Need some help with roller chain

So we are having trouble connecting chain. We are trying to connect to different pieces of chain together using a normal link. Do we have to use a master link for every new piece added or is there another way to connect them?

So there is a way, IF you have a chain breaker tool or can improvise one (which will be harder).

Drive pins out, put new chain section in, drive pins in. It’s something you’ll want illustrated; I don’t have any pictures handy.

2 Likes

Unless you have one of these chain tools handy, which I would highly recommend, you are going to need a master/half link to make any joins in chain.

3 Likes

As they said ^^

A Master link makes it very easy to combine chain, using a simple spring clip to hold it all together.

One can drive out the connecting pin(s) of any link, line up the ends and drive the pin back in. Using a ‘chain breaker’ tool it is quite easy, and teams with one almost never need to use a Master link. Doing it without a tool is absolutely possible, but difficult in that the little bits are fiddly.

I do encourage you to try it, it’s a good thing to learn, but also invest in the tool as soon as you can. MOST chain breakers are for a specific size only, such as #35 or #25. A tool for a different size will be frustrating and even harder to use than doing it by hand.

Best of luck, but go and break some chain!

We use a chain breaker to ‘cut’ the chain to the length that we want, but we have never tried using the original pins and plates to re-connect the two ends to form a loop. We tend to bend the link plates when we push out the pins and we have never trusted putting them back together. We always use a master link as it is much simpler to do, especially if you are trying to connect the loop in situ.

As a different experience, I’ve never had good experience with master links, always having trouble getting the clip on (is there a correct way to do it?). I think the only place I’ve had to use them was with a chain tensioner where you can’t use a chain tool.

Chain tools like the VEX one linked above, or the #25 one that REV sells or the DarkSoul #25 chain tool (the last two I’ve used) work wonders for quickly resizing chain, which I find we’ve done quite a bit of, especially with the FTC teams.

3 Likes

Note that if you’re doing #25 chain, the Dark Soul (and likely other) tools will only work properly for the standard duty chain, not HD chain - unless you torque really hard on the tool the first time, and then you can never reliably use it for standard duty #25 again, because you’ve dimpled out the stop in the pin, and you’ll push the pins completely out of standard chain.

OBTW: DEFINITELY worth it! I had a line in my autosignature a few years ago that says it all: Friends don’t let friends use master links.

1 Like

There is a technique to it.

The first thing you need to do is make sure the loose side plate of the master link is fully seated on the pins such that the grooves in the pins are completely visible. Sometimes we have found that you need to pinch the two outer plates together to get them fully seated. This is especially true if the inner link of the chain that you are inserting the master link into was distorted at all when the chain was broken.

The next trick is to get the clip laying in position ready to slide into the grooves in the pin. This is trickier than it seems but generally if you have done the first step correctly, you will be able to get the clip started into the groves of the pins by hand without too much difficulty.

Then, with a nice needle-nose pliers, you position the tip of one jaw against the closed end of the clip and the tip of the other jaw against the closest pin and squeeze. This will pull the clip toward the pin and slide it into the groove. You just need to make sure that the open end of the clip is staying in alignment with the groove of the other pin. You want to make sure you feel the clip fully seat. Some clips will actually snap into place. Others, where is is more of an interference fit will simply have a definitive feel that they have bottomed out.

You want to inspect the finished product to make sure both ends of the clip are in the grooves their respective pins. Sometimes the open end of the clip will ride around the pin above the groove rather than sliding into the groove. If that is the case, it can usually be fixes by squeezing the entire assembly from the clip to the far side plate to slide the clip down the pin until it pops into the groove.

3 Likes

This reminded me of a longstanding question: where do you buy #25 heavy duty roller chain?

Granted, it was 18 years ago that I last called around, but at the time, Tsubaki #25 ultra super chain was special order and required large minimum quantities and long lead times. They don’t even list it in #25 as an available product. (See Ultra Super Chain | Super (Heavy Duty) Drive Chains | Super (Heavy Duty) Drive Chains | Drive Chains | Power Transmission Products | TSUBAKIMOTO CHAIN GROUP & http://tsubaki.ca/pdf/library/superseries.pdf.)

Is this the stuff you were talking about?

1 Like

WCP sells #25H chain and #25H chain accessories: Roller Chain – WestCoast Products

3 Likes

Do you know how teams typically work with #25H chain if the normal chain break tools don’t work reliably on them? If they dimple them, can they then work reliable with #25H?

Normal chain break tools work OK on #25HD - there is no requirement that you stop pushing the pin out when it is still engaged in the outer plate.

After creating the dimple, I found that the Dark Soul was quite reliable on #25H. All the dimple does is allow the slightly longer pin to be pushed far enough to release the inner half of the link. Unfortunately, this makes it unreliable for #25, because you can easily push the pin clear of the outer plate, where it is difficult if not impossible to get it back in without a more expensive tool.