Snowboarder Creates a 3D Printed Jet Propulsion System for His Board

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It’s no secret that snowboarders are an adventuresome lot, driven by speed and also, sometimes, by the element of danger. We recently followed the story of Jude Gomila, who out of frustration with some typical snowboarding issues like being stuck in flat green areas, decided to use the technology of 3D printing to accentuate his experience with the help of a jet mounted on his board.

Jude-gomila1

Jude Gomila

Gomila did take time though to warn those who might follow in his snow-covered footsteps that the design project he undertook was also on the dangerous side, and not for anyone inexperienced in mechanical and electrical work.

With the warning that a novice builder could ultimately fry themselves or cut off fingers in the process…well, you get the picture for what type of experience you need to pull something like this off. So, we’ll tell you how Jude amped up his snowboarding experience, and you can see if this is a project you might like to try or become inspired by for a different snowboarding hack.

Most of us know one or two people who are into snowboarding, and they tend to disappear to snowy destinations at certain times of the year. While it sounds like a sport easy enough to pick up—cheaper and more exciting than skiing–many of us are not aware of the various challenges involved in the sport, along with frustrations that can get in the way of fun.

When fast just isn’t fast enough, as is often the experience for adrenaline junkies and extreme sports enthusiasts like Gomila, it’s time to work on the equipment for jetting past all the bumps and snags holding one back from getting into the real action. Using 3D printing, Gomila constructed a mount for the jet he would install on his snowboard, taking inspiration from an industry peer (Adam, from Dreamscience) who recently constructed a handheld model for himself.

tumblr_inline_nmgto0tJrO1r35ibp_500Using Tinkercad, Jude created the 3D design for the mount, allowing it for free download to anyone, for use or further modification. 3D printing the mount in four parts on his Ultimaker 2, as they would not all fit in his build area, Gomila super glued them together afterward. He also used Gorilla glue to attach the jet to the mount.

“The design is pretty simple and allows for a battery to be placed at the front with enough support to hold around 22lbs of thrust from the jet,” says Gomila. “There is a small hole carved out for the electronic speed controller.”

In choosing his jet, Gomila obviously needed something that was going to propel him on his snowboard. He chose the Electric EDF 120mm Ducted Fan Set, featuring 12 blades, seen here. This jet served his needs with:

  • Maximum thrust of 22 lbs
  • 120 amps at 50V
  • Maximum capability of 600 watts

Linking the jet to an electronic speed controller, industrial in style and allowing for up to 150 amps at 50 volts, Gomila noted that all the elements had to be matched up electrically in terms of voltage, maximum current, and draw.

“Essentially, to power this beast up, you need some serious battery power and a decent electronic speed control,” said Gomila.

He made a number of modifications, performed some soldering, and also purchased a “cheap wireless throttle” which he powered with four AA batteries for the servo signal.

Gomila noted that he wanted to be alerted if his battery was running low so that he could avoid damaging it, so he also used two low-voltage warning circuits. Using caution to avoid electrocution, Gomila insulated the wires with liquid plastic.

Once everything was tested and running, Gomila glued the mount to his snowboard with his first, full test taking place at Kirkwood, in Lake Tahoe. Full speed ahead with the GoPro, Gomila said the ride was smooth and he was up to speeds of 15 mph.pppppppp

As a special note, once the jet was finished and Gomila had used his electric jet snowboard a number of times, he made some more modifications:

  • Addition of a flexible layer between the mount and the board to allow easier turning and keep the mount connected to the board
  • A sliding connector for easy removal of mount
  • Additional waterproofing
  • Addition of finger guards and safety
  • Better calibration of the wireless controller
  • Safety cut-off switch
  • Switching to gas jet turbine with 55 lbs. of force for uphill rides, and more safety

Is this jet with the 3D printed mount something you might like to add to your own snowboard? Have you accentuated yours with any 3D printed items, or used 3D printing for any other sports equipment? Tell us about it in the 3D Printed Snowboard Jet Mount forum over at 3DPB.com. Check out the videos below, which show initial testing, and then Gomila’s test ride at Kirkwood, Lake Tahoe, after everything was established to be in working order.

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