Jul 6, 2017 | By Benedict

Billed as the world’s first recyclable, compostable, 3D printed surfboard, the Dolphin Board of Awesome is partially made from algae and water bottles. Its creator, Zachary Ostroff, thinks the surfboard could be a springboard towards more sustainable construction in the sport.

(Image: Magic Seaweed)

If you’ve ever been around surfers, you’ll know that surfing is much more than an aquatic sport: it’s a way of life. And part of that way of life is about connecting with the natural world. After all, spending so much time splashing around in the ocean gives you a certain degree of empathy with the water and the world at large.

At least, that’s the thinking behind the Dolphin Board of Awesome, a recyclable 3D printed surfboard whose production actually benefits Mother Nature. According to its makers, the board is the first recyclable, compostable, 3D printed surfboard ever.

Zachary Ostroff, the brains behind the Dolphin Board of Awesome, says his creation is made from algae and eco-friendly bio-resins. Amazingly, sourcing this algae and turning it into a 3D printable material is actually helping natural bodies of water stay healthy.

“The material we used for the green sections of the board are derived from algae in lakes in the middle of the United States of America where it's invasive and it's sucking oxygen out of the lakes and killing life,” Ostroff explains. “There's a company we work with who have figured out a way to collect that algae and turn it into a 3D printing ink.”

The algae isn’t totally hydrophobic, so Mississippi-based ALGIX 3D, the 3D printing company behind the nature-friendly 3D printing material, adds resin to make the algae-infused PLA mixture suitable for surfboard creation.

(Image: Magic Seaweed)

Ostroff and a “tribe of the world's leading shapers, surfers, artists, chemical engineers, biomimicry specialists and additive manufacturers” then turn this 3D printing material into 14 separate surfboard pieces which are sandwiched between an Entropy Resins Super Sap glass top and a transparent bottom. The board also uses compostable Redwood Fins foiled by Ventana Surf.

Despite the ingenuity of the 3D printed surfboard’s construction, Ostroff isn’t looking to become an industry mogul who can make big bucks off the concept. Instead, he wants to keep the board “open source,” allowing other surfboard makers to take a similarly eco-conscious approach to making their products.

Incredibly, there’s more green-thinking activity going on in the Dolphin Board of Awesome besides its use of algae: the non-algae parts of the board makes use of recycled plastic water bottles.

“Nate Petre who's the 3D printing genius behind making this whole board has a lab partner where he works in London and figured out a way to make the 3D printing ink out of those recycled plastic bottles,” Ostroff says.

Petre, a PhD researcher at London’s prestigious Imperial College, has been working as a 3D printing engineer since 2014. But the London-based engineer’s involvement in the Dolphin Board of Awesome is just one of many geographical contradictions in the board’s development. The radical surfboard had contributors from across seven time zones, with no office space and minimal funding for the project. Mission impossible? Hardly: Ostroff and co. had the board finished in just six months.

At the end of the day, it feels like Ostroff’s sheer enthusiasm for the 3D printed surfboard may have been what propelled the innovative project to success.

“We wanted to create an object that would animate some of the most sustainable, accessible, 21st century technologies in a way that people understand, under the feet of the world’s best surfers,” Ostroff says. “And also blow our minds while riding the waves we love so dearly.”

Earlier this year, professional surfer Mick Fanning took to the waves on a 3D printed surfboard built by Red Bull High Performance engineer Brandon Larson. Clearly, additive is making waves in the world of surfing.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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