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
Blood Sweat and Tears!
Dats a lotta dust!
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.
Smooth it out
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.
Photo by Dustin Hampton