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Old 09-26-2017, 07:53 AM
mcimes mcimes is offline
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Question Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Hi Guys,
I am part of a CNC machine company and want to make a fly reel to highlight my machine's capabilities and make something cool in the process.

I can handle designing and making the housing, reel, foot, and knobs, but I'd really like to buy an off-the-shelf drag system to simplify assembly and reduce the number of components I need to make.

I've googled "Fly reel drag system" and 'for sale' and a bunch of other generic search terms, but I dont get hits for a stand-alone drag system, just complete reels or explanatory articles.

Can you guys point me to a stand alone, drag system I can buy? Or point me to a company that sells them? Once I find a drag system, I will design my spool and body to accept whatever drag system I can get.

If it matters, I'm not much of a fisherman but I've been told a 5 or 7 weight reel is a good versatile size, so I will probably target a mid-sized reel like that for my demo if it matters.

Thank for your help!
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:15 AM
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GrtLksMarlin GrtLksMarlin is offline
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

As far as I'm aware, "drag systems" are not a modular product assembly that one simply buys and then slaps on the other components (though that may possibly be the case with a number of similar Chinese offerings).

If you think about it, there is not much to a fly reel. The components you list are either cast, molded or machined easily enough, in some cases the bearings, axle and seal just as simple (dependent upon design). To that end, I would suspect that most modern reels have the drag designed first, and then the balance of the reel is designed to work with it.

In other words, for the most part past the drag, the balance is just fit, finish and aesthetics. So a reel manufacturer to make their product stand out, perform how they want and so on I suspect makes the drag the cornerstone and signature item of their reels. So it is not something that is simply sold by vendors.

That said, there is not really that much to a drag system, no matter the type. I myself even took some time and sketched up a design for a range specific lever drag which allowed you to easily and controllably increase the drag between strip and fight levels, just like you find on offshore trolling reels. Even that is not that complicated. However, it would not be something (just like any drag) that you're going to fit to any reel, in that you fit the reel to it.

So my advice would be to do a bit of research, check out a number of reels and their various styles of drags, check out a few exploded part drawings, and start there instead and build your reel around your drag.

Best of luck!

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Old 09-26-2017, 09:50 AM
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cmcdhuibh cmcdhuibh is offline
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

They are patented. Older pfluegers could be removed and set into your reel.
I could use a couple reversible disks. (Hint Hint) you can buy them but the guy wants to much $. The pflueger click is kind of loud though.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:46 AM
pnc pnc is online now
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Hi, welcome to site.
Been on lookout for decent metal lathe. Been thinking of building own reel.
Think most important part has been pointed out. The drag System. Modern sealed drag systems used today may be easier to manufacture than the old cork discs. All they amount to is a cylinder with stacked discs inside.
Reel first then drag would seem reversed engineering to me.
Get some schematics as said..... you'll see how easy drags can be built.

........ pc
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Old 09-26-2017, 12:25 PM
fq13 fq13 is online now
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

There are also the old disc drags. These aren't sealed and don't involve things out of your wheelhouse like cork or roulon. They are purely machined steel or aluminium wheels. The old Orvi s disc drag Battenkills would be a place to start. Although they are patented so it would have to be a personal use thing.
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:35 PM
mcimes mcimes is offline
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Bummer. I guess that's why I cant find one to buy! My friend makes them and gave me one to reverse engineer. I am capable of that and see that they aren't particularly complicated, but now instead of producing 3 components (spool, body, foot), I need to make a dozen or so (shafts, discs, caps, ect) which adds significantly to the overall work to make a demo part. I was hoping to be able to purchase an off the shelf system as it would simplify my life a lot.

I saw reels on Ali express for $20-$100. How bad are these? I have bought many things from ali and some are top notch products for dirt cheap and some are complete junk. If I bought a $50 reel (from Ali or Cabellas or wherever) and just extracted the drag system, think it would perform ok?

Im trying to get around making the system because the moment I make every component, it exponentially adds work to design the components in solidworks, select tooling, buy tooling, buy stock, cut lathe jaws, create a machine program, cut the parts, annodize, assemble, test fit, ect, and if Im lucky (or good) everything will work together nicely. Since im trying to make a handfull of demo reels for a trade show, my cost-per-component of a home made system would be ridiculous.
Im better off just buying a $50 reel and throwing away everything but the drag system.

I already made this replica of a 9 size spool last year, but am hoping to make a 6/7 size working reel, as I had many customers and prospects drooling over it and hounding me to complete it.

The real one was made of aluminum. This demo part was made from brass so we could record a video without coolant.
Click the image to open in full size.

Maybe I'll approach a manufacturer and see if they want to give me/sell me a few drag systems in exchange for promotion at a massive trade show full of their prime demographic...hmm...
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:49 PM
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GrtLksMarlin GrtLksMarlin is offline
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Perhaps what you should be doing is approaching various reel manufacturers as a machining vendor.

If you do not wish to make the entire reel, then it is possible that companies that are looking to manufacture in the U.S. again may be looking for such. Now I suspect that you will have to also manufacture the clutch/drag housing, and perhaps even the spool nut and drag knob, yet companies that stepped away from reel manufacturing very likely need to start from scratch (as to capital equipment, trained personnel, processes and so on).

So, you're ahead of the game in that regard. The way to do so is to approach the various companies and see if they would be interested, and if not today, then perhaps eventually so it gets your name to the head of the list, and gets them thinking.

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Old 10-04-2017, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Pity you never followed up on this, or came back to the forum since. Personally if someone was really serious about wanting to do some production machining, I'd look into whether or not certain reel manufacturers had patents pertaining to their spools, specifically the way that they locate and attach to the reel.

Some replacement spools are frankly way out of line on price, my guess being simply because they can. I can right off think of one currently produced reel that I'd love to be able to purchase additional spools for at a more reasonable price. Unfortunately as it stands they don't have to be reasonable. Furthermore, as long as the spool fit, the cosmetics and look of it wouldn't even have to be the same. Heck I wouldn't even care about color.

Ah well.

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Old 10-05-2017, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Are you stuck on using a disk drag? If not, making a click pawl mechanism would be pretty easy I would think... very few parts needed.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:50 PM
steveid steveid is offline
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Default Re: Looking to purchase a stand alone Drag System

Just my opinion, but the drag system IS the reel. Machining a frame and a spool is the easiest part. I guess you could easily do a click-pawl reel, but not many seek that out in 6/7 weight.
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