Braille Skateboarding is a well known skate brand with a massive following on YouTube. They have this format called ‘You make it we skate it’ and we were lucky enough that they were willing to put our 3D printed skateboard deck to the test.
Check out their latest video:
It was nice to see that in the video description they refer to it as “one of the highest quality 3D printed boards” they have tested yet. The skateboard is quite heavy but they manage to pull off quite a few tricks. Eventually, they end up breaking the board but it looks pretty cool while it lasts.
We produced the board on a DeltaWASP 3MT. It was printed with up-cycled PLA filament developed by Formfutura. Due to the fact that the filament is composed of up-cycled pellets, material costs came down to a few dollars. The board weighs about 10 pounds, which is quite heavy in comparison with standard weight of a skateboard.
We printed the board at a 60% infill. In total, the board was printed in 5 hours. It was modelled with Fusion 360 and then sliced in Cura. Additionally, we inserted the company’s insignia as part of the design using empty circular spaces for the b-shape.
As far as we know, this is the only single-print skateboard deck. All others we know of are made of multiple separately printed parts. This gives it a unique design but it also means that the board requires a complex post-process.
The board was originally printed flat. In order to give it the proper concave shape, we had to soften up the board and then insert it into a mould. To do this, our workshop developed a wooden mould (shown below). The purpose of the mould was to press down on the plastic and shape the skateboard once it was between the 3 pieces.
We had to soak the board in boiling water for about 20 minutes to get a proper flexibility. Because of this time period, we had to create a makeshift pool to keep the board submerged and simultaneously warm up the water at various intervals. After many designs, we decided to use black plastic bags and tape. We stuck the bags into the sides of the mould so it could contain the water.
Once the 20 minutes had passed, we took out the board. It was surprising to see just how loose and floppy it had become. Then, we needed to bolt down the cap on top and let it take shape. In 5 minutes, the board cooled down and was in its proper form. The bends were now indented into the structure and we only needed to attach the wheels.