Monday, January 10, 2011

Project Kiteboard

I've started this blog to keep track of my first attempt to build a kiteboard.

Along the way I'm hoping to turn up some online resources, tips from the pro's to help and learnings from mistakes to help anyone else who is a first time builder have a good go at it.

I've spent a lot of time studying in at the University of Google (UoG) and it seems that there are loads of people who have had go at making their own boards. One of the encouraging thing is that the range of sophistication and cost is enormous. Boards made from a single sheet of plywood with seatbelt and carpet footstraps through to exotic wood and vacuum infused, full carbon boards. The great thing about this is that the range of techniques and ideas that you can cherry pick from is huge and even better that some of the sophisticated techniques have been 'backyarded' so that they are much more achievable with the basic and often primitive setups that most of us are likely to have access to when DIY'ing a board for the first time.

One of the best resources I've come across is at There is a board builders forum that has a huge range of posts on all sorts of topics with graphics getting a lot of air time. Youtube is also invaluable to actually see how a technique is executed. There are a large number of videos (and a number of time lapse videos) showing the process from start to finish. This has been really useful for learning techniques such as vacuum bagging that was very new to me. I'll post some of the specific resources at the relevant step along the way.

All though there is a lot of information spread around, there are a lot of questions I found myself asking along the way that were nebbie questions whose answers were often assumed by the people who already have experience. Things such as the pro's and cons of different techniques, materials, curing temperatures, how much rocker, to concave or not, do you need to earth your fridge vacuum pump, where to get the material you need and very importantly how much do the different options cost. Part of the purpose of this blog is to record the answers to those questions that occurred to me along the way as a first time builder.

It seems that while there is a lot of science in building the boards (material selection, process and strength/flex - datasheets on fgi's website
have the full suite of equations governing these properties and more for composite materials using PVC foam or balsa) there is a hell of a lot of art to it and proof along the lines of 'Trev reckons!'. Part of the fun on this project will be seeing how much of each is useful and coming up with my own rules of thumb.

If you do happen to find any of the information useful along the way please let me know - It would be great to hear from other board builders and compare notes on what should be a fun project.


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