Back in my younger and more robust days, I would spend hours upon hours skating in circles with my friends, gliding along the sidewalk and trying to jump over anything that seemed feasibly possible. Though I never quite had the balance and coordination to do much more than an ollie, there were endless memories that came with my lackluster skills. It’s been a while since I’ve hopped on the board, but the recent creation from the San Diego-based 3D printing company SD3D has me wishing my knees were 10 years younger.
In the past, we’ve seen 3D printing technology utilized to create electric skateboards and brake components for longboards. But the latest from SD3D goes above and beyond anything that’s been done with skateboard production. The company recently produced a skateboard made entirely with 3D printing technology, from the Penny-style deck to the trucks and wheels. The project started after the team successfully printed a board with nylon material, which led them to aim for an entire skateboard.
The board portion was designed by SD3D’s Kiana Duncan, and also included holes for 3 metal rods to connect the four 3D printed sections, provide additional strength, and keep the deck — which was inspired by Simone Fontana’s deck design found on Thingiverse — together. After learning from the first deck, this board was cut up in a certain way to prevent it from bending in the middle. The hexagonal pattern was integrated into the design to allow a bit of bend in the board. SD3D created the entire board with approximately 1kg of Carbon Fiber Nylon material by 3DXTech.
The most daunting part of the process was producing mechanically sound bearings with 3D printing. They first attempted to print the bearings separately, but found that they were easily breakable and difficult to print. So, the SD3D team decided to utilize a planetary gear design based on the design created by maker Nick Winters. After resizing the design, SD3D printed the wheels and bearing in Nylon 910 by Taulman3D. Though they originally thought to print these with a more flexible filament, they soon realized that a harder material was necessary for functionality.
An extra set of regular skateboarding wheels were also printed in NinjaTek’s Cheetah filament. According to the SD3D team, these wheels feel very similar to standard skateboarding wheels. This is primarily due to the filament’s shore hardness rating of 95A, which is actually equal to many readily manufactured skateboarding wheels. The production of the trucks also gave the team some issues, as it became clear that 3D printing was impractical for the axle section. Thus, the team opted for a threaded 8mm rod and a metal kingpin taken off of an actual skateboard.
Still, the body of the trucks, which includes the baseplate and hanger, were printed in the same carbon fiber nylon used for the deck, which has a tensile strength of 9,267 psi, the highest that SD3D has to work with. Finally, the skateboard’s bushings were printed with Taulman3D’s PCTPE, a softer material that still provides adequate strength. After running some light testing on the skateboard and its components, the SD3D team sent their 3D printed board to Braille Skateboarding, the digital skateboarding media channel, who took their skateboard for a true trial run.
The video of the Braille team testing out the 3D printed board showcases the unique planetary gear-styled wheels. The skate team landed some quality kickflips and other tricks before the deck finally broke from repeated use. Although the 3D printed skateboard doesn’t have the longevity of the traditional wooden board, SD3D’s creation was certainly the biggest hit at the skatepark. The Braille team actually seemed quite surprised with what they were able to do with the board before it ultimately snapped. It did in fact last much longer than a 3D printed deck sent in to Braille Skateboarding prior to the complete skateboard from SD3D, as the other board had started to break down as soon as Braille began testing. You can check out the entire humor-filled testing process in the video below. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Skateboard forum over at 3DPB.com.