Posted by:on September 24th, 2007
The easiest thing to try when “making your own” skateboard is to buy an uncut blank and cut out your own shape. That will usually suffice for most people. The next step requires building a mold and making a press. Instructables member Gregorylavoie has posted a pretty good in depth tutorial on how to make a skateboard mold and vacuum press. I’ve seen a various methods of DIY presses that don’t involve welding and hydraulics. Most of them involve clamps. The mold part is the most daunting of the two, and requires the most finesse. Professionally made molds are not just a top and a bottom cast together. That is to say, the top piece wouldn’t be a perfect fit to the bottom piece. Making the concave symmetrical along the vertical axis is a job best left for CNC machines or skilled shapers. Granted, for your own use you don’t have to be that picky. Using a vacuum press makes the job of the mold a lot easier, since you only have to make one side and the vacuum compresses the rest of the board against the mold. This is the same basic process that Roarockit sells as a home kit. The Roarockit actually works (video review coming soon), but the mold is made from styrofoam and it’s more of an arts and crafts type educational project geared towards little kids. However, there is a community of longboarders out there that is very serious about using the Roarockit to make a cambered board. Gregory’s Instructable is a lot more rugged and reusable than the Roarockit, and it’s ads another DIY layer of customizing and accomplishment. There’s more to it than these few photos show, and the devil is in the details.
Gregory’s method is a sound one. The parts for making the mold and press are relatively cheap and easily attainable. If you wanted to make your own boards on a regular basis, this method will work for you, although it still requires a substantial time investment for the mold, and your first one will likely be wonky. His methods for providing an even concave are good, but if you look at a commercially produced skateboard you’ll notice different contours in different areas that his template won’t adhere to. Some people just take an existing board and make pour a concrete mold on top of it. That probably wouldn’t work in this case since you need to be able to insert the whole thing into the vacuum bag. Another thing he kind of glosses over is the part about the veneer. The problem most of you are going to have is where to find the right maple veneer. If you troll through various board building forums you’ll see a lot of posts about people trying to locate skateboard quality veneer in the right size and at a reasonable price. Good luck contacting an actual skateboard manufacturer for it, they buy it by the semi truckload. Another area your project will fall short is the glue. Commercial skateboards use two part epoxies or something besides regular wood glue you can buy at a home improvement store. I suspect this will affect the long term pop of the board.
This is the most thorough tutorial I’ve seen for making a working skateboard press. There are many pictures and a few nice CAD renderings. It should work well for personal levels of production, and is the next logical progression if you are already using the Roarockit on a regular basis. I wouldn’t want to start a business with it, but if you need something to do with yourself with this winter it should occupy your time well. Well done, Gregory!
Check out: Use a Vacuum cleaner to build your own Skateboard on Instructables.com
Leave a Reply