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Shaft material

Innebandybutiken Guide - Shaft material and manufacturing

How are actually floorball shafts manufactured and what are they made of?

The shaft of a floorball stick is actually a tube. In the beginning, shaft usually were made of some kind of plastic. You can still find shafts like that on the floorball sticks sold in toy stores and discount stores.


The material
Later the shafts instead were made of fiberglass rolled into tubes and reinforced with some kind of glue to hold it together. Nowadays almost all floorball shaft are made of carbon fiber, graphite, Kevlar, or mixtures thereof.

Fiberglass is just what it sounds like, long strands of glass materials. Fiberglass that are aggregated into thin, thin wires in a network is very strong and durable. The shaft is more rigid and allows the force in the shots to be transfered to the blade and thus floorball ball. Playing characteristics of the stick become more stable and predictable than with plastic shafts.

Carbon fiber, or graphite as some floorball manufacturers call it, is a product of the same theme as fiberglass. The difference is because the material. In the carbon fiber it's of course is coal. The difference between carbon fiber and glass fiber is carbon fiber is stiffer and lighter than fiberglass. And who does not want a light floorball stick? The carbon fiber has unfortunately a disadvantage compared to glass fiber. It is that the carbon fiber is more sensitive to impact. Therefore, carbon fibre is often combined with aramid. Aramid is an artificial fiber which is basically a plastic.

Neither fiberglass or carbon fiber works so well for themselves, they must be combined with some kind of glue that holds them together into a tube. Combining glass or carbon fibers with a binder gives you a composite material. The composite is not itself a material, it's the art of combining such as glass fiber with an adhesive or carbon fiber with a synthetic resin. But mostly, everyday, we mean any kind of plastic reinforced with some form of reinforcement. For example, the plastic together with carbon fiber, as in floorball sticks.

Carbon fiber comes in many different qualities. How thick fibers themselves are but also what pattern they have been woven into. Different grades can be different light, torsionally stiff, or have only been mixed together for different purposes.


Production
To make a floorball shaft one cuts pieces of the material that is intended for the particular shaft. The fiber materials are then laid on each other in many layers where each layer is placed in a different direction compared to the former. In this way also the fibers will reinforce each other and make the shaft stronger.

As more layers of fiber placed on each other, different fiber could be used in various areas of a shaft. It may be that the flex point should be at a certain place or that the shaft later in the process will have a shaft technologies such as curves or grooves.

The layers of fibers held together by some kind of resin or ester and makes it a strong material, a composite.

Shaft techniques
Some shaft techniques are done through a process where the material is subjected to pressure. It can be either press in a mold under vacuum or by filling the shaft with an air bladder that is pumped up and molds from the inside. Often called air pressure or molded. This is used for most curved shaft and also shafts with bubbles, grooves, dimples, etc.

The surface on a finished shaft must of course have a stylish and cool surface. Cheaper sticks usually only have a glued sticker with patterns and colors. More lavish sticks have also basically a sticker. The difference is that it is then coated with several layers of clearcoat, so that it lookes like the shaft is painted.