Jan 28, 2015 | By Simon

When it comes to projects we enjoy hearing about on a daily basis, leave it up to those that involve family bonding as among the best and most inspiring.

After sitting down at breakfast one morning with his son Matej admiring the miniature decorative surfboards they had hanging on the wall, project creator Jody Roth said to his young son “I bet we could make a surfboard on the 3d printer.”

“That would be so cool!” the younger Roth excitedly responded.  So began a year of developing a 3D printed surfboard that Roth has documented in-detail over on his blog Hobbies of a Bogue Rat.

Starting with the open source surf, kite and windsurfing board CAD program BoardCAD, Roth used their default surfboard model and scaled it up to 6’2″ x 20″ x 2.675″ (an average size for a shortboard surfboard) before exporting it as an STL file to SolidWorks.  

Once his design template was loaded up in SolidWorks, Roth proceeded to hollow out a large bulk of the material that was provided in the default surfboard template using the Extruded Cut pattern command... a tool that allows a user to remove material in a particular pattern design such as those seen with various 3D printing infill options.  The pattern chosen by Roth, which consists of 35mm x 140mm diamonds, both removed material to cut down on the cost of 3D printing the board as well as the overall weight while still providing enough of a support structure for the glass application process.  Additionally, Roth added a custom design for the nose and leash cup at the tail (a leash cup provides a place for a surfer to attach their leash...which allows them to stay connected to their board after a wipeout).

Finally, Roth used netfabb Studio Basic to cut the STL file into nine separate sections that his 3D printer would be able to handle, which were each saved as their own separate files for 3D printing.  To double-check his progress and test the process of applying glass, Roth chose to print a ⅓ scale prototype that was made from three separate pieces and assembled using fast set acrylic glue.

After taking the lessons he learned from creating the prototype, Roth began the much more involved process of creating his full-sized board, which he started by printing the full-sized pieces for the board as nine separate files and prints.  According to Roth, each print took at least 10 hours of continuous printing, which then had to be inspected and cleaned with a razor blade.  Roth is quick to admit that the process was laborious and in the future, it might be more worth his while to build a 3D printer that can print the entire board in one go.    

Once the nine pieces were cleaned up, Roth began the process of assembling them with Weld On #16 fast-set glue starting at the middle of the board and working his way out to both the nose and the tail ends ensuring that the middle section would provide support for the curved structure.  Once the final board was assembled, he washed the entire structure down with acetone to clean up the print and ensure that the bond would hold.  

With the 3D printing and assembly complete, the final step for Roth and Matej was to start glassing the board, which he admits was not easy and had to spend an extended amount of time researching beforehand.

“If not for the glassing, I’d have been pretty damn proud of this project,” Roth admits.   

“The fact is this was difficult, did not go as rehearsed, and didn’t turn out as nice as I wanted. I had watched all the experts doing their thing…well…expertly on YouTube. They made it look easy.  Hell, even my little test board was a snap.  How hard could this really be?   Hard.  Really hard to get right.”

Despite the difficulties, Roth was finally able to glass the board, which meant that it was now time to apply the 3D printed fins.  Using what he had learned with the prototype board, Roth attached the fins and covered them with another layer of glass to ensure that they were bonded to the rest of the board.  While the board is close to being 100% complete, there are still some details that need attention in the design that he plans on fixing with more layers of resin and additional sanding.  

“The board still needs some filler to close up some fish-eyes and pinholes then I’ll sand down the entire board and use a surfboard sealer that I picked up to shine up the board,” adds Roth.    “I think I can sand off about a pound of material to get closer to 9 pounds which is still heavy but easier for Matej to carry down to the beach.”

As for the year-long project, Roth said that in total the project required 1,028,117 milimeters of ABS material (1.75 mm) and over 164 hours of continuous printing.  

Although Roth admits that the board was extremely time-intensive and came out to be just less than the price of a store-bought board, it is certainly a father and son project that Matej won’t soon forget when he’s catching waves.

You can read Roth’s documentation of the full-build and necessary materials to create your own 3D printed surfboard over at his blog.  He has also shared his STL files over on MakerBot's Thingiverse.    


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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restdyui wrote at 4/8/2017 8:21:28 PM:

it will break easily

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