Sunday, October 8, 2017

Kit Sales Back!

Those 12 board designs on the web site are now available as cardboard core kits again, cut by yours truly, on my enduring little self-built laser cutter.

Yes, you can still download the patterns and cut your own core kit. But if you still can't get to a local laser cutter, I'll cut and ship anywhere, pretty much.

I can't make good money at this with my current setup, but this is good for petty cash to keep me working three day per week in a VW bus mobile office setup. If you all will buy a kit or so a week, that's gas, breakfast and coffee to keep me truckin on.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Whoa - Build Vid from Japan

Just found this build summary video from December, from Japan. Work, innovation and passion evident there. Hearing about other builds in email lately. Always surprised and impressed. Thanks for sharing everyone. Keeps me going.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DIY Laser-Cut Core Kit Tips

I finally added some essential info on laser-cutting your own cardboard-core surfboard kit to the build guide.

The image here is the business end of my self-built laser, where the beam emerges from brass garden hose repair parts. The new laser production guide will help you find a much nicer laser cutter near you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tolley's Build Videos

A couple NAWP build vids from a couple years ago that I just found. I've emailed with Mike Tolley, and even met him at the San Diego Maker Faire, but I didn't know he made these videos. Good time lapse overview of the whole build process.

I'll note that those assembled cores look a bit more flexible than the ones I've made. Could be too-thin cardboard. But that's not a deal killer - if you support it before glassing so that the rocker looks about right, that first layer of glass stiffens it up considerably, and the glass on the other side locks in the shape.

That's the nature of sandwich construction - the longitudinal stiffness is in the tension of the fiberglass skin while the core mainly needs to be strong in top-to-bottom compression.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Desktop Surfboard Production

Six foot thruster core made from cardstock.

Haven't designed a good way to join sections, so for now I'm doing this.

Epoxy on some mating faces ...

... and clip together. Glue somehow later.

Shape looks good.

This should be easy to glass smooth.

Desktop surfboard production.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Builds Out There Happening!

Had some build reports in email recently, and that really makes me wonder how many of these boards are getting built out there that I don't know about.

Did a quick Instagram search and found a few beauties.

Whoa, studio photo shoot, backlit, in Delaware, I think:

Dry Simmler core - this might be in Switzerland? Look how clean and not dark the edges are. Was this cut on a laser, or with a drag knife + pen plotter setup? Still under construction as of 5 weeks ago, awaiting carbon fiber rails.
A photo posted by Claude Denier (@cla2ude) on

Core beauty in Australia:

And then there's Westkust in the Netherlands building some boards and a little kit biz based on my public designs (they're developing their own custom 3D printed fin service too):

Heartening. Thanks everyone for digging it.

Meanwhile, I'm slogging away at reworking my board design and rendering system with the goal of making it publicly available. Two goals there:

1.) Make the core patterns and downloadable cut files customizable for different materials and different CNC machines. This will make it pretty easy to adapt what I do to wood and other materials, and cut with routers, lasers, waterjets, whatever. The idea is that, instead of just downloading my stock files for lasers, you would first enter a bit of info about your materials and cutting machine, and then the system would make a few modifications on the fly and provide a download link to files made just for your setup.

2.) Make my board design system public, so you're not limited to just the boards I've designed. My approach to board modelling is different than in other software. It fits my intuition. And I think a few other people might prefer it. But I would also like to work out a way to import shapes from other software, so they can be sliced up into core assemblies by mine.


I could use some dedicated office and/or workshop space. So I'm interested in some good part time work that will let me move to a better place, with better space, to develop this and other projects, and build some more boards. (SUP is next.)

Consider me, recommend me, or spread the word. Here's my LinkedIn for some of my background and skills. It's Web dev heavy. But consider me for other stuff too. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maker Faire SD

A photo posted by T R V Z R P L Y (@travezripley) on

Victor - a Geek in Residence at Fab Lab San Diego - cut his own 8 Fun core kit on the fab lab's laser and then glassed it at Shaper Studios. He displayed his board at the San Diego Maker Faire this last weekend, and invited me to go down and share some of my boards in the same booth. Thanks Victor!

When I started this cardboard surfboard project about nine years ago, I had no idea where to go to find local laser cutters. Since then, the Maker Movement, the proliferation of hackerspaces and fab labs, and the dropping price of laser cutters has made possible local core kit production worldwide. People have lasers and know how to use them. Or, better, people know where to find lasers, and friendly geeks to teach them how to use them.

Fab Lab San Diego had a bunch of rad member projects on display: self-built skateboard decks with materials and curves I've never seen before, a bubble-farting flying llama drone named Dolly, 3D printed prosthetic hands, and an internet-connected, phone-controlled coffee maker. There was also a DIY Biology display - the San Diego fab lab includes a wet lab, and some members are developing a pilot biology course - open to anyone - to be reproduced at other fab labs around the world.

And that was just what was happening within a few meters of us. The entire Maker Faire was like that times a thousand.

Thanks to Victor for inviting me, and for pitching everyone on the prospect of building cardboard surfboards. Thanks to Joy from SD Fab Lab, who seemed to be the head cat herder for the Fab Lab booths (but herding some pretty cool cats). Thanks to Katie Rast, who hustled to the keep the fab lab vision alive in San Diego through the last several years. Thanks to Dale Dougherty for spearheading the spread of Maker Faires worldwide.