Introduction: Aluminum Longboard Deck
First, I want to give a shout out to the Invention Studio at Georgia Tech. I wouldn't have been able to make this without all of the great resources they provide. http://inventionstudio.gatech.edu/
For this project, I wanted to build a custom longboard which would be truly unique. This Instructable will walk you through all of the steps to design and build your own aluminum longboard, but since the design has not been thoroughly tested and since the safety of the board greatly depends on correct material selection and assembly, I did not provide my plans for my aluminum deck.
Step 1: Model the Trucks and Wheels
The first step is to model the wheels and trucks you
will be using. I used Solidworks. This allows you to make sure you get proper clearance without getting wheel bite or the deck dragging the ground. My deck has 15mm of clearance through 30degrees of lean.
Step 2: Decide on Major Dimensions and Shape
I used a wheelbase of about 32 inches, Deck Width of
9 ½ inches, foot platform length of 23 inches, and a drop of ¾ inch.
Step 3: Design the Deck
With these Dimensions, you can begin designing your deck. I started with the rails, then made the spacers, struts, mounting plates, and platform. Struts are also important to make sure the deck won’t bend into a convex shape when you ride it, and the cross bracing prevents the rails from twisting
Step 4: Verify That It Will Work
FEA is very important to make sure that the deck will
not bend in half when you ride it. Be sure to consider buckling, twisting, and deflection. Be sure to check for buckling in the struts, and don’t forget about dynamic loads and a conservative safety factor.
Step 5: Cut Out Aluminum Sheet
Now that we are sure that the deck is going
to work, it is time for the fun part, building it!
I cut the pieces out of a single sheet of 6061 aluminum on our waterjet
Step 6: Fit-Up
Remove the parts from the
sheet and assemble them. This step took some filing and pressing to get everything together nicely
Step 7: Welding
The board was designed to be welded together. The
tabs line everything up, and then I used AC TIG welding to stitch weld all the components together. Welding aluminum is a lot harder than welding steel, so after some practice, I got a professional to do if for me
Step 8: Final Assembly
Bolt on the trucks and wheels, and put on the grip
tape. I put the grip tape on as one big piece, then trimmed the edges and holes using a razor blade, this is a tedious process, but really shows of the design of the board.
Step 9: Test Ride
See how it rides. I was expecting it to have a stiff
ride, which it does, but it is a lot of fun, and extremely satisfying!