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A Shortage Of Balsa And Lipo's, Where Do We Go From Here?

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Dai Fledermaus18/11/2020 11:31:40
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The announcement from the Government that the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 is interesting, given that several manufacturers, like Rover, Audi and Mercedes, have recently halted production of some of their electric models due to shortage of supply of key ingredients like Cobalt and Lithium used in manufacturing batteries. As a hobby we've seen this problem reflected in the availability and increased cost of Lipo's.

Add to this the shortage of Balsa, a situation which doesn't appear to have a short term answer. How do you see the the future direction of the hobby?

Frank Skilbeck18/11/2020 11:41:55
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4925 forum posts
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A comeback for IC, must admit I have steadily been returning to IC as prices of Lipos make 500W+ models quite expensive.

From what I understand the balsa situation is that the UK tended to get it's balsa from one plantation in the far east and that has been nabbed by the Chinese for wind turbines, so UK sources are having to look for alternatives, hopefully supply will be better in the New Year.

Peter Miller18/11/2020 12:02:28
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Hey folks, I though that Lithium was a very unhealthy element and extremely hard to find. Not too sure about cobalt either.

Now how about electric power for cars. A nice big windmill (balsa filled)on top of the car driving a generator which drives a motor to power the wheels.

OR how about gas powered as in the wartime.

gas bus.jpg

Think, possibly we could use the gas from cows!!! After all it is a well established fact that the gas produced by all grass eating animals is a major producer of atmospheric pollution and hence global warming.

Possibly almost as much as politicians

Eric Robson18/11/2020 12:19:22
549 forum posts
126 photos

I suppose we will have to follow the trend and go for wind power and build foam and liteply gliders.

Dickw18/11/2020 12:22:11
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Lithium from Cornwall? It does have a better climate than most of the UK, so perhaps we could grow Balsa there as well smiley

They will be agitating for independence soon.

Dick

Martin Harris - Moderator18/11/2020 13:04:24
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Posted by Peter Miller on 18/11/2020 12:02:28:

Now how about electric power for cars. A nice big windmill (balsa filled)on top of the car driving a generator which drives a motor to power the wheels.

Brilliant idea Peter. The faster you go the more power there will be!

What energy crisis...? wink

How about a bank of brushless motors and electric propellers/ducted fans instead of a windmill - it will give all those redundant motors that the EP afficianados won't have any use for a second life and get us to our fields in a green manner to fly our IC models!

Nigel R18/11/2020 13:48:45
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4403 forum posts
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Bamboo and NiCads? devil

More seriously, foam, veneer, some kind of internal combustion engine?

John Stainforth18/11/2020 14:01:06
405 forum posts
64 photos

Balsa can be replaced in many of its model aircraft applications, but what I am missing is a viable alternative to balsa sheet (e.g. 1/16th inch). The materials I know of are either too thick, or too rigid, or too soft, or won't take compound curves, and none has the useful anisotropy of balsa. Any ideas?

Engine Doctor18/11/2020 15:04:15
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2717 forum posts
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Posted by Martin Harris on 18/11/2020 13:04:24:
Posted by Peter Miller on 18/11/2020 12:02:28:

Now how about electric power for cars. A nice big windmill (balsa filled)on top of the car driving a generator which drives a motor to power the wheelsH

Or perhaps a sail smiley

Light ply comes from the heart of a balsa tree as well. I bought some so called light ply recently . The main problem with it was that it was made from Poplar and while lighter than Birch ply is twice as heavy as proper light ply.

This idea of no I/C cars from 2030 announced by Boris is an ill thought or rather a NO thought given idea JMO . It might be possible by 2040 but only eight years and no real infrastructure for charging the millions of vehicles we have . On the date of the ban no doubt fuel prices will be hiked and the average person wont be able to afford to run a car. watch the riots start then ! The hurdles to overcome are staggering and this is announced by a PM who cant even get his cabinet to wear face-masks and distance from one another ! Many homes wont be able to charge at home , lack of materials for batteries as already suggested , the list goes on , and on top of that where is the power to charge vehicles going to be generated ?

Former Member18/11/2020 15:42:20
393 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Keith Berriman18/11/2020 15:57:39
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7 photos

Sorry if going of topic but if we are all going electric and a lack of road tax to pay how is the government going to make up the short fall ??

Cuban818/11/2020 16:22:06
3162 forum posts
1 photos

I remember talking to the Balsa Cabin about wood supplies a year or two ago when I called in. They also supply balsa to other users not only just us, and in particular the film industry where it's used in set construction and special effects. Very effective as an insulator for industrial uses as well, so quite a few others will be worried as well.

Re banning the new sales of IC only cars in 2030 is rediculous, and when cooler and less politically correct heads get to grips with the economic realities of such a barmy move, I think we'll see the plan shelved for a while. Evolution rather than revolution is the way forward, a dictatorial approach will just be a vote loser and then see them change their minds. Want to reduce vehicular co2 and fuel consumption at a stroke? Reduce the national speed limit to 60 and enforce other speed limits effectively.

Nigel R18/11/2020 16:49:23
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Posted by Keith Berriman on 18/11/2020 15:57:39:

Sorry if going of topic but if we are all going electric and a lack of road tax to pay how is the government going to make up the short fall ??

Point of order, we don't pay road tax - we pay vehicle tax on a per vehicle basis...

Nigel R18/11/2020 16:55:50
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Posted by Cuban8 on 18/11/2020 16:22:06:

Re banning the new sales of IC only cars in 2030 is rediculous, and when cooler and less politically correct heads get to grips with the economic realities of such a barmy move, I think we'll see the plan shelved for a while. Evolution rather than revolution is the way forward, a dictatorial approach will just be a vote loser and then see them change their minds. Want to reduce vehicular co2 and fuel consumption at a stroke? Reduce the national speed limit to 60 and enforce other speed limits effectively.

A ban on fossil fuel only cars would not be that problematic.

What is ridiculous is the "no more hybrids after 2035" law, as that is the "electric only" point.

As discussed ad infinitum, full electric is all very well if you have private charging facilities available - so I'm all right Jack... but a lot of the UK population won't be plugging in to charge up on the driveway they don't have.

MattyB18/11/2020 17:00:04
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2418 forum posts
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Posted by Dai Fledermaus on 18/11/2020 11:31:40:

The announcement from the Government that the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 is interesting, given that several manufacturers, like Rover, Audi and Mercedes, have recently halted production of some of their electric models due to shortage of supply of key ingredients like Cobalt and Lithium used in manufacturing batteries. As a hobby we've seen this problem reflected in the availability and increased cost of Lipo's.

Add to this the shortage of Balsa, a situation which doesn't appear to have a short term answer. How do you see the the future direction of the hobby?

The lithium shortage has been predicted for a while - whether we have passed "peak lithium" or not can be debated, but we can't be too far off based on these numbers...

Controversial viewpoint alert... At some point humankind will have to wake up and realise there is not enough of ANY of our current key resources to continue our inexorable rates of consumption. We will have to adjust our population (and accept standards of living will plateau), or nature will adjust it painfully for us.

Not something that any politician will ever want to say (long term solutions and 4 year electoral cycles are intrinsically incompatible), but Attenboroguh has been saying it for years. I know who I believe...

Edited By MattyB on 18/11/2020 17:01:22

Richard Acland18/11/2020 17:05:23
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149 forum posts
72 photos
Posted by Engine Doctor on 18/11/2020 15:04:15:
Posted by Martin Harris on 18/11/2020 13:04:24:
Posted by Peter Miller on 18/11/2020 12:02:28:

Now how about electric power for cars. A nice big windmill (balsa filled)on top of the car driving a generator which drives a motor to power the wheelsH

Or perhaps a sail smiley

Light ply comes from the heart of a balsa tree as well. I bought some so called light ply recently . The main problem with it was that it was made from Poplar and while lighter than Birch ply is twice as heavy as proper light ply.

This idea of no I/C cars from 2030 announced by Boris is an ill thought or rather a NO thought given idea JMO . It might be possible by 2040 but only eight years and no real infrastructure for charging the millions of vehicles we have . On the date of the ban no doubt fuel prices will be hiked and the average person wont be able to afford to run a car. watch the riots start then ! The hurdles to overcome are staggering and this is announced by a PM who cant even get his cabinet to wear face-masks and distance from one another ! Many homes wont be able to charge at home , lack of materials for batteries as already suggested , the list goes on , and on top of that where is the power to charge vehicles going to be generated ?

Don't forget that in the not too distant future Gas boilers will no longer be fitted to new build houses. The alternative for most people will be electric heating. This will not work however as when you get home and turn it on everyone will also be plugging in their electric cars to charge. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together.

Peter Christy18/11/2020 17:17:40
1947 forum posts

One of the reasons I bought a "classic" car a few years ago, was that, unlike more modern fuel-injected cars, it is a relatively simple matter to run it on chicken manure!

**LINK**

The car will be 50 years old next March, and still drives almost like new!

All I have to do now is locate an aqualung compressor, gas tanks, dustbin, and - er - chicken manure...

laugh

I can see the price of "classics" going through the roof in a few years!

--

Pete

Nigel R18/11/2020 17:19:46
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4403 forum posts
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Posted by Richard Acland on 18/11/2020 17:05:23:

Don't forget that in the not too distant future Gas boilers will no longer be fitted to new build houses. The alternative for most people will be electric heating. This will not work however as when you get home and turn it on everyone will also be plugging in their electric cars to charge. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together.

GSHP or ASHP require little electricity to operate and the buildings they will be fitted to will have very low heat loss. The existing gas grid will continue marching on...

This is not to disagree with your last sentence.

Brian Cooper18/11/2020 17:32:33
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675 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Keith Berriman on 18/11/2020 15:57:39:

Sorry if going of topic but if we are all going electric and a lack of road tax to pay how is the government going to make up the short fall ??

Maybe there will be a "new" Windows Tax. The more windows a vehicle has, the more tax is payable. wink

They could even apply 100% increase to the tax for people who wear a baseball cap. . . . . And 200% increase if they wear the baseball cap backwards. devil

Peter Miller19/11/2020 08:51:53
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11764 forum posts
1416 photos
10 articles

When it comes to politicians I am reminded of a very old expression that my father used to use...and I still do.

"If they had any more brains they would be half wits!!"

Edited By Peter Miller on 19/11/2020 08:52:27

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