Nato with Protected Buckle Holes
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  1. #1
    Member Davido22's Avatar
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    Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    My old Glycine sub came on very high quality Nato, great hardware and extra protection on the buckle holes as seen in pic. Are there any after - market brands that offer such protection on their straps?
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  2. #2
    Sponsor CrownAndBuckle's Avatar
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    Hamilton has nylon straps with leather around the holes, Timex has nylon straps with metal rivets around the holes.

    To me it doesn't look like those holes on your strap held up any better than nylon would on it's own.
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    I have a faux NATO strap somewhere in my stash with metal rivets around the holes. I have no idea where it came from, so I'm guessing it was on an old "project" watch and likely not very high quality. That said, the eyelets have popped off on any hole that's seen any use. This particular construction method puts something very hard in an interface with something very soft in a deformable application. The inescapable result is that the softer material will fail as the harder material does not yield at all while the softer material is forced to take up all the yield AND the additional yield created by the dramatically more inflexible material. Summary: metal eyelets in a nylon strap sounds like a good idea, but it'll fail harder and faster than the straight nylon would.

    The strap in the photo looks a lot like the referenced Hamilton straps. There's no specification listed on the Hamilton site, but if it's like the strap in the photo above it's faux leather reinforcing the holes, and would fail in the same way as the strap in the photo. Were it lined with actual leather, it'd likely stand up much better. I only say "likely", because you'd be dealing with some very very thin leather, and the fiber structure that makes leather so strong and durable would essentially be nullified down to two dimensions (I hope that makes sense).

    By comparison, a high quality nylon strap would have heat fused fibers around the hole across a sufficiently wide cross section that you'd essentially have the same sort of reinforcement as the metal eyelets without the severe hardness gradient and with the bonus that it binds the fibers and keeps them from unraveling. The specific nylon in question would need to be of a formulation where the heat fused mass is sufficiently soft to allow it to flex at a rate as close to the woven fiber form as possible, which would likely result in an abrasion spec on the lower end of the spectrum. In other words, to maximize the durability of the fused holes, you'd be sacrificing durability of the strap itself. Engineering is a game of balancing compromise.
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    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

  6. #5
    Member Davido22's Avatar
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    Thanks for responding. After looking at my pic again I see that the holes don't look too great. I vaguely understand the idea of materials of equal "give". As I think about it again I feel that the reenforcement makes the strap feel better supported than just a straight up piece of nylon, gives it more of a sense of being a real strap, if that makes any sense.

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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Davido22 View Post
    I vaguely understand the idea of materials of equal "give".
    Imagine you clamped a thin stick in a vise. As you flex the assembly, the vise is much more stiff than the stick, and the stick takes up all the flexure. At small deformation angles, the stick happily bends without much issue. If you bend it too far, the stick breaks right where it's clamped in the vise, but doesn't totally let go. If you keep bending it back and forth over time, eventually it'll totally let go where the stick has been flexing. In the watch band scenario, the nylon weave is the stick, and the ferrule is the vise. The other end of the spectrum would be if you took two sticks of a similar thickness but maybe different species such that one is marginally stiffer than the other, and somehow joined them end to end. They'll both take up a fair amount of flex, and eventually the less-stiff one will break. That break will likely, but not necessarily, occur at the interface depending on a variety of factors including hardness/stiffness delta between the two and inconsistencies within each.

    Quote Originally Posted by Davido22 View Post
    As I think about it again I feel that the reenforcement makes the strap feel better supported than just a straight up piece of nylon, gives it more of a sense of being a real strap, if that makes any sense.
    Engineering is a game of balancing compromise. If you value the feeling of the reinforcement over the actual durability, then that's the balance of compromise you can choose to take. It's a completely valid choice.
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    Member ZIPPER79's Avatar
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    Try Blue Shark, their nylon jatos are heat welded at the holes. I have a few and never had a problem.....

    Lee
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  9. #8
    Sponsor CrownAndBuckle's Avatar
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by ZIPPER79 View Post
    Try Blue Shark, their nylon jatos are heat welded at the holes. I have a few and never had a problem.....

    Lee
    It's rare to see a NATO that isn't heat welded in some manner, because the heat is how the hole is made. Cheaper straps use laser cutting. It works, and it does seal the hole, but it usually is pretty rough looking, and can cause burrs that can irritate the skin. Ultrasonic cutting is the preferred method, it can create quite a clean and beautiful sizing hole in nylon, while reinforcing the area at the same time.
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by CrownAndBuckle View Post
    It's rare to see a NATO that isn't heat welded in some manner, because the heat is how the hole is made. Cheaper straps use laser cutting. It works, and it does seal the hole, but it usually is pretty rough looking, and can cause burrs that can irritate the skin. Ultrasonic cutting is the preferred method, it can create quite a clean and beautiful sizing hole in nylon, while reinforcing the area at the same time.
    Do you have some examples of laser vs. ultrasonic? Nylon is a thermoplastic, so they're technically all using heat, it's really down to how focused the energy is in application. Laser would, by its very nature, be more precise since you're dealing with shorter wavelengths, but a poor quality machine or operator can screw up whatever they touch. If laser is faster/less expensive, and thus used by cost-driven manufacturers who sacrifice quality for speed as a matter of course, that generalization may be true, but not for the reasons stated.

    OTOH, if the lack of precision from the ultrasonic causes thermowelding of the nylon fibers across a wider area resulting in the reinforcement strategy I mentioned in a previous post, I can see that being the preferred method.

    Taken in combination, you'd have the stated relationship between the two methods. That said, taken a step further, you could further the relationship with a hot ice pick (more to it than that, but you get the idea). Playing around with the idea: set up a temperature controlled poker with a ferule molding ring sort of like a rivet anvil, and a comparably shaped anvil. Rather than precision based on resolution of the stepper motors, you have the infinite resolution of a blade. The depth of the fused zone would be controlled via temperature of the poker and fine tuned by fatigue testing... OK... /enginerding

  11. #10
    Sponsor CrownAndBuckle's Avatar
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    Re: Nato with Protected Buckle Holes

    I'm no engineer, so most of that is over my head, but I will see if I have any photos around my hard drive that I can post.
    Last edited by CrownAndBuckle; 3 Weeks Ago at 21:23.
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