CMC Arizona Vortex Series 2 of 4: Arizona Vortex Tripod Configuration

Written By: Lance Piatt

Arizona Vortex Tripod Configuration

Here we are at CMC rescue in Goleta, California. We’re going to set up the Arizona Vortex. It is a traditional tripod for entry to this manhole right here. The Arizona Vortex is an artificial high directional. It has numerous configurations. We’re going to share the most basic configuration. That is the tripod.

Okay. So the Arizona Vortex comes in four bags and that’s for portability for carrying it across rough terrain. We need to start by putting the head together because we know we need a three-legged device for a tripod. So Leroy is going to pull out the A-frame joiner, that blue device there, along with a monopod, it’s that orange piece there. And you attach the two together to create our three legs or the head for the three legs. That half-inch pin is rated at 32,000 pounds. It’s got a ball detent on each end, so you’re going to push a little button, pins go in, one on either side. Once that is complete, we have the first steps to the building of our tripod.

Buy the CMC Arizona Vortex
Arizona Vortex Training


Buy the CMC Arizona Vortex
Arizona Vortex Training

All right. The next phase of the construction of our tripod is to put the legs in. We’re going to start by placing an outer leg into the head of the Vortex there. You’ll notice at the head of the Vortex, there are three indexing slots and on the leg, there’s an indexing pin. Sliding that pin into the slot lines up a hole for us at any one of three different positions. And that three-eighths inch pin that Leroy just put in there is rated at 18,000 pounds.

Okay. The next step in the construction of our tripod is to add legs, to increase height. So in this leg bag here, we have two outer legs and one inner leg. I’m going to take the outer leg out, lay it on the ground. You’ll notice on the leg here, there’s a line that says caution. This is the last hole for the maximum height. I’m going to put the pin in that hole right there. So as I line these two holes up, I’m going to drop in one of my three-eights pins. Make sure it’s all the way through, locked. And I’m going to add another outer leg, too again get maximum height for this particular entry we’re going to do here. And make sure it’s all the way through and pull.

The next step is the leg is going to go in here. Remember we have these indexing pins. So as this slides in, I’m just going to turn until we hear that pop. Leroy is going to drop a pin in and we have one of three legs we need to build.

Okay. The last phase of construction for our Vortex in tripod configuration is to go ahead and put the feet on. What I’m holding here is called a Raptor foot. You notice on the Raptor, there are multiple holes around the base, that is for the application of our pin. At the other end here, I have two holes that’ll be used for hobble straps. Have this slot here so I can put in the chain. The most important part is the tip right here. This is a carbide tip that is held in with an Allen wrench. If I unscrew that nut there, turn this thing 120 degrees, screw it back in, I have a fresh new carbide tip and a nice sharp point.

All right, the next step here is to go ahead and put our hauling system in. What Leroy is going to do here is pull out our pre-built CSR2 4:1 pulley system. Because it’s a confined space and we’re worried about maximum lift height, what we’re going to do is take off the carabiner at the head of the CSR2 pulley and attach directly into the pin of the Arizona Vortex. If you recall, that pin is rated at 32,000 pounds. So it’s more than adequate for this right here. Okay. A key point before we stand the tripod up is to fully extend our 4:1, so the entrant can reach it without having to lean over the hole and compromise his safety.

Okay. The final phase in the construction of our tripod is the application of the hobble straps. There’s a total of three. And all we’re going to do is undo the straps and hook them up to each leg. The design of these straps is to prevent splaying when this device is loaded in compression.

Okay. So what you can see we have here in the final configuration is your Arizona Vortex set up in an equilateral tripod configuration. What we’re going to do now is head off and show you guys what we could do with this Arizona Vortex if we have a hole that cannot be centered underneath the tripod.

Okay. So we’re back here at a different location. This time you’ll notice that the entry portal is offset from the center of the tripod. So what we’ve had to do is build what we call an easel configuration. So we have two legs upfront. We have an outer leg and an inner leg, an outer leg, and an inner leg. And then back here, we have an outer leg an inner leg and another outer leg with our Harken winch mounted to it. What we’re able to do now is stand this device up and get the resultant or the entry line over the center of the hole that allows us to make entry.

Okay. So in our previous scenario, we had a tripod, we used the Raptor feet. We switched to here is the flat foot. You’ll notice here we have this piece of that’s called the stem. We commonly call this blue piece here the horseshoe. We want this stem to be able to rotate through the horseshoe. This works really well on flat surfaces. We have the ability to either stake it down or use our hobble straps around the stem here from leg to leg to leg.

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