Disc Break In-What I am seeing

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Disc Break In-What I am seeing

Postby Bradley Walker » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:11 am

I hear a lot of talk of break in to make a disc fly right. The idea being that smashing into trees, or whatever "tunes" the disc and starts the disc towards being more of a turnover disc and somehow increasing the glide.

Indeed, discs can be tuned, the DX variety plastic is very easy to tune, no need to smash into trees. Bending the rim down forces the dome up at the ring. This will indeed make the disc more understable but will not increase the speed of the disc.

The CE discs however, are nearly impossible to "tune" and seems to shrug off tree hits like it never happened. There seems to be no apparent change to the dome on old discs. I found this to be true even on discs found in the used bin at the local disc store that seems to have hundreds of rounds on them.

However! What I am seeing is something completely different and significant.

Most (if not all) of todays extremely overstable discs have some degree of wing bottom "undercamber" (the concave portion of the rim) along with a "stabilizer" ring (the lip at the innermost diameter of the rim at the bottom). The more "undercamber" and the taller the "stabilizer" the more overstable the disc.

I think if you look you will see that this stabilizer ring wears pretty readily even with premium plastic with several rounds. Once this ring starts to wear, the discs will pick up speed and become less overstable. All of this without a tree in sight or any manual tuning. This makes a great deal of sense to me. The cross sectional area of the wing airfoil is reduced slightly with wear along with the drag under the plate, creating more SPEED because of a simple reduction in drag. Thinner wings go faster, in general. I never understood how simply changing the airfoil nose to more "nose down" (read that ***hitting trees***) would make the disc go faster ALL BY ITSELF (which I now believe it does not). While doming the top may make a disc more understable, the loss of the stabilizer ring is more significant IMHO.

For example, I have a Surge I have been working with. This disc has NEVER hit a tree. The rim is pristine. It is also apparent that that this inner stabilizer ring (very slight, sharp bump on a Surge) is nearly completely gone already (it is about a month old). This has made the disc more of a super fast turnover disc as compared to the "dead straight" new Surge disc I picked up Saturday (which still has a sharp stabilizer ring). Not a bad thing mind you, as the speed and glide is much improved with the stabilizer ring blunted, but the disc is no longer suited for shots into the wind (where the new one performs beautifully).

I also have an Orc that I have been playing for 6 months. It is also no longer suitable for into the wind shots, but is a super fast, super long, straight consistent disc for me. I picked up a mate to this disc the other day (same weight, plastic, etc). I could not believe how much the rim of my old disc has worn compared to new one. The new disc has a significantly taller and sharper stabilizer ring compared to my old disc, and consequently is slightly slower, shorter, and predictable for overstable flight.

This would also explain what I was see occurring with the Cylcone design. Due to the plastic flow in the mold (as explained by Blake), the old Cyclones had a signicantly shorter stabilizer on the bottom, making the disc faster and more flippy (not to mention the pointier nose). Then new plastics appear to flow in the mold much better than the old plastic, so apparently the disc stabilizer is more "true" to the mold. The result is a more stable and slower disc that requires "break-in" (read that "wear" on the stabilizer IMHO) to be more like the old Cyclone.

Consequently, a lot of the inherent overstability that comes from "better" plastic, may actually be coming from the more perfect molding properties of the better plastics creating taller stabilizer profiles. When actually the manufacturers should be reducing the stabiizer profiles with the better plastics.

BTW, this is nothing new. When I was a kid Wham-O frisbees came with instructions to sand the base of the disc on the concrete to make the disc more understable.

Hey, if you don't believe me take you best "broken in" overstable driver disc and compare it to a new disc. Look at the stabilizer ring (not to mention feel it). I think that you might find a significant difference.
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Postby Blake_T » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:57 pm

you are very correct in a lot of this. the stabilizer ring is generally referred to as the bead. that effect is consistent with many slight variations on discs that have yielded more/less stable versions e.g. viking/valkyrie and predator/tsunami. it is also consistent with the results of the dga factored stingrays and some of the gateway factored e illusions.

there is, however, a secondary rim characteristic that has a very large affect on flight as well, which is the stabilizer ring (or lack of) that runs just off the nose. the notch evolved over time, beginning with a very wide flat spot (~3-4mm) on discs like the viper, raven, cyclone, cheetah, gazelle, etc. gradually narrowing with the x2 to ~2mm, and finally reducing itself to more like 1-1.5mm with the eagle, teebird, and firebird.

up until 1996, almost all drivers in the modern era (starting with the viper) had a flat spot on the under side of the rim before the edge. the polaris ls, xl, leopard, TL, jls, xs and valkyrie were really the first discs that did not have this characteristic.

the trend has reversed itself, and the only recent discs that have really had this characteristic are the starfire-x, talon, original monster and to a much lesser extent, the orc and flash.

what i have found when comparing a lot of these discs to their L mod counterparts are that the flat spot (or "notch") seems to have very significant affects on predictability of fade as well as high speed stability. the xtra, reaper and firebird-L were really the first overstable discs that had no notch.

i generally only throw discs with the notch into strong headwinds as even if they turn, they will always fade out (given enough height). similarly, these discs will generally fade predictably UNTIL the notch gets smoothed off due to wear. this is especially noticeable with broken in dx teebirds.

that's an interesting analysis on the cyclone stability. those affects are exaggerated by the mass distribution of the disc. the newer pro d plastic as well as x and z are MUCH more rim heavy (denser plastic) than the original cyclone plastic.
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Postby Bradley Walker » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:29 pm

I agree that you have the GP effects of plastic nailed. This effect, coupled with more moldable plastic is a double whammy to making discs overstable.

However, I still do not feel that GP is the factor that effects the speed, only the under/over stability of the disc. The extra speed of a broken in discs is coming from the reduction in drag. This is an simple aerodynamic fact that lower drag typically results in more speed with the same forward energy.

The fact is that ALL of the new high speed overstable discs have a bead. Some are of the "typical" variety (like an Eagle or Roc) and the others are at the most inner portion of the concave or "undercambered" portion of the lower airfoil. (like an Orc or Valkyrie).

To me, there is no other explaination that can be easily measured.

When I get the chance I will post side by side comparisons of the 1995 vs 2006 Cyclone. They are very different. The main difference is the height of the bead.
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Postby Weebl » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:17 pm

When I bend discs to 'tune' them it doesnt necessarily raise the flightplate, it bends down the rim making the disc act as if there's more nosedown on it...
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Postby Bradley Walker » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:09 pm

Weebl wrote:When I bend discs to 'tune' them it doesnt necessarily raise the flightplate, it bends down the rim making the disc act as if there's more nosedown on it...


The only way this can happen, especially on discs with wide rims, is to raise the back end of the wim, along with dropping the nose.

Anyway, I totally agree that discs can be tuned in this way. there are alot of ways to tune a disc, I am just saying that I think the lower plate wears with use.
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Postby Weebl » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:35 am

I agree with you for the most part, especially for DX/X plastics. When I first started though I got a Champion Viking, and i threw that thing up and down so many f-ing streets on the way to the course and back. If it was DX, it would resemble a wok. The thing kept it's rim depth though.

I think by pushing up the inside of the rim/lowering the nose causes it to fly with less drag. The less air actually is hitting the bottom foil, the less drag. You can correlate it to firebirds if you want. They may come out of your hand fast, but it slows down quickly because it's losing it's nose down trajectory and eventually when the nose is >0 it starts fading hard.
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Postby Bradley Walker » Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:50 am

I agree. Very good explanation.

I will say, however, I am sticking by my guns on the disc wear. This may not be the ONLY factor seen in disc wear, but I believe it is a significant factor.

I played with a buddy last night who found a first mold CE Beast. The undercamber on the bottom wing was noticably round and smooth compared to a new one I aquired. As a result his had a nice flip up and turnover S-curve, where mine was very overstable. There was no eveidence that the rim had been "pushed up" (this can be seen by a line formed where the rim and dome meet) to account for a more "nose down" condition.
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Postby Blake_T » Mon May 01, 2006 7:46 am

btw, after giving this some thought, i noticed something:

certain discs come out with a more abrupt bead/stabilizer ring in dx. this is mostly noticeable when compared to gummy champ and sometimes pro.

discs that are definitely more defined in dx (or at least more than the pearlescent champ):
old mold beast
orc
wraith

seems with some of the domier dx discs that the domes tend to collapse when run in certain blends of champ plastic.
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