When it comes to 3D printing, there have been a lot of ‘first’ printed this and ‘World’s only’ 3d printed that. But when it comes to sports gear, the fabbing has been few and far between. It’s for this reason that I (in my mind) ran cross-country to Dave Lee and Jeb Ferria of Signal Snowbaords to give them a hug and steal the ‘World’s first’ 3D printed snowboard. Dave met up with the team of California-based print service Growit3D and founder David Gurolla to create the board. However, the process is more than simply pushing the print button, slapping on some bindings and hitting the slopes. Here’s how it went down.
3D Printed snowboard
The board itself was printed in snap-together segments. But like many 3D printed parts, the printing is just the first step of the manufacturing process. First, they had to design the board, laying out the segments in SolidWorks with some custom Signal Snowboards branding. NICE.
The pieces were then positioned in the print software and sintered using carbon power in an Objet500 Connex 3D Printer. The pieces were dusted, snapped together and the entire board coated in resin. After applying the resin and vacuum bagging, they let it cure for 9 hours. The results were very flimsy, so to reinforce it, they applied three metal reinforcement straps down the length of the board.
So, after all of that, the board was together and ready to shred. Snowboarder Matt Guess risked life and limb, taking the first ride. Although slower that other snowboards, the larger shovel nose and more traditional center area plowed the powder splendidly. A nice experiment and one that will hopefully lead to others, but somehow, I’m guessing they’re not ready to give up the press very soon.