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flycatcher Zero Balancing

What makes a great rod superb

Whether you want to make a good rod great or a great rod superb, Flycatcher's unique Zero Balance process can do it. No matter what rod brand you start with, the efficiency of an individual rod will be determined by variances in construction.

Rod blanks are built by wrapping sheets of graphite fiber around a tapered steel core. The fibers are cured and the steel core removed. Individual rod blanks vary according to how the graphite fiber layers are wrapped on the core. Two phenomena influence this: rotational and linear variations.

Rotational Variability

Rotational variations occur when the thickness of the fiber layers vary around the circumference of the rod. When bent, the rod will seek to orient itself along the axis of less stress causing torsional rotation and impacting the overall energy release in the rod. Bottom line: shorter and less accurate casts.

Linear Variability

Rods are designed to taper from one end to the other. Rods are designed to taper more or less severely depending upon whether they are fast or slow. At either extreme and between, the rod is designed to transition smoothly throughout the taper. Linear variations occur when the transition is not as smooth as one would like. Linear variations cause the rod to take on subtle variations from a perfect arc when loaded (cast).

Typically guides are placed on a rod so as to reinforce its natural arc so as to get the maximum loading with the least amount of energy wasted. But this assumes a perfect arc with no variations. Using typical guide placement techniques results in less than optimal placement causing the guides to fight the natural bend of the rod.

Zero Balance applies computer based tools to measure and tune each individual rod blank to ajust and compensate for rotational and linear variations, resulting in a superior experience.

State-of-the-art spine finding

Correcting rotational variations in the rod is known as 'finding the spine'. Most rod builders find the spine by feel. Flycatcher Zero Balance uses computer diagnostics to accurately isolate the spine. Each rod section is mounted on a spine table and put under stress. A computer driven load cell measures the stress on the rod through a 360o rotation, finding the orientation with greatest flex: the spine.

Each rod section is marked to indicate the spine location and a stress map for each rod section is included in your shipment.

spine finder application
Spine finding tool. Click the picture for a larger image

Computerized guide placement

Once the rod sections have been spined and assembled, the rod blank is analyzed for linear variations. Flycatcher Zero Balance guide alignment system uses rod imaging and computer analysis to optimize guide placement.

The assembled rod blank is imaged under stress. The resultant image is computer analyzed to locate guides along the rod to maximize the fly line's contour relative to the rod curvature. As a result the rod, guide, line system work in harmony to maximize the energy transfer to the rod and back out to the line.

guide placement application
Guide placement tool. Click the picture for a larger image

Each rod section is marked to indicate optimal placement of each guide. Each rod blank is accompanied by a computer print out of the rod analysis and guide placements, as well.

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Zero Balancetm

Computer Tuned Guide Placement