 63 mm. long, stamped, U-shaped, stainless steel bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 80 mm. for spreading the bars.

All five bars are stamped "SMC."

Comments

Some harnesses orient the seat carabiner vertically. Since I prefer to have the rack oriented vertically, with the opening away from me (this makes adding and removing bars easier), I would want to use a rack with the eye twisted 90 degrees if I were wearing such a harness. The bend in the frame centers the eye - a nice touch.


NFPA
(#543)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from On Rope 1 at the 1997 Old Timers Reunion.

My SMC NFPA rack is 367 mm. tall, 63 mm. wide, 27 mm. thick, and weighs 711 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 33 mm. and a 27 mm. diameter welded eye. There are five 19 mm. diameter and one 25 mm. diameter aluminum alloy brake bars. The larger bar, set in the second position, has a rope centering grooves. All five bars are 63 mm. long. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 88 mm. for spreading the bars.

There is a stamped stainless steel connector plate on the open side of the frame, retained by the lock nut. The connector plate has a 25 mm. opening aligned with the rack eye, and a second, sub-triangular opening to reduce weight.

The large bar is stamped with the SMC logo and the other five bars are stamped "SMC." The frame is stamped with "MLN534," "MEETS NFPA 1983 (95 ED), "P (PERSONAL USE)," "MBS3,000lbf," and the Underwriters Laboratories "Classified" logo. The connector plate is stamped with "MEETS NFPA 1983 (95 ED), "G (GENERAL USE)," "MBS6,000lbf," "MLN534," and the Underwriters Laboratories "Classified" logo.

Comments

The SMC NFPA rack adds a steel stamping that is loaded in tension when the rack is subjected to breaking tests. This allows the rack to meet what I consider to be arbitrary N.F.P.A. strength criteria (when was the last time a rack broke in when being used properly?) and keeps the lawyers happy, but it destroys the best feature of the rack - the ability to add and remove bars while on rappel. Of course, one must be properly trained to be able to do this, so why not be trained?

I tried to buy the plate by itself, but the distributor (not On Rope 1) insisted in selling the entire rack because "the plate was precision fit to each rack." Mine has about 4 or 5 mm. of slop, hardly much precision. One of the SMC distributors (again, not On Rope 1) told me that NFPA standards require the manufacturer to sell complete units, not parts. I can believe this, but since standards are heavily influenced (but not completely controlled) by manufacturers, I don't accept this excuse (I work in one of the two most heavily regulated industries in the country - and fly under the regulations of the other - so I appreciate the need despite some of the nonsense).

I give this whole idea the lemon award. Throw the plate in your souvenir drawer, and you are left with an excellent rack that you can use properly. If your lawyer wants the strength, get a U-frame rack.

Let me share the reaction that I got from SMC:

Subject: Website
Sent: 10/6/99 17:43
Received: 10/6/99 16:14
From: Garin <address snipped>
To: Gary D. Storrick, <address snipped>

Hi,

I have spent at least an hour reading and enjoying your site. I have been with SMC for 15 or so years. It's pretty information packed and helped me see some of the product evolution pieces from before my time in the industry. I got a good laugh out of our lemon NFPA Rack. People wanted to have a J-rack that was "legal" for fire services to purchase. The connector plate was a quick way for us to pass the test with a comfortable margin. Unless you're in a test lab it does little more than get in the way. By the way we have another already approved, NFPA Rack due out in a few months. It is a J-rack, sans connector, with a tubular stainless tie-off bar and 5 aluminum bars. Hope you'll take a look at it and retire the lemon rack as we soon will.

<SNIP>

Again, great site. I'll keep checking back.

Garin Wallace
Production Manager
SMC - Quality Gear for Life
Mountaineering & Rescue Equipment


Straight 18"
with On Rope 1 modifications
(#1402)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from On Rope 1 at the 2013 Old Timers Reunion.

This rack is 452 mm. tall, 92 mm. wide, 25 mm. thick, and weighs 1009 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into shape, with an internal width of 32 mm. and a 28 mm. diameter welded eye. There is one single hyperbar and six stamped U-bars. The hyperbar is 21 mm. in diameter and 92 mm. long. The other bars are 19 mm. tall and 68 mm. long. There are four lock collars on the rack. One pair is above the hyperbar and another below the top U-bar. There is a coil spring on each side that acts to force the hyperbar and top bar apart. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope and 44 mm. for the spacers leaves 64 mm. for spreading the bars.

The frame eye is stamped with the SMC logo and "9589." Each U-bar is stamped with the SMC logo.

Comments

I think that Bruce Smith created this rack in jest, or at least partly in jest. When I saw it, I accused him of assembling it just to see if I would buy it - he laughed but did not deny it. Only he knows for sure. All that said, this rack has a lot of nice features, most of which are not necessary. I think it is fun.