Slippery When Wet Skateboard

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About: Artist. Musician. Teacher.

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 !


Supplies:

  • 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
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • 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

Teacher Notes

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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!

Skate on!

Mr. Ham

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    16 Discussions

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    drewscreen

    6 days ago

    I used to use my skateboard for work too. I was a delivery pressman/skater in NYC for a small commercial print shop for about 4 years, using the Subway/skateboard combo to pick-up and deliver samples and proofs and make small deliveries. Years later in CA I used the same board to deliver 3d printed parts to the engineers at the enormous prototyping lab I worked at for a time, because we were discouraged from riding the supplied bikes in the hallways. Mine was made from a 1/2" slab of polycarbonate, and I used it for more than 20 years until I gave it away when I moved overseas.

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    crazypj

    9 days ago

    I've never skateboarded but I think my brother would like it even though he's now a director ;o)

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    Biodynamic

    10 days ago

    Sweet ride! Thanks for sharing.

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    LondonThunder

    12 days ago

    Oh my god... this is the best thing ever! I love the little skateboard you added to the sign, and the pattern you put the grip tape in camouflages perfectly with the caution sign! I ride my longboard all the time around university, but yours would be so hilarious to ride (especially around the art campus). My only question is can you do tricks on this board?

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    Matlek

    15 days ago

    Great skateboard, I love it! It is definitely the best way to get around a school.

    1 reply
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    Ham-madeMatlek

    Reply 15 days ago

    I would have to agree Matlek!
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham