Arrow Preparation Systems


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The Arrow Preparation System


 Firenock designed APS to resolve the imperfections and shortcomings of the various current arrow preparation tools on the market.  Today, in order to consistently build reliable arrow shafts, there are several preparation procedures that one must complete before continuing to installation and assembly.  Usually, these preparations procedures include the use of several difference tools at different times -- a squaring tool for both sides of the arrow before and after fletching or a spinner to make sure your shaft is concentric, for example.  With the Arrow Preparation System or APS, arrow shafts can be prepared in a both time efficient and space efficient manner. A 6-in-1 tool (nock end squaring tool, insert end squaring tool, fletched nock end squaring tool, broad-head/field point spin checker, outsert concentricity checker, and general spin checker), APS is truly engineered with our customers in mind.  We believe that, once you try APS, you will discover how essential a tool it is for precision arrow building.


Special Features of the APS

Adjustable Roller Track Base System

To guarantee that the APS can be used to square any length arrow or type of fletching, a unique track base system was developed.  Involving two to three rollers, the system allows the user to change their position by simply loosening their lock screws, moving left or right, and locking again.

Never Wear Grinding Surface

Made of a solid piece of aluminum that is hand-anodized for durability, the APS grinding block is different from any other arrow preparation tool because of its longevity.  Recommended with the use of common 3M adhesive back sand paper (3-2/3” X 7-1/2”), APS's grinding surface is interchangeable.  If the sand paper worn out, just replace it and you have a fresh grinding surface again.  APS grinding block is made from a solid piece of Aluminum and then hard anodized for durability, so there is no worry about the straightness of the block even after sticking and removing sand paper from the block repeatedly.

Supports with Custom Ball Bearings

As of 2015, the crowned ball bearings initially designed for the PAPS (the Professional Preparation System -- see below) have been adapted to suit the APS (right: left is original [not for sale], far right is our current support).  The bearings provide a large surface to support the arrow and to allow smooth operation, even under high pressure.  The large size of the crowned ball bearings also eliminate any lateral movement, especially while doing squaring. Sealed for durability and pre-fitted with mounting screws, these supports eliminate all play.



  1. For those who wish to mount your APS to your work bench or table, the track base has an easily identifiable center line marking for your convenience.

  2. We recommend 150 grid or higher adhesive back sand paper is recommended for squaring carbon and 220 grid adhesive back sand paper for inserts and/or aluminum/carbon mix shafts/arrows. Also heed that, due to the filing nature of some aluminum shafts, it is recommended to change the sand paper frequently.

  3. See the installation manual here.

APS Function Breakdown (6-in-1)

APS Optional Accessories

New for 2018: Super Spinners

Due to requests for a support specifically for spinning arrows, we have designed the Super Spinner.  With a diameter 400% larger than the original support, spin-checking has never been more easy.  Let's break down how.  In physics, the radius of a circle (and thus its circumference) is directly related to the distance it takes to spin one full cycle.  Here, in the instance of an arrow versus our Super Spinners, due to the radius of the Super Spinners being, at average, five times greater than an arrow, they will spin once before your arrow spins five times.  By literally making the bearings work less, Super Spinners allow you to to take complete advantage of our unique bearings.


The Professional Arrow Preparation System


Firenock PAPS is proudly designed in Illinois USA and is US Patented (# 9046452). PAPS is a unique take on the ordinary arrow preparation tool, acting as both your arrow's spine index (spine index = initial bending direction) locater and your arrow deflection value (with optional digital gauge) tool.  With PAPS, you can easily do all these complicated, but important arrow preparation procedures within seconds without subjective judgment.


3 Main Components

The Track

Proudly made in the USA, the PAPS track is a double track system, machined at 36 inches long and in a tripe box system.  Made of 7000 series aluminum and finished with type two level three hard-anodizing, it’s extremely durable.  And to even further ensure its durability and stability, especially at its long length, the bottom of the track has six 3M stoppers installed.  Along both sides there are easy-to-read measuring tapes (in both inches and centimeters).  On one side of the track, full length measurement (0-36” / 0-914mm) is provided while on the other side, it is center to each end measurements (18”-0-18” / 457mm-0-457mm).  These two different measuring tapes are purposefully designed to simplify the process of measuring the length of the shaft as well as locating the middle point of the shaft.  To doubly ensure your PAPS and bench is indeed level, at least one 7mm cylinder water level can be installed along the middle of the track.

The Tower

The large piece in the middle of the PAPS is the power of the First Bend/Spine Locater.  To provide the perfect perpendicular contact points between this tower and your shaft, there are two custom crowned ball bearings at the base of the tower.  Three linear ball bearings make up the top portion.  With this design, PAPS can apply perfectly perpendicular pressure to the exact center of the shaft during testing while still minimizing the horizontal pressure that may form during spine readings.

The Supports

In the present market, most spine locater tools use off-the-shelf ball bearings to support and to rotate the shaft.  However, there are two fundamental problems with their design.

  1. Due to the straight edge of off-the-shelf ball bearings, when a shaft is bent during testing, it is forced to rest on on that straight edge.  This causes agular pressure to form between the two.  This issue worsens as the shaft is pressed harder, to the point where the ball bearings can even stop rotating, restricting your ability to turn the shaft and overall deeming the ball bearings useless.

  2. The typical hole in the middle of a ball bearing requires a screw to fasten it to a mount and/or jig.  Because screws are typically not specifically designed and built for any system, the available tolerance of those screw will not and do not provide a perfect fit for your ball bearings.

Due to above problems, Firenock has custom-made new ball bearings. 

To solve the uneven pressure problem, our new ball bearings have a unique-angle-variable crown outer edge.  This also decreases overall pinch pressure on the shaft, or, in other words, the shaft can ride smoothly and freely all of the time.  Further, this forces the shaft to stay perpendicular to the center of the custom ball bearings.  To solve the second problem, the one about lack of screw tolerance, our bearings have a pre-built, ready to mount stud center.

    PAPS comes with two supports which each have two of those custom crowned ball bearings installed.  Additonally, there is a machined index line on both sides of our supports to ensure the correct position via the measuring tape. 

Why Is Locating An Arrow’s Spine Index Important?

After locating the bending point of your arrow, you can use it as a reference point for your cock feather.  By doing so, you can then predict how every one of your arrows will flex during launch -- they will all flex in the same direction.  With this new knowledge, your shooting accuracy will be enhanced.

Why Do YOU Need PAPS?

    During and after the creation and release of our high performance arrow series, AeroBolt, we at Firenock noticed that the requirements and specifications of arrows have specifically increases, creating a need for a unique, quality tool.  Thus, the APS was born.  While an excellent tool, we found that there was still a need for an even better tool for preparing and acquiring data from each shaft quickly, accurately, and effectively.  that arrow shafts need to be spine indexed, spine measured, spine matched, chamfered (a procedure to perfectly mate AeroInsert Reversed Collar End with shaft), squared, cut and marked, etc.  Without these arrow preparation procedures, shafts will not be good enough to install insert, nock, or vane.  In other words, without the above mentioned arrow preparation procedures, it is technically impossible to build ultra high precision, high performance arrow and to achieve repeatable accurate archery projectiles.  In order to make all these arrow preparation procedures easy and to have them done quickly and perfectly, Firenock introduced APS (Arrow Preparation System) in 2011 to do perfect squaring and concentricity check. But APS cannot tell you the spine index of your arrow and so Firenock built PAPS.  PAPS can help you to find the arrow spine index within seconds.  Once you locate your arrow spine index, you will know how your arrow flexes during flight and you can use the spine index for your cock feather fletching.  In this way, your bundle of arrows will perform the same even without further tuning your bow.

See the installation manual here.

And see the PAPS Operation Procedure Video here.

PAPS Optional Accessories

With the Vibration Module, your PAPS should be able to find the first dynamic bend of the shaft automatically. 

For some shafts, it is necessary to have some assistance finding the first dynamic bend.  With the help of the Vibration Module, by lowering the initial friction as well as adding energy to the system, we can better locate the most defined “valley.”  To expand, while some shafts may have more than one “valley,” some may have one that you can’t even find.  With the Vibration Module, by amplifying only the “valleys” themselves and minimizing everything else, you can more easily pinpoint the first (and perhaps only) dynamic bend.

    The Vibration Module’s casing is CNC machined brass.  Inside the metal casing, it has a digital component to control the operation timer and the vibrating frequency of the micro-motor.   To operate the vibration module, you need only to press the red button located on the side the case.  With that one push, a short wave of vibration is added to the system according to the pre-set timer.  With the help of that vibration burst, you can roll the arrow shaft with your index finger to locate the first dyanmic bend easily.  Requires AAA batteries, not included.

The Digital Gauge Module gives you an accurate and reliable spine deflection reading of your shaft. 

  1. Mounting Arm : Made of CNC machined aluminum, it is securely mounted on the tower with two mounting screws equipped with O-ring retainers, while the digital gauge is mounted on the arm itself by a stainless tightening nut.

  2. Digital Gauge : Inserted by the gauge tip through the top of the tower, it can measure the deflection of your arrow easily and reliably. One can also zero reference the gauge by using the zero reference support. It is equipped with a large, easy-to-read LCD display and the reading can be set/sent to “hold / memory / zero”. Modes include inch (0.0005”) / metric (0.1mm) / fraction (1/64”). The 40mm plunger is made of GR5 titanium for accurate measurement. The meter is powered by long lasting common 3V CR2032 batteries and it will auto shut off after five minutes of inactive operation.

  3. Zero Reference Support : To provide a reliable zero reference point before measurement, the zero reference support is available. Made of CNC machined aluminum, this device, as its name suggests, is to be placed beneath your shaft to support it ‘so it becomes parallel to the support rollers for zeroing the digital gauge.

  4. Brass Weight : The brass weight is machined to provide constant weight to act on your shaft, thus allowing you to measure the deflection (stiffness) of different shafts easily and reliably. With the brass weight installed, the system resembles 1.94lb (880g) of pressure when suspended from the center of a 28 in. (0.71 m) arrow shaft (as is the standard method for such mesurements via the American Society for Testing and Materials [ASTM] F203105.)

   For even more precision, we have created the PAPS Aerovane Jig Laser Mounting Module. 

The mounting module is a machined piece of aluminum to fit perfectly on the track and to hold the laser module solidly.  With this module and its laser, after you can locate the position of the first bend without standing up.