A very useful resource for DIY binding mounting and comparisons is paper (or clear plastic) binding templates. Not only are they great aids for accurately laying out binding holes for drilling new holes, but you can also use them to compare existing hole clearances relative to new bindings, binding combinations and discovering unknown original bindings by the hole patterns on used skis.
Template Sources: Binding manufacturers often include templates in the box with new bindings (middle in image below).
Binding Freedom , the maker of stainless steel binding inserts has created a growing library of alpine and AT templates. (Bottom) Another insert manufacturer, Quiver Killer also is creating a template library (which may be edited versions of the Binding Freedom templates) along with other fastener downloads.
You can also draw your own (top). like we did with our CAD software, from a scan of the FKS/Pivot template provided by Look. It can be reprinted for multiple mounts and customized for different Boot Sole Lengths before printing.
Printing & Scaling: Accuracy is very important and the first step to verify printed templates is to check their relative scale and see how the actual bindings sit on the template to visually see if the holes align.
Check to see if the template has any scale or a dimension you can check with a ruler. Often the output from a printer can be slightly off for a variety of reasons. Scaling and reprinting may be necessary multiple times until you get it just right. If you cannot adjust the printing scale with your operating system or printing software, you may need to incorporate the use of graphics software that allows you to resize images and PDFs as needed before printing.
In the example above, the original print was off (too big) by 1mm in 200mm, or 0.5%. Since we needed to decrease the size of the print, we scaled the image 99.5% (199mm/200mm) to get the accurate result. If we needed to increase the output the same 0.5%, then we would need to set the printing scale at 100.5% (200mm/199mm).
For many the 0.5% discrepancy may be just fine, but if there are several layout, drilling and mounting steps off by 0.5% each, it’s possible to be off by a couple millimeters. On the other hand, sometimes minute errors cancel each other out and you can end up with dead on results despite the relative inaccuracies and many bindings do have built in adjustability. Regardless, it is best to be as accurate (especially for AT tech bindings) as you can with each step while also realizing this is not heart surgery and that these tolerances may actually be tighter than some shops and their binding mount jigs.
Splicing & Assembly: Because most bindings require variable Toe versus Heel piece locations due to variable foot and Boot Sole Length (BSL) AND the common printing length of 11 inches, usually two sheets are required per binding. As long as you locate each binding piece relative to the ski centerline and recommended or desired ski mount point and midsole boot mark, they can be utilized individually.
If you prefer to create one paper template per binding, you will need to print on a larger format printer or splice typical letter size sheets. Due to physical printer limitations, printing cannot occur to the paper edges. When two pieces need to be spliced, one piece will ideally need to be cut at the joint to assure accuracy during splicing (clear output does not need to be cut, unless desired).
Once one side is accurately cut, place it over the bottom sheet and a straight edge located along the center line. Align one edge and tape near the joint with masking tape to hold it close and still act as a hinge. Then align the other edge and the centerline of both sheets along the straight edge. Once this is correct, tape the other edge outside the center of the template.
Double check the joint and the straightness of the centerline. If you can measure any components between the two halves, do so to verify accuracy. One thing we add on our templates is dimensions that we can measure to double and triple check physical and relative dimensions. After you feel certain the two halves are where they need to be, run a strip of clear tape over the joint on the front and then the backside.
Repeat on another pair if desired for one template per ski and cut off excess paper on the sides and ends. The masking tape will be removed in the process. The template(s) are now ready to be taped onto the ski centerline and mounting point at the boot mark.
Ski Centerline and Boot Sole Length and Mid Sole: As alluded to above, the binding mounting templates are relative to the centerline of the bindings and ski edges. The longer the centerline and straight edge, the more accurate the whole process will turn out. If you do not have a long straight edge, a piece of string secured on it’s ends works well. Typically, the two paper template sheets can slide along each other with a guide to align at the BSL. The BSL should be marked on the boot sole along with mid sole/mounting mark. If not, then measure the sole at the bottom from the tip of the toe to the heel. It’s probably a good idea to measure even if there is a a Boot Sole Center mark in the event there was a manufacturing error or general wear and tear of the soles. If unsure, further research may be required before attempting any of these steps and mounting your bindings.
The “|A” is the center boot mark and the “MM 298” is the BSL for the boot n the example below.
The boot center mark is placed over the green mounting line for the 298 MM BSL on the template.
Using a hole punch at the BSL line helps you to align the template at your mounting line:
Other Binding Template Uses: Also as mentioned, comparing existing bindings to new ones and screw hole offsets can be performed. Here is a download that compares the midsole of a 328mm boot sole (not by SlideWright) to see an excellent example of how can be facilitated. You can turn off and on the PDF layers to isolate various binding combinations.
(Updated Nov 26. 2012)