Materials

CAPiTA’s 3D printed snowboard sidewall technology wins two awards

3D printing has hit the ski slopes and come out victorious with the FUS3D 3D printed sidewall technology for snowboards.

The patented FUS3D process, developed by snowboard manufacturers CAPiTA and plastics company CIME Industries, connects a single thermoplastic sidewall to the wooden core of the board.

Currently used on CAPiTA’s Spring Break snowboard range, the FUS3D won a “Product of The Year” award at the Internationale Fachmesse für Sportartikel und Sportmode (ISPO) fair 2018 and an Innovation Award at the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver.

CAPiTAs Spring break line which features FUS3D sidewalls. Photo via CAPiTA on Facebook.

3D printing tougher snowboard sidewalls

The sidewall is the area along the edge of a snowboard, and it protects the flat wooden core of the board whilst also absorbing shocks and streamlining its shape.

In traditional board manufacturing, a wooden core is CNC milled and four separate ABS plastic pieces are attached around the nose, tail, and sides of the snowboard. This process is time-consuming, generates lots of plastic waste, and produces weak spots along the sidewall structure.

A urethane resin sidewall alternative does cut material waste but also tends to reduce the durability of the board’s core. A solution to this would have to maintain the strength of ABS sidewalls whilst also fitting the shape of the snowboard core to a single, continuous structure.

3D printing tougher snowboard sidewalls

Snowboarding is no stranger to 3D printing, and it has previously been used to create strapless snowboard binding for the legs. The FUS3D process, however, incorporates 3D printing into the main structure of the board.

A strong recyclable thermoplastic sidewall is instead 3D printed and then cut with a custom machine according to the shape of the board. The customized sidewall can then be attached to the wooden core, and the plastic offcuts are recycled.

This process is not only more flexible, quicker and environmentally friendly, but it also increases the durability, flexibility, and reactivity of the core, resulting in an improved snowboard quality.

Tom Wilson-North, from the Snowboard hire company Zero-G Chamonix, commented that the FUS3D sidewalls “could change the construction of snowboards and skis in the long term.”

CAPiTA's Spring Break snowboard with FUS3D technology at the ISPO show. Photo via CAPiTA on Facebook.
CAPiTA’s Spring Break snowboard with FUS3D technology at the ISPO show. Photo via CAPiTA on Facebook.

3D technologies at the ISPO awards

Another ISPO “Product of The Year” award winner was the HP-powered FitStation platform, which uses 3D scanning and dynamic data to match a customer to ideal footwear. FitStation has recently been adopted by all 32 NFL teams to match their players to custom football cleats.

Adjudicate the most creative use of 3D printing this year. Make your nominations for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2018 now.

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Featured image shows a CAPiTA snowboard with FUS3D sidewall technology. Photo via Alpin.de.

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