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Can someone explain to me why some discs are rated differently in different plastics and others not? Like the X XL is 1.0, ESP is 1.2, and Z XL is 1.5? Do they really fly different in each plastic?
Most and disc from any company will fly differently from one plastic to another. For example Champion/Z/Opto... tend to me the most overstable for most disc. Its most noticeable in drivers then mids and putters.
Better Contact each manufacture Directly and ask them.
I wish someone would make a chart that had all the current discs out listed with a universal stability rating system
I think that there is a chart somewhere. Just can't remember where at the moment.
But even that chart uses the manufacturer's rating system.
I know the plastic type affects the stability, but I don't know the science behind it. There is probably something about the density of the plastic and it's aerodynamics. Part of it might be the difference in durability. A TI or an ESP buzzz is obviously going to maintain it's stability for far longer than an X or D model would. I haven't seen this with Discraft discs, but one Innova model that stands out to me is the Katana. I have that driver in both pro and star plastic. The pro model is more domey, and much flipper, while the star model has a much flatter top, and is crazy overstable in comparison... Like I can only really sidearm it. I'm not really sure why this is, but it's the best example I can think of with different flight characteristics from the same model in diff plastics.
Pro Katana is less stable. Star Katana (flat top) is more stable.
Try this chart Adam:
It's pretty good!
Yeah, they generally do fly differently. If you have a favorite mold, buy a new disc of the same mold, same weight, but different plastic, and see how differently they fly.
You will usually see more extreme differences in the drivers since the cooling process with different plastics can cause the center to pull up and lift the outer wing. After everything comes to room temp, the z/champ plastic will often have a higher PLH. Of course, sometimes you will see the fancy plastic droop a bit as well causing a lower PLH. Which I often attribute to the super flippy lemons you hear folks talk about.
Discs are made in molds. Think of a mold like a cake pan. You take the pan and fill it with ingredients then bake it. Change the ingredients and you change the cake. Sometimes small changes in the formula can make big changes in the result. Like mixing up salt for sugar.
The mold is shot full of melted plastic and then it has to dry into its completed shape. You have seen brand new discs of the same type domey or flat or even concave. Those changes happened while the disc dried and had nothing to do with the mold.
So pump in different plastic formulas and you get different shapes and with them different flight characteristics. This is why molding a disc is part science, part art and part voodoo. Trying to make consistent discs when tiny changes matter a lot is the biggest challenge in molding and skill and experience of the molding crew make all the difference. And I mean tiny changes. Sometimes undetectable to the trained human eye.
So these differences among plastic types happen for all manufacturers and all discs. Discraft just tells you.
Thanks for the great answer Mark! I really like the fact that Discraft tells you. I have found that my Z Avenger flies straight and fades at the end of the flight while my X Avenger has a slight turn and finishes with just a slight fade. Overall a very straight flier for me. I also have noticed that my Ti Stalker is more overstable than my Z but I like that a lot because it flies dead straight into a good headwind. Same feel of the disc with different purposes.