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 Post subject: Realistic weight foam weapons
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 12:10 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Munich, Germany
Started Fighting: 0-11-1998
Realm: Monachium
Warning: Thought experiment ahead, not intended for real battles.

I started looking at the weight difference between foam weapons and historical weapons. Putting aside the rather extremely late medieval weapons, it looks like 2-3 pounds for a medium-length sword is realistic ( say down to .94 g/mm == 084 oz/in), while ours are in the area of 1/2 - 1 pound (1/3 oz/in). "Realists" complain that real swords could not be used the way we do, but actual steel swords, even blunt, could not be safely used in our type of battle.

So could we make a sword that's safe for our style but heavy like at least some historical weapons of the same length? Here's some thoughts on construction:

Using a plain metal core would give 1.3# for 1 meter of 10mm round rod. The distribution would be pretty awful compared to real swords, though, and making the metal tip safe would be difficult. The heavy tip would also pack quite a hit.

Maybe using a fiberglass core but glued inside increasing diameter metal tubes towards the base. This would add some weight to the overall sword without making the tip heavy or dangerous, and might simulate real sword weight distribution well. The end of the innermost metal tube would be the weakest point.

To make a more durable construction, and to make the tapered core easier to deal with, maybe the innermost part of foam could be molded latex or even calimacil. Did anyone experiment with latex on the inside?

I may have to make a pair of these, to test in 1:1 battles. I still hold that actual warriors of the time were simply stronger and could handle heavier swords more easily than us desk jockeys, but it would be fun to try.

 Post subject: Re: Realistic weight foam weapons
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:21 pm
Posts: 1044
Location: Carbondale, IL
Started Fighting: 02 Apr 2006
Realm: Carthage
Unit: Clan of the Hydra
Favorite Fighting Styles: Red Sword - S&B - Florentine
I do believe the realm of Riverbend in the St. Louis, MO area has some home rules that require so many ounces of weight per inch for weapons. Brutus is the realm leader there. If he doesn't chime in here, shoot him a message.

Realm of Carthage War Council Representative
Squire to Sir Morpheus of Wolfpack of the High Plains
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 Post subject: Re: Realistic weight foam weapons
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:53 pm 
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 5:03 pm
Posts: 671
Location: Alton, IL
Started Fighting: 0- 8-1999
Realm: Riverbend
Unit: Henneth-Annun
Hi Haardgrim! It's funny, you and I come from the exact same foam-fighting background, with you preceding me by a couple years I believe (I started in Fall '99), and I often had the same desires as you. However, I gave it up years ago because I came to the conclusion that you can cheat energy, but you can't cheat momentum*. Especially with the scrutiny that is being placed on concussions in professional sports, I've become increasingly worried about repurcussions head shots from even our lighter weapons, moreso of the two-hander variety.

I don't necessarily subscribe to the "men of yore were tougher" school of thought. They didn't have modern amenities such as an understanding of proper nutrition, especially during childhood when many kids probably didn't eat as well as they should (much less the ability to afford it even if they knew what they should be eating), and a tougher life in general tends to wear a man's physical abilities down over time. I think that the average high school athlete would probably stack up pretty well against warriors of old in terms of physical abilities, and the freaks of nature from the NFL and NBA would be very nigh to gods-amongst-men.

Riverbend's rules for weapon weights were based on 1/2" round solid fiberglass. We legislated minimum weight based on length using this construction method, and locked in the balance point to 1/3 of the weapon's length so you couldn't cheat it by using kitespar and counterweighting the handle. For omni-directional weapons, the weight-per-length was upped even more and the balance point moved higher. It's not even CLOSE to realistic, but it locks the weapons in so that the playing field was leveled with respect to equipment, not whether you could afford/have access to fancier cores. We also never have any problems with light hits, but that could also be a cultural thing.

You would be welcomed to peruse our rules and even offer suggestions (they really do need some re-organization):

*For anyone interested, this is a reference to the Law of Momentum Conservation from Physics. Momentum is mass times velocity, and in a collision however much momentum is lost by one object will be gained by another. This is why head hits are so dangerous, because you can't fake out the momentum transfer. The sword momentum WILL go to the head, and if you double the mass of the sword, you'll get twice as much momentum transfer from a swing of the same speed.

But you CAN fake out energy. This is what the padding of our swords do, it smooths out energy transfer from the sword to the target over a period of time sufficient to prevent local injury.

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