Creating my own 3D printed skateboard

Discussion in 'My Work In Progress' started by asteinmark, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. asteinmark
    asteinmark New Member

    I'm thinking about 3D printing my own skateboard and ordering each part from shapeways and putting it together myself. I've started working on creating CADs of parts. I'm planning on printing the wheels in strong and flexible black plastic. After reading the comments and looking into it i decided that trucks would be way to expensive to print so I will just be printing the wheels and deck. I'm keeping my old hardware, bearings, trucks, and bushings. I'm still trying to decide what material to print the actual board in and I wanted to know what material would be suggested and if anyone has any notes on the other aspects of my project. If you would like to contact me directly you can at Thank you.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    You want an expensive deck.

    Our stainless is machinable, but I don't know if the accuracy is high enough for your trucks. And a stainless piece that big will be expensive.

    For the deck, WSF would be the most durable material (that's not stainless). But a solid board would cost you yet again a lot of money. I think the most cost effective way would be to make it out of sandstone, use this method to reduce the cost of your print, and fill in with some kind of resin that can withstand being used.

    Overall it would probably be less expensive to get an autographed Tony Hawk board. But if it's something you want to do :D .
  3. I'd stick to printing just the deck if I were you. Trucks made of sintered stainless (which is, as I recall, about 40% bronze) will not survive much more than a small child riding on a smoooooooth floor, never jumping, never flipping, etc. Somewhat likewise for sintered nylon (Strong & Flexible) wheels - nice to look at, not too serviceable. The deck could be made of Strong and Flexible to good effect if designed properly. Do NOT assume that sintered nylon has the same mechanical properties as solid stock. Also, don't exceed the bounding box for the material chosen.

    If you're just prototyping, not use-testing, well then have at 'er!

    For the deck design, you may wish to play with making it in two halves and gluing them together for a hollow finished product. That should greatly reduce the total cost, which is probably going to be pretty large anyway. DO check the Postprocessing forum. Those folks have a great deal of wisdom and experience when it comes to finishing and assembling your goodies.

    Overall, I'd sugest this may be more of a prototyping environment for what you have in mind, not a production house. Your mileage may vary.
  4. asteinmark
    asteinmark New Member
    Thanks for the advice. I decided to just print the wheels and the deck and not the trucks. As for having a hollow deck, how well would that work structurally? I mostly skate half pipes and and I'm pretty hard on my boards.
  5. It's a matter of beam design. Consider a bridge. The longer the span, the deeper the girder section (vertical dimension) for the same load.

    A beam being flexed (like the middle of your deck) compresses on the top and stretches on the bottom, from end to end. (Flex a deck of cards to see what I mean.) The location thought the beam's vertical dimension where the transition from compression to tension is the neutral axis. Material at the neutral axis adds no strength to the beam and, as you might expect, material close to the neutral axis contributes only a little strength. The material furthest from the neutral axis contributes the most strength and is the limiting factor in material stress for a beam design. So... thicker boards are stronger, hollow boards are lighter. For a basic rectangular beam shape (think of a wooden plank) the strength of the shape (Moment of Inertia, for you engineering enthusiasts) is directly proportional to the width but varies as a cube by the depth. What does that mean?

    Take a 2" x 4" bar.
    If spanning a gap while laid flat: I = 4in x (2in)^3 / 12 (2 2/3 in^4)
    If spanning a gap while stood on edge: I = 2in x (4in)^3 / 12 (10 2/3 in^4) Four times as strong!

    Place the material further from the neutral axis for greater strength.

    Ribs, gussets, bracing, etc. are to resist buckling of compressed areas and inward collapse of curved tensile areas. 3D printing offers almost unlimited opportunity for creativity and flexibility of design in bracing and support - honeycombs, lattices, curves, continuous variation in profile thicknesses, perforated beams/ribs, etc.
  6. asteinmark
    asteinmark New Member
    Thank you FreeRangeBrain. This information is very helpful. What type of support structure do you suggest? And how thick would you make the the surrounding walls for the board?
  7. You're very welcome!

    Both good questions, and I have no idea. I'm quite new to these materials and haven't got any data for their mechanical properties. For WSF I'd suggest looking up the properties of nylon 12 and start with an assumption of having about 1/4 of the strength. Be prepared for failures and multiple prototypes. (Bring cash?) Mind you, you could get lucky and have a winner on the first try. *shrug*

    As a squinty-eyed guess... 1/8" to 3/16" thick top surface, 1/8" bottom, 1/8" longitudinal ribs, and 1/16" transverse ribs. You may be able to get away with no bottom surface if the ribbing is sufficient on its own. It all kinda depends on how heavy the rider is, how long the board is, and how hard an impact it's likely to receive. The good news is that WSF would probably deform significantly before snapping in half - you'd NOTICE something was wrong after a jump.
  8. asteinmark
    asteinmark New Member
    Just some extra info: I normally skate a size 8-8.25 and I weigh 165 lbs but I'm pretty hard on my boards. I'm working on a CAD for just a solid board and when I'm done I'll upload it so anyone can download it and make any suggested changes.