Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printing on a Board


Tessa Blokland  


With a bit of jealousy and longing, I can watch for hours to the daredevils on boards: skateboards, snowboards, surfboards, etc. I know it takes repetition after repetition, hours of trying, and challenging yourself to master the skills on a board. And I have tried (a little bit though), got hit by a board in my ribs, which took me weeks to recover from. Anyway so far, my adventures on a board. What adventurous 3D printing innovations have been happening for board sports? I have found some interesting developments I would like to share with you. You might get inspired to stand on one yourself!

What you see here is a 3D printed snowboard binding, developed by Barcelona based Addit-ion, Swiss action sports company Nidecker Group and its snowboard binding brand NOW. Thanks to generative design and 3D printing, the three experts on their own filed collaborated to optimize the binding’s performance, without any manufacturing constraints since both technologies offer total freedom of design.  The result: an optimized binding with maximum stiffness, 25% lighter than current bindings, possibilities for mass customization, and tailor-fit products.

Sylvain Fleury, Mylene Wang, and Léo Bouffier are the three co-founders of Hexa Surfboard. Surfboards are extremely polluting which is in stark contrast to the sustainable habits most of the surfers have often being confronted with the plastic soup in the sea. Starting from the ambition to match surfboards to surfers’ expectations and values, the three have rethought the way surfboards are currently produced and distributed. A 3D printed surfboard can be tailor-made to your size and surfing habits. The honeycomb core is made of recycled and recyclable plastic waste material. Ideally, each board is 3D printing not far from your surfing spot to decrease distribution distance.

In 2017, Red Bull High Performance asked Proto3000 to create what they believed to be the world’s first fully 3D printed surfboard, a replica of an already-existing surfboard design from former professional surfer Mick Fanning. The entire process took about a month to fully realize into a prototype.

The story behind these 3D printed surfboard fins is fascinating. According to Professor Marc in het Panhuis (University of Wollongong, Australia), “there is no such thing as a simple surfboard fin. You have to consider the fin base, depth, rake (or sweep), foil, cant, toe, and flex. Not to forget, the number of fins and their positioning on a surfboard, as well as different materials that can make the fin stronger, lighter, and its ability to flex.” A team of six skilled surfers with technical awareness was involved. In het Panhuis explained: “They didn’t have to be QS-level surfers, but they needed to be able to articulate what they’re feeling and they also had to be able to follow specific instructions.” The 3D printed fin on the image with the crinkle cuts garnered the best results.

The last example of a board is this 3D printed skateboard by Makerbot design and marketing manager Felipe Castañeda. His goal: to create a 3D printed skateboard deck, that is compatible with standard trucks and wheels, lightweight and textured for tricking, while still durable enough to support the weight of your average Brooklyn hipster. Here is the result. The link even shows some nice video loops of trials.

LEO Lane_Weekly Pick_3D Printing on a Board

Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.


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