One thing I have noticed about the new curado i is that the box it came in says there are suppose to be 3 A-RB bearings in it, but from what I can tell, they all look like regular old SS bearings and none of the bearings inside my reel are anodized.
And the drag pressure plate/washer is conical in shape and so the drag washer is very narrow- about 3/8" wide- since the pressure plate only touches it now along the outside edges leaving a majority of the bored out gear empty.
I am seriously considering buying a flat pressure plate and filling up the rest of the bored out brass gear with Dartanium II and increase my drag capability.
Oh, and I also noticed that the belleville washers that come with the new curado i were mashed flat with minimal drag pressure applied and the drag was not smooth out of the box. I noticed when it hit a high spot it got tighter, so I removed the newer made belleville washers and installed some 30 year old Shimano belleville washers from my old Bantam reels which are made of much better steel and that really helped to smooth out the drag overall since they do not crush down as easily as the newer junk steel washers did and it gave me the necessary play it needed.
I use the Dartanium II drag washers in a lot of my reels and really like it. So I just might change out those carbon fiber washers and pressure plate and see if I can increase the drag a little bit.
I really don't see much of an improvement if any using carbon fiber drag washers over Dartanium II. From what I can tell, the Dartanium II material gives me greater drag ability, not less.
The moral of the story is do not try to redesign the reel. It is designed in a way to make everything work together and have much better durability.
Another weak point will be the aluminum crank shaft. I doubt if the thin threads on that crank shaft would withstand the pressure of trying to flatten out a solid steel cone shaped washer. Sorry, but I'm not buying it.
Also keep in mind that Shimano made flat key washers for decades with no problems and they still work fine today.
And since I am ordering the key washer from a metanium along with the drag washers it will interesting to see if it is conical too. If not and it is found to be flat because of the Dartanium II drag washers used, then your argument above will be moot. I am not concerned one iota about this issue. There are ways around it such as adding additional smaller washers to make up the space difference and bending issue of flat key washers. And with as lightweight as that reel is another washer or two stacked up like a pyramid won't make much of a difference.
And also keep in mind that whatever I do is completely reversible. No parts are going to be modified- only swapped around is all. And if it is good enough for the metanium then it should be good enough for the curado.
Bantam, I have been working on reels for about 35 years. I am also a metal worker and can machine some parts if necessary even resizing gears too. I have modified reels for decades and quite often modify reels to suit me. Its not a problem, nor is it a big deal to me. I actually enjoy the challenge of metal work and playing around with my reels. Other people might not be able to do some of these things, but for me it is quite easy and fun. I make money repairing reels too.
I appreciate the info in this thread as I was just wondering which of shimano's new reels did not have carbon fiber drag washers and which ones had Dartanium II. And this thread answered that so far. Now my only concern is matching the size... I wish Shimano would just sell sheets of the Dartanium II drag material so I can cut my own drag washers for any reel and not have to match sizes to get it.
The older key washers had other design changes to make them more rigid, but they will flex when pushing in the center of the key washer. This is why we added steps, machined ridges and other points to change how much they flex, or to eliminate flex.
I am not an engineer nor do I claim to be. I do know that the level of testing and design in our products is much different than other brands. Most of which I cannot disclose due to information being proprietary. I can say that when we see people take it upon themselves to redesign the reels, they usually end up doing more harm than good.