Carabiners are a simple yet essential piece of equipment for anyone who is an outdoor enthusiast. You can use them to attach keys or water bottles to one’s belt loop, harness, backpack strap, etc.
To get the full story on the manufacturing processes of carabiners and what goes into them from start to finish, we will explore the process from beginning to end. Let’s see how are carabiners made nowadays.
What Is a Carabiner?
A carabiner is a piece of outdoor equipment with an open-loop and a locking, typically oval-shaped, gate on the other side. Usually, the gate is closed and locked by a lever mechanism that keeps it tightly shut.
What Are Its Uses?
Carabiners have a variety of uses:
- You can use them as a connector for ropes or webbing.
- A tool to secure yourself to an anchor, such as in belaying, climbing, or descending
- They can be used as a handle to transport objects.
- They are applicable in industrial safety applications.
- You can use a carabiner for locking and unlocking things or changing your lock combination if you are using something like a locker.
- You can use them as key rings.
- Homeowners can use them as a simple lock for gates or fences.
How Are Carabiners Made?
Carabiners are made from extruded, hot-forged, cold-forged aluminum and die casting.
- Extruded Aluminum: Extrusion is a process that forms objects of a fixed cross-section out of metal by pushing them through a mold or die. The “extrusion” term covers any material in sheet, wire, or tube form that is forced through a die to get the desired cross-sectional profile.
- Hot Forging: It involves shaping metal parts by forcing the hot metal into a mold under high pressure, with or without heating, according to the desired form and dimensions, also known as hot forges.
- Cold Forging: Cold forging or cold working is a metalworking process that involves subjecting the workpiece to pressures of more than 50 MPa (7,000 psi). The resulting products are more robust and rigid than those made by hot working. In the case of carabiners, they are often cold forded.
- Die casting: A manufacturing process for producing a wide range of metal parts. The process involves forcing molten metal under high pressure into a mold cavity. The final product (die) is a block or flask, usually made of steel. Alternatively, you can use graphite for some low-melting point metals.
Alternatively, you can follow these steps to make your DIY carabiner.
- Start by taking a triangular billet of hot aluminum and rotating it over the mandrel.
- Using a template, strip off the corners to create an octagonal shape.
- Proceed to punch out both sides of the carabiner after cutting along a parting line from each side
- After this completing the punching out step, proceed to form the carabiner.
- As a final step, sand all the edges smoothly and spray on your paint finish.
What Are Carabiners Made Of?
Carabiners consist of Carbon Steel, Aluminum, and Stainless Steel.
- Aluminum: A lightweight material that can weigh approximately 40% as much as steel does but has only 60% of the strength
- Carbon Steel: Inexpensive and readily available material that offers a good balance of strength, weight, and corrosion resistance
- Stainless Steel: This is a popular material choice for carabiners because it offers extremely high strength
The Different Types of Carabiners
There are various types of carabiners in the market. They include:
- D-shaped: This is a traditional slab carabiner with tapered ends. It has the thickest profile and offers enhanced gate strength.
- Oval: Harvested from a round bar, this is another good choice for applications where strength and weight are key considerations. However, oval carabiners can be more expensive.
- Offset D-shape: This is a variation on the D-Shape, but it has one broadside, the gate’s location. Nevertheless, it makes clipping more effortless, and it has more available space for tying cordage.
- Key Lock: This type of carabiner has a notch on the gate that prevents the screw from opening. If you are concerned about the safety of your gear, this type of carabiner is worth considering.
- Wire Gate: This type of carabiner has a semi-circular notch on the gate that offers a better clipping experience. It is lightweight and robust, ideal for climbing, mountaineering, ice climbing, and caving activities.
The Benefits of Using a Carabiner
- Durable and long-lasting: A carabiner comes with a state-of-the-art design enabling it to last for several years, even in the harshest conditions.
- Affordable: You can purchase a carabiner at any hardware store for a reasonable price.
- Lightweight: Carabiners contain aluminum, which is a lightweight material that will not weigh you down.
- Secure: You will not have to worry about your carabiner failing since it contains durable materials to keep your gear safe.
- Versatile: Carabiners are helpful in a variety of ways. For example, you can use them to hang a lantern or other items from inside your tent.
The Safety Precautions When Using a Carabiner
- Remember, carabiners work effectively to support only body weight. Therefore, if you try to hang something too heavy, then your carabiner will break.
- Also, you should consider using a locking carabiner for applications where your gear may undergo significant forces or impacts.
- You should never forget to inspect your carabiner before using it. If you notice any cracks or splits while using it, stop immediately and throw the carabiner away.
- Keep in mind that carabiners can get very hot during use. Therefore, if you will use it frequently, consider purchasing a carabiner with a heat-treated gate.
How to Choose a Good Quality Carabiner for Your Needs
If you are in the market for a new carabiner, consider these factors to help you choose the best carabiners for your specific needs.
- Size/Weight: Carabiners come in a variety of sizes and weights. You will need to select the carabiner that is right for your specific application.
- Number of Grapes: This refers to the number of twists in the carabiner’s handle. The more grapes that are present, the easier it will be to handle
- Gate Type: Always make a wise choice between using a locking gate or a non-locking gate. Even though the locking gate is stronger, but it may be costly.
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