One of the few essentials required to play badminton is of course, the badminton racquet (racket). Modern day badminton players can benefit from the various types of metal compositions used to produce today’s racquets (typically carbon fiber/carbon composites) but historically, badminton racquets were made from wood!
badminton racket image by Diana Mastepanova from Fotolia.com
As you would expect, the simple wooden frame as compared to current racquets were heavier, less flexible and more expensive to produce. These days, the only wooden part you can find as part of a racquet would be the grip handle.
Most players believed that a lighter weight racquet would allow it to move more quickly through the air, which led to a series of different metals being used until now. These materials included:
Steel (Predominantly Iron with a small percentage of Carbon)
Graphite & Carbon Composites
We will speak about one method of how graphite racquets are made in this blog so you get an idea of what happens! There are a lot more details to this process and there are different methods used globally but here is a simplified version, so you get an idea of what is involved:
A mold cavity is prepared for the racquet that is to be produced. Think of your favourite racquet and know that there is likely a mold cavity made specifically for it! This mold generally includes the oval head section and a handle shaft
Layers of graphite (a crystalline form of carbon) fibers are arranged to form a shell shaped in the form of the racket frame. This could be two separate shells to represent the oval-shaped head and the shaft or a continuous tubular shell that comprises both
A solvent is inserted into the formed shells. This is a liquid that is capable of dissolving other chemicals, such as methylene chloride or toluene.
An additional wrapping of the ends is made with layers of resin-impregnated graphite in one method
The shells are placed into the mold cavity and heated which allows solvent to evaporate (become a gas) and put pressure on the layers allowing strong bonds to form
Once the frame of the racquet has been made, the grommets (holes where the strings go through) are placed
The racquet cap and grip handle are then placed followed by the racquet being painted (usually many times) and decals placed
Finally, the grip is placed to complete the product
Yonex, the leader of racquet manufacturing has provided the BWF an introduction to their on-site manufacturing process in the following video as well:
While today’s highest quality racquets are typically produced from graphite, it’s important to recognize that a lot of the newer technologies are a result of including various rare metals (for example, Tungsten) to provide additional unique properties. Jeff and I are in the process of producing our own racquets for Volant and we hope to share it with you soon!
What we've found is that there are so many racquet options out there when you start looking, so why can't there be one that just fits most (not all!)? As part of our mission to simplify the badminton journey, we hope to make buying a badminton racquet easy.
We'll make it easy to buy, easy to try and easy on your wallet so watch this space!
We'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, trips and tricks so please feel free to comment below. If you would like us to write about something in particular, please let us know!
Henry is an ex-state badminton player who represented South Australia as well as Melbourne University. He remains an avid badminton player in the social scenes of Melbourne. His passion for all things badminton lead him to be a co-founder of Volant Wear.
At the time of recording, we thought that the 2020 Olympics were going to happen this year but we thought wrong. One thing we're not wrong about yet are our predictions for who will win the Olympics when that time inevitably arrives.