Slow but sure: 3D-printed snowboard

Well-designed skis and snowboards give riders a controllable surface to enjoy the sweet effects of gravity on mass. Most are made of wood and resin laminates or ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (sometimes branded P-Tex) to exacting dimensions.

Now, a company called Signal Snowboards, Huntington Beach, Calif., has 3D-printed a snowboard prototype out of carbon powder. Partnering with GROWit, Lake Forest, Calif., Signal printed the board in parts that were sintered together and then coated with resin. The result was a board a bit too flexible for safe riding, so the GROWit team bolted reinforcing metal strips along the board’s length.

The result: A decent but somewhat slow board that nevertheless survived several rounds on secret testing grounds in Colorado. It’s likely that the board’s stiffness, shape, and surface friction coefficient will be improved in future iterations.

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Existing and emerging technologies immediately applicable to product design, as well as industry trends that promise to change engineering.


Elisabeth Eitel

Elisabeth is Senior Editor of Machine Design magazine. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Fenn College at Cleveland State University. Over the last decade, Elisabeth has worked as a...
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