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Home✈️Aircraft🚁HelicopterHelicopter Main Discussion › Why are heli carbon blades so EXPENSIVE?
04-01-2012 01:37 PM  7 years ago
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3dgimble

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Rochester

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Why are heli carbon blades so EXPENSIVE?
I like my bigger Helis but the cost of a crash is expensive. Have you ever taken out a brand new set of blades only to have mechanical failure and your new blades are worth less than the concrete you just hit? Even a tip-over on a new set of blades can render them useless. Cost for a set of decent 500 size heli blade had gone down slightly over the years but still considerably high. $75 down to $59.99 for a good set of 500 blades, and prices on 50 to 90 size helis is stable.
What does it really cost to make a set of carbon fiber blades?
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04-01-2012 01:56 PM  7 years ago
rcmiket

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El Paso,Texas

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Last I heard the "carbon" was on the endangered list. Have you ever tried to catch enough of these little critters to make a set of blades? If they made blades out of the same stuff as "Nerf" toys we wouldst have to replace them after a crash.

Mike
"When Inverted down is up and up is expensive"
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04-01-2012 02:14 PM  7 years ago
Eco8gator

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Palm Beach, FL

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A lot.

The price is justified...and I don't usually say that

100ish for 700 size

90ish for 500 size

70ish for 500 size

50ish for 450 size

It does suck but hey this is not the easiest thing to do...the matching, quality control, ect.
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04-01-2012 02:19 PM  7 years ago
semper_fish

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Orlando, FL

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I guess it comes down to how many sets of blades are sold each year compared to the research, development and testing prior to the manufacturing. Divide that by the number of blades they sell taking into account the ones that will not sell. If every man in America flew helis the blades would be 1/2 the price. Also its not blade designs seems to stay around for long because another brand/design comes out and nobody buys the perfectly good old ones. But I don't know.

I did some googling and although one would thing CF prices would come down through the years the price of the raw materials needed to make it has gone up.

Maybe a Business major will chime in. I am just a jarhead.
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04-01-2012 02:35 PM  7 years ago
Twrecks600

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Round Rock, Texas

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@ Funguy - I've often thought about that exact same question. There is no need for a 700 size blade to be $125.00!! Same logic behind the Kontronik ESC's. $500.00 for the unit seems a bit overpriced to me. Yeah yeah, I know that there are a lot of "research" and stuff that goes into making them but $500.00?? I wonder what "really" goes into making the products. They charge almost $2 for a soda and it takes the average retailer $.12 to produce. Talk about a profit!! LOL!!

On a sidenote. I heard that there are $50.00 700 size carbon blades that are fairly new on the market. Anybody test anything like that? That seems like a fair price IF they are comparable to CY's or Edge blades.
Team me
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04-01-2012 03:05 PM  7 years ago
CX1

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Canada

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it's called "supply and demand with a lil take advantage of"

manufactures know guys will pay whatever the amount for those high performance blades that the "PRo's" use.

fortunately those who don't need or desire "high performance blades" do have a choice of cheaper less expensive carbon blades.

do keep in mind that you're main blades are probably the most important and the least expensive part on the heli when it comes to providing performance and safety.

" Team Protoast "
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04-01-2012 03:17 PM  7 years ago
Bikman

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msn

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most blades are made in china from the same supplier...
we are paying twice their real cost.
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04-01-2012 03:26 PM  7 years ago
AtTheCross

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Southern CA

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Try $200ish for 810mm blades

There's a Chinese company on eBay that sells 830mm blades for $88 but the problem is that because of the low price no one wants to risk their $2000 heli on "cheap" blades so we pay the $200ish for the 'known' blades

That company is catching on, they are now selling two sets for $258 they were $88 for a single set last week

I emailed a guy that bought a set of 700mm blades from them and he was very pleased with them
Here's the 830mm

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...-All-Categories
ASI Green Mongoose CY29RC - 67 flights
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04-01-2012 04:05 PM  7 years ago
jgunpilot

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Pollock, LA

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Carbon blades and divorces are very expensive because they are worth every damn dime.
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04-01-2012 04:23 PM  7 years ago
helibeli

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wales.uk

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Well i pay about 6$ for my carbon blades for a 450 electric heli from Hong Kong and there is nothing the matter with them.They fly beautifully.
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04-01-2012 05:45 PM  7 years ago
neilg.

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north of borston

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you got to know where to look In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti
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04-01-2012 07:14 PM  7 years ago
RyanW

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Edmond, Oklahoma

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Funny, I was just thinking the opposite. How can they sell 700mm blades for under $120? If you know what goes into a quality blade (aka Funkey mfg), it is a steal at $120.

You have a set of precision balanced blades that can handle who knows how much force and hardly ever fail. The carbon shaft on my driver is almost $400. The carbon intake on my friend's experimental airplane (roughly the same amount of carbon fiber material that is in two sets of blades) is over $1600. We are getting a smokin' deal on blades!

Not picking on anyone, but if you are consistently going through blades, maybe try some woodies for a while until you get the hang of things.
-Ryan
Mikado USA, Kontronik, Opti-Power, MKS Servos
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04-01-2012 08:50 PM  7 years ago
GetToDaChopper

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Las Vegas , NV

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do you have any idea about the process involved in making carbon fiber part of any kind ? i have seen first hand people making CF bicycle wheels and i got to tell ya a lot of work along with the inevitable amounts of rejected part is amazing and at the same time jaw dropping, the molds, the heat, and vacuum to name a few things, not a easy process.......     ▲
  ▲ ▲
▲ ▲ ▲ One of a Kind !!!
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04-02-2012 12:20 AM  7 years ago
Hell-N-Sky

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NYC-->Tenn

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Im not a pro flier so I don't think I need to pay pro flier prices. My 600 mm carbon blades cost me $45 and they are balanced and fly well. Only downside some might see is they're all black blades.No one flies better than me..when I fly alone!
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04-02-2012 01:30 AM  7 years ago
AtTheCross

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Southern CA

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i'd be happy with $125-$130 for 810mm blades even if they weren't the 'must have' brand. I fly MAH and a lhs guy kinda sneered at themASI Green Mongoose CY29RC - 67 flights
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04-02-2012 01:46 AM  7 years ago
dkshema

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Cedar Rapids, IA

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we are paying twice their real cost.
If stuff was sold "at cost", there would be no products on the market as no one could afford to build or sell anything.

Cost is more than raw materials. Cost includes materials, labor, tooling, molds, development, advertising/marketing, shipping, loss, factory yield, liability and litigation coverage, and many other items.

Beyond cost, the manufacturer needs to turn a reasonable profit (or they won't make blades any more). Further, since most manufacturers rarely sell factory direct, there needs to be room for the person you buy from to be able to mark up what HE pays for the blades so HE can make a profit (or there will be no one to buy the blades from).

Don't forget taxes, tariffs, customs, and other fees just to get these things into the market place here in the US to begin with.

-----

Even a set of relatively simple to make woodies aren't all that inexpensive.

-----

If you can build and sell quality CF blades for dirt-cheap, then have at it. If the price is right, and the quality is there, you'll have a winner.
-----
Dave

* Making the World Better -- One Helicopter at a time! *

Team Heliproz
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04-02-2012 03:26 AM  7 years ago
RappyTappy

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Encinitas, CA

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Save money by only putting carbon blades on a proven setup. Places like Helidirect sell cheap fiberglass blades that fly perfectly fine. I have 550mm fiberglass blades that I got for $18 a set and I can beat them every bit as hard as carbon ones costing $90. I have flown SWE fiberglass and they rock too. Doesn't have the same performance as carbon, but for a fraction of the cost and they have not failed in flight or shown any unusual fatigue even after 100+ flights, I can manage the performance deficiencies.

However, I tried to 3D a set of 600mm fiberglass and noticed a spider crack at the root, so my general rule was 600mm and up fiberglass to not do hard 3D, but for smooth stuff they still work great and again, cost a fraction of carbons.

For me, I feel that 425mm blades are a rip. Some brands can cost very closely to that of 600mm sized carbon blades.
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04-02-2012 03:46 AM  7 years ago
rcsoar4fun

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Boise, Idaho

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A yard of woven carbon cloth is running about $45 these days. You could probably get 8 blades out of a yard of cloth. Then figure a couple of bucks for resin. Then maybe a few dollars for the foam in the core and wooden root reinforcement. Maybe $0.50 for the lead weight. All up there is about $10-$15 of materials per blade.

However, the trick with composites is the amount of work that goes into it. Even ignore the development cost for the moment. Its expensive to produce a solid mold that can hold up to hundreds of sets of blades. A composite mold is cheaper to make, but more delicate. A machined aluminum mold is thousands of dollars of machine work, never mind the materials. If you spent $1000 on a mold and pulled 100 sets of blades the mold has essentially cost you $10 per blade or $10 a set.

To pull a part the mold has to be cleaned and waxed. After waiting for the parts to dry they can be trimmed. Then they are joined.

The key here is all of this requires a good deal of precision. Precision isn't cheap. Add to that the average heli pilot is picky, even minor imperfections in blades would not be accepted. I would venture a guess a great deal of blades are tossed in the garbage.

The bottom line is $100 for a set of blades is really pretty cheap. Many of the cheap blades are cheap for a reason. (Aeromooni blades anyone?)

There are some good videos out there of sailplane wing construction, same basic concepts of rotor blade construction.
I give up on Loctite, nothing lasts long enough to vibrate loose anymore.
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04-02-2012 03:53 AM  7 years ago
3dgimble

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Rochester

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I am reading with my ears wide open
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04-02-2012 04:12 AM  7 years ago
Volcano

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chicago

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The cost is in manufacture/shipping/marketing, not materials. Id agree that 100 dollar blades are way overpriced. But I bet people in china are flying the same blades for 10 dollars. If people are buying them for 100 theyll keep selling them for 100.
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