This Instructable is a step by step description of the process of building a skateboard deck, which includes: making a bending mold, building a bag press, and squishing /cutting plywood into the shape of a skateboard. These instructions are for a specific board but are intended to be easily modified to make any type of skate board, long board, or bent plywood project for that matter.

Being a skateboarder and a constructive individual I always fantasized about making my own custom designed and constructed skateboard, made to fit me and if I wanted to I could easily make multiples. Now I can, and you can too, just follow these steps:

I suggest reading all of the instructions before starting the project!

Step 1: Materials

Scrap cardboard
1 4x8 foot sheet 3 /4inch Spruce plywood
2 5x5 foot sheets of maple veneer
Hand-held Jig saw
1 liter of wood glue
8 12inch wood clamps
Wood rasp
Sand paper
Masking tape
20 gauge thick vinyl sheet (or water bed bladder)
Contact cement
Duct tape
2 part 5 minute epoxy
Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
3 / 4inch plastic conduit pipe
Dowel that fits in conduit pipe
Plastic Mesh from dishwashing scrubber (the one that looks like a mesh donut)
Rubber mallet
Skateboard trucks, wheels, and nuts and bolts
Grip tape

Optional (but helpful)
Hand-held belt sander
How do you apply a graphic to your board once you are finished?
Put your graphics on rice paper and laminate it onto the deck when you vaccuum bag it .for dyed veneers use food dye
What I would do, personally, is design something on the computer and take it to a local screen printer. It would last a lot longer, and that's how professional boards are designed. It would probably cost around $30-50.
<p>depending on the number of colors u go with.</p>
spray paint and clear coats
seal the board, then apply graphic, then seal again
What do you mean exactly? Do what in said in the instructable, put the graphic on and then what? Could you exlpain in simple terms please ;]
It's easy. Put a coat of varnish on it. Then write on it, paint it, screen it or whatever you feel like doing. then varnish it again. If you need more info I suggest this site:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.toothless.tk/">http://www.toothless.tk/</a><br/>
Ah, I see! Thanks for that, I'll keep it in mind and look at the site. Thanks once again.
Where did you get the vinyl sheets for the bag?
<p>have u thought abut using the sweater bags at all. might they be usefull after all thier designed to be vacuumed out of air. </p>
This kind of mould can be made from foam as well. The process is much simpler and the mould much lighter.<br /> You just use the pink insulation foam and a hot wire cutter.&nbsp; If you don't have a hot wire cutter knives, and saws, will do.&nbsp; The foam is strong enough to resist compression once in the bag<br />
construction foam would collapse against the wood as the vacuum pulled out the foam's gas<br />
Pics for proof :) <br /> I can't find the pics of it in the vacuum bag, but I found the compression ones.&nbsp; It's the same kind of mould but you only need one half for the bag.<br /> <br /> not all these pics are from the same deck press. I just picked ones that showed it best :)<br /> <br /> The pic of the mould is after it was used.&nbsp; As you can see it shows some signs of pressure but it maintained its shape. It was used again a number of times.<br /> <br /> The second pic is the wood in the press.&nbsp; This shows you another way to press a deck using threaded rod as a pressure source.&nbsp; It's a little more cumbersome and more work than a bag.<br /> <br /> The last pic is the board that was pressed from that mould.<br />
Hi iTinkers, <br>Finally your pics downloaded,,,, question if you have some time: <br>I want to bend some &frac14;&rdquo; thick piece of plywood about 36&rdquo;long x4&rdquo;wide. <br>The bend is just like the front tip of a ski, raising about 2 to 3 inches from horizontal. <br>Any suggestions? Do I need to do it with veneers instead due to thickness? <br>Could it be done using a press instead of vacuum since the bent tip is the only work required?. <br>Thanks a lot, ron.dacosta@ gmail.com <br>
<p>look into steam molding or using hot water, hottest u can get from yr tap, should work. </p>
Hey, i know it's been 2 years but do you think i can get any info on that construction method?
Check this page out; <br> <br>http://woodtreks.com/how-to-laminate-curved-wood-forms-using-a-vacuum-press-and-flexible-plywood/842/
Thanks for that.
Hey iTinkers, sorry to revive this year-old thread, but you seem like you have some experience in this field. I'm curious about the permanency of the foam you used in your mold, because if I wind up making a mold that I like I'll want it to be able to produce many a deck. How long did your foam mold last? <br><br>I'm also curious about the differences between vacuum bagging and bolt pressing. Does one have an advantage over the other when using foam? (foam fatigue due to vacuuming is my concern)<br><br>Finally, is it a good idea to use the foam in the same way that gregy (the author of the instructable) used plywood? I want to create a decent looking concave and it seems like the method used in this instructable might be better than the method you used in that respect.
The mold in the pic was used to press a couple of decks before being discarded. There was no real wear on the foam it was just a switch to the vacuum bag to make life easier.<br><br>The vacum bag is a much better system than the threaded rod. It cuts your time down considerably, is easier for one man to use alone, you only need half the mold, and you get more even pressure. The foam is dense enough that it resists compression quite well. You do see some wear, and it gets worse with time, but it work very well.<br><br>As to the durability of the foam....it depends. It depends on the type of deck you wanna build. Most of the boards my buddy makes are drop down decks, like the one in the pic. The drop down creates a bit of a weak spot in the mold. Mainly because you need to use some clamps around that area even when u are using the bag. It just helps you get cleaner, sharper bends. Unfortunately it causes some extra stress and compression on the foam. <br><br>I'd say you can average about 3-5 decks per mold before it deforms too much.<br>Now if you were building flat decks with just some concave...you could probably get a few more presses. It all depends on what you want out of the deck. <br>The beauty of it is that the foam is pretty cheap so it's not a huge burden to remake a mold after a few presses. It doesn't take long to do so either.<br><br>You could use foam in the same way as he used the plywood but you wouldn't gain much for the amount of extra effort. The only reason I would think you'd wanna do that is if you had some thin, but real dense, foam and wanted to use it. Otherwise it is simpler to just lay the foam flat and cut the contour out of one piece. If you need more height glue two together. I doubt you'll put more that 2-4 inches of curve in it. If you put too much concave in the board it becomes a big trough and a little uncomfortable to stand on. If you put too much arch in it then you'll mess up your wheel base. <br><br>The plywood method makes a more durable mold but it is more labor intensive and not very adjustable. The foam is cheap, easy to work with, and you can make adjustments and corrections on it (sometimes).
You may be thinking that your in-depth response was a waste by now. This is not the case: I just popped my board out of my FOAM press and cut it out. I'm going to stain it and post pictures. <br><br>For now though, I just want to thank you for helping me out.
Awesome! Can't wait to see what you made.
ahh it's not letting me post the images for some reason!
Oh no it doesnt! This would be the standard way of doing this for small scale production.
A good friend of mine has been pressing long boards using this method for a while now.&nbsp; All the moulds he ever used were made of insulation foam.<br /> <br /> The stuff you need for it is the rigid panel insulation.&nbsp; it's about 2 inches thick and comes in various sizes. It works beautifully. <br /> <br /> Also used it to make a positive and negative for a mould that used threaded rod to provide compression.&nbsp; Worked beautifully like that too.<br /> <br /> The good thing is that its 2 inches thick so it works for mostly any curve you'd want on a board.&nbsp; It works for a nice 2 inch drop in long boards as well.&nbsp; And if you need more height you just glue 2 panels together to boost you up to 4 inches.<br /> <br /> It is a much faster and easier method than cutting this many layers of wood and sanding them to the shape.<br /> <br />
good work job trabajo lavoro i dont speeak so verywell eng my italian is best and espanish <br>nice Glue in Europe Pva-B3 the wood is no canadian is betulla aviatik froom finland 155x155 cm inch i do no !!! 1 cm=2,54 inch i try my first i try try try thanks grazie gracias danke merci nice idea to much for search material but no problem in the house. Ghghghghhghg.Ciao
I don't get it. Is there not some type of valve that maintains the vacuum?
I have the same question. I don't know if he leaves the vacuum on for the whole time or if he has some type of seal for the valve. I wonder if you could just turn off the vacuum and quickly cover the valve with duct tape before it refills with air. Hmmmm.
A check valve would be better. <br> <br>Even if you had slow leaks you'd only have to turn the vacuum on again every once in a while. <br>
I was wondering the same thing how did your guys turn out?
He prob just leaves the vacuum on the entire time
would it be possible to use an old board as a mold? I have an almost board that I don't use so would i just but the veiner on top of that?? Please get back to me!!
You could use the old board as the top of the mold -- with foam underneath. <br> <br>You can pour your own foam. <br>
board too weak. requires a mold
professionals use foam, which is considerably weaker than plywood.
High density foam resists compression very well, but does not resist cutting well, which is why they use it.&nbsp; Being a dense foam, the air cannot be sucked out with pressures even remotely close to that of a household vacuum cleaner.<br> <br> Using a skateboard as the mold is a bad idea because it will flex when compressed, especially under the heavy compression of the vacuum, so any board you make using a skateboard as the mold is going to be warped.<br> <br> To see what I mean about flimsy substances that can resist compression, find some packing cardboard used in shipping large objects - it has a honeycomb structure that resists compression extremely well.&nbsp; You can walk on it without damaging it, yet it is light and flimsy enough to be torn in half by hand.&nbsp; That stuff is made of paper, and not very much of it.
Great instructable. Definitely thinking about using your ideas. <br> <br>The mold could be made from half the material or less. Solid wood is overkill. <br> <br>Thank you!
OK I have been using this type of system for years. Although what is shown here is going to work up to a point it could break the vacuum cleaner and wont really effectively hold the vacuum anyway. Yes there needs to be some type of valve to seal the extraction point once the air is removed. Personally I use a compressor and a venturi generator to usch the air out and then seal the outlet with a tap/valve. This is the standard way in which these systems are used commercially. I hope that helps.
This is absolutely amazing! I love your work and how you put this together!! It would have felt awesome to ride it after, I usually go through 2 boards a month so I would be a little mad to break it , but it would be cheaper !
how do you go through two board a month. r u stupid or just dont know how to skate.
LOL, seriously kid, the better you get the more you thrash your boards. A board a week is pretty average- thats a good week mind you, back weeks and big tricks kill boards. Maybe you should push yourself a bit more if you skate.
Pro skaters go through boards in just a week. You probably didnt know this, but Unfortunately when a Skateboard gets used alot, it becomes weaker, and gets scratched up too the point where its not safe. Boards crack man, your just not skating hard enough
Actually, it depends much on how dry the board is. Dry boards crack immediately; new and &quot;wet&quot; boards live longer (until they get dry or you smack them real hard).<br /> When buying a board turn it upside down, take by the tail(nose) and hit against the ground; if you feel it's vibration - then it's &quot;wet&quot;. If it just flaps - it's dry and will break fast. In theory, this ability to vibrate saves the board when it hits the ground (ask your physics teacher why ;)&nbsp;).<br /> I bet the skate shop dudes push boards that have been lying around for some time (and got dry) to n00bz (because they don't skate hard enough anyway) or to just random unlucky or dumb-looking ppl.<br />
Pro skaters also don't have to buy there own decks..... Man, use the deck until it cracks then buy a new one, a little bit of scratches wont hurt.. dont wast your money. Great instructable buy the way. I didnt think that a household vacuum could bend 7 layers of veneer.
lol skating sets, handrails, trust me they do break , not often but pro decks break and if I made them and took the time, I try to keep the pop
my buddy weighed about 170 pounds when we skated back in the day. landing slightly off your trucks down a staircase can snap a board like it's nothing. i've seen him snap more than one board in a week.
&nbsp;I know exactly what your friend feels like. I'm bout 170, and its expensive as hell to buy new decks.
lol try this:<br /> <br /> railing out of the skateshop stairs with the new board, and landing on the nose...<br /> <br /> 70$ wasted in 5 seconds... it's really sad... but the dude in the skateshop saw the whole thing and sponsored us the next week... less sad!! yay!<br />
I don't get why you use a vacuum bag, but not the good old &quot;2-piece mold and a couple of big screws&quot; press?<br /> Can a home vacuum cleaner really create enough pressure?<br />

About This Instructable


435 favorites


More by gregorylavoie: Hack a Toilet for free water. Use a Vacuum cleaner to build your own Skateboard
Add instructable to: