3D Printing Industry

3D Printing Mythbusting with Braille Skateboarding

A Generatively Designed Skateboard from Fusion 360 and Shapeways

Industrial Designer Paul Sohi is obsessed with 3D printing. He’s made it his life’s work to make it accessible to more people – a mission we share. His earlier efforts include developing the world’s first fully additively manufactured prosthetic used at the Paralympic Games. More recently, he has been evangelizing for Fusion 360 at Autodesk.

A skateboard was ideal for Paul’s latest project. He wanted to design a fun, common item to debunk many 3D printing myths still common today by proving that 3D-printed products are end-use ready, durable and not just for prototyping. Just as important, Paul wanted to prove that you don’t have to buy a 3D printer. He explains, “The number one misperception I hear from designers is that they have to buy a 3D printer. I want to show that Shapeways’ services are part of the Fusion 360 workflow.”

Paul used Fusion 360 Generative Design to make the skateboard trucks (the metal T-shaped pieces that mount onto the underside of the skateboard) durable while also minimizing materials to cut costs. He sent the files to Shapeways, and we delivered the trucks in two materials: titanium and aluminum, both manufactured using additive manufacturing. Paul constructed the entire skateboard from board to wheels to trucks, and headed to California.

Braille Skateboarding was founded by Aaron Kyro and creates videos to help spread the joy of skateboarding. They joined the project to see if Paul’s skateboard trucks could enhance Braille’s tricks. We wanted to show the skate trucks’ functionality all while capturing some great runs on a board made possible with 3D printing and generative design. More than just a 3D printing stunt, our team wanted to focus on making  skateboarding an even better experience with increased durability and mobility. We succeeded – Paul estimates the trucks are 45% lighter and multiple times more durable versus comparable skateboard trucks.

We captured videos of Braille’s tricks and details on how the skate trucks were made. Special thank-you to Paul, Braille, and Autodesk for making this so much fun. Shapeways loved helping to bring this idea to life.

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