Feb.5, 2014

In Putaruru, New Zealand, well-known surfboard maker Roy Stuart is among the first in the world to incorporate 3D printing technology into his surfboard designs. He took inspiration from the Humpback whale in creating the design for his hollow, Warp Drive BLEF foiled surfboard fin which was 3D printed with the help of specialists at Palmer Design and Manufacturing based in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Stuart holding a BLEF foiled fin

Stuart looked closely at the pectoral fins of Humpback whales in creating his surfboard fin design. The fin features a hollow core and surface tubercles – or BLEF (bumpy leading edge foil) – which mimic the skin of Humpbacks.

Normally, Stuart's handcrafted surfboard fins can take over 40 hours to make. Fiberglass fins can be especially troublesome as they are expensive, tricky to mold, and difficult to adhere to the surfboard.

This is where the wave of 3D printing ebbs into the story.

Late last year, Stuart brought his fin design to the 3D printing specialists at Palmer Design and Manufacturing. In a matter of a couple of months, they helped Stuart create a 3D CAD design for his surfboard fin and 3D print the fin using ABS filament and, finally, a polycarbonate material. The fin was put through rigorous strength tests like the one seen in this video.

Stuart is well-known as an innovator in wooden surfboard designs and is please to add 3D printing to his repertoire. He sees 3D printing as another way of bringing new designs to life and embraces the possibilities 3D printing offers for his work. "We can more of less do anything we want now," says Stuart.

Fins are 3D printed in vibrant, translucent colors ranging in size from 6.5 to 9 inches and in price from $82-$164. The fins are suitable for any boards with a standard fin box.

For an incredibly leisurely look at the 3D printed Warp Drive BLEF foiled surfboard fin in action, check out this video:


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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marco polo wrote at 10/9/2017 9:23:37 AM:


Emma Stuart wrote at 12/3/2014 1:39:49 AM:

If you want to check out the full range of these fins check out http://roystuart.myshopify.com/

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