How tough are carbon blades? - RC Groups
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Oct 07, 2010, 10:10 PM
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How tough are carbon blades?

I'm dabbling in bigger heli's now. Up to this point, most of my little heli's have used plastic or wood blades. I've noticed that most of these bigger(450+) helis use fiberglass or carbon fiber for the blades. Not yet being an expert, I fully expect to crash atleast a few times. Compaired to the FG blades, how much tougher are the CF blades? How much better will they handle a crash? Is the CF's druability worth the extra cost, or are they just another nifty looking part? Thanks for the info.
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Oct 07, 2010, 11:31 PM
Registered User
CF blades are definitely worth the cost when you're ready for them but... don't use them until you think you need them (each of us needs to decide when that is).

While CF blades perform better, they will also transmit the shock of impact in a crash to the rest of the head causing more damage than wooden blades which break on impact. With wood blades you basically damage blades, feathering shaft, maybe main shaft but rarely the other head pieces unless you go in with full throttle or inverted.

Don't buy durable blades to save $10-$12 on wooden blade replacements and have to spend $50 on a new head.
Oct 08, 2010, 01:59 AM
Registered User
Carbon blades vary. Crash damage is often as much or more, as a wood blade. Other models can be more durable.
The more delicate are often sold as the higher performance light weight blades.
Oct 08, 2010, 12:11 PM
Registered User
I have had good wood blades that were tougher and flew better then some of the cheaper Carbon Fiber blades I have had in the past.

So just because it is a C/F blade does not always mean it is a better blade.
Oct 08, 2010, 12:44 PM
My dog is PERFECT in my eyes
I use FRP fiberglass blades. Once they're balanced and things are set up, they're great even with mild 3D. I ran ONE set of CF, they were great but as stated, they rip the head apart even in a mild impact, and it don't take much of a hit to ruin CF blades. In other words, I don't think the cost justifys the means, especially if you're still having head strikes off and on. I'll continue to run fiberglass for a LONG time....they're light, decient rigidity, and a minor hit will not ruin the blade.
Oct 08, 2010, 01:37 PM
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ChillPhatCat's Avatar
Yeah, not that it hasn't been said, but CF blades are made for performance, not durability. And, blades are the first thing you want to break over other parts in a crash. Wood is the way to go for sure when just starting out.
Oct 08, 2010, 03:25 PM
Rocket Programmer
jasmine2501's Avatar
Originally Posted by ChillPhatCat
CF blades are made for performance, not durability.
Yup... they have ZERO durability actually. ANY damage to a carbon fiber blade means you need to replace it. An impact can cause invisible micro-cracks in the structure, and this can cause a complete failure. It's probably a good idea to replace CF blades periodically even if you don't break them.
Oct 08, 2010, 07:37 PM
Committed heli addict...
phoenixheli's Avatar
Zero durability is right, lol. Almost any damage, except for some small scratches, makes them unusable. Wood blades usually can take a blade strike fairly well, due to the flexible nature of the wood.

I do most of my flying with woods as I'm more of an easy flyer. The sound of woods chopping the air is soothing to me. I'll throw some cf's on when I want to throw the heli around hard. Full collective punches require stiff blades (cf or fg), because the rotor disk begins to cone, especially with woods, and it decreases the total lift, also making the cyclic less responsive.

Cf's also provide a precision feel to the cyclic, but this can be counter productive if you fly easy, because woods have a softer and almost absorptive quality when dealing with turbulances and cyclic or pitch inputs.

So, like most people it comes down to costs and wants. For the price of a single set of cf's you could buy 3 or 4 woods. But, you can't get the performance of cf's with woods.
Last edited by phoenixheli; Oct 08, 2010 at 07:50 PM.
Oct 08, 2010, 09:38 PM
I'm a Registered User
Thanks for all the info, it's just the kind of thing I was looking for I hadn't though of wood blades as a head saving device, but it makes perfect sense.
Oct 08, 2010, 10:04 PM
Rocket Programmer
jasmine2501's Avatar
Well some wood blades are pretty dang stiff too - the Align blades are not bad. You can also try fiberglass blades - they are cheaper, generally in between wood and CF for stiffness, but they still don't take impacts well.
Oct 09, 2010, 11:35 PM
I'm a Registered User
I imagine that the same holds true for carbon VS plastic tail rotor blades?
Oct 12, 2010, 05:04 PM
Committed heli addict...
phoenixheli's Avatar
Yep, you need a stiff tail for hard flying or the tail rotor will cone out just as the main rotors would. In my experience cf tail rotors are worth the money. Plastics have always exploded on me with a little tail contact. The one set of cf's I used took a tail strike and only scratched the tips, but that energy was transfered from the blades to the shaft and bent it. Same reason I never upgrade head components to metal, the energy just pushes though like a newtonian demonstrator and damages components further down the system. Cheaper to replace a blade grip than a servo or swash. However, with a high speed hs, you shouldnt use plastic head componets anyhow.
Last edited by phoenixheli; Oct 12, 2010 at 05:11 PM.

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