Welcome back kids! Last week on “Built By Bubbles” we took the first steps towards developing a production level board! We thought about the board, we thought about what we wanted the board to be, we considered the board’s own personal feelings, and we landed on a shape (to be fair, we landed on version 1.0 – plenty more versions to come!)
In 2012 the Sportster hit the market to meet the demand for a super low push deck that offered a freeride friendly approach. We had just revolutionized our push ethos with the release of the Maestro board the year before, and were looking to continue the legacy of NY Push Culture. The Sportster was originally our no-frills, no-nonsense, performance ONLY push board. We were immediately astounded by the reception! Rave reviews and dozens of riders swearing by the deck got us paying attention to some of the critical insights. The two main comments were: A) we made it too big, and B) It could use a touch flex for comfort. So over the course of 4 years of tweaking and developing, we landed on our current model: a shrunk-down, bamboo-ified version built to skate. Mild flex and a compact platform makes it an extraordinarily nimble pusher that feels GOOD to ride, while the Radial-Dropped-Rockered shape locks feet comfortably into place for pushing out those slides.
The drop-through design combined with our RDR mold (radial drops and rocker throughout the standing platform) give this deck a low down, high response, super controlled ride unlike any other board. The mild dampening flex provided by the combination of Bamboo and Maple, in addition to the slightly rockered shape and hip notches make this deck comfortable on smooth or rough terrain and the forked nose design allow it to pack a huge engine into a tight 33” frame while still maintaining a stable wheelbase.
Today we’re gonna learn how to build a prototype board! Lots and lots of prototypes are needed to settle upon a final board shape, and the fastest way to turn around a brand new skateboard sample to play with is in house, so let’s learn how it’s done!
Step 1 – Think of a board
This is the creative first step! Imagine the board, feel the board, be the board. This step is easiest and fastest done with pencil on paper, digital paper and pen goes a lot further towards creating the exact skate machine that exists in your head. We use 3D modeling software to create the different concaves, kicktails, and other bends that go into our boards. This way it also allows us to visualize the board before we even start physically working on it!
Step 2 – Make a mould
Now this is where sh!t gets technical. There are TONS of instructions and DIY projects online that describe how to create skateboard moulds and presses. We get an easy out here with our handy-dandy Computer Numerical Controlled cutting device! With the CNC machine we can convert our 3D shapes into files that tell the machine what shape to cut and it takes it from there.
Step 3 – Press a panel
Once we’ve got 2 halves of a mould, a positive and a negative, we can use them to make a skateboard sandwich. We make sandwiches out of Maple, Bamboo, and sometimes our Honey-Comb Hollo-Tech cores which were developed by bees. These sandwiches get a nice layer of wood glue and then get smashed with tons and tons of pressure in our super high-tech bottle jack press.
Step 4 – Cut a board
After a few hours drying in the press, we pop the freshly pressed panel out and skate it! Alright not quite yet, it’s still a 44″ x 11″ skateboard, too big to ride effectively. We take the panel back over to the CNC machine, set it up on top of a jig that holds it in place, and after whispering sweet nothings into the machine’s input port, stand back and let the board come to life out of the panel.
Earlier this month and a little bit of last, we hosted Will Royce at the Bustin HQ for a few weeks to get him in the shop for some R&R, as well as to take the opportunity to do a little redesign for his pro model board. He had some ideas for new wheelbases, new wheel wells, and some weight reducing ideas to boot!
It had been a while since we had Will in town, so the first step was to meet up with some NYC cats, touch base with Push Culture, and head out for a weekend of skate mania.
After a weekend of debauchery we dragged him back to the warehouse and very quickly we had him down in the CNC shop for some in house board making. From channels, to different wheel wells, to new wheelbase options, and new tail shapes, we did pretty much anything you could think to do to the Royce Pro model. Will’s main goals were to make it trimmer, lighter, and more appropriate for his skate everything lifestyle.
After a couple of trial and error steps (not everything works) we landed on some new wheel-wells (bite free forever!), more wheelbase options (never too many options), as well as a sleeker sexier new look! We’ll be implementing the new features in the next month or so, so make sure to head into your local shop and check out the new-new from Bustin and Will Royce!