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Carbon Fiber blades vs. wood or plastic

Old 08-13-2007, 12:22 AM
  #1  
Oglomott
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Default Carbon Fiber blades vs. wood or plastic

I've got a Blade CP Pro.

I was getting tired of replacing my wood rotor blades at $16 a pair, so I got some plastic ones. Talking to the guy at the LHS, he says to stay away from plastic blades; they can sever a tail boom! He said that while plastic blades may survive strikes better, the price will be paid in more bent spindles and main shafts.

Well, I get my share of bent spindles and main shafts even using wood blades, which often splinter at the slightest strike, and at $16 a pair at the LHS, that gets expensive. Besides, spindles are cheaper than a set of wood blades, though more of a pain to replace.

So, what about Carbon Fiber blades? Are they "safer" as far as the potential damage they can cause? Are they more durable than wood, or less so? I do note that they're twice the price of a set of wood blades. What's the true advantage and desirability?

Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:31 AM
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vortex05
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CF blades are very stiff, stiffer than all other blades. they are not more durable to wood when it comes to blade strikes with the ground, CF blades will split and are almost never repairable after what seems like the most minor strike.

The airfoil is much more precise than the wood one so you will have excellent flight characteristics but I found that after the first crash my blade developed an ever growing splinter problem.

Plastic blades overall are still the most durable and although other parts do break due to hard landings and blade flexing and hitting the boom, a new boom is only $5.00 a new spindle is also cheap I would say that it takes longer to repair the damage caused by the plastics but it almost always is cheaper.

Alternatively you can try FRP fiber reinforced fiberglass. they don't split when struck like CF and they aren't a hollow core. they are also only slightly heavier than CF and about as stiff. disadvantage is they look like plastic blades and if you get the HDX version like I did the blades are thinner and longer changing the flight characteristics to not have alot of lift but will have alot of excess roll.

Meaning you'd have to get used to it and you'll be getting slightly less out of your blade CPP

As for the plastics they are heavier more stable and slower to respond newbies suffer from overcorrection easily with plastics. But they generally track good even after a crash, can be sanded down to balance out the weight as opposed to adding tape as long as you have a reliable digital scale.

I don't regret my choice to learn with plastics, I've broken spindles. main shafts, paddle control frames and pitch links but the blades still fly like new and each of these parts are far less expensive then the CF blades I still have in my box.
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:28 AM
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JaysonS
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Vortex pretty much said it all. I fly with CF blades because they fly better than the rest. But other than CF i use woodies. I dont like plastic blades. No reason, just don't like them.
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Old 08-13-2007, 08:37 AM
  #4  
vortex05
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I do agree with you the CF blades have an excellent airfoil that is nearly flawless due to the shiny laquer surface, but just like automotive paint I get so sad when i see scuffed CF blades that used to look so pretty.

forgot to metion that woodies are usually the lightest, so some people that push an underpowered heli like the CP still prefer them.

Forgot to mention also that if you are getting plastic blades DO NOT get symetrical airfoils, the blades are heavy enough already and with the amount of flexing I doubt 3D will be rewarding on them. do your self a favour and get flat bottomed ones so they get more lift due to air foil shape to counteract the extra 14g or more of weight they add.

I say this because you can run the flat bottom plastics at very low pitch angles and i've noticed the weight of the plastics cause bogging of my motor far quicker than both the wood and CF and fiberglass ones.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:16 AM
  #5  
Oglomott
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I guess I might try the plastic flat bottoms again, or stick to wood. Even a small strike can damage the wood ones so as to destroy the airfoil characteristics to the point where they're unusable, and I still get bent spindles anyway. I've gotten to where I can replace a spindle fairly quickly, and a new spindle is only like $4 or so, compared to $16 for a new set of wood blades. I guess I'll stay away from carbon fibers; $30 for a set is a bit much to possibly ruin them after one flight.
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:47 PM
  #6  
codeguy9
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Cool Stick with flat bottom plastic while learning...

I have had my blade cp pro 2 months now. Have 162 packs run through it. I am getting good at hovering. Still flying the plastic flat bottom blades I bought after 12 or so packs. I kept busting the woodies. Never touched tracking the pro flies rock solid. I am using a dx7 with dual tail motors. You will get tail boom strikes. I solve this by wrapping my tail boom with a few wraps of bubble wrap. I have had many tail boom strikes since doing this and no more busted tail booms. Works great.

See my post about this:

http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22558
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Old 08-16-2007, 09:46 PM
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vortex05
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Lol I know that is A solution but that bubble wrap looks horrid.

I'm doing alot of fast FF and I figure that's not going to let me fly as easily.

On the bright side boom strikes can be reduced by stiffening up your dampers, additionally booms are one of the cheapest parts on the blade costing about $5 for a new one so it's actually economical.

The only set back is that a boom generally takes longer to wait for the CA to decure or drill the old boom out is a pain.

Alot of people are talking about aluminum booms I tried looking for adequate material to make it out of today at my LHS but they didn't seem to have a perfect or close size and the thickness was way too thin I could sense flexing just by pushing on it. But I'll keep looking I'm sure I can custom make a rebendable boom sometime.
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:35 AM
  #8  
codeguy9
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Cool

[quote]
Originally Posted by vortex05 View Post
Lol I know that is A solution but that bubble wrap looks horrid.
You are right it looks bad. I will remove it soon as my flying is improving now.
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Old 08-17-2007, 04:50 AM
  #9  
vortex05
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I was at the local hobby shop looking for solutions today I might decide to make my own boom out of aluminum although they didn't have the 7075 stuff just the regular soft stuff which kinda got me worried so I passed on it.

Next time though I'll see if I can whip up something at minimum I can drill a hole and put a screw through it to retain it thus saving the CA removal nightmares.
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:09 PM
  #10  
va6kw
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I'm a newbie that toasted my tail boom recently. A friend replaced it with a carbon fibre arrow shaft, seems to be still balanced right, time will tell if it's better but sure seems stronger. Just an alternative to store-bought.
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:46 AM
  #11  
RacingTiger04
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Well I run the fiberglass blades and just like vortex did i have the HDX blades, I love how durable they are and quite strong too. The only regret is they are hard on my poor little battery, a few nicks here and there but nothing that has negated the flying capabilities though!.. until i shattered my tail boom with a blade strike.. twice so far (once repaired with CA even haha!) now ive gotta go to the hobby store and get some debonder for a new boom =/ how long does that take anyways?
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:29 PM
  #12  
vortex05
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debonding always takes forever, meaning a little longer than your willing to wait. It's the only part of the hobby I don't like.

I've found though that if you only splintered the shaft you can restore strength and keep her flying by using a layer of 1 ply soaked in CA. It might sound weird but CA itself isn't very strong but CA+tissue paper ends up rock hard super strong, guess it's the paper mache effect got the idea after learning how they layered fiberglass, splitting 2 ply into a 1ply still seems lighter than fiberglass patches though.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:34 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by vortex05 View Post
debonding always takes forever, meaning a little longer than your willing to wait. It's the only part of the hobby I don't like.

I've found though that if you only splintered the shaft you can restore strength and keep her flying by using a layer of 1 ply soaked in CA. It might sound weird but CA itself isn't very strong but CA+tissue paper ends up rock hard super strong, guess it's the paper mache effect got the idea after learning how they layered fiberglass, splitting 2 ply into a 1ply still seems lighter than fiberglass patches though.
that would be great, but the blades also split through my tail rotor wires =/ definately something to remember for later though! i hadnt even thought of that and I worked with fiberglass when my grandfather was helping my rebuild my moms old Pro-AM lol.
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:13 AM
  #14  
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I gave up on debonding my tail booms. I found that i was able to cut the boom off flush with the frame and then drill the remaining boom out with a 3/16" drill and my trusty dewalt. not only was this a ton quicker it also left the hole a couple of thousandths undersized for the metric booms. so my new boom was a press fit and didn't even require CA. Just take the proper precautions depending on your handtool skill level when drilling the frame, get carried away and it can send your frame spinning in your palm, in the blink of an eye. take it slow, use a new bit, and it'll drill right out.
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