Thursday, 25 September 2014

Schaeffer Mclean tours local skate spots...

Epic skateboarder Schaeffer Mclean continues his tour of local skate spots...

You can follow this junior genius on Facebook, Google+, Twitter & a host of other social media sites.

And for a bit of "throwback Thursday" check out this vid of him when he was just four years old:

Super cute & super cool :-)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Marie Bougourd's American adventure flies her up the IDF rankings...

Marie Bougourd (aka Spoky Woky) enjoying her time stateside
We are delighted for Marie (aka Spoky Woky), as her 2014 IDF downhill skateboard race season continues to see her advance up the international rankings & who knows, as she continues onto the final leg of the race tour in South America next month, maybe she'll even make it to the top?!

Marie is flying up the IDF rankings after her US success & she's hoping to continue the rise
on the South American leg of the IDF tour...
Good luck Marie & big loves from everyone at SMB - we're with you every step of the way :-)

Spoky Woky/Marie Bougourd in action at Pike's Peaks last weekend...

Friday, 29 August 2014

SMB's bearings are going to the movies...

It's always a delight to see new uses for our bearings & we're thrilled to have been in discussions with Dynamic Mounts International, manufacturers of camera stabilization & mounting equipment - our precision miniature bearings are on their way to Hollywood (well, sort of)!

Dynamic Mounts' movie & non-film credits read like an real Oscar winning performance.  From Disney, to Star Wars & James Bond onto the the Olympics - these guys have provided the camera equipment for it all.
Dynamic Mounts' rig used for the Bond film "Quantum of Solace"

We're proper chuffed to be a part of something so exciting :-)


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Joe Baldwin, downhill skater supremo (& supermodel)!

Check out these absolutely gorgeous pictures of downhill rider Joe Baldwin, taken by the extremely talented Robyn Harvey Coggans...

Joe Baldwin - one of the UK's top downhill skateboarders...

for Thrill Magazine & BTR (Born to Ride)

You can find out more & follow Joe's downhill adventures at his Tumblr page.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

3D printing, a possible future for bearing production?

Well, maybe... for one-off/bespoke items, but at the moment prohibitively expensive compared to conventional steel bearings which can be produced in bulk at just a few pence each!  

An exciting concept though & one worth watching as new materials are added to the 3D printing portfolio.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Cool use of bearings, in a 3D printed watch!

Bearings are often used in clock making & here's a beautiful, 3D printed example,
]created by Nicholas Manousos.

Of the bearings, Nicholas says:
"The ball bearings are the only movement part not made in house. At the large scale I work with it makes most sense to use ball bearings rather than traditional jewels. I experimented with printing jewels using high-strength polymers with acceptable results but found ball bearings to perform much better".

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

SMB's New Facebook Page...

At SMB Bearings Ltd, we've been using Facebook since 2010, to hang out with our friends, but we've finally launched a proper grown-up Facebook page!  

We'll continue to update & entertain our existing Facebook friends on the friends page  & the new page will feature more technical aspects of our bearings & any company news that we have.
 Please like us & help us to spread the word on our fantastic range of precision bearings!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Epic skate videos from two of SMB's favourite people...

We're thrilled to share the French delight that is Spoky Woky (aka Marie Bougourd) with you.

Spoky Woky with her 3rd place board at the Almatrieb after party...
 Spoky has just clinched a brilliant 3rd place in the finals of IDF's Almatreib event this weekend.
See her in action here...

And here we have the incomparable wonder that is Schaeffer Mclean, only nine years old but already a legend on the international skate scene...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Ian Emery, RC Helicopter pilot, competition update...

SMB Bearings have been friends (& fans) of Ian Emery for over two years now - the RC Heli pilot shares his F3C season update with us here:

"With a short break in the competition season I thought I would take the chance to let you know how I have been getting on.  This is my first year in F3C having moved up from Sportsman’s so I knew that this year was going to be a big challenge.

The first Competition of the year was held at Lendelede, Belgium over the weekend of 10/11 May 14. We got there nice and early on the Friday hoping to get some much needed practice in before the Competition started on the Saturday.  It turned out that you can plan everything down to the last letter but you can never rely on the weather.  

We were greeted by very strong winds with gusts of 38mph, not the ideal way to start my journey in F3C.  We all decided that it would probably be better not to fly so that we had a helicopter left to fly for the Competition.  Unfortunately the weather was extreme to say the least for the remainder of the weekend.  Somehow I managed to be drawn out of a hat to fly the calibration flight (this is to make sure the judges singing off the same hymn sheet).  A mixture of the weather and nerves my calibration flight was awful.  

Thankfully I managed to recover and put in a half descent round for my first round.  The second round, the wind had got worse again and it was touch and go whether we should stop flying. The wind was just inside the limits imposed by the FAI so it was voted on that we should continue.  Trying to keep the model still for the hovering manoeuvres was a nightmare, I decided to try the Aerobatic part of the schedule but it was just too much for me so I came in to land and save the model.  The final round on the Sunday was a little better.  Some of the flying by the other pilots was exceptional, especially the World Junior Champion Pierre Gutierrez and Arnaud Poyet from France and Steve Roberts from the UK.  I eventually finished 14th, but learnt some very valuable things over the course of the weekend.

The next completion was the Scottish Heli Nats just south of Aberdeen at the beginning of June.  Thankfully the weather was much better.  The whole weekend was very enjoyable as always.  I was doing quite well with my flying also lying in 3rd place going into the last round.  For some reason I had a mental block going into the penultimate manoeuvre putting in all of the wrong collective inputs to compensate for the wind earning myself a big fat Zero for that manoeuvre dropping me down to 5th.  It finished very close with only a few points splitting 3rd to 5th. Very disappointing from my perspective but these things happen and hopefully you learn from them and move on.  

The following weekend we made the long trip to Toldijk in the Netherlands for the second round of the Euro Heli Series.  Everything was looking good for a good weekend - a beautiful setting, fantastic weather and amazing hosts.  I felt as though I was really starting to get somewhere with my flying and my model setup,  managing to put in 3 good rounds on the Saturday leaving me in 6th.  There are always areas for improvement but I was happy knowing that there was just 1 more round to fly on the Sunday.  I dropped one place after the round on Sunday but was very happy to finish 7th but from a personal view my scores have steadily been improving throughout the 3 competitions.  

By time we had got home we had travelled over 2000 miles in just 10 days and was very much in need of a break."

Thanks for the update Ian, what an amazingly busy season so far!  We'll bring you more news on Ian's escapades as the season progresses.

Friday, 11 July 2014

SMB's bearings are helping to style the world's hair...

Our bearings are being used in hair stylers - how exciting!!!

As you know, we love hearing where our bearings end up & one of our lovely customers has just advised us that they have developed a curler/styling product for a very well know retail hair-care brand (we've been sworn to secrecy over which one) & our bearings are an integral part of the end-product.  


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

SMB Bearings on Instagram!

Yes folks, you can now check out images of SMB Bearings on our Instagram page!

You can also follow our news & updates via our blog (of course!),

 as well as Facebook, Google + & also Twitter - check us out, getting all high-tech! :-)

Friday, 27 June 2014

F1 in Schools Competition 2014 - Team Robus

We're delighted to have been contacted by the lovely young folks at Team Robus from Deans Community High School in Livingston, who are participating in this year's F1 in Schools Competition

The main objective of F1 in Schools is to help change the perceptions of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people aged 9-19, by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for them to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, Formula One, science, marketing and technology.

Team Robus

Team Robus have done a brilliant job already, having stormed to a proud Scottish victory at the F1 in Schools National finals held in March this year:

"After our regional success, we were invited to the National Finals at the Big Bang Fair in the Birmingham NEC. We were again judged on our car design, race, pit display, portfolio and a verbal presentation. Andrew Denford, the F1 in Schools Chairman informed us that we were the highest scoring Scottish team and were therefore invited to represent Scotland at the F1 in Schools World Finals at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in November. We are all so happy with our success and we hope that we can do ourselves, the school, and Scotland proud at the World Finals later this year".

And that's where SMB Bearings hope to lend a hand!  With our technical bearing knowledge, we hope to help Team Robus maintain their winning edge on the world stage.  

The team in action

Our bearing expertise will mainly be used to help Katie, the team's wheel designer & engineer (whose current wheel assembly has already been extremely effective), tweak the design to get the best possible results from a strong, speedy & super-light assembly.

A wheel assembly, ready to be installed into the balsa wood car frame.
We hope to help Team Robus build on their success & go to the next level for the F1 In Schools World finals, being held in Abu Dhabi this October, where the team will be facing competitors from 40 other countries.  We can't spoil all the fun by telling you exactly what bearings we'll be using, but hopefully the precision bearings will inject some magic into race days for Team Robus!  

Team Robus design concept for World Finals car.

We'll bring you more news from the team as competition day draws closer.  You can also follow their progress via their websiteTwitter pages.  

Monday, 23 June 2014

Aaron Skippings video montage...

The lengths a man has to go to to get a good video of himself these days!
We'll let Aaron do the talking - well, skating!  

You can find more Aaron-inspired adventures on Youtube
Aaron's competing is Germany & the US of A this year, we can't wait to hear how he gets on

Friday, 20 June 2014

Ron Flemming & his morse code keyer machine...

We had such an exciting visit today from our lovely customer , Mr Ron Flemming.  He's been visiting us recently (to get bearings to repairs his grandchildren's scooters) & on his last visit Ron mentioned a prize winning project he'd created, using our bearings. 

Prize winner (& awesome customer) Ron Flemming, pictured with some of his trophies 
We always love seeing what our inventive customers use our bearings for, so we were a bit cheeky & asked if he'd be able to send us a picture of the morse-code keying machine that he'd painstakingly built by hand in his workshop.  

You can imagine our delight then, when he turned up with this today:

"Hi, As promised  I have attached  some photos of a morse code keyer shown in various stages of construction,  that I built  using your small bearings SR144ZZ.

I am a licenced Radio Amateur with the call sign of "G0 BNC".
The morse keyer was built using scrap materials, plus your Bearings. The keyer is completely  my own design, and  can be used as 3 separate types of keyers.  As far as I am aware there is not a keyer available commercially that can do this. 

Materials used are:
  • Base: oak over 50 years in my possession...

  • Alloy Arms: scrap window frame,   

Finger Keys and Front Arm:  are from a used electronic printed circuit board,  Transmitting Contacts: cut from a electrical relay, then soldered onto the end of brass bolts,   

  • Key Adjusters:  brass screws, brass screw cup washers, compression springs. 

  • The Electronics and Batteries are cut into the base, and Speaker is under the arms.
  • Plus your SR144ZZ bearings that 2 top ones can be seen with  1/8”brass brazing rod centre pivot pins with brass screw cups on the tops.

With this I won the 2012 annual construction  contest. The entries normally have only a few votes separating the first, second, third places, but one of the adjudicators advised me I received well over 50% of the votes. To make it better still, an ex military  operator advised me it`s as good as his expensive keys, and another friend paid over £1000  for his, and the difference is hardly noticeable. One of the reasons is because of the smooth operation of the bearings. One problem I found was because they are so small and smooth, I lost a few between the garage and house (they rolled so well)!

There are a few pics of the cup/trophy to keep, and the annual trophy that is kept for one year with a tag fitted with previous  winners details. (also in pic is the annual new years day direction finding trophy which I won, then  the annual construction contest in February. The main  trophy was donated by the family of G2HIF  who was one of the leading pioneer designers of radar detection systems.

Thank you for your excellent and knowledgeable  friendly service.  Kind Regards,  Ron Flemming."

 Well, Ron - what can we say, apart from thank you, thank you, thank you!  
It is such a delight to see our bearings in use & especially so when they have been used in such a unique way. Ron Flemming is truly a home-build star & obviously a force to be reckoned with in the world of engineering.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

SMB, Camera, Action! A case study in bearing lubrication...

We all know that bearings are used in an amazing array of products, but we thought it would be interesting to focus on how important the correct lubrication can be to efficient bearing use (& how the wrong choices can be disastrous for customers' final products).

We asked Chris (our MD & technical wizard) to give us an example:

"A manufacturer of security cameras approached us with an urgent problem.  In certain weather conditions, particularly colder weather, a mist was appearing on the inside of the camera dome, blurring the image.

 After some discussion, we realized that the problem was caused by out-gassing (releasing gas previously trapped in the lubricant) of the bearing grease.  The bearings in the motors that controlled the camera were becoming warm during operation and this was enough for the grease to give off a very fine oil mist which condensed on the inside of the colder camera dome.

The customer needed to solve the problem and ship out products within a matter of weeks.  They were not satisfied with the level of support from their existing supplier and had been quoted long lead times for bearings with non-standard grease (this can often be many months).

They approached SMB Bearings Ltd as bearing re-lubrication specialists and, after researching potential replacement greases with a number of lubricant manufacturers, our in-house re-lubrication facility allowed us to quickly supply samples of different bearing types containing various specialist greases.  With the help of our high precision weighing equipment, we were even able to offer a choice of non-standard grease fills for the customer to test .

In a short time, we were able to identify a grease type and grease fill that cured the oil misting problem and saved the customer weeks of downtime".  Thanks Chris.  So next time you're caught on camera, you can think of our bearings!

If you need any help with bearing or lubrication issues, please contact us & we'll use our years of specialist technical knowledge to help resolve your issues.