Makin’ Discs

Part of my plan to roll out small disc golf is to send some discs to different people, organizations and companies. I have a list and have been collecting contact information. I probably can’t get publicly available contact information for most players so I will send the discs to their sponsors, packaged for some of their team. I can’t control whether they would be delivered or not, but it is better to take that chance than to undermine people’s privacy by finding out where they live. That’s creepy. I’m sending a gift; I don’t want it to come with an invasion of privacy.

Disc manufacturers generally have a mailing address so that is easy. Some only provide an email address and I’ll send them an email telling them that I’d be happy to mail them some discs and that if they have access to a 3D printer they can print their own much sooner than mail can be delivered. But, I’ll be happy to send them discs if they will tell me where they would like me to send them.

I designed indoor and outdoor sets with 2, 3 and 4 discs, and there is also a complete set of 6. The sets of less than 6 are either targeted for indoor use or for outdoor use. Of course you can use a Longsword indoors. It works great! It has a bigger chance of breaking something than a Flexie, but it works fine. People have to be responsible when playing and choose a disc that suits the course. Everyone who receives a Longsword also receives another, smaller disc.

Indoor Sets

  • Flexie, Fox
  • Flexie, XXX
  • Flexie, Lofter
  • Lofter XXX
  • Flexie, Lofter, Fox
  • Flexie, Lofter, XXX
  • Flexie, XXX, Fox
  • Lofter, XXX, Fox

Outdoor Sets

  • Sabre, Longsword
  • Fox, Longsword
  • Fox Sabre
  • Fox, Sabre, Longsword
  • XXX, Sabre, Longsword

Mixed Sets

  • Flexie, Lofter, Sabre, Longsword
  • Lofter, XXX, Sabre Longsword
  • Flexie, Fox, Sabre, Longsword
  • XXX, Fox, Sabre, Longsword
  • Flexie, Lofter, XXX, Fox, Sabre, Longsword (full set)

In fact, any of the six discs is enough to convey to someone that small golf discs fly like their larger counterparts. If they realize that the interior world is their golf course oyster, they will see the potential of small golf discs in more ways than than just seafood metaphors.

I plan to send 6 to the PDGA and to some disc manufacturers who sponsor athletes that I admire. I’m planning to send 4 discs to players: about a dozen women and a dozen men players I have loved watching over the years. I’m sending a couple discs to some other disc manufacturers who don’t sponsor these athletes. I’ll also send some discs to some media companies and youtube personalities/producers who I also have admired and appreciated over the years.

I’m quite certain everyone who receives one of these small golf discs loves disc golf. If they are truly uninterested and see no future for it then perhaps I am wrong about small disc golf. But, I believe they will be intrigued, interested or at least bemused and they will throw it. They’ll see that it flies like a golf disc and perhaps that will make them want to put together a small bag of discs. I’m pretty sure someone in their community has a 3D printer because they are becoming common if not ubiquitous.

The list of disc recipients is changing over time. Mostly it gets longer, which means I need more discs. It takes a long time to make a lot of discs with one 3D printer. I can make about 5 per day on average. I’ve been making discs since the day I switched on my 3D printer on March 24, 2023. At this moment I’ve printed about 100 discs, but I’ve sent some to my dad and my brother and to my friend Pop. Pop taught me about disc golf and we played together in the mid 80s. His PDGA number is very near 2000!

So, at the moment I’m writing this, I have 77 discs ready to send out in 2s, 3s and 4s and a few 6s.

I have figured out how many more discs I need to print to have enough to send discs to all my planned recipients. I need 156 discs and I currently have 77, which is about 49.4% I need 79 more discs. I can print about 5 per day. So, I will need about 16 days before I have enough of them. If all goes well I will have enough discs on April 23rd, which is a month to the day since I received my 3D printer from Prusa Research in Czekoslovakia.

I took some time to figure out how to print using the Acid Green silk PLA and the Sparkle PLA. They don’t give as good of a result and I didn’t want to spend too much time playing with settings because the regular PLA works so well. So, I gave up on Silk PLA for now. Instead, I bought two more colors of regular PLA, yellow and a sky blue. They will go well with the orange and purple discs. These colors are all chosen to make the discs easier to find. There aren’t any black discs, or brown, leaf green or tan discs. PLA comes in lots of colors that wouldn’t be idea for golf discs, in my opinion. Of course the silk colors are the best colors, but it has been hard to reliably make good silk PLA discs. I’ll get back to that in the future.

I also took time to figure out if I could print more than one disc at a time. It didn’t work. But, even if it did work it would not have been much of an advantage and it carries a much, much higher risk. It takes more than twice as long to print two discs in the same print job, because only one layer is printed at a time and the printer prints it on each of the two discs before moving to the next layer. That means the extruder needs to keep moving back and forth between the two discs being printed. That takes more time. When I print one discs it doesn’t need to take time to move anywhere else. Printing one disc at a time is the fastest way to make discs if I am there to start the next print job.

But, also, when printing one disc at a time, if something goes wrong (such as the print base breaking loose) only that one disc is ruined. But if I print two at the same time, both are ruined if I stop the print and I have to stop the print because the printer doesn’t know that one of them has fallen over. That means it will spout PLA spaghetti for one of the discs, which will eventually ruin the other disc too. Both are lost.

The more you print at the same time, the lower are the chances of success and the more wasted time is included in the process.

So I’ve been spending my time figuring out mailing addresses and current sponsorships. I am working on a one-page letter to include in each package. There would be one letter for players, one for media folks, one for manufacturers and one for the PDGA. All players will receive the same letter.

Some players have their own web sites with their own contact information page. I will send them an email and ask if they would like to receive a set or if they would prefer me to send them via their sponsor, or not to send them at all. For example, they might be able to print their own and not need me to send any, so I want if I can reach a player online I’d like to ask how best to get discs into their hands if they are willing to receive them.

But, the rest of the players will have to get their small golf discs through their sponsors, who happen also to make golf discs. I’m sure there is no conflict there. Their disc makers might be happy or sad about this and they might choose to throw them all away and not send them to any of their players. But I think they won’t *all* do that. Even if only some of the athletes I hope to reach eventually receive a disc, it will be enough to get the idea out there. And other athletes might find out their sponsors threw this tiny gift away.

Up next: The Falcon