Surfing in 3D: Printed Boards Make Waves in Custom Design
The 3D-printed structure of the MARK 1 additively manufactured sailboard. Chicago-based startup MADE Boards uses a mobile app that collects user data to design custom surf, sail, and paddle boards and then produces them through 3D printing for customers. (Source: MADE Boards)
Yes, I'm a surfer, Rob, but not the kind you see riding those little boards on TV--I ride a longboard, which is better for older people like me that just want to enjoy the waves and have fun. :) I, too, was suprised to see 3D printing for something like this, as you can tell by my story. But it seems quite possible and could be an interesting proposition for surfboard design and production in the future. Although I still think handcrafted custom boards are the best, in my opinion.
@a.saji – I think nothings impossible when you have 3D printer at home. You could easily create any object you want in minutes, isn't that amazing. Remember the traditional dot matrix printers, who would have thought there would be a time when we could create and object physically.
Elizabeth M, I've got a Quiksilver board. I surf mostly the east coast of Florida, from Sebastion Inlet down to Boca Raton--wherever the waves are! Custom board=Stradivarius vs. what they rent your kid at the music shop.
Sounds great! I live on the southwest coast of Portugal and surf some world-class beaches on a custom-made 9"3' longboard. I am totally with you on the comparison...there really is none! But I'm still curious to see what comes out of the 3D world.
Which view, Rob? The "Stradivarius" one? Well it's pretty valid I would say, but only a surfer might fully understand. And surfing itself is so complex anyway--there are so many nuances to it. So to design a custom board built to perform a certain way for a surfer is in and of itself a very complex and mathematical task. So there are a lot of elements to this. And surfing might as well be a religion, so there are always going to be people who don't want to upset sacred rites and rituals, which custom and handmade surfboard shaping and producing is!
The other thing I wanted to say is that yes, while 3D printing does seem to be moving into the commercial realm, MADE Boards isn't actually selling its products yet and it seems like initially these will be more specialized, custom products. But they are definitely planning large production volumes, so I suppose 3D printing is going to prime time.
@a.saji – I feel 3D printing is a different angle of thinking; I would love to see how 3D printing happens and the final product. I am sure it would be around us very soon, couple of months most probably.
Elizabeth, I feel that 3D will be more feasible for the samples, models etc.................. when it goes to the mass production molding kind of things will be more cost effective. Please correct me if I am wrong.
@pubudu – I have a feeling that 3D printers might bring a copyright issue to the manufacturers. Manufactures f less complex products would definitely lose customers as they could make their products from home.
Well even though that's how 3D printing started, Pubudu, I am under the perception that that is changing, and 3D is becoming more affordable for mass production. Although I don't think it's really taking over traditional manufacturing yet, I think there is a change in process. But maybe some others who have a bit more knowledge about this can weigh in?
Thanks, Ann. Even though I have said a few times how I prefer handmade boards, I do think you're right and this will be a boon for boards that fall somewhere in between handmade and mass produced. It's a nice middle ground for someone who wants something built for them but doesn't have access to a custom shaper. And who knows where the technology may go in the future?
Customizing a board is an incredibly difficult task even for manufacturers that stick to traditional methods. 3D printing gives surfers another option when choosing a board for themselves. For me, I'd have to have a 3D printed board with a chair and cup-holder printed into the design.
Ha, that's not a bad idea, Cabe (the chair and cupholder). I assume you mean an actual chair and cupholder that you can use? Or just an image of them? You bring up a good point about how customization and 3D printing make pretty much anything possible when it comes to what a person wants in their specific design.
It also makes me think of the idea my surfer friends and I often bring up that we would like to start a cafe boat that sits just beyond the surf break (on days when the sea is calm between sets and not rough) for those long sessions when we get hungry or thirsty in the water. The idea is that we can just paddle over and have a drink or a sandwich, then paddle back to the lineup. In this case, your cupholder would come in handy!
True Rob it's nice to hear that the Elizabeth is a surfer, Elizabeth why don't you share some photos. Elizabeth I have heard something call personalize Surf boards, is it true? If so there is a great advantage of 3D printing surf boards.
@PubuduR – Personalized surf boards, what more could you expect. I think now you don't need any engraving to create your own customized product. Do you know that there is a scanner to replicate the products?
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.