It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a frisbee! They are lightweight, easy to throw and catch, and just about any person (or four-legged companion) can play with one. Since they’re so popular, it’s worth knowing exactly how frisbees are made.
Let’s take a step-by-step look at how frisbees are manufactured before they take flight!
Plastic Pellets Are Prepped
Plastic pellets arrive at the frisbee manufacturer in 50 to 100 lb. bags. The pellets are placed into a large drum and mixed with pigment and a weight-enhancing additive. The additive helps make sure the frisbee will be just the right weight to fly. Oil is also added to help the pigment stick to the pellets. The drum vibrates to combine the materials together.
Foreign Objects Removed
The pellets are fed into a hopper that dries the pigments and oil. Foreign objects, like metal or iron, are also removed using a giant magnet. These foreign objects can come from the factories that ship the plastic pellets and have to be removed because they can cause deformities during the injection process.
Plastic is Melted
Once the material is dry, the plastic pellets are fed down into a barrel. The pellets are gradually melted and stirred by a large screw that slowly compresses the molten plastic.
Once the screw is filled with the right amount of liquid, it shoots the material through a valve and into the frisbee mold under high pressure.
Cooling the Mold
Cooling fluid is flushed through holes in the frisbee mold to speed the cooling process. During this time, more pellets from the hopper are fed into the drum to begin melting for the next injection.
Remove the Finished Product
Once the mold is cooled, mechanical arms remove the molded frisbee so it can be imprinted with ink or engraving of the manufacturer’s brand.
During the frisbee-creation process, there is little waste produced. If a frisbee is removed from the mold with excess material on the edges, it is trimmed off and sent to a machine that will grind it back down to be used again. Any frisbees with defected shape, weight, or misprinted decorations are also recycled to be re-used in a different mold.
What Type of Plastic Are Frisbees Made From?
Frisbees are made with a type of plastic called polyethylene. It is made from a colorless flammable gas called ethylene, which is then converted into a polymer when pressurized.
Polyethylene can have other additives as well like lubricant, colorant, and chemicals to help resist cracking. Because it is durable and low-cost, most frisbees are made with polyethylene and then molded and colored to the manufacturer’s specification!
How Does a Frisbee Work?
Frisbees don’t need motors or magical wings to fly. A frisbee is actually shaped like an airplane wing. The center is wide, and it gets thinner toward the edges, which allows air to travel faster above the frisbee to help lift it in flight.
Sound confusing? Let’s check out a frisbee in action.
You throw a frisbee by flicking your wrist, which begins the rapid spinning motion. As the frisbee flies, it has an angular motion which gives it stability in the air. You won’t get the same effect if you try to fling a dinner plate through the air because it doesn’t have the aerodynamic shape of a frisbee. You could also test this by tossing a frisbee upside down and seeing what happens!
How is a Disc Golf Frisbee Made?
Frisbees used for disc golf are made the same way other plastic frisbees are produced, through injection molding. However, there are characteristics that a disc golf frisbee must have. The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) approves select frisbees for use in the sport.
The frisbee must be weight tested to see whether or not it qualifies for a disc golf match. A weight is placed on the edge of the disc and it is measured by the degree it bends. The flexibility rating must be no greater than 27 pounds. The disc must also not exceed 200 grams in weight. All approved discs must then have the words “PDGA Approved” engraved or stamped on the frisbee.
Speed determines how hard you must throw the disc. It is measured with numbers 1 through 13.
The glide is how long the disc can stay in the air and is measured on a scale of 1 to 7.
Turn shows how much a disc turns to the right when thrown and is measured from -5 to 1.
The fade is how far the disc turns to the left at the end of the flight. Numbers 0 to 5 are used for the rating.
Professional players use the numbers on a disc golf frisbee to decide which type they want to use before making their throw. Now that you know what the range of numbers mean for each rating, you can begin to master the sport!
Who Makes Frisbees?
The official frisbee is owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers, but there are several other companies who make frisbees for sport and fun! The following companies make their own frisbees:
- Liberty Imports
Some companies are known for specializing in frisbees for specific activities. Innova makes frisbees for disc golf, and Discraft specializes in Ultimate Frisbee discs. Nerf and Wham-O make all-around frisbees that are for kids or beginners! Depending on what you plan to do with your frisbee, you can get one made by the pros!
The Bottom Line
Through the injection molding process, frisbees are easily mass produced and then used for sports like disc golf or for some family fun! Frisbee makes the ultimate outdoor game since you don’t need a court, referee, or rules to have fun playing.
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Professional Disc Golf Association. (June 10, 2010). GUIDELINES & PROCEDURES FOR MANUFACTURERS TO CERTIFY THAT
EQUIPMENT COMPLIES WITH PDGA TECHNICAL STANDARDS. Retrieved January 8, 2020, from
Carter, Jordan. (2019). 10 Best Frisbees (Review) In 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020, from