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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ballooning 101 » » Filbert pumps on 160s & 350s (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

R2D2
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I currently use a hand pump for my balloons but I was thinking of getting a Filbert in order to speed things up. I also need something light, so Filbert fit the bill.

I saw one review that said that Filberts are great for 260s and 5" rounds, but have trouble with 160s, 350s, and 646s. Specifically, it's tough to fit the 160 nozzle onto the pump, and the larger-diameter balloons (350/646) leak air as you pump them.

Has anyone else had this problem or have a different opinion on the Filbert pumps?
Marvelous_Mysto
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Hi R2D2,
I've used a Filbert pump for several years now, with no problems.

160:
It is possible to fit a 160 onto the pump nozzle, but you need to use both hands to do so. Inflating a 160 on the Filbert is problematic, if you only want to inflate a portion of the 160. My experience has been that due to the pressure required to 'start' the inflation on the 160 I often inflate more than 50% of the balloon on my first stroke. I now use a mini pump for inflating 160s if I need to limit how much air goes into the balloon.

350 / 646:
Yes there is some leakage when inflating these balloons. If you grip the balloon tightly around the pump nozzle, then not much air escapes. The larger balloons will require multiple pumps to fully inflate them.

Full disclosure:
I have recently (12 months ago) moved to a Mac Pump. I found over time that I was experiencing wrist soreness when using the Filbert. I'm reasonably tall (5' 11") and the Filbert pump is about an inch shorter than the Mac pump. My experience has been that with the slightly taller pump, my wrist soreness has not recurred. This is not a problem with the Filbert pump, but with my height. I still have the Filbert pump, and would certainly recommend it to anyone. It is *much* lighter than the Mac Pump, but the weight does not factor in my decision - for me, it was the height match that was important. I'm sure I could have got the same result if I'd placed a riser under the Filbert.

I now have four (4) floor pumps, and all are perfectly suitable & workable. I have nothing bad to say about any of the pumps, and would happily recommend them all.
Baz
R2D2
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Thanks.

I've had wrist problems before, mainly from typing and playing piano. I'm not eager to get hurt them again. That said, I'm not sure why the Filbert was hurting your wrist. Was it from holding the nozzle on the pump as you push down (and then your wrist bends at a funny angle)? (I'm 5'10".)

Sounds like 350/646s are pretty doable with the Filbert, and I don't think I mind carrying around a 160 pump. Those are pretty tiny.

Since I have a small apartment and I'm often taking public transit, size and weight are important to me. The Filbert pump may be big, but it's super-light, and that's why I was looking into it. I believe that the Mac Pump is quite a bit heavier. I also considered the Lagenda. It's small but heavy, and I'm not sure it's as fast as the Filbert.

Thanks for your input, Marvelous_Mysto. I still haven't decided what I'm going to get, but I'm leaning towards the Filbert.
Marvelous_Mysto
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Hi R2D2,
Yes the Filbert is *much* lighter than the Mac pump.

Wrist problem:
I'm not sure if I can properly explain it using words alone - but here goes. <grin>
Because the Filbert is slightly shorter than the Mac, my wrist formed an acute angle with my forearm. This occurred at the end of the pumping stroke, when the pump was fully compressed, and my arm was fully extended (straight). If I were shorter, or I was sitting down to inflate the balloons, this angle would have been less acute. Raising the height of the pump has relieved this acute angle, and I no longer experience wrist pain.
This pain gradually developed, after more than a year of 3 x restaurant gigs each week, and was relieved simply by changing the height of the pump. This is NOT an issue with the Filbert pump, but my own body's biomechanics.

I would encourage you to purchase the Filbert, and *if* you start to experience wrist pain, look at putting a small riser block under the base of the pump to raise it up. Your biomechanics may be different from me, and you will probably not experience the same problems that I did.

As always, "your mileage may vary"...
Baz
R2D2
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Yup, I understand your explanation completely. Thanks for your help. I may take the Filbert plunge.
Karen Climer
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I can't say enough good things bout the Filbert. Most often, I use a Majiloon, but for floor pumps, I definitely recommend the Filbert.

It is ideal for 260s. They fight on almost perfectly and one pump fully inflates a 260. It can also inflate everything else. Of course, if you are inflating a 646 then you have to hold the nozzle on a little bit tighter, but isn't that true of all pumps? As others have said, if you need a small bit of a 160 (like 5 inches or so), it is easier to use a 160 hand pump. The Filbert blows it up so fast that for a tiny bit, it's almost too fast. But if I need most of the 160, I'll use the Filbert.

It is ridiculously light. I put a strap on mine so I could carry it over my shoulder to gigs. It also has the places around it where you can stick a 260 into it. My balloon bag weighs 50 lbs so I don't want to carry another heavy item as well. I've never understood why people buy the Mac and some of the other heavier ones. don't need to be hauling heavy stuff around if it's not necessary.

For a floor pump, I definitely recommend the Filbert.
R2D2
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Thanks for the reply, Karen. I think you may have convinced me.

Is using a Filbert that much faster than using a hand pump? I was mainly interested for the speed, but I can imagine that it saves wear and tear on your shoulders too.
Karen Climer
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The Filbert blows up a 260 in one full pump, so yes it's much faster.

It's different muscles. With the hand pump, it's really just your arms. With the Filbert (and I assume any floor pump), you can put your whole upper body into it if you want to. It takes more muscles to inflate with the Filbert. (The pump is inflating the entire balloon rather than about 8 inches worth.) But since you can use your whole upper body, it doesn't seem like it's more muscle.

When I bought it, one motivation for me is that I was having elbow problems from the repetitive elbow movement with the hand pump. I never had an physical problems with the Filbert.

Another thing that people rarely mention is if you show up with a floor pump or electric pump, you are taken more seriously. People know you are a professional. I think your setup matters a lot in terms of how people perceive you.
R2D2
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Thanks Karen. Sounds like there is a big speed advantage and a possible repetitive use injury advantage (I'm sensitive to this sort of thing). I hadn't thought of the "professionalism" angle; that's a very good point.
Marvelous_Mysto
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Hi R2D2,
I'd like to emphasize Karen's comments both about the speed of inflation, and the professional appearance of a floor pump. I was at a 2 hour gig last weekend with another balloon artist (busy gig). At the end of the gig, the other balloon artist commented that she felt she created one balloon model to every 2 that I made. I wasn't counting, so it wasn't an issue to me, BUT the major difference was the she had a hand pump, and I had a floor pump.

There is one extra advantage to a floor pump, that will not be immediately apparent. You can save time in knot tying if you use a floor pump. This will only save time when you are working a model that requires two balloons to be tied nozzle to nozzle. With a floor pump, I can inflate a 260 with one hand. I then hold that balloon in my non-dominant hand, and inflate the next 260. Then I tie the nozzles together. This saves two knots (one in each balloon then tie them together) which shaves only seconds off each model, but adds up over the course of a 2 hour gig.

I cannot encourage you enough to invest in a floor pump.

Baz
R2D2
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Aha, good point about tying two balloons together. It took me a minute to understand what you were saying, but I get it now.

I was at an event where I must've made 20-30 swords. About half the time in making a sword is in inflating the balloons (if I'm using a hand pump), so using the Filbert would've been a huge time savings there.

Thanks again for the help.
alergy
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As an intermediate floor pump, I've found the following pump to be a cost effective substitute
1.5 full pumps will fully inflate a 160
3-4 full pumps will fully inflate a 260

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Bell-Sports-A......49706786

Although, I got mine from ASDA in the UK. This cost me about 3x the price of a good quality hand pump
I did trial another bike pump from Aldi, the red nozzle attachment was better, but the volume proportionally pumped was disappointing, and was more on a par with a hand-pump

Just throwing that out there for you
Trust that this will be of use to some of you
R2D2
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Thanks, Alergy.

I ended up going with the Filbert, and it arrived yesterday. I'm getting used to it now, and I really like it so far. (I tried inflating two 260s and tying them together without tying off either one... works great!)

Does anyone have a recommendation for a strap to carry this around? Karen mentioned using a strap but I wasn't sure if there was a standard one that everyone got or if people just made their own.
Karen Climer
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I use a luggage strap (The kind that you would use to wrap around your suitcase to keep it shut.) I made my own. You can buy the strap material by the foot at a hardware store and get a clasp thing. I just wrap it through a hole on the top and one on the bottom. I keep it there all the time. I can carry it over one should or cross body.

Also, I have an uninflated 350 tied to one of the top loops. When I not using it, I wrap it over the nozzle area of the pump. That way, when I'm carrying the pump, the top part doesn't fall out. (It won't completely fall out, but it will flap around.) This is very difficult to explain in words. I hope it makes sense.
R2D2
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The 350 thing makes sense, Karen. I'll try that out. And I'll stop by the hardware store later on.

Thanks for your help as always.
Marvelous_Mysto
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Hi R2D2,
Just a quick follow-up, to see how you are going with the 'new' (1 month old) Filbert pump?
What have been the good points?
Any unexpected issues?
Kind Regards
Baz
R2D2
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It's official... I love my Filbert pump!

It's a time saver and a shoulder saver (using the hand pump was going to give me tendonitis sooner or later). Little kids on the street will sometimes ask what it is, and it's a good excuse to make them a simple balloon and give their mom my business card.
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