Ceramic Detents?

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James Y
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Ceramic Detents?

Postby James Y » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:35 pm

Since ceramic is harder and longer-wearing than steel, and some knives (the Caribbean, as well as CRK knives) use them, if ceramic detents might be a better option for all (or almost all) detent-defendant models, such as the PM2, Para3, and etc., etc. I’ve read at least one post here, and maybe a few on BF, about steel detents wearing out. Just a thought. I’m not saying that Spyderco SHOULD change over, but if it would make for potentially longer-wearing compression, liner, and frame locks. Or if I’m thinking about a mostly non-existent issue.

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JuPaul » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:28 pm

Hope you don't mind if I piggyback on your question: I'm curious to know has anyone replaced a fully functional steel ball (not worn out) with a ceramic one and noticed improvement in the detent?
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Sharp Guy
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby Sharp Guy » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:51 pm

JuPaul wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:28 pm
Hope you don't mind if I piggyback on your question: I'm curious to know has anyone replaced a fully functional steel ball (not worn out) with a ceramic one and noticed improvement in the detent?
I can't see how changing to a ceramic ball would improve the detent. I might make the action feel smoother though

Ceramic detent balls have been discussed before. I'm all for it if they hold up better than the steel ones and don't have any notable side effects.
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JuPaul » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:41 am

Sharp Guy wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:51 pm
JuPaul wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:28 pm
Hope you don't mind if I piggyback on your question: I'm curious to know has anyone replaced a fully functional steel ball (not worn out) with a ceramic one and noticed improvement in the detent?
I can't see how changing to a ceramic ball would improve the detent. I might make the action feel smoother though
Yeah, maybe that was a dumb question. I guess I was just thinking one material might be "stickier" than another and then less likely to release as easily.
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polyhexamethyl
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby polyhexamethyl » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:52 am

I've changend a couple of steel detent balls for ceramic detent balls - the Action of opening and closing improved, but everything else pretty much stayed the same

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby Evil D » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:03 am

I've seen steel balls replaced by ceramic many times, one of our members here does it pretty regularly but he doesn't post here much anymore.

I've been using a couple Caribbeans quite a bit. I'll take them apart and get some macro shots of the balls and see how they're holding up. My only concern is that long term I could see them wear down the edge of the detent hole and reduce the effectiveness of the detent action. On the other hand it seems maybe they only allow the ball to seat so far into the hole (aka weak detent action) so that as the ball wears the edges of the hole it seats deeper into it.
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby knivesandbooks » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:21 am

I've often wondered if ceramic detects are just marketing.
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:25 am

How does one change out a steel detent ball for a ceramic?
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
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Evil D
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby Evil D » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:32 am

knivesandbooks wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:21 am
I've often wondered if ceramic detects are just marketing.

After how many flattened steel detent balls I've seen, I believe they have their advantages.
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby ABX2011 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:07 am

Sound like there could be a functional benefit. Interestingly the Chinese flipper companies switched over to ceramic detents on many models awhile back. Arguably they did it because their customer base demanded it.

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby James Y » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:19 am

Evil D wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:03 am
I've seen steel balls replaced by ceramic many times, one of our members here does it pretty regularly but he doesn't post here much anymore.

I've been using a couple Caribbeans quite a bit. I'll take them apart and get some macro shots of the balls and see how they're holding up. My only concern is that long term I could see them wear down the edge of the detent hole and reduce the effectiveness of the detent action. On the other hand it seems maybe they only allow the ball to seat so far into the hole (aka weak detent action) so that as the ball wears the edges of the hole it seats deeper into it.
I was wondering about that, too. I would imagine that, if CRK, with their (generally) softer steel blades can do it without worry, that Spyderco could figure out the issue of ceramic ball and detent wear. It would be interesting if some of the Golden models started incorporating it, as long as they can have the same strength/secure hold as the current steel ones. But I also wonder how much, if any, of a cost increase would result.

Jim

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JD Spydo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:12 am

I'm finding this question to be most interesting. Ceramic has most certainly come a long way in the past 15 years especially. Now I'll be up front and tell you all right out that I'm still not sold on ceramic knife blades and I've tried about 4 of them total ( mostly ceramic kitchen knives) and at this point I'll still take steel blades any day of the week. But as far as functional, working parts in any mechanism I will gladly give a green light on that for sure.

I also think that Sal & Co are going to eventually even find a better ceramic to use for their sharpening stones in the near future. Just a gut feeling I have at the moment.

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby gull wing » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:35 am

I have no problems with steel D balls. I have some old knives with the steel balls that are worn almost flat and they have yet to cause a problem, they are as smooth as they ever have been. I've had these knives a long time and for that matter I've been around a long time. :)
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby curlyhairedboy » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:53 am

I'm a fan of them, but on a case-by-case basis. They can definitely help when trying to prevent flattening on the especially wear-resistant steels, but at the same time it's a lot easier to replace a flattened steel ball than it is a worn detent hole.

My policy right now is keeping the steel until I need to replace it. Then, depending on use patterns, the knife may get a ceramic upgrade or just a normal steel replacement.
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Evil D
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby Evil D » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:14 pm

So bare with me here, these are cell pics so they're not the best but they should give you some kind of idea of how the detent is wearing on the hole.

If you can't make out what you're seeing, the edge of the hole were the detent slides over is definitely wearing (polishing actually, it's quite reflective and difficult to get a clear pic of without it shining).

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Keep in mind, the area all around the detent path is actually polished to what looks like a mirror surface to the naked eye, so what you're seeing is VERY small.

As for the ball itself, it's still perfectly round and quite smooth, so much so that you can see the reflection of my hand in the surface of the ball.
Image

I'm curious how this will progress over time. This knife has been opened at least 500 times or more, but I do grease my detent balls so that might reduce how much wear is happening. If anyone is interested (and reminds me) I'll check back on this in a few months and see if that edge has wore in any further. I also suspect that this has a little to do with the Caribbean's notoriously weak detent action, since rounding off that corner of the hole no doubt smooths out the detent action.
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JonLeBlanc
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:01 pm

Can anyone answer my question about how a steel ball is changed out for a ceramic one?
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
Wish list: Hundred Pacer; Sliverax; Mantra; 52100 PM2 SE; Kapara

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JuPaul » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:02 pm

curlyhairedboy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:53 am
I'm a fan of them, but on a case-by-case basis. They can definitely help when trying to prevent flattening on the especially wear-resistant steels, but at the same time it's a lot easier to replace a flattened steel ball than it is a worn detent hole.

My policy right now is keeping the steel until I need to replace it. Then, depending on use patterns, the knife may get a ceramic upgrade or just a normal steel replacement.
Very interesting. Did you happen to notice if there was any kind of indentation in that spot when it was new, or is that entirely from wear?
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby Evil D » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:04 pm

JonLeBlanc wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:01 pm
Can anyone answer my question about how a steel ball is changed out for a ceramic one?
I've never done it but I assume they're just pressed in and out. The hole that the ball seats into goes all the way through the blade, there is a smaller hole on the back side that you can use to press the ball out if you use some kind of very small punch. I have no idea what size ball to get though. If you're on Instagram talk to rs-travis, I know he's done it a bunch and can probably tell you all you need to know.
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JonLeBlanc
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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:09 pm

Evil D wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:04 pm
JonLeBlanc wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:01 pm
Can anyone answer my question about how a steel ball is changed out for a ceramic one?
I've never done it but I assume they're just pressed in and out. The hole that the ball seats into goes all the way through the blade, there is a smaller hole on the back side that you can use to press the ball out if you use some kind of very small punch. I have no idea what size ball to get though. If you're on Instagram talk to rs-travis, I know he's done it a bunch and can probably tell you all you need to know.
Oh hmm, I guess I can see that now in ur first few pics, I never really knew how that looked without one. That interesting though, thanks
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
Wish list: Hundred Pacer; Sliverax; Mantra; 52100 PM2 SE; Kapara

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Re: Ceramic Detents?

Postby anycal » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:38 pm

I would think that depending on the blade steel, and depending on the ball steel, results will vary. I wonder if :spyder: detent balls come from the same source, with the same level of hardness? Because that would also impact how it wears, or how it wears out the blade steel.

And are all ceramics equal? Perhaps they are more consistent, I don't know?

Lot of variables, but interesting to think about.

When it comes to replacement the detent ball. If ball wears out quickly with no major grove in the blade, I would upgrade to a ceramic ball. If the balls wears out and there is a noticeable grove in the blade steel as well, maybe stay with steel.
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