Basic Base Tweaking 101 by Wally Jabs

Base Manipulation 101

Coaches,
I put this article together to help anyone who is having problems with tweaking bases. This is focused primarily on the Miggle product. Both the TTC (TTC or Total Team Control = rotational directional dial) and Rookie (Rookie = no dial basic out of the bag) bases, but for the most part it will work on any base.

Tools:
1 Hobby sized pair of smooth mouthed Jewelers Pliers
1 Lighter
1 Nail clipper (straight/ blunt edged not curved)
1 Fine pair of tweezers
1 sharp scissors

Jewelers pliers are smooth on the inside of the pliers mouth. Be sure to check each set before purchase to make sure that the pliers closes completely without gaps.

Jewelers pliers are smooth on the inside of the pliers mouth. Be sure to check each set before purchase to make sure that the pliers closes completely without gaps.

Fact Number One:
The reason that bases do not perform up to par is simple. In the manufacturing process flash is left on the prong. This flash inhibits the bases ability to perform. Take a magnifying glass and examine any base. You will see the flash that I’m talking about. The question here now is how do you remove it?

Flash Removal:
Method 1:
1) One way of removing flash is to use a lighter.
2) What you do here is take a base and hold the lighter under it about one inch away. (experiment hear to see what works for you)
3) Position the lighter under one set of prongs (rookie base) or one prong (TTC base).
4) “Flick” the lighter on and off.
5) Let the prong(s) cool and inspect it.
6) See if the flash is removed. If not go to step 4 and repeat the process.
7) After you finish with the first set of prongs proceed on to the next grouping.
8 ) Repeat this process on the remaining sets of prongs.
9) Test the base

prongs-basetweaking

Method 2:
1) Get your straight/ blunt nose clippers
2) Take a base and clip off the very end of the prong.
3) For rookie bases clip the two prongs at a time in each corner of the base.
4) Try to remove only a 1/32nd or less on each prong end. Just enough to remove the flash.
5) Cut all prongs straight!
6) Repeat this process on all remaining sets of prongs.
7) Test the base

Well, if you followed the instructions above there is a good chance that your bases will be going anywhere but straight. But at least they will be moving. So let’s tune them up!

Making the Prongs Even
1) Take the jewelers pliers and a base.
2) Examine the base and “eyeball” the prongs. Some will be shorter or longer than others.
3) Start on the back prongs.
4) Take the pliers and gently pull the prong from top to bottom.
5) The idea here is to stretch the prong out evenly. If you don’t get them even, the base will veer left or right or will be jumpy.
6) Slowly with very little pressure pull the prong from top to bottom allowing the pliers to slip down slowly as you pull.
7) This step will be repeated many times on each prong!
8 ) The goal again here is to stretch the prong evenly.
9) Another goal here is to try to even out all the prongs.
10) Work slowly and take your time.
11) Test the base until you get the desired result; a well moving base!

OK, I can hear you now, “The base goes, but it doesn’t go straight!” This is the next step in tuning.


Making the Base Go Straight

1) If a base is turning to the left, the prongs on that side of the base are shorter.
2) Likewise, if the base is turning to the right, the prongs are shorter on the right side.
3) To fix this problem, just lengthen the prongs on the side to which the base is turning.
4) Always work on the one set of prongs at a time.
5) Always work first on the prong(s) that appear to be shorter.
6) Test the base after each pull until you get the desired results.
7) Be patient!

If you followed all the steps listed above you should have a fairly good running base. The trick now is to give it some strength or speed!

For Strength – Rookie Base
1) Pull both rear sets of prongs out a little more.
2) The base, when put down on a game board should be “jacked up” in the rear.
3) This will give the base more strength.
4) If you want more strength gently curl the front prongs on the very end of the prong. Use the fine set of tweezers to do this.
5) Also set the back prongs so that they look like this ” \ ” straight but angled. Again use the fine set of tweezers to do this.
6) The final step to get more strength is to flatten the rear prongs.
7) Take the pliers and squeeze the rear prongs until they’re flat.
8 ) On step 7 there are two schools of thought.
a) Flatten the entire prong or
b) Flatten just the last ¼”
9) Both will work and this is something you can experiment with.

For Strength – TTC Base (just a slight difference)
1) Pull both rear sets of prongs out a little more.
2) The base, when put down on a game board should be “jacked up” in the rear.
3) This will give the base more strength.
4) If you want more strength gently curl the rear prongs on the very end of the prong. Use the fine set of tweezers to do this.
5) Also set the front prongs so that they look like this ” \ ” straight but angled. Again use the fine set of tweezers to do this.
6) The final step to get more strength is to flatten the rear prongs.
7) Take the pliers and squeeze the rear prongs until they’re flat.
8 ) Remember to re curl the rear prongs after step 7 is complete.
9) On step 7 there are two schools of thought.
c) Flatten the entire prong or
d) Flatten just the last ¼”
10) Both will work and this is something you can experiment with.

For Speed – Rookie/ TTC Base
1) Pull both front and rear sets of prongs out a little more.
2) The base, when put down on a game board should be “jacked up” evenly.
3) This process will give the base more speed.
4) If you still want more speed in a rookie base, cut out the inside prongs.
5) Also position the rear prongs in a more upright manor.
6) Hit the prongs with a quick flick of the lighter as described above.

The Keys to Success!
1) Take your time.
2) Be prepared to ruin some bases.
3) Be patient.
4) Test after each step.
5) Be as exacting as you can be.
6) Experiment.
7) Don’t get frustrated and have some fun!

Base Manipulation 102
The best way to understand how prongs work is to think of them as shock absorbers on a car. The prong is there to absorb the vibration from the vibrating field. Shaping the prongs, using the techniques above, improves the performance or the directional ability of the base and how it reacts to the vibration of the field.

This leads us to how do you make a base stronger or faster. Start off by using the techniques above on a base.

If you are looking for strength you want to increase the friction between the game board and the prong. The simplest way is to increase the contact area of the prong. Take a set of jewelers pliers and flatten the bottom half of the prong by squeezing it. Work the back prongs first whether you are using rookie or TTC style bases. Make sure that the bottom edge of the prong is flat, as we want to have maximum drag. To do assure this you might have to trim the bottom edge of the prong(s) flat with a straight edge clipper. You can gain some additional strength by using this same technique on the front prongs but in many cases you will loose the bases mobility (it will be slower).

To manipulate a base to gain more speed we need to decrease the contact area between the playing surface and the prong. There are a couple of methods that can achieve the desired results.

1- Trim the lower edge of the prong with a clipper. That is to say cut the prong vertically so the prong contact area is reduced
2- Remove the inside prongs (rookie base). (This step can work with both items 1 and 3)
3- Shape the prong in the “pulling” stage. This is done by not only pulling the prong on the wide flat side but by the narrow side as well. This will allow you to shape the prong to have a very small contact area.

Wally Jabs
Published around 2000
Revised 2010

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Comments (2)

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  1. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” A beginner will have an easier time learning how to tweak because of the picture of the underside of the base alone.

    Maurice

    The Electric Coach

  2. Dimitri says:

    Hi,

    I’ve got a tips for pliers : If you buy one where The “jaws” are not perfectly smooth (gaps and stuff like that) you can fix it.

    Take a bit of fine sandpaper (the black one, around grit 400 or 600), and fold it so you can have two faces of grit surface.

    Then, squeeze that sandpaper in your pliers, and pull it in the same time you squeeze it. Do it again, and again…You ‘ll see that it improve a lot the pliers jaws surface…Especially on cheap pliers you can find in hardware stores.

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