Thursday, December 8, 2011

surfcorr Album Release

Cardboard surfboard core patterns, turned into music.

Music as a way to distribute surfboard core patterns.

Music of an unexpected character - mostly automatically
generated - surprisingly musical for being just a bunch of
cut patterns. Surprisingly dark - not a day at the beach.
Would have made it kitchy upbeat Dick Dale immitation,
if I actually knew how to make music. But the parts
had something else to express. Whatever parts! As long
as the CAD files can ride along.

In addition to other models that have been available before,
three new cut patterns appear on this album:

Simmler - me-too mini Simmons

Hot Curl - Vee from the 40's

Nuuhiwi Noserider - You know what I mean - but one of the secrets to noseriding is revealed in the name as I've spelled it.

I actually like the music, though. The link:

Monday, June 13, 2011


Just added this core kit offer to the website. It's supposed to be like a Weber Performer. Other than the basic specs - 9'6", 24" wide, 3" thick - I took my measurements by eye, down at the Surfing Heritage Museum in San Clemente. I called ahead to see if I could bring a tape measure, realizing that might be presumptuous. It was. They said no.

You don't need a tape measure, or a CNC board scanner, to grasp the dimensions though. What I really needed to see was the rail profile transitions, how much belly the board had and where, how much dome on the deck, and like that - all things the eye and hand are pretty good at taking in.

There was a real Performer reproduction done by the Weber clan at Sacred Craft in 2010. They used one of the original, but later model templates, and the tail was way wider than most of the Performer models I've seen. I complained that if they're going to move the target like that, I'll never be able to pull off an exact copy. No sympathy. The only way my version tops theirs in authenticity is that I haven't added a leash plug. That's the best I can do.

So, the NAWP is not a Weber Performer. But if you want a Performer made out of cardboard, this is as close as you're going to get.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Part Layout Hand Edit

Also added this video to the candy aisle of the website.

Video description:
It's 550 edits to the part layout for an 8-foot cardboard surfboard core kit.

My bin packing code does an okay job of laying out parts in panels, but it's not as smart as I'd like, yet. So I made this system (that lives in a web browser) to do the final part layout optimization by hand. The game is to reduce the number of panels required as much as possible, and to reduce the distance between where a cut ends on one part and begins on the next.

"Bin packing" is the process of fitting a bunch of things in a container, or a bunch of containers, efficiently. The things might be all different sizes. The containers might even be different sizes - though in my case, I've standardized on roughly 2 foot by 1 foot panels.

The bin packing problem applies to packing lots of surfboards, gear, and people into a limited number of cars and boats, fitting files onto backup CDs, organizing your closet, and, for me, arranging parts efficiently into panels, with a minimum of wasted space, so I can cut down on materials and laser cutting time for core kit production.

You and I are fairly good at bin packing, but it's not simple to translate that skill into a computer program. My system does a decent job of laying out parts for my CNC router. But for the laser-cut core kits, the arrangement needs to be as tight as I can get it. That means editing the part layouts by hand.

The video presents a complete editing session that took me a little more than an hour. Some of my edits are pretty simple things that I'm currently adding to my bin packing program. Other edits are rearrangements that seem simple and obvious to us, but that PhD students struggle to convert into general purpose algorithms.

I haven't yet found any really-free two-dimensional bin packing software. The people who need this kind of thing are usually businesses, so the people who develop good bin packing software have a chance to be rewarded for that effort.

The initial reward though is in developing a good solution. This problem can be an addictive puzzle, and I don't think you can work on it without being caught up in the game. Beyond the merely adequate solution I'm after, my reward will be in cutting these layout review and edit sessions down from an hour plus, to something more like ten minutes.