3D Printing A Surfboard Fin

Akshay Prakash is designing and 3D printing a full-sized, functional surfboard for his summer internship.  In his own words, he describes his design process:

I just wanted to write this post to let you all know that the 3D printed surfboard project is going smoothly. I have finished the CAD modeling of the final product (video below) and hopefully will be printing the full scale model later in July. But for now, I am very excited to say that I have successfully finished the printing of an important part of the surfboard, the fin or skeg. The main function of the fin is to provide lateral resistance against the water such that, when turning, the tail end of the board does not slip out from underneath the surfer. In addition it allows the surfer to travel more easily in the direction in which he/she wants to move in.

Anyways, one of the concerns that I had coming into this project was the waterproof or tightness of 3D printed models, as well as their relative buoyancy when compared to the standard design of surfboards which is fiberglass encasing a foam core. What I was delighted to find out, after some tests with the fin that I had printed, was that 3D printed models with a 20% honeycomb infill with two solid layers on either side not only exhibits a similar mass to volume ratio as that of the fiberglass boards, but also is watertight without any post-production modifications.

AkshaysFin

Moreover, this, I hope, will have somewhat of an impact on the surfing industry. The current methods being used, i.e. the fiberglass and foam surfboards, often result in a large amount of harmful waste that is detrimental to the environment, whereas with 3D printing there is minimal waste, as you are only making the parts that you need, and in addition any excess can be burned off cleanly thanks to the properties of PLA. Furthermore, 3D printing paves the way for new levels of customization and experimentation allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to design and implement their own fin, strap mount, or any other part they desire to alter based on their own wants and experiences.

Please share any suggestions for improvement!

~Akshay

  •  Email: akshay.prakash@re3d.org
  • Twitter: @akshay_1prakash
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