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Carbon Fiber Backplates?

Discussion in 'Wreck Diving' started by WWoody, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. WWoody

    WWoody Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Mons
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    I’ve been looking around to buy some tech diving gear and came across a carbon fiber backplate. My question is does anyone have any experience with using a carbon fiber backplate in fresh and salt water? I’m looking for a light weight easy to travel rig that holds up well in both environments. Greatly appreciate any insights.
     
  2. NothingClever

    NothingClever Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    501
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    I have a mate and his wife who dive and instruct using a CF plate with their twinsets all the time in salt water. No issues or apparent considerations. If you want light weight, CF ticks that box.
     
  3. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

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    Here is a Scuba Board discussion from a bunch of years ago. Granted the discussion is a bit dated, I think the message still rings true that for cost/weight/durability an Aluminum plate is the safer bet over CF.

    backplate in carbon fiber?

    -Z
     
  4. dewdropsonrosa

    dewdropsonrosa Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago, IL
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    I have one of the Deep Sea Supply Kydex backplates, which I use when I'm dressed for warm water conditions (I always dive steel doubles and a drysuit). My plate is slightly more than 1 lb. negatively buoyant, whereas my usual SS plate is about six pounds negative. The difference is definitely noticeable in the absence of positively-buoyant undergarments for cold conditions.

    The plate is comfortable to wear and I've never experienced any issues with it flexing or not holding up. It's very light and easy to pack, although you'll get a better fit in a suitcase if you undo the webbing for transit.

    The only downside is that Kydex is a thermoplastic material and can't be left in the sun. My understanding is that it's prone to melting/warping, so I don't know that it would be a great match for traveling to sunny places where your rig will be exposed to sunlight all day on the boat.

    If that's a concern, consider an aluminum plate or a steel plate with cut-outs.
     
  5. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,494
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    Having just read that thread, most of the self appointed experts in it are talking complete nonsense.

    carbon plates are just foolish

    I wouldn’t take one near salt water, indeed I wouldn’t have one

    But I only used to design and test CF components in aerospace. If Haylc0n make them and GUE sell them, they must be okay
     
    BlueTrin, NothingClever and Coztick like this.
  6. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

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    The linked to thread was just to provide some reading reference for the OP. I didn't read through all the pages/posts of the thread, I skipped through to get the gist of the discussion, and I was not commenting on whether or not CF was fit for purpose or environment, i have no doubt it is. I would alos bet between 2011 and 2020 the quality of CF manufacturing has improved.

    And yes Halcyon makes CF plates along with some other manufacturers, but as I stated:

    "...for cost/weight/durability an Aluminum plate is the safer bet over CF."

    The cost of a Halcyon plate made from CF is ridiculously expensive, more so than the typical tax one would pay to sport their brand logo. Not saying it isn't a quality piece of kit, I am only stating it is an expensive piece of kit for what it does.

    The Halcyon CF plate weighs approximately 1lb.
    A typical Aluminum plate weighs between 1.5lbs and 2lbs.

    For the cost and durability factors, if I was traveling by air, I would pack a couple fewer t-shirts and suck up the weight penalty of an aluminum plate. If my luggage was to get mistreated or crushed it is unlikely the aluminum plate would be critically damaged and if slightly bent it could be hammered back into shape if need be...in the same scenario if the CF plate was damaged one would be looking for replacement gear...not the position I would want to be in a dive trip if I could avoid it.

    So, are CF plates available? yes
    are they fit for purpose? yes
    are they strong? for the application, perhaps yes, if properly designed and manufactured.
    are they durable? yes with the caveat "if well cared for" as CF will not accept the type of wear and tear or abuse that steel or aluminum plates can suffer without issue.
    how do they compare to other materials available for the same type of product? Expensive and not quite as durable long-term, and may be more susceptible to damage due to mishandling compared to other materials, but lighter none-the-less.

    With CF you get a the double benefit of a lighter plate and a lighter wallet.

    -Z
     
  7. RyanT

    RyanT ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
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    I don't have any experience with a CF backplate, but my CF kayak paddles have held up for many years with pretty severe abuse in salt water. This includes putting my weight on them while bracing on sand bottoms.
     
  8. NothingClever

    NothingClever Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    501
    585
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    And that would be my mate’s brand. I think Halcyon makes nice kit but I’ve never felt like my diving is incomplete with it absent from my dive locker.
     
  9. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

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    I think the part of the post you quoted was missing some punctuation and and was added for sarcastic emphasis.

    I used to whitewater kayak and have gone through my fair share of paddles. I have paddles from the mid-90s that are still going strong, and I have had paddle blades and shafts crack and even snap on me mid-rapid...it just depends on the impact of the damage sustained.

    CF can be made extremely strong and light, but typically in those combinations the finished product is wicked expensive.

    I have nothing against CF, even for backplates, I just know that if piled in the back of a truck with lots of tanks and gear, the CF plate may not survive as well as its metallic brethren if things start to shift around, and if packed in checked baggage it may not handle the same abuses as metal plates will.

    If one is after lightweight, then CF is the thing. But from a cost/value perspective, for me, its not worth it....but that is something each of us has to decide for ourselves.

    -Z
     
    NothingClever likes this.
  10. RyanT

    RyanT ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
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    Oh man, I'm a bit slow tonight!

    We're in agreement. My light backplate is aluminum.
     

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