View Full Version : How a racquet is made?
06-29-2005, 02:23 AM
Just my curiousity. Any one know? Could carbon fibre be melt and cast to a frame?
PS: I visited Vantage website and I recognise that they have a bunch of prebuilt frame sizes (90, 95, 100) along with appropriate beamwidth and stiffness. After that they just add lead tape (or another material) at appropriate position to make the balance you required. After that they weild the handle you want and finally they put painting on frames to cover the lead tape. Am I wrong?
06-29-2005, 02:28 AM
i think you are, to get weight in one spot or another on a racquet you dont just put lead on it and paint over it. Vantage uses the same process of making racquet as everyone else. I dont know what process that is .
06-29-2005, 06:52 AM
What is the Vantage website anyway?
06-29-2005, 10:20 AM
Add tennis after vantage, love.
06-29-2005, 10:41 AM
a long time ago paul from vantage promised the tw posters he would post the process of making a tennis racquet since he was involved in the process...he was reminded about this on multiple occassions and i dont think he ever posted about this to the best of my knowledge and as per the thread ---> http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=35729
so all can form their own opinions as to what that might mean..i've formed mine... i apologize to paul if he did post this and i missed it. maybe the folks at TW would stick something up on the board about this since people seem to be interested and this question gets asked from time to time, and TW has proven over and over again that they arent strictly mercenary.
06-29-2005, 12:12 PM
My appologies Ed.
Ive been a little busy with other things. When I made that offer, I was planning to paste a site for people to view. Unfortunately the domain that I was intending to post no longer existed when I checked. It was an article that I helped write for an English Tennis publication, but has since been deleted.
The mercenary quip was a bit unessasary.
I would be more than happy to write somthing up for anyone that is interested. Can we all agree though that Im doing it for information sharing, and not as a promotional excercise?
Racquet Industry had an article a while back with photos of each step from a Head factory. It did teach me a few things about how racquets are made. What a layup was, etc. Great article in my opinion.
"Could carbon fibre be melt and cast to a frame?" I think you are thinking of casting in the way of bronze casting and that's not how racquets are made. If they were they would be very brittle. Precut graphite strips are layed up and put in a mold that twists and shapes them into the racquet with heat and some other stuff. There is a magical machine that drills the programmed holes into the frame without any user intervention.
06-29-2005, 12:26 PM
Here's a link to a description with pix of how a frame is made. They've left out some details. For instance, during the molding process resins are injected in there to bind the prepeg layers together. Some manufacturers put the mold under a vacuum, etc.
Wow, compared to that the Head process looks like its years ahead. For one thing, the drilling was completely automated. Another one is that the graphics were applied as a big sticky sheet, not painted on by hand.
06-29-2005, 01:30 PM
Its very interesting to know how something is made, that way you can appreciate it alot more when you use the racquet.
06-29-2005, 02:25 PM
We recently visited the HEAD factory in Austria to see racquet production. We hope to have an article ready for the learning center soon.
06-29-2005, 02:49 PM
Head still makes sticks in Austria?? I did not know that. Nice trip I bet!
06-29-2005, 05:02 PM
What is the Vantage website anyway?
06-30-2005, 01:29 AM
An injection-molded composite racket
is removed from the mold
photo from the 1992 edition
Composite racket manufacture
(1992 edition only, page 270):
A composite is a general term that has evolved to mean an article molded from plastic material reinforced by strong fibers. The plastic material is known as the matrix or resin. There are several types of reinforcing fiber used in the manufacture of composite rackets. Glass fiber, or fiberglass, is inexpensive, heavy, relatively weak and rather flexible. Carbon fiber is more expensive, but lighter and stronger and also stiffer - in the sporting world it is known as graphite but this is not strictly accurate: true graphite comes in pencils and is used as a lubricant. Boron fiber is more expensive than carbon, but even lighter and stronger. Other substances which have limited use are Kevlar, which is used in making bullet-proof vests and of course in Kevlar racket strings in hybrid compositions, and ceramics, of which many varieties exist, all of them expensive.
All of these fibers are very strong, but they are threadlike in form, and consequently have to be bonded into a matrix in order to be used to make tennis rackets. Composites are much denser than wood, and a system which molds a hollow racket had to be used in the manufacturing process. Two different methods have been developed to accomplish this-- compression molding and injection molding.
Compression molding: The majority of composite tennis rackets are made by this system, which produces very high quality rackets. The matrix (the plastic material) is almost always epoxy resin, which is "thermosetting", that is, when heated it solidifies and cannot be remelted. The longer reinforcing fibers are coated with epoxy and placed in the mold, which is then closed and heated. To make the racket hollow, internal pressure is created by inflating an inner tube or using an expanding foam. In the construction of the racket, normal percentages of materials are matrix [resin] 40 per cent and fibers 60 per cent. A mixture of fibers is often used so that a racket may not be too expensive - a common example would be matrix 40 per cent, carbon fiber 30 per cent, and glass fiber 30 per cent. A racket in which all of the fibers are carbon is known as 100 per cent graphite, and, although this is not strictly true (since the 40 per cent that is made up of matrix is not carbon fiber), it is generally accepted for most trading purposes.
Injection molding: The Dunlop Sports Company introduced their unique injection molding system in the eary 1980s. The material used is "thermoplastic": that is, it melts when heated and solidifies when cooled. The matrix is nylon, and the short reinforcing fibers are entirely carbon fiber. To make the racket hollow, a core is produced from a metal alloy with a low melting point. This has the shape of the finished racket, but is slightly smaller in cross-section. It is fitted into the mold, leaving a small space between the mold and the core. The carbon fiber and nylon mixture is injected into the mold, and fills this space, sheathing the core. The molding is removed and then heated, causing the metal alloy to melt and run out, and leaving the hollow frame. In construction, percentages are matrix 60 per cent, reinforcing fiber 40 per cent. As with compression molding, a racket made with 40 per cent carbon fiber and 60 per cent nylon is referred to as being 100 per cent graphite.
09-22-2005, 10:45 AM
I would be more than happy to write somthing up for anyone that is interested. Can we all agree though that Im doing it for information sharing, and not as a promotional excercise?I'll agree to that.
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