Dilemma: two classrooms, one teacher. A manageable feat when the locales are adjacent, but simply inefficient when they bookend opposing ends of the school. Solution: an alternative method of transportation which is easily concealed in plain sight. Introducing: the Slippery When Wet Skateboard !
- A “Caution Wet Floor” Sign
- A Piece of High Quality Plywood or Solid Wood Panel Slightly Larger Than the Sign
- A Large Piece of Paper or Multiple Pages That Can Be Taped Together
- Nylon Zip Ties
- A Set of Skateboard Trucks
- Some Form of Grip Tape
- Coping Saw or Bandsaw
- Soft Leaded Pencil (2B or higher), a Carpenter’s Pencil, or a Regular HB 2 Pencil
- Masking Tape
- A Phillips Screwdriver
- A Flat Heat or Slotted Head Screwdriver
- A Socket Wrench, Adjustable Wrench, Skateboard Tool, or Wrench the Size of the Nuts on the Skateboard Trucks
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Step 1: Halving the Sign
Examine how the sign is hinged to understand how to separate it into its two halves. The sign I used was held together by interlocking tabs and matching orifices. I used a slotted screwdriver to pry the pieces apart enough to separate them. I then proceeded to remove the tabs carefully with a utility knife. That way, the pieces can still be slotted together into alignment, yet move freely. The hinge mechanism will be covered in a later step!
Step 2: Paper Template A
Now that the sign is separated into two halves, use a large sheet of paper (or multiple sheets taped together ) to take a rubbing of one of the sign halves' inner most ridge. It’s a good idea to secure it in place with some masking tape so that it doesn’t move around during the process. Use a soft leaded pencil to do this if you have one, if you don’t, a regular #2 pencil will work just fine. Once the line has been marked, cut out the shape with scissors.
Step 3: Paper Template B
For the paper template to fit down into the sign’s recess, a second perimeter line must be traced roughly ¾’’ inward from the exterior edge of the original paper template. An easy and consistent way to do this is with a compass used to make circles. Set the compass to the width required and carefully run the pointed end around the paper template’s edge to mark an interior perimeter line. Proceed by cutting out that shape. The paper template should now fit down into the recess of the sign half.
Step 4: Marking Truck Placement
Having completed the paper template, fold it in half before placing it into the inner cavity of one half of the sign’s underside. This will act as a faint center line for aligning the trucks. Using a regular skateboard as a spacing guide, I aligned the trucks so that they were centered and spaced correctly on the paper template. Then, I used a pencil to transfer the hole placement onto the template.
Step 5: Paper Template to Wooden Core
Your template is now ready to be transferred onto a piece of high-quality plywood or solid wood. After some flex tests (placing a board of the approximate length and width onto two blocks spaced at the same distance as the trucks and standing in the middle of that board ), I discovered that all the plywood I had on hand was too flexible for this application. I opted instead for a piece of solid wood (weight here isn’t that big of a concern as this board will only be used for cruising down hallways ).
Transfer both the contour and hole placement for the trucks onto the board.
Step 6: Cutting Out and Shaping Wooden Core
If you don’t have access to power tools and a lot of patience, use a coping saw to cut out the shape. If you do have access to power tools use either a jig, band, or scroll saw to cut out the skateboard’s shape. Sand the cut edges smooth.
After placing the wooden core onto the underside of the sign half, I noticed that it was wobbly and not sitting flat against the sign. The culprit was a small protrusion left over from the manufacturing process that I had to trim off with a utility knife so that it would sit flat.
Step 7: Assemble the First Half
Drill holes for the trucks through both the wooden core and the sign that are the size of the screws that you’ll be using. You'll find that the screws sink into the plastic as they're tightened so it won't be necessary to countersink the holes.
Assemble this half of the sign by using the installation of the skateboard’s trucks to sandwich the piece of wood and sign half together. Use a Phillips screwdriver and wrench or a skateboard tool to do this. To further conceal your modifications, you can opt to use yellow hardware or paint the screw heads to match the colour of the sign.
Once this half is assembled, set it aside to work on the other.
Step 8: Adding the Grip Tape
On the underside of the second half of the sign, add grip tape. I used the same grip tape that is often used on the edge of stair treads. Cut the tape to size and layout it out roughly to get an idea of the design you're after. Next, peel back only a corner of the paper backing and stick it to the sign. Then slowly remove the paper backing as you stick down the grip tape, this will allow you to position the tape as you stick it down to the underside of the sign.
Step 9: Install the New Hinge Mechanism
Use nylon zip ties to loosely reassemble both halves of the sign and act as a hinge. I managed to find yellow zip ties to match the sign! Two zip ties per end should be sufficient.
Step 10: Vinyl Decal
One last touch I added before reassembling the sign was a vinyl skateboard under the falling stick figure, to hint at its new purpose.
You are now ready to use your Slippery When Wet Skateboard !
Step 11: Skate!
Prop up the sign as you would normally and wait for the students to clear the hall. Next flip the half without trucks over onto the half with trucks which will simultaneously expose the hidden grip tape and set the wheels onto the floor. Ride the board down the hall to your 2nd classroom and prop up the sign into wet floor mode!
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