Poly-
carbonate

Pros

  • Flexible – better impact resistance
  • Completely non-conductive, contact with electronics is ok
  • Non-toxic
  • Grips bolts, loctite is not required

Cons

  • Weighs more
  • Requires heavier filtering
  • Requires lower PIDs
  • Can become weak after contact with certain chemicals, especially loctite, nail polish, and certain paints

Carbon Fibre

Pros

  • Weighs less
  • Stiff – higher rigidity
  • Can run higher PID’s
  • Can tolerate contact with loctite, nail polish and paints

Cons

  • Electrically conductive; electronics must be insulated, can short out through the frame
  • Develops micro fractures after repeated high velocity impacts
  • Filed or sanded Carbon fibre creates Carbon Fibre powder, which is toxic if inhaled

These comparisons are based on a like for like thickness of the frame material, for example 5mm PC vs 5mm Carbon.

Sam’s Opinion:

Personally I prefer PC for racing and Carbon for freestyle. For racing I want the most durable frame possible, that will not have it’s strength compromised over time. My lap times are faster with low PID’s and filters, so I don’t feel there is any advantage for me to race carbon frames. My experience has been that PC frames last much longer, I rarely break my PC race quads (but it does happen sometimes) while my mates break carbon arms at just about every race day. I race the EVO 160 6mm PC frame, it does weigh more than the Carbon version but the difference is only around 10 grams and for me worth the reliability gain.

The main criticism I have of carbon for racing is that micro fracturing is a feature of carbon that just makes it impractical in my opinion. Under common racing conditions, hard crashes result in a micro fracture. You can’t see them, all that you can see it that over time the arm becomes just a tiny bit flexible. If you put your ear next to it and bend it, you can actually hear all the little cracks cracking. Once it’s like that, next big crash and it’s gone. Provided it doesn’t get exposed to piles of UV, bad chemicals or over tightened bolts, PC never gets like that. Ever. It stays at 100% strength every time. Carbon is like a motorbike helmet – the ultimate, perfect thing, provided you replace it after every crash otherwise it’s ability to do its job is continually diminished over time.

For freestyle the goal is perfect stability and smooth footage. I need carbon for that, I’m running filters at 100, P60, I80, D40 and it flies super smooth and exactly how I want it. You just can’t do that with PC, unless it is around 12mm thick for a 5″. So I’m running a EVO 195 with the XR1 Universal HD Pod for my freestyle setup.

Chris’s Opinion:

Is being written right now!