Crankbait Ballasting Alternatives
15 replies to this topic
Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:02 PM
Has anyone used, or considered using, tungsten powder as an alternative to lead for crankbait ballast? I did a search on "tungsten powder" and didn't really find much about it's use in hard baits. One of the deep diving body styles I like to build has a rather slender body for it's size and requires close to 1 oz. of ballast. The slender body means the diameter of the ballast hole is limited. If the tungsten powder has enough of a weight advantage over lead this might solve some problems if the powder could be either mixed with epoxy or poured into the ballast hole and just sealed over with epoxy. Would appreciate your thoughts on this.
Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:58 PM
Mixing tungsten powder with epoxy or anything similar is not going to achieve anywhere near the 19.25g/cm3 density of pure tungsten, you may even struggle to reach the density of pure lead. Even a centimeter cube of the powder will weigh less than 19.25 grams, because of the air space between the grains.
I think your best chance to take advantage of the tungsten powder would be to pack it in dry and seal over with a few drops of CA glue, then fill any void in your usual way. This method should better the density of lead.
Your biggest problem may be getting hold of a sample of tungsten powder to try, as I am sure you don't want to shell out for 10Kg of this expensive metal on the off chance that it works for you. I hope you do get to try it out and report back. There is lots of Google information, but mixing information seems a bit thin on the ground.
Here is one link that I found: http://www.tungstenh...plications.html
Edited by Vodkaman, 24 June 2011 - 11:01 PM.
Posted 25 June 2011 - 12:34 AM
Thanks Dave. After doing some more thinking I had pretty much came up with the same conclusion you did as far as trying to make a paste out of the tungsten powder and epoxy. I did some research on the web as well and found the very page you linked to. The cheapest source I've found so far is golf equipment suppliers. It sells for around $20 for an 8 oz. container. If I can find it at any of the local golf shops it might be feasible to give it a try. If I have to buy it online and thus pay shipping it might prove too costly to use. I'll keep digging and post what I come up with as well as any results if I can find a source that isn't cost prohibitive.
Posted 25 June 2011 - 01:07 AM
Thanks for the link Bob. That does sound easier than trying to mess with a powder. Anythings "powdered" always seem to end up everywhere but where I want it.
Posted 25 June 2011 - 04:47 PM
Do a Google search on pine wood derby tungsten weights. I use them a lot.
Edited by Hughesy, 25 June 2011 - 04:48 PM.
Posted 25 June 2011 - 08:35 PM
Thanks Hughesy. I'll check into them.
Posted 25 June 2011 - 10:21 PM
Ben, the tungsten spheres will work as they fit into a 3/16" port. I use these for my jerk baits and micro cranks.
Posted 26 June 2011 - 04:04 AM
Thanks Benton. That sounds good as I was hoping to keep the ballast hole smaller than 1/4". I never knew what all was involved in building a crankbait until I started trying to stuff all the hardware into one.
Posted 26 June 2011 - 06:26 AM
You could drill two 3/16" diameter holes close together and then open them into a slot. Fill with the weighed powder and a few drops of resin or CA glue to fix.
I don't think you are going to have problems with 'powder everywhere', you just need to be organized. Work on a tray or a sheet of kitchen foil with the edges turned up. Make a beaded tray from plywood with one corner open, so the excess can easily be poured back into a container. There are many solutions.
Edited by Vodkaman, 26 June 2011 - 06:28 AM.
Posted 26 June 2011 - 06:47 AM
Is there anyway to determine how much ballast you need in a plug; or do you have to just guess and experment? The ballast is to help the plug run true and not on it's side , right? Im just starting to make some crappie size plugs and never done anything under five inches.
Posted 26 June 2011 - 07:27 AM
I've been using the formula that Dave posted a while back. It will give you the weight needed for neutral buoyancy. Use less weight for a floater or more weight for a sinker. It's a fairly easy process once you do it a couple times. Here's the link.
Posted 26 June 2011 - 10:11 AM
Thanks for the info. I copied that off and put it in my workshop.
Posted 27 June 2011 - 10:48 AM
Not sure why they sell the pinewood derby tungsten weight in powder form (other than convenience: mix with epoxy, fill, done). It kind of defeats the point of "being so much more dense than lead" since in powder form, tungsten has a significantly lower density "per macro volume" than solid tungsten. It doesn't seem like you are going to mess with the powder and I wouldn't either.
Posted 27 June 2011 - 11:14 AM
When I made my pine wood derby racer, we used lead wool for ballast. Of course, that was back in the '50s, and they didn't have tungsten anything available back then.
Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:59 PM
If I do decide to use the powder it won't be made into a paste by adding epoxy to it. I will just measure out what weight is needed for ballast, pack it into the ballast hole and seal the hole with epoxy or wood putty.