Beth, does the Tork Trux give hardcore skateboarders the freedom of choice and customization ability you mention most prefer? - "Rather than buy a complete off-the-shelf product, most hard-core skateboard enthusiasts pick out their board and components separately, choosing a customized mix and assembling them on their own."
It seems to me the Tork Trux is an off-the-shelf product. I have to admit, I think I am missing something here. Is there more than one option for the Tork Trux? Do trux come in levels, depending on ability? Not knowing anything about skateboards, can you please clarify?
@ Jenn: The Tork Trux is an off-the-shelf component, but what the company is targeting is skate board riders who don't buy a packaged board at Walmart or a sporting goods store that has the board integrated already with all the components. Rather, the hard-core enthusiasts pick out a board and then have an array of components--trucks, wheels, and the like--that they assemble based on the terrain they're riding, their ability at the time, etc. And they might change it up depending on the day, their mood, the weather ...
This design of the truck seems simple, but I guess it keys in on a major pain point riders experience while trying to change out a truck during a riding session. This design makes it simpler and at the same time, optimizing the truck's weight so it doesn't get in the way of performance.
One of the beauties of 3D simulation is the simplicity it brings to the prototyping process, which can otherwise be costly and complex. Kudos to Mr. Clark for demonstrating a more efficient way to get the job done.
OK, so this new product is easier to install. Why in the world would I consider holding a skateboard vertical to work on it? The only sensable way to work on the bottom side of a skateboard is to turn it upside down on top of a bench, or two stools, or a large garbage can, if one is desperate enough. Holding it vertical to work on it makes as much sense as putting air in a bicycle tire while sitting on the seat.
However, a new product that has a different, or possibly adjustable, angle to tilt ratio does sound interesting. And the trucks do wear out, although the ones that I have seen fail had more to do with riders hitting the ground with them from relatively higher elevations, with feet closer to the ends, such that board flex could not absorb much of the impact. With that in mind, a question comes up as to exactly why one would want the package that appeared to not be as strong as those with more material.
@William K: I think part of the beauty of the Tork Trux design is allowing riders to change the truck on the fly, hence the need to hold the skateboard vertically. At least that's how the engineer/founder described it. As for your point about more material = stronger: The company enlisted Autodesk Simulation to help create a truck design that could hold up even with less material. I didn't get the sense that the tradeoff was to use less material and have a less stable component.
Beth, I did not intend to equate more material with stronger, but with more durable. Of course, in any design optimisation effort it is vital to put the material in the right places. And I guess that I had not considered adjusting a skateboard on the fly, as it were. I do shift bike gears a lot, but I only adjust the suspension snubbers and springing occasionally.
Unfortunately, many design teams use the optimization to remove material primarily for cost reduction, with what appears to be no concern about quality reduction. They don't allow for the variations that do occur in low-budget production methods, and the result is a product that breaks when it should not.
It would be interesting to see a few more details of the truck assembly in the picture, perhaps even a discussion of just how the analysis allowed some of the changes.
Excellent point, William. You are right that far too often the optimization process is predicated on material reduction as a way to drive overall product costs down. Unfortunately, I don't have any more details on how the analysis drove some of the changes.
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