Introduction: Lasercut Skateboard Deck Press

About: Numeric artist and 3D designer since 1989. Recycling artist.


this instructable will show you how to use a lasercut machine to make a press for serial making skateboard decks. But this technique could also be used to make a press for something else.

When I started the project I first tried to build myself a press out of wood and the use of common tools (see photos). It worked but I wasn't satisfied with the decks resulting from that press. They were not looking professional enough from my point of view.

So I decided to make another one with a lasercut machine. And the results are just amazing !

And here is how I did it...

Step 1: 3D Shaping the Deck

The first thing to do is to design the shape of the skateboard deck you want to end up with.

I used Sketchup to 3D design the shape of my future deck.
As this is not a 3D modeling tutorial, I won't explain how to use Sketchup. But for those who would like to have a bit more details on that part, I have used a few plugins that have been of a great help. These Sketchup plugins are :

  • Bezier Spline
  • Curviloft
  • JPP (Joint Push-Pull)
  • Slicer (in a later step)

I started by designing a few profiles (photo 1), the shape of the deck seen from the top (photo 2) and placed the different profiles along the deck (photo 3).

Because the final deck is symmetrical both in length and width, I only kept 1/4 of the board to work with (photos 4 and 5).

The surface is then extruded using the JPP plugin to the desired thickness (photo 6).
Note that depending on your design, a bit of extra cleaning might be necessary (closing holes for example).

The final desired 3D deck is now finished.
Well... only one quarter of it. But no more is required before the next step.

Step 2: 3D Shaping the 2 Parts Press

To shape the 2 parts press, only the top and bottom surfaces of the 3D deck made in the previous step are required. Select them and turn them into two different blocks (photo 1 is showing a quarter of a block).

This process was done twice (top and bottom surfaces) and each quarter of a block was mirrored in order to have a complete 2 parts press (photo 2).

I also added 2 holes going thru each block that will help me align each slice after they will be laser cut (useful in the next steps).

Step 3: Slicing the Press Blocks

I then used another Sketchup plugin named "Slicer" to slice the 2 blocks at the desired thickness, which should be the thickness of the wood you will cut with your lasercut machine. All my slices are 6mm thick (photo 1).

I then arranged all the slices so I could fit as much as possible into the lasercut machine. The one I used had a work area of 600 mm by 300 mm. I ended up with 20 wood planks to cut (photo 2).

Step 4: Laser Cutting

I then went to my local fablab to have all my 20 wood planks laser cut (photo 1).

Don't forget to put numbers on your slices if you want to be able to build the blocks back because each slice are very similar to the previous one and next one ! (photo 2)

Step 5: Assembling the Press

I then built 2 frames out of wood that will receive the slices made in the previous step (photo 1).

In each of these frames I added 2 threaded rods that are going thru the two holes that are in each slice. This will ensure that the slices are perfectly aligned (photo 2).

I then sanded each block to avoid the "stair" effect between the slices (photo 3).

The press is now finished and ready to be used !

Step 6: The Making of a Skateboard Deck

As this instructable is only about making a press it could have ended at the previous step.

But here are a few more photos to show you how well it works. The result is perfect !

I hope you found this instructable useful and that it gave you new ideas on how to make yourself a press (it could be for something else than a skateboard).

Cheers !

Epilog Challenge 9

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Epilog Challenge 9