Balsa or Bass

Sasher Applesauce
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by Sasher Applesauce » October 21st, 2010, 11:53 am

The main difference is that that bass is stronger, but balsa is much lighter. I suggest balsa.
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by Bubba1960 » October 21st, 2010, 12:04 pm

Yea, im probobly going with balsa
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by disownedpear » October 21st, 2010, 12:15 pm

I've been told that bass is better becasue it is stronger,and the weight difference between bass and balsa is not to large, so i am probobly going to use bass
Last edited by disownedpear on October 21st, 2010, 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by Sasher Applesauce » October 21st, 2010, 12:16 pm

good choice, bubba
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by Sasher Applesauce » October 21st, 2010, 12:16 pm

pear, YOU ARE MISINFORMED
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by disownedpear » October 21st, 2010, 12:17 pm

my name is not peaR, but how have i been misinformed
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by blue cobra » October 21st, 2010, 2:03 pm

What's really important is not what type of wood you choose to use, but how you use it. Great structures can be made out of both. So long as you choose quality pieces, and pieces with the right properties, whether you choose to model your design around balsa or bass is not as significant. I believe first at Nats has been taken both by mostly bass and mostly balsa structures.

With that said, I prefer bass mainly because it has less variation than balsa, although it still has a significant variation. Of course this can also be a disadvantage; a large cross section piece of lower density balsa may be better than a smaller cross section piece of bass of equal mass for its length. But here's the secret- you can use both! If you find you just need a larger cross section and can have lower density, you may want to go with balsa, even if just for that member. Mass can be kept down with bass if built properly. My B bridge last year was mostly bass, and was under 10 grams.

The moral of the story is to not write one or the other off. Go into the Space Truss Analysis Workbook, play around with different cross sections, densities, and species of wood, and see what you get.
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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by winneratlife » October 22nd, 2010, 9:46 am

blue cobra wrote:With that said, I prefer bass mainly because it has less variation than balsa, although it still has a significant variation.
Agreed. I'm going for bass this year, just for more reliability. In addition, since this year's efficiency formula has changed, more strength is nice :lol:

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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by 3nv1r0nm3ntal ch3m » October 22nd, 2010, 7:31 pm

disownedpear wrote:my name is not peaR, but how have i been misinformed
dude, chill out. anyway, i'm going with balsa as well
Last edited by 3nv1r0nm3ntal ch3m on October 23rd, 2010, 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Balsa or Bass

Post by old » October 22nd, 2010, 9:01 pm

In general bass you buy at the hobby store is stronger than balsa you buy at the hobby store, but a good piece of balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of any wood. Bass comes in a much small range of densities so one could say that bass is more consistent than balsa, but since you will need to test all your wood anyway, that consistency has little meaning for an SO tower building. If you were told that you had to buy some wood, without selecting or testing the individual pieces, then it may well be true that bass would be the better choice because you would be more likely to get pieces within a narrower range of densities and strengths (Young's modulus is actually more important in most cases for SO), whereas the balsa would likely have a much wider range of densities and strengths. But there is no requirement to simply run to a store and buy and use whatever balsa your hand first touches, so the above scenario is not representative . If SO had an event that required the teams to build on site then bass would certainly be a more consistent choice than balsa.

Balsa is available in a range of densities that go from higher than that of bass to lower than any other wood. Most people are familiar with relatively low density balsa but balsa is actually classified as a hardwood, and can be had in densities similar to that of pine or cedar.

Just to be completely clear, If you go through a large enough random sampling of balsa and bass you will find higher strength to weight in the balsa than in the bass. Overall, balsa has a higher strength to weight ratio than bass.

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