This is such a niche problem that I didn’t expect anyone had created an off-the-shelf solution. Here’s an example of what some of us have dealt with.
My Titan X-3 squat stand’s J-cups were only mostly protected with UHMW liners as shown above. The inside front lip is not protected at all. I can roll my bar right into the exposed steel on the lip. Not only do I roll it out to set up for each set, I also spin the bar against either the lip or backplate to help move it side-to-side to re-center it, as we all do. This cut a groove into the steel as shown.
UHMW = Ultra High Molecular Weight plastic, used all the time nowadays as protective liners on power rack J-cups and safety bars to protect the bar’s knurling and cut noise. Known for exceptional durability and impact resistance.
A reader Cary made a comment on my J-cups article to point me to Aperture Engineering, a little store entirely dedicated to selling inexpensive 3D-printed protectors to solve this very issue, protecting not only the inside lip but all the way around the front as well.
Above is the grey colored protector installed onto my J-cup. Nice!
Full disclosure: They gave these to me as a free sample. One of the perks of having a blog!
Because the protector wraps around the front of the lip, he makes these protectors even for J-cup models that have a UHMW lined inside lip, which Titan’s current J-cups have but not their older 2017 J-cups I have. These protectors will protect your bar when you attempt to re-rack it too low into the front of the J-cups. Up until now the only solution offered for this has been sandwich J-cups, which are nice but very expensive if they’re available at all for your particular rack.
Most of these protectors are only about $9-10 per pair, all custom sized to fit Rogue, Sorinex, and a growing list of other brands.
To solve the exposed steel issue before these were available, people have tried buying UHMW sheets, cutting them to size, and gluing them into place. I’m not the only person who took issue with the exposed steel. I never bothered to try retrofitting it with extra UHMW, but when I saw these protectors online I emailed a bit with the owner Greg Eakins and later decided I wanted a pair.
The first pair of protectors I got didn’t fit quite right. Apparently Titan has changed things a couple times, and I have a version of J-cups made with thicker steel than the specs Greg was making them to. I took a measurement with calipers and Greg made a new pair for me that fits great!
Unfortunately he doesn’t make protectors for the lip of my older Titan X-3 safety arms. He does make some for Titan’s current version with a taller lip.
As for the material, he 3D prints these out of PLA (polylactic acid), a biodegradable plastic that is popular for 3D printing, with an impact modifier chemical added to the mix to make it hold up better for the kind of abuse that lifters will put them through.
Durability-wise, they feel fairly good to me. Slamming the bar against them makes about the same quiet sound as UHMW. Definitely not as hard nor as durable as UHMW though. To see how the material would hold up, I spun the bar shaft against it roughly, as we all do when trying to re-center the bar, and it was starting to shave off. Don’t do that. Better to spin your bar against the rear UHMW backplate instead.
Installation is simple. Remove the existing UHMW liner by removing the allen screws holding it on, or remove more than one UHMW liner depending on the model, and seat the protector onto the bare steel. Then re-install the UHMW liner(s) on top of it. The existing allen screw should be long enough that it can go through the protector and screw in securely into the steel without a problem. In my case I only had to remove a single screw of a single UHMW liner on each J-cup, with a 5/32″ (4mm) allen key.
For the price, and for something custom shaped into a curve like this, which you can’t get with UHMW sheets from industrial supply stores, I feel like it’s a good deal even though it isn’t as tough as UHMW.
I plan on keeping these protectors on for as long as I have these J-cups. Nice little upgrade.
As for the first pair that didn’t fit, I have no use for them. If anyone has a pair of older Titan X-3 J-cups with 10mm steel, leave a comment below and I’ll send them to you, no charge. They won’t fit any other model right. I’ll hang onto them for a little while.
The J-cup and safety spotter arm protectors arrived a while back and since indigo was pending on stock for a while, I ended up getting a custom luminescent pearlescent green for my girlfriend’s setup instead.
Matches her setup perfectly and the color actually kinda glows in the dark. My dark red ones came in too, but I’m gonna drill a few holes and cut them shorter to fit my custom J-cups hole placement and fit under the UHMW.
I like the lime green and black color scheme!
I decided to add these to both my custom rack and my girlfriend’s SML-1 to protect both sides of the lip of the J-cups and safety spotter arms, also the color choices will make the accent of the rack pop.
I recently ordered a custom dark red for my rack and a custom indigo color for hers, I’ll update with a follow up post when I receive them for some of my thoughts on them.
Sure, post a follow up!
I really only wanted them to to protect against the inside lip of the J cups. Outside edge protection is just gravy. Things are going really bad if I ever hit the outside! I don’t like a bunch of distracting colors, so I went for light grey, just enough to see they’re there.
I’ve been using these for a couple weeks now. It’s definitely an improvement, but the v1 j-cups biggest issue, side to side movement causes the bottom pad to twist, still happens even with these installed.
Get an old bicycle inner tube. Cut out a two inch section to make a rubber donut. Stretch it over the front lip. Works like a champ.
Sounds like a feasible idea!
Just ordered 2 pairs for Titan T3 v1 jcups.
Wish someone would offer direct swap replacements for the original pads.
Do you have some that are worn out?
Yeah, on my pair of v2 j-cups, I wore the bottom pad down to the bolt. Took about a year. The v2 pads are thinner than the v1.
I’ve sent my pads to a friend who’s going to attempt to 3d print me a new set. Not sure if he’s going to offer them for sale afterwards.
Very niche market, accessory to an accessory. Fabricating whole J-cups with the plastic wrapped around them like this would make for a bigger market, but of course that’s a lot more work.
True, on the other hand, I’ve been on a mission to add a subtle Gadsden theme to my gym. Adding yellow to contrast all the black anywhere I can. Lots of Spud Inc products. J-cup pads are next haha.
These seem awesome, and it is cool to see that they have expanded their offering to include additional racks, but I doubt they will go back and create them for my Titan X-2 :) I did actually refer someone this morning to Aperture for the spacer. For now I am just using Scotch felt pad stickers to handle the wear point in your image. Looks silly, but it works.
I could see that working for a while, for as long as the adhesive holds up. Yeah I doubt he’d want to design some for the discontinued X-2!
I see the spacers, good idea too!
Never hurts to ask. Even if they don’t, lots of people with 3d printers could whip some up with a little effort.