:: How To Make a Snowboard
by Monson Snowboards
There are two types of snowboard construction. The first is Capped snowboards, this is where the top sheet is pinched over the sides of the snowboard meeting the steel edge. the second is the traditional sandwich construction, recognizable by its sidewall. Each type of board is constructed the same with exception to modifications to some tooling.
When you look at a snowboard, it appears to be a technical yet simple product. It requires key element materials that have been acquired from various parts of the world. The designs are from the efforts and management of many people in key locations constantly riding and pushing the envelope. Making the finished product takes skill and care and requires special equipment and tooling that has been researched and developed.
Snowboards are made with eight main materials:
Top sheet with printed graphic
Resin System (Glue)
Carbon fiber can be added along with other performance enhancing materials.
From Start to Finish
It's always fun to start with a graphic design. The artwork can be created in various formats, however the most common is Adobe Illustrator/Photo Shop/Draw/etc. Once the design is complete then it is printed onto the top sheet through a sublimation process. (The image is burned into the plastic scratch resistant top sheet material. )
Now its time to start preparing all the materials !
We start by vertically laminating a variety of wood (improves strength and torsion rigidity.) The wood is then cut by a computer navigated cutting machine to the exact dimensions that the board will be formed around. Once the wood is cut, we place the inserts into their predetermined holes. The inserts are what you secure your bindings to.
The wood core is a central part of the board. The core is the element around which the rest of the board is built. The core's shape affects flex and weight. Wood is a good material to use as a core because of its vibration-absorbing characteristics. Wood consists of long fibers that transmit high-frequency vibrations along the board's length; these vibrations help reduce suction between the base and the snow, improving glide. Wood also has less chatter than foam or plastic.
Inserts are used to secure the bindings to the board. Made of stainless steel and integrated directly into the wood core. In a standard 4x4 pattern to allow stance adjustments. Our standard thread/screw dimension is a metric 6mm.
The next step is the conditioning and preparation room, where the base material is cut to size and the steel edges are properly attached. This is to ensure that the steel edge will not move while being pressed under extreme pressure. This is also a good time to cut the fiberglass and rubber foil to length which will be placed on the top and bottom of the wood core.
Steel Edges are around the perimeter of the snowboard base. These edges assist in turning and controlling speed while helping prevent slipping and sliding on the snow and ice.
is used over and under the wood core to increase stiffness and keep the
board from deforming. Fiberglass can be used in several layers, and allows
for the correct properties meanwhile keeping the board light. We use a
tri-axial lay-up orienting the fiberglass at 0, 45, and -45°. Rubber
foil is used to protect the resin system from "spider webbing"
around the steel edges (like a cracked windshield on a car) that can occur
from collision or extreme vibration.
Upon final inspection and organization of materials, its time to mix the resin system which typically is a two part resin (resin & hardener). In other words, once you mix it, you have a certain amount of time to use it before the hardener starts hardening the resin. This is the "glue" that holds the materials together.
This specially formulated two part epoxy resin system is an adhesive to bond all of the parts of the snowboard. Also used to saturate the fiberglass which makes the glass rigid. The correct resin formula is important so that excellent adhesion may be accomplished. The resin system along with proper material preparation is the key to a boards structural integrity. While providing flex and dampening characteristics.