Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Olympia Preparation

Hi All,

When last I posted, I had averted disaster while doing some shaving with the Olympia machine. It was not quite ready for prime time because the shaving blade had some dings in it. New, sharp, blades arrived separately from the machine and we were pleased to be able to install them. Pretty much the same process as a Zamboni, remove the bolts and take out the old blade, wire-brush the blade holder plate and top of the new blade, rub down with WD-40, and install the new blade.

There are two adjustments for a new blade, first is the pitch or attack angle of the shaving blade. Zamboni has guide lines inside the conditioner; Olympia uses a peep-site mounted on the side, you line up a rod with the peep site and the pitch is set. After install the new new blade at proper pitch, it must be leveled. Threaded rods on both sides of the conditioner allow for fine tuning the level. The Olympia uses the same concept but is different to adjust.

Once we figured it out, we found it perhaps a big easier to get leveled than on a Zamboni. Using a flat plate, the bottom of the blade is lined up exactly with the bottom of the runner on both sides. This is the "course" adjustment. Then the blade is adjusted upward and you go on the ice and do some dry shaving. You can see visually if one side is digging deeper than the other. You can also drag the blade on the ice a few feet without turning on the conveyors. The snow shaved should be evenly distributed across the blade. Adjusting as needed is the "fine" adjustment.

We found it was fairly easy to set, our course adjustment did not need much fine tuning, and the cut was very even, consistent. and smooth. Of course it is smooth, you say, but sometimes you get "cavitations" or ripples as the conditioner or blade is unstable. We experienced none of that with the Olympia. We also put a fresh blade on the Zamboni for consistency's sake. Then, after the Cyclones game on March 22, both machines were deployed to shave down the ice to a level much lower than normally used for skating.

We were targeting getting down to about 1/2 inch, leaving at least 1/4 inch above the Cyclones ice paint. The NCAA surface would be painted on top. We did not want the ice to ultimately be too thick, but we had to leave room to safely shave off the NCAA surface without damaging the Cyclones surface. A delicate balance.

NCAA lines and logos painted on top, just like normal painting, then plenty of flooding on top of that for a clear coat, then, as mentioned before, another shave to level out the ripples and humps.

Voilà! brand spankin' new ice for the NCAA frozen four Mid-West Regionals.

So far, the Olympia is performing nicely. It is very different to operate, but it is doing its job well.


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