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boo10

Thermoformable Stick Blades - Why Not?

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Just curious.....

We know that a carbon fibre based product can be very pliable when heated and very rigid when cooled, (True Skates).  Why has no manufacturer adapted this technology to stick blades?

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Have they not? I mean, that’s how they get the curves on their sticks in the first place isn’t it? And they can clone curves for pros if I recall. 

Now, if you meant doing this at retail... well, that’s pretty unlikely. Requiring stores to have the kind of machinery to make that work is highly unlikely. 

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1 hour ago, IPv6Freely said:

Have they not? I mean, that’s how they get the curves on their sticks in the first place isn’t it? And they can clone curves for pros if I recall. 

Now, if you meant doing this at retail... well, that’s pretty unlikely. Requiring stores to have the kind of machinery to make that work is highly unlikely. 

I'm not really familiar with the current manufacturing process other than I know they use moulds.  I have no idea if there's heat involved.

I was talking more about the ability for consumers to tweak curves by heating the blade and applying force, similar to the method us old-timers used on our wood sticks.

You can technically do it now, but you create micro fractures in the carbon fibre, which causes premature breakage.  To my knowledge, baking True skates multiple times does not damage the carbon fibre.  I'm just curious as to why that property of the skates hasn't or can't be used in stick blades.

Edited by boo10

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5 hours ago, boo10 said:

Just curious.....

We know that a carbon fibre based product can be very pliable when heated and very rigid when cooled, (True Skates).  Why has no manufacturer adapted this technology to stick blades?

 

I think the evolution of stick blade construction will lead to this eventually. And we'll look back in disbelief about the period of time between wooden blades and this future state when "you had to buy a fixed curve and couldn't even adjust it to your own preference". If a manufacturer can perfect this with a similar blade response, weight and durability to existing process, it would change the market overnight and all manufacturers would have to follow.

At that point you could just sell two versions - a lie 5 and a lie 6 mid closed curve that can adapted to your preference by heating and bending. Bonus points if the material lends itself to sanding and you could round or square the toe to your preference.

colins

 

 

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I mean, sure if you can find a way for the retail store to be able to modify the curve without needing any sort of special machinery. But that would require sticks to be made of a completely different material than they are now. Something that hasn’t yet been invented. So it may be a ways off.

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1 hour ago, IPv6Freely said:

I mean, sure if you can find a way for the retail store to be able to modify the curve without needing any sort of special machinery. But that would require sticks to be made of a completely different material than they are now. Something that hasn’t yet been invented. So it may be a ways off.

Great, yet another reason for us to complain about the poor training of low paid staff in our hockey shops. 🙂

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3 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

I mean, sure if you can find a way for the retail store to be able to modify the curve without needing any sort of special machinery. But that would require sticks to be made of a completely different material than they are now. Something that hasn’t yet been invented. So it may be a ways off.

 

We've gone from wood / fiberglass to aluminum (shafts) to carbon fiber (with wood completely eliminated) just in my lifetime alone, so I don't think it's a stretch. I'll be surprised if it doesn't happen in the next 10-20 years.

Having to buy a fixed curve at retail that can't be modified is a step backwards from where we were in the past, and we don't usually go backwards in features and stay that way for long.

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The material may have been invented and not applied in this context.  You could have stick blanks and then pattern templates like you have radius templates.  Select template, insert blank, close machine and done.

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I might be dreaming but I vaguely remember Christian having a heat mold-able composite blade in the early to mid 90's.  It was black and fairly expensive at the time, around $30-$40-ish.  I don't even know what it was made out of.  It was black, not much, if any branding.  Might not have even had any carbon in it.  Maybe it was some kind of thermo plastic?  Any other older guys out remember something similar or did I totally make that up?

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The parts of the true skates that are thermoformable aren't completely carbon. The areas that are (heel lower part of the boot/sole) went very thermoformable and require clamps and spot heating (higher heat than baking) to manipulate. 

Also, blades take a lot of beating, something that a thermoformable material may not be able to withstand while keeping overall weight down. 

Edited by Sniper9

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7 hours ago, Neo5370 said:

I might be dreaming but I vaguely remember Christian having a heat mold-able composite blade in the early to mid 90's.  It was black and fairly expensive at the time, around $30-$40-ish.  I don't even know what it was made out of.  It was black, not much, if any branding.  Might not have even had any carbon in it.  Maybe it was some kind of thermo plastic?  Any other older guys out remember something similar or did I totally make that up?

I think I remember something like this, but it might have been an ABS blade and not composite. Could very well be wrong though, its been a while.

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On 10/17/2019 at 9:42 AM, BenBreeg said:

The material may have been invented and not applied in this context.  You could have stick blanks and then pattern templates like you have radius templates.  Select template, insert blank, close machine and done.

I bet companies and retail shops would love that. At that point it's just different flex shafts. No crazy curves to carry or left sitting on a shelf in some shop.

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3 hours ago, stick9 said:

I bet companies and retail shops would love that. At that point it's just different flex shafts. No crazy curves to carry or left sitting on a shelf in some shop.

Shops would love it, companies would not. It would result in them selling less sticks. 

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When it comes to carbon fiber products, the mold or core of the item determines the exterior shape of the finished product. I think the carbon fiber is laid over a pre-shaped blade core. The core has the location of the curve (toe, mid-toe, heel, mid-heel) the amount of curve (1/2", 3/4") toe shape (round, square, in between round and square). The carbon fiber is not bent or cut into the final shape but takes on the shape of the core. Since manufacturers have gotten stick weight down below 400 grams, maybe they could go back to separate shafts and blades to bring back the ability of changing blades and retaining low stick weights.

 

Edited by caveman27
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Might not be a material related to cf.  new materials are being developed all the time.  Just a matter of when it migrates from one industry to others.

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That video was super interesting, but its also super old.  Those sticks are very early OPS, circa 2004-2005 and the construction methods have changed completely since then so I don’t know if its applicable to how blades are constructed and shaped today.  I’m sure some of the more knowledgeable folks on here can chime in on that.    

That being said, in the video the blades are dead straight when the composite is layered on to the blade core.  They curve the blades using a mold and heat after the composite has been applied to the core.  The core is not pre-shaped into a pattern, the entire blade is shaped after being constructed.  I’m not sure exactly how composite can be heated and reshaped on skates but not on sticks.  My guess is there are differences in the makeup of the composite and the resins used that cause that difference.  

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7 hours ago, shooter27 said:

That video was super interesting, but its also super old.  Those sticks are very early OPS, circa 2004-2005 and the construction methods have changed completely since then so I don’t know if its applicable to how blades are constructed and shaped today.  I’m sure some of the more knowledgeable folks on here can chime in on that.    

That being said, in the video the blades are dead straight when the composite is layered on to the blade core.  They curve the blades using a mold and heat after the composite has been applied to the core.  The core is not pre-shaped into a pattern, the entire blade is shaped after being constructed.  I’m not sure exactly how composite can be heated and reshaped on skates but not on sticks.  My guess is there are differences in the makeup of the composite and the resins used that cause that difference.  

I think composite skates’ thermoformability has a lot to do with the whole sandwich that makes up the boot. At least with the speed skate style boots like True where the exposed composite shell resists thermoforming much more than the covered parts, perhaps there’s something about the shell under the covers not curing completely, allowing it to be activated to a pliable state at the right temperature.

Edited by flip12

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20 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

Shops would love it, companies would not. It would result in them selling less sticks. 

How so?

I figured less SKU's for them to manage, lower production costs (more of one thing is easier to make) and less overall on hand inventory, raw materials as well as finished goods. 

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20 hours ago, caveman27 said:

When it comes to carbon fiber products, the mold or core of the item determines the exterior shape of the finished product. I think the carbon fiber is laid over a pre-shaped blade core. The core has the location of the curve (toe, mid-toe, heel, mid-heel) the amount of curve (1/2", 3/4") toe shape (round, square, in between round and square). The carbon fiber is not bent or cut into the final shape but takes on the shape of the core. Since manufacturers have gotten stick weight down below 400 grams, maybe they could go back to separate shafts and blades to bring back the ability of changing blades and retaining low stick weights.

 

That CCM Vector stick was completely different from any other stick back then. It was made like a wood stick and had a very thin blade. 
 

With the foam-filled blades we have today, I can’t see how there could be an in-store process. 

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13 hours ago, shooter27 said:

I’m not sure exactly how composite can be heated and reshaped on skates but not on sticks.

Because stick blades and skates are different things that serve different purposes and made of different materials?  

I understand that this is mostly an “imagine if...” type thread, but a lot of this reminds of peole’s logic similar to “how come they can put a man on the moon, but they can’t solve traffic congestion on my commute.”

A is not B, even if they are similar. 

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16 hours ago, shooter27 said:

That video was super interesting, but its also super old.  Those sticks are very early OPS, circa 2004-2005 and the construction methods have changed completely since then so I don’t know if its applicable to how blades are constructed and shaped today.  I’m sure some of the more knowledgeable folks on here can chime in on that.    

That being said, in the video the blades are dead straight when the composite is layered on to the blade core.  They curve the blades using a mold and heat after the composite has been applied to the core.  The core is not pre-shaped into a pattern, the entire blade is shaped after being constructed.  I’m not sure exactly how composite can be heated and reshaped on skates but not on sticks.  My guess is there are differences in the makeup of the composite and the resins used that cause that difference.  

I have an old replacement blade (the kind you insert into a carbon fiber shaft). It's in a lie that's too steep for me so I removed it from a shaft. Maybe I'll try and heat and bend it.

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7 hours ago, start_today said:

Because stick blades and skates are different things that serve different purposes and made of different materials?  

I understand that this is mostly an “imagine if...” type thread, but a lot of this reminds of peole’s logic similar to “how come they can put a man on the moon, but they can’t solve traffic congestion on my commute.”

A is not B, even if they are similar. 

We never landed on the moon, it was all faked & done on a sound stage by Stanley Kubrick, therefore we’ll never have personally moldable composite blades in hockey.

At this point probably 90% of the people playing hockey, maybe more, know about curving your own stick like some of us did with wood blades. Not to mention most of that group have been indoctrinated to the P92 or P28, frankly I don’t see a reason for the manufacturers to even explore this. Would a crazy John leclair heel curve benefit any player or provide better shooting or stickhandling than a P28?

I love the idea and would love to see it, I just don’t see it coming to fruition in today’s gear market.

 

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