Making your bird launcher safer!
We have all heard about the danger of pinching a finger when breaking down a launcher.
If you have forgotten to release the rubbers, you have left the unit in a dangerous condition.
At our kennel, we have two types of launchers that are very similar in design but made by different manufacturers. I noticed the other day that there is a difference in the way they are assembled that renders one of them much safer than the other when it comes to this “pinch potential”.
The difference I noticed is in the way the “scissors” are attached to the frame where it folds down for storage, and the scissors’ are the danger points. I found that there is a simple fix to make those more dangerous launchers a little less dangerous.
The launcher on the left has the scissors pointing up, and its’ hinge is housed between the flat tabs on the frame when folded down. This is the safer of the two possible assemblies as you will see below.
The launcher on the right has the scissors pointing down when folded, and that can be the trap. If you have a launcher that is setup like the one on the right, it is time to do something about it before it bites you.
If your launcher has the scissors down as on the launcher on the right, you are potentially playing with fire, and unnecessarily risking your fingers!
Folding the unit down when assembled this way can trap the hand (and fingers) in a position where it is difficult to escape injury. The hand is led into the trap because the scissors needs to be pulled down in order to fold the unit to its flat transport/storage position.
The alternative arrangement of the scissors folding up towards the hinge point makes the same action much safer, as it can be done with a clenched fist, leaving an easy escape route for the hand out the open bottom of the scissors if you forgot to release the rubbers before you folded the unit down.
It is a relatively simple fix to change your scissors to the safer arrangement.
The only tools you need are a 9/16” combination wrench and a ½” socket and ratchet (or a ½ “ wrench).
Remove the scissors from the frame by disassembling the attaching bolts. The scissors’ will need to be switched left for right, flipped top end for bottom end, and rolled over front for back.
When removed they are as in this configuration:
…and you reattach them after the switching, flipping and rolling when they look like this:
I found that I needed to add a total of six (6) 5/16” washers to the hardware attaching the scissors for mine to operate correctly, (three for each side for one of the two scissors attaching bolts) as spacers to provide clearance between the straight arm of the scissors end and the frame. So that the total hardware for one side of each scissors set up laid out like this:
The added washers only need to be done on one side of each bolt. You will see on one pivot where additional clearance is necessary for the scissors to operate freely, (it’s the straight end) and that is where you add them.
The other bolt (on the end with a bend) will operate correctly with only the original hardware setup.
The folding part of the scissors should be located between the flat tabs on each part of the frame before inserting the bolts and additional washers back in place.
When you are done, it should look like this:
Tighten the bolts snugly, then loosen them a bit until the scissors operate freely.
Before the change:
After the change:
So now, my previously scary scissors’ seem a lot safer now, and yours can too!
Be careful out there. Lets’ keep our fingers where they belong, on our hands!