Category: Technology

The Progression of Softball and Baseball Bat Technology

Arguably the most crucial piece of equipment in baseball and softball is the bat, as this is the vehicle through which runs are scored and games are won. The right bat can make all the difference between a solid hit and a disconnect with the ball, and continued innovations see baseball and softball bats becoming more powerful with each passing year. If you need a new bat visit, Bats Finder. Softball bats as we know them today were greatly influenced by the centuries of bat evolution. Follow us through the history of bat technology and find out exactly what’s gone into the creation of your softball bat as you know it today.

The Early Days

In the early days of baseball and softball, bats were created following an “unstructured structure.” Players were allowed to select or create their own bats, and this resulted in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, as there were no restrictions regarding length or width. As experimentation occurred, players determined that wagon tongue wood created the most solid round bat, and a trend towards the now traditional round bat picked up steam.

The Changes of the 1860s

The first limitations on bat size came in 1859 when The Professional National Association of Baseball Players Governing Committee voted that bats could be no larger than 2.5 inches in diameter. The 1860s saw players wrapping strings and cords around the handles of their bats to find a better grip on the larger bat handle.

Cue John Hillerich …

In 1884, the course of baseball and softball bats would be changed forever. A young John Hillerich– promising woodworker and amateur baseball player– watched Pete Browning break his bat. Afterwards, Hillerich claimed that he could shape a new bat according to Browning’s specifications, and legend has it Browning used that special bat the next day to hit three for three. By 1887, Hillerich and his father were selling these bats to the Major Leagues and marking each with the Louisville Slugger trademark. By the year 1923, Louisville Slugger was the country’s top bat manufacturer.

The Wooden Touch

As time went on and bats experienced redesign upon redesign, ash bats found themselves on top. Once Barry Bonds used a maple bat and started his famous record-breaking streak, players started making the switch, but to this day, no studies have found maple bats to present an advantage over their ash counterparts.

An Aluminum Introduction

In the 1970s, aluminum bats were introduced to America’s pastime. At first, they were considered to be inexpensive, metallic copies of their wooden counterparts, but as innovation continued, it was found that the thin walls of the metal bats flex when hit, with some of that energy resulting in elastic bounce that helps batters hit the ball faster and farther. Their hollow quality allows them to be swung faster, and the hardness offered means a much faster speed when the ball bounces off the bat.

The Multi-Wall Bat

In 1993, DeMarini developed the first multi-wall bat, called the DoubleWall. This bat increased the size of the so-called “hitting the sweet spot”, enabling inexperienced players to hit like the pros– or at least a lot better than they had previously. The company began in Ray DeMarini’s garage back in 1989 and was acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods in 2000, but has continued to thrive over time, and today the company sells their full line of DeMarini softball bats at baseballmonkey.com.

Here Comes the Composite

While various baseball and softball governing bodies like USA Baseball are still discussing the validity of using aluminum bats in various leagues of the sport, composite bats are now on the baseball and softball scene to fuddle with the rules once again. Composite bats are composed of Kevlar, carbon, and glass, mixed together in a plastic mold, making them lighter than aluminum bats. Recent improvements in this specific technology have seen the emergence of bats that provide higher damping, improved swing, and increased trampoline effect, but it remains to be seen if composite bats will surpass their aluminum and wooden predecessors in popularity and use.

Softball and baseball bat technology continues to astound, and as the years go on, new improvements seem to come out of the woodwork on a yearly basis.

 

The Technology Behind Your Rangefinder

Laser rangefinders all work along those same lines, there is a lot of room for innovation around the implementation details. I recently reviewed 8 of the top laser rangefinders used for hunting and long-range shooting and was shocked by how much variance there was in their performance.

Ranging performance depends on many factors, but here are the biggest differentiators between rangefinders when using them for long range shooting or hunting. I’ll touch on most of these in more detail throughout the article. Special thanks to Mike at Range Finder Now for talking through this with me and putting so much thought into this list.

Ability to spot the target– This means good quality optics with proper magnification. You can’t range the target if you can’t find it. Most shooters opt for an 8x or 10x magnification. While doing field tests on rangefinders we searched a field for targets using 5x magnification, and we thought we ‘d found all the targets. However, after searching again with 10x magnification we immediately saw one more target that we ‘d completely missed with the 5x unit. Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, really good glass can sometimes make up for magnification. I can see more detail on a 2000 yard target using a 45x Leica spotting scope than a 60x Bushnell spotting scope. The point is quality glass and appropriate magnification both matter, and you can’t totally ignore one or the other.
Ability to get laser energy on the target– This has a lot to do with beam divergence, which is a description of how “focused” the beam is. There are a few trade-offs between a very tight or larger beam divergence, which we’ll talk about later in this article. There can also be a difference in the quality of the laser pulses transmitted, in terms of the type, wavelength, and sharpness … although those things can be very difficult to quantify.

Receiver aperture size– This is the size of the opening on the receiver optic that captures the return readings and sends it to the actual sensor. A larger aperture can have a huge impact on how much return data the unit is able to collect, which can allow the unit to perform at greater distances and can help the resolution/accuracy of measurements at a shorter distance as well.
How the unit analyzes results– There are a lot of differences between how rangefinders interpret the readings once they receive them, and some are much smarter than others. Older models simply displayed the first reading that returned to the unit, but many modern rangefinders use “multi-pulse technology.” This approach emits a burst of hundreds or even thousands of small laser pulses over an extremely short period of time. It then collects a large sample size of readings, then analyzes those results to identify/ignore outliers (like brush, fog, rain) and determine the reading you are intending to range with more certainty. More beams emitted can also help the odds that you’ll get a reading on a small and/or non-reflective target. The logic and algorithms used to determine what to display to the user can have a major impact on how well a rangefinder performs.

Beam Divergence– The Ability to Get Laser Energy on Target
Beam divergence, also referred to as beam dispersion, is an angular measurement (typically in mils) of how “focused” the laser beam is. Smaller beam divergence provides greater ranging precision and greater max distance in most situations. With rangefinders of similar quality, beam divergence can be a major indicator of ranging performance. If you can focus 100% of the laser energy on the intended target, you have a much better chance of getting multiple readings off of it. If a rangefinder is smart in how it analyzes the readings, it can make up for less than ideal beam divergence … so contrary to popular belief, beam divergence is not the only factor to consider.

Rangefinder Beam Divergence Diagram

To understand beam divergence, think of shooting two rifles at a target 1000 yards away. One of those rifles averages 2.5″ groups at 100 yards, and the other averages 1/2″ groups. Which of those would give you the better chance of hitting your intended target at 1000 yards? Now if you are trying to hit a 12″ target at 300 yards, either rifle should work. But as you stretch out the distance (or shrink the target size), the smaller divergence becomes critical. This is the same for beam divergence on laser rangefinders. If you are ranging relatively large (deer size) targets at ranges under 500 yards … there is probably no need to worry about beam divergence. As the targets get further or smaller, beam divergence quickly becomes critical to accurate ranging.

I’ve heard of beam divergence as large as 4 x 2 mils, and one military-grade model I’ve tested was under 0.3 mils … so there is a lot of variance out there. Here is a diagram that illustrates how big of a difference beam divergence can be at 1000 yards.

Rangefinder-Beam-Divergence-at-1000-Yards

One scenario where a very tight beam divergence may be a drawback is if you are trying to range a distant target offhand (i.e. not supported by a tripod). In that case, the motion caused by the unsupported position may make it difficult to hit the target precisely with a tightly focused beam. On the other hand, if you had a beam with more divergence you could more easily hit the target even with some wobble and then rely on the rangefinder’s “smarts” to determine what you were intending to range within that larger window.

Example-Where-Tight-Beam-Divergence-Could-Hurt

I was talking to a representative from Vectronix, and we both agree that a beam divergence around 1.5 x 0.5 mils is probably ideal for targets in the range of 500 to 2000 yards, although that isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Factors Affecting Measurement Range
There are a number of factors that influence how well a rangefinder is able to perform, including target properties, atmospheric conditions and rangefinder support, and those all play into the maximum effective range of the unit in a given scenario. Here is a very helpful diagram provided by Vectronix that illustrates what those are:

Vectronix – Factors Affecting Measurement Range

When manufacturers advertise a rangefinder to have a max range of 1000 yards or 1 mile, you can usually translate that to meaning there is a chance you might get a reading at that distance, but only under absolutely ideal conditions (e.g. low light, off a tripod, on a very large, reflective target). In my experience, you will usually only be able to get readings out to 70-80% of that advertised max distance under most daytime conditions (bright light) on a 2 MOA reflective targets.

Understanding What the Rangefinder “Sees”.
The easiest way to understand how rangefinders work is through a quick example. The diagram below shows a couple tough ranging situations, with each of the yellow targets highlighted by a red box meant to indicate the related beam divergence when trying to range that target. You can see in each situation there will likely be readings returned for the tree, the target, the near hill, and the far hill.

Long-Range Rangefinder Beam Divergence.

The next few illustrations show what the rangefinder might “see” when it tries to range one of our tough scenarios. The first diagram has a grid of just under 200 boxes. You can think of that as all of the beams emitted by the rangefinder. The blue boxes indicate beams that were reflected back to the rangefinder that it was able to record as readings. Boxes that aren’t marked blue mean the rangefinder didn’t get a reading back from that beam, which may be due to things like poor reflectivity (e.g. the tree doesn’t reflect as well as a metal target) and angled objects (e.g. the hills are at a shallow angle away from the user, instead of directly perpendicular like the target).

 

How a Cigar Humidor Works

You might not understand the way that it operates, although you might have known of the term humidor and understand that it’s very important to keeping your pipes if you’re unfamiliar with the area of pipes. All of us have to begin someplace. Perhaps you’re seeking to purchase the cigar enthusiast in your lifetime a gift, and you also would like to learn more about the way that it operates and exactly what a humidor is. And that amazing that is ’s! You found the location that was appropriate place. Let’s walk you by means of this significant section of your stogie avocation.

The Purpose of a Humidor
The humidor not simply keep your pipes, but uses several elements to produce an environment that is ideal for the pipes to be kept in. This surroundings that is perfect controls the relative humidity of the interior of the carton, allowing the correct amount of moisture inside to help maintain your cigars without becoming them too moist or too dry out as well as the heat. On both severe the cigar flavor is going to be adversely impacted, and that is not wanted by any one. Maintaining your pipes because sweetspot of humidity and best heat is what is going to maintain your pipes sampling excellent. Keeping that balance of humidity comes all the way down to to 2 parts of your humidor employed in with each additional in combination: the Spanish cedar making the carton up as well as the humidifier held within.

Spanish Cedar
Many humidors in the marketplace possess a liner of cedar that is Spanish. Release and this wood is employed many frequently due to its own qualities to absorb moisture slowly, producing a dampness that was even normally as you are able to. This can be also why several cigar containers for humidors are manufactured from the cedarwood that is same. When there exists mo-Re wet outside the timber, the wetness to make an effort to accomplish equilibrium will be absorbed by it. For this reason you should time your humidor before keeping your pipes by moistening the cedarwood the cedarwood begins to pull on moisture themselves, which might defeat the intent behind a humidor.

Humidifier
The humidifier is the thing that actually keeps humidity and the wetness on stage. Once a humidor continues to be experienced and full of matches, a humidifier keeps supplying the wet for the interior of the carton, enabling the cigars to keep in the correct dampness along with the cedarwood to consume any excess wetness, and re-lease it back if the humidifier operate a small reduced. There are lots of sorts of humidifiers with choices which range from florist froth, in the marketplace -established blocks that consume water that is distilled to gel or beans or mo-Re more complicated pockets -based humidifiers. Whatever edition you like most readily useful, ensure that you check out the directions on when to re-charge them with alternative hydrating brokers or mo-Re water. These humidifiers may additionally just last to get some period of time, so make sure you re-place them as needed.

Tracking Your Humidity having a Hygrometer
Yet another crucial element of any humidor is the hygrometer, which measures the comparable moisture in the humidor, letting you track when fix the humidity in and you must re-charge the humidifier. You would like an ideal temperatures of 70 levels Fahrenheit, and a perfect comparable dampness of 70%. Acquiring a hygrometer (possibly electronic or analogue) to track this will allow you to detect any changes in the humidity or temperatures to help you adjust properly and not destroy your cigars. Make sure to inspect the hygrometer at least one time weekly to ensure the humidity is remaining in the amount that is appropriate. Be sure so that the readings as precise as you are able to, to also adjust your hygrometer every now and then.