Custom Snapdeck for Xtracycle Cargo Bike




My Xtracycle needed a new "snap deck", which is the flat carrying area above the rear tire.  I wanted something a little more distinctive than the stock deck, and also wanted to try a longer deck. 

I started by doing some "CAD" - Cardboard Assisted Design, that is. I made a few sample decks using some cardboard, and trimmed them until I found a size and shape I liked. 

I considered cutting the deck out on the bandsaw or with a hand-held jigsaw, but decided I wasn't steady enough to pull that off. Besides, I have access to TechShop's Shopbot, and it's way more steady than I am. 

Step 1: Sketch Design on Cardboard

I sketched the desgn in cardboard, and test fitted a few ideas. 

Once I settled on a design, I translated it into the computer version of CAD, and then created the shopbot file from that.

Shown here is the test piece made from scrap plywood. 

Step 2: Glue Wood Together

The piece of Brazilian Cherry I bought for this project was too narrow, so I split it down the center and inserted a 1.5" wide piece of maple for contrast.  I used a biscuit joiner to hold it all together - there are several Instructables available showing this technique.

Once the piece was dry I ran it thru the planer until it was clean and flat, then ran my shopbot file on it. 

Step 3: Router Grooves in Sides for Pizazz

I wanted to add some zazz to the edges, so I used the table router and a small rounded bit to cut a groove in the edges.  Eventually I hope to install some red ElectroLuminescent wire in the groove. 

Step 4: Seal Plank, Then Drill Holes for Attachment Hooks

I used Formby's Tung oil t o seal the deck.  I applied about 5 coats to each side and let it dry for 8-12 hours between coats. 

Using blue masking tape I marked where the hold down hooks needed to be located.

Using the old snapdeck as  template, i marked where to drill the holes. I drilled the appropriate size holes and then used a countersink bit to recess the screws.

Step 5: Install Hooks and Secure Deck to Bike

Install the Superhooks and tighten them down.

Now, go for a ride. 



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    5 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    One other thing I suggest is that if you added wheels in the right places it could double as a skate board ;) .

    3 replies

    I've seen that actually. There's a guy in SJ that has a longboard as his deck. When he's running errands, he can park the bike in a central location, pop off the board and use that to get from spot to spot.


    Wow that's actually a cool idea for a delivery type person! By the way to the author I really was serious about the wheels idea.


    I've seen photos of a couple who have longboards as their snapdecks. The Cherry I used for this one is way too stiff for a skateboard, but it can work like this:


    This looks SLICK! I always test fit items with cut paper bags, but cardboard I imagine works even better! Thanks for another great post.