Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! > Tipups

Newbie sharing my simple tipup design (pic heavy)

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Hello fellow ice anglers, new member here, and since I need to make a post before I can message people for help on a vintage sonar I'm restoring, I figure I might as well make it a good one and share something helpful.

I designed and built a bunch of tipups to give as Christmas gifts to my fishing buddies this year. I don't claim this to be the best design by any means, there are many improvements that can and have been made to designs like this. The benefit of this design is that it can be built very quickly and inexpensively, while being in my opinion quite good looking and effective. Having taken them out after pike on numerous occasions already this year, I can attest to the function.

I will provide dimensions and guides, but for the most part nothing on this design is particularly dimension sensitive.

Here is the original design. You will see it was further simplified from this, but the key elements are that it is a flat board with no pivoting components, no wire linkages, and a flag which can fold flat for storage.

I start with a 19mm plywood board, cut out sections 75x300mm and drill a 38mm hole in the center. I had this fancy bamboo plywood leftover from a cabinetry job, but you could use anything from solid wood, to baltic ply, or leftover hardwood flooring lengths.

Using  a router, i add a nice gentle roundover to both sides of the hole, and make two 6x1mm grooves to hold the flag, one through the center of the end, and one slightly offset on the  top surface, about 50mm long. The flag will be held just with an interference fit under screws on either side of these grooves, find screws with a large head, or use washers. Adjust the screws by hand carefully so the flag slides in but is held firmly.

These steps could be accomplished with sandpaper and a tablesaw if you did not have a router as I do.

You then drill and countersink a hole opposite those grooves for the spool. I used a 6mm bolt and countersunk the backside 25mm diameter, 12mm deep to allow lots of room for the bolt head and a socket to tighten.

The flag material is cut from a drain snake bought for 7$ at princess auto. I have seen people recommend using electricians wire snakes, though I found almost all of them too stiff, taking a set over such a small radius. I cut the snake into 500mm lengths, one spool was enough wire for 11 tip ups. I would not recommend buying these online, since I had to go to a number of stores and feel the springiness before I found a suitable material.

I had to buy a new, sharp pair of aviation snips to cut the wire cleanly. i used a diamond sharpening stone to knock the sharp edges off the ends.

The spools are the most time consuming part. I wanted metal spools for the look and durability, but you could substitute any material as long as it fits roughly this size.

The top and bottom are ends of tomato paste cans. one can=one spool so if you're making a lot of these recommend you learn to really love Italian cooking, or research Birdwatchers sugar wash, just saying. You need to use a special can opener, the type which cuts from the side leaving the rim of the can attached to the top. You can get them at most big box stores under the Starfrit name.

The core is a 25mm section of 19mm copper plumbing pipe, soldered roughly in the center. Steel cans come with an epoxy coating on the inside to protect from corrosion, you need to thoroughly sand this coating off before you can solder to it. Clean the coating, then drill your 6mm hole in the center.

The solder used is something new to me, low temperature metalworking solder from Home depot. Since it melts around 500f you can solder the lids together without scorching them, leaving them looking nice. clean everything immaculately and use lots of flux. You can use regular solder but the coating on the lids will burn and flake off, leading to corrosion earlier as well as looking less professional.

Word to the wise, install the trigger bolt before you solder the halves together it will make your life dramatically easier. Ask how I know.

Assemble the spool with some form of slippery washer between it and the board. I cut thin slivers of poly plumbing pipe which was a pain in the butt and difficult to do evenly, so I would recommend a stack of greased washers in their place. A nylock nut allows you to set a very loose tension without worry that it will back out over time.

I spooled mine with cheapo masonry line. This is not ideal for many reasons, but it allowed me to spool 10 tipups for less than 4$, I figure if the people getting them ever use them, they can cut some off, use what's left as backer and put some proper line on. For what it's worth I've pulled in 3x 5lbs pike on it without issue. it also matches the flags, which is not an insignificant consideration.

For the flag I bought squares of felt from the dollar store, and glued it on with shoegoo using binder clips as clamps. Shoegoo and other gel urethane glues like that  are awesome, and should hold just about forever. Be sure to thoroughly degrease the spring, and leave room at the tip for the trigger.

As far as using it, you simply tuck the flag behind the bolt on the spool. You can adjust the sensitivity depending how close to the edge of the wire you scooch it. I did not modify the bolt or the square end of the flag in any way to get it to work nicely.

That's it guys! I spent a lot of time looking at people sharing their designs and builds for tipups and always found them frustratingly lacking in detail, so I hope this is helpful and gives people something to do while they're stuck at home this winter.

Tight lines!

Those are nice and simple looking and you dont have to worry about your reel freezing under the ice on cold days. Great share.

I would love to see a video showing the flag going off.  Very unique design. Impressive that you built all that.

Thanks guys,

I also would like to get it on film, I may try to set a camera over one tomorrow. You don't see much above the water, naturally.

As far as the reel being above the water, that's actually the weakest component of this design. I would have liked to have the spool under the water but decided in the end simplicity of design was more important, increasing the likelyhood they would be finished on time and be bullet proof. I am working on some designs closer to commercial ones now.

The only design flaw for that tip up I can see is the line freezing on the reel after it's gotten wet. Especially where I fish where the temps can be well below zero. Keep working at a design where the reel is under the water. 


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