Instructables

Vacuum Bending Skateboard Veneers

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Picture of Vacuum Bending Skateboard Veneers
This is a step-by-step tutorial showing DIY builders how to operate Roarockit's Thin Air Press (TAP) vacuum bag. The bags come in four different sizes to accommodate different sized projects:

14" x 47" (small and preshaped skateboard veneers)
20" x 70" (large custom skate/longboards)
26" x 28" (small woodworking projects)
36" x 52" (large woodworking projects and wakeskates)

Using the TAP bag is the same whether you are building custom skateboards or bending larger furniture pieces. This tutorial should help give you a basic idea of how to operate the vacuum bag and use it for your own projects. 

**note** vacuum bagging has been used for many years in different industries, and there are other options on the market. This tutorial is specific to the Roarockit Skateboard Company's Thin Air Press vacuum bag system. 

NOW LET'S BUILD A SKATEBOARD!
 
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Step 1: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials
To laminate and bend the skateboard veneers you will need the following.

Tools:

Thin Air Press (TAP) vacuum bag

TAP manual hand pump

Breather Netting (used to help evenly evacuate air from the bag)

Glue Roller (with plastic bag for storing)

Materials:

1/16" Skateboard veneers (for this tutorial we are using 7 layers of Canadian Maple)

Masking Tape

Foam Mold (check our Instructable on how to create one)

Glue (we highly recommend Titebond III for its waterproof properties and open dry time)

Optional:

Some sort of shop apron to protect your clothes from glue...which does NOT wash off!





MAF4059 months ago
I did not understand anything
Rockitalk (author)  MAF4053 months ago

Is there anything we can do to help you understand? We have video tutorials of the process, and a few different Instructables that cover the same thing :)

Feel free to ask any questions and we'd be happy to help!

ambientvoid12 months ago
how tight a bend can ply/veneers be put through in a vacuum bag before the wood splinters/snaps? is there an alternative way of achieving a tight bend?
Rockitalk (author)  ambientvoid12 months ago
There are many different presses, and steam is also used in some woodbending applications. The vac bag will achieve any bends needed for skateboard purposes. For example, a 1" drop over a 1" distance makes a pretty tight pocket on a drop deck and is totally doable! Remember too, when you add glue to the veneers it adds moisture and helps them bend even tighter.
so around 45° is doable but if i want to go higher then im likely going to need to rely on alternative methods?
Rockitalk (author)  ambientvoid12 months ago
Not necessarily. You can do tighter bends by pressing fewer layers at a time and also with the help of external clamps. Also, wetting the two outside veneers can help them bend easier as well. Gaining experience using the bag is important though. We would not recommend anyone to start with a more advanced build like an extreme 2" drop deck before successfully completing a more basic build. It can be done, but not recommended.
woodknow1 year ago
Was involved in late seventies in custom production of reverse camber slalom, GS and down hill boards.
Reverse camber allows for more productive " pumping action"
Best results achieved through use of WEST epoxy saturation systems.
Also incorporated use of carbon fiber tapes for additional stiffness/recoil.
Found that use of molds more effective than vacuum bagging.
All techniques adapted from cold moulding boat production.
Suggest exploration of these techniques
Also was involved in customizing/combining wheels
For slalom: Narrow, soft@front(Krptonite greens and reds Bandsawned down for slimmer profile Medium width truck.
Rear super hard "spinners" narrow trucks
Required customshaping of nose and tails for wheel clearanaces
Also think about combining both 1/8th veeners with 1/16th.
Diffent species create different reactions
Check under boatbuilding supplies and custom woodworking sources for more extensive veneer selections.
Also provides opportunities for cool exotics for tops and bottoms
Have fun
Rockitalk (author)  woodknow1 year ago
Right on! There are definitely many ways to build custom boards and tons of different materials to work with. Our team has lots of combined experience working with composite materials and epoxies for building different styles of boards.

Also, we generally suggest the Titebond III glue as it is the best option for smaller builders who can't necessarily afford the much more expensive epoxy systems. We want to make board building as accessible as possible!

Stay tuned for more tutorials.
fschendel1 year ago
No final product pics??
Rockitalk (author)  fschendel1 year ago
Working on the second part of this build right now! We walk through the steps of cutting out and finishing the deck :)
jon3laze1 year ago
Where do you get your veneers?
Rockitalk (author)  jon3laze1 year ago
The Roarockit Skateboard Company supplies 1/16" Maple and Birch veneers for custom board building.
msemtd1 year ago
Great instructions on how to use the kit -- very complete. Are the kits available outside North America? I'm in the UK and I would like to press my own deck.
Rockitalk (author)  msemtd1 year ago
Yes for sure! Feel free to email chris@roarockit.com for more info about shipping products internationally
soderhjelm1 year ago
Really nice!
Awesome!!! Thank you for sharing this project!