Can I Save the DX Firebird that I Just Destroyed?

Can I Save the DX Firebird that I Just Destroyed?

Alright if you haven’t gotten a chance to read my blog from last week here’s the link to it so you know what I’m talking about. I threw a disc into a tree, into a rock, and did so repeatedly until it became flippy.

Now that you’ve seen me throw a Firebird into a rock and bust it up until it’s flippy. I have the question that so many folks have about discs.

Can I do anything to fix my disc?
Can I do anything to make my disc overstable again?

I’ve got some ideas.

First let’s start with the fact that the disc never lost any weight. It’s still 175g after all of that abuse I intentionally put it through. So the only thing that appears to have changed was the shape of the disc. There was damage to both the flight plate shape and the rim shape from where it hit objects. Now will that change when I cut the gouge out and sand the disc?
You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

My ideas on how to fix the DX Firebird are.

  1. Wash any dirt out of the cracks. I want it to look almost new. This should help get it all back together.
  2. Heat a piece of metal (like a knife) with a lighter and heat the slight gouges. Push it together to get rid of the gouge if possible by fusing the plastic back to the original shape.
  3. Use sandpaper to sand the disc back to smooth where I can. Going to get all around the disc. I believe I conform with PDGA rule 813.01B2 on sanding discs. Since I’m only restoring the natural disc shape.
  4. Use heat from a window to warm the disc and try to morph it back to regular shape.

After I’ve done all of these I’ll test to see that
  1. The weight is the same.
  2. The flight path should be more in line with what I expect from a Firebird.

Cleaning the disc was easy. Just soap, water, a little bit of magic eraser from Mr. Clean… And it looks spiffy. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this step. I used soap and water, then some rubbing alcohol for good measure with the Mr. Clean eraser. It’s always going to have those small streaks that show it was thrown. But it’s 99% of the way there. It still had the dings but not the dirt!
  1. Now time to fix that plastic. I mean, it goes without saying but if you’re using a lighter and heating up metal, please be careful.
  2. As it turns out, the gouge was not deep enough to warrant getting my knife blade hot. So instead, I cut it off. That was about the size of a grain of rice. It was easy and took about 3 seconds. I didn’t weigh the disc at this point because there was no way the little piece I took off could weigh even a gram.
  3. Sanding.

A yellow disc with sandpaper next to it on a stone patio.

I started at 120 grit. I had some leftover pieces of sandpaper from when I was drywalling. It’s pretty coarse and a good start at removing the plastic around the edges. It certainly took off the bigger pieces. But it did leave a rough surface that I didn’t enjoy holding all that much.

Step 4. 220 and 320 grit paper sanding.

A yellow disc with sandpaper sponge on them.

The 3rd round of sanding and cutting finished. The Firebird looks like it’s still got some life left to it. Yes there are still uneven edges to it, yes there are scratches on it. But the disc fundamentally looks better.

My last step is heat from the window.

A yellow DX Firebird sitting in the widow at Sabattus Disc Golf, heating in the sun.

I’ve used this technique before with warped discs. Sometimes when I take a disc out of my bag and put it away it gets squished by something in the garage. I find that putting it on my dashboard or in a window for a day or two usually brings it back. The sun rejuvenates the plastic somehow (science, I guess?) and brings it back to what it was before.

Did sanding my disc affect the weight?

A 175g disc golf disc turned upside down on a scale.
Not one bit. Throughout the time of this experiment I wanted to make sure I knew what I was dealing with at all times. So I weighed the disc before I did anything, after the tree hits, and after I restored the DX Firebird.

I kind of expected a gram or two of difference after the cleaning process. Since I’ve always thought that hitting trees would replace the weight of the plastic with dirt, I’ve never really cared all that much about a gram or two in weight fluctuation. But I figured the dirt filled the missing plastic.

Now what you really care about. Can I bring this disc back to life?
Let’s find out.


Compare that to last week. When the disc was significantly more understable.

There were some other throws with it off camera. The Firebird is still flippy enough to where I’d call it a flippy disc. I'd compare it to a Valkyrie or a slower Sidewinder at this point.
Glad I parked the 335 foot hole with it though. That’s probably further than I can get any other Firebird I own to fly by a long shot. 

Disc in front of a basket.

After warping a disc, you can get some stability back to the disc. But you won't recapture that overstable flight path the disc started out with. So for seasoning a disc it's really similar to seasoning your food. If you add too much salt you can try to add an acid to your dish or use a potato to absorb the salt in a sauce. But it'll still be a little over seasoned.

To "fix" your disc you'll need to do the following steps.

  1. You need to remove the rough edges.
  2. Get rid of the gouges.
  3. Sand with coarse paper.
  4. Sand with finer paper.
  5. Find a way to get it back to its original shape.

Hopefully this blog helps you save a disc that's lost a little bit of its life. Let me know if you have any other tips or tricks on how you might save a disc. It's worth the 10 minutes of work for me to save the $9 cost of a DX disc, and I hope it is for you too.

If you're interested in a DX Firebird, consider snagging one from us here.

May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397