Laser Cut Skateboard

Traditionally, when making skateboards sheets of veneer are glued together, the wood is bent into shape and then cut out with a saw.

I was curious if you could flip these steps, apply a Digital Fabrication processes and create a fully laser cut skateboard.

My first attempt resulted in a broken skateboard but after switching the grain I was able to successfully create a laser cut skateboard. Here's what I used :

Supplies :

  • 1/32 Veneer
  • Wood Glue
  • Clear Grip Tape
  • Trucks, wheels, barrings, spacers.
  • Sandpaper

Software :

  • Adobe Illustrator (Creative Cloud)
  • Autodesk Fusion360 (Free for hobbyists)
  • 123D Make (Free App)

Machines :

  • 120 watt Epilog Laser Cutter
  • Vacuum Bag
  • Spindle Sanders

Step 1: Create Your Design

Designing your Board

First, I mocked up the profile of my design in Illustrator. I did this by :

  1. Sketching half of the board shape.
  2. Copy and reflect the board shape.
  3. Place the two sides together and use the Shape Builder tool to form one Object.

About my Design

I found a whale skeleton online that I wanted to use for the board's artwork. This inspired me to create a very organic outline for the boards form to follow. You can see in the picture above the different iterations that led to the final form.

After finalizing my board's shape, I could easily place different images, text and artwork onto the design, which would be raster etched onto the top or bottom layer of the board.

Tip : I laser cut a number of forms out of cardboard to see if I liked the dimensions and shape of the board. One of the benefits of using a digital fabrication process is rapid prototyping. I made a number of adjustments to the board's design after I was able to hold the different shapes. One such adjustment was to move the handholds further back on the board so that it stayed level when you held it.

Download :

I have attached the progression Illustrator file to this step if you wanted to use some of the files.

<p>Great use of the cutter. I did a similar project but a long board on a cnc router (let me know what you think!). Next time I'm going to try the cardboard rig. I feel like steaming/soaking the wood first would get a more perfect shape, but then you would have to use plastic cardboard. </p>
I'm curious about the topside of the board where you've etched your design. I can see in the pic that the griptape creates a lil &quot;bubble,&quot; for lack of a better word, where there is air between in top of the board and the indented edge of the etched design. Do you think over time with use of the board that the griptape might bubble, tear, or peel in those spots? Does that make sense what I'm trying to ask?
<p>That's a good point. I'll let you know how the tape fairs.I am hoping that the riding presses the tape into the etchings. They are very shallow etches but who knows. </p>
Interesting! If you added a step using a board press one you've glued up the lamination it might be even stronger
<p>Thanks! I am looking for those pictures right now.. </p>

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