Westkust and the coming disruption

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

screen_shot_2016-01-22_at_3.03.59_pm.pngDisruption is a modern buzzword that for many people has been more marketing jargon than commercial reality. The internet is the most obvious of all disruptive technologies, yet unless you were a newspaper journalist or worked in print the 'net was nothing but a boom. The 'disruption' was welcomed for its convenience and efficiency.

However, the tentacles of disruption are spreading into different industries. Utilising the internet they subvert typical commercial structures and hence unsettle established businesses. Whether or not you think that's a good thing depends on what side of the counter you stand.

The surf industry is not immune to disruptive technologies. The latest being a co-operative out of Amsterdam called Westkust - Dutch for west coast - who design fins and cardboard blanks using open source technology. If you have access to a 3D printer you can download their designs and make your own fins. Same with cutting your own cardboard surfboard blanks.

Their rationale is simple: "We just like to build truly beautiful stuff and share it. It's as easy as that."

                                                 *****

Swellnet: Who are Westkust?
Westkust consists of space engineers, entrepreneurs, and designers from a cold country in Europe. We like to keep away from the stage and we rather spend time outdoors or in our shed, making stuff. We're more than OK with that.

Who we are is less important. We are not in it for the money at all. We are doing this because we feel that surfing needs a more open source-based mentality. Make your own stuff, share it, so others can improve upon it. Everything that we design is shared with the public for free. We strongly believe that sharing your work with the world and making the designs public will spark a lot of good things.

Westkust might be considered a counter culture and can from that point of view also be seen as an anti-response on disposables, globalised mass production, the power of chain stores, multinationals, and consumerism. Somehow surfing seems to have sold out to this. 

Sounds more like a movement?
Westkust is a social movement with an artisan spirit in which the methods of digital fabrication—previously the exclusive domain of institutions—have become accessible at a personal scale.

The concept of handmade and experimental shapes and materials in surfing has its roots prior to Westkust and is something we strongly support. Westkust is here to use the power of digital fabrication for everyone to experiment with. We share all our work for free. It means that we always release the source code of our designs so other can improve upon it and give it back to the global community. Then again, if you want to buy a cardboard blank or 3D printed surfboard fins we are there to accommodate you.

screen_shot_2016-01-22_at_3.01.12_pm.pngWhat material would usually be used to make fins on a 3D printer?
Carbon fibre filament. We have done extensive testing and this is the right stuff. You can use other materials, but then you will need to glass the fin for added stiffness. It's dirt cheap too. A fin shouldn't cost as much as currently is the case. It’s simply ridiculous what FCS does.

Have you experimented with different materials for fins?
Hell yeah, everything that is out there. Even metal. We are currently using a CNC machine that makes a fin in one go out of a single block of wood. It looks sick if we may say so and will cost five dollars in material.

How does Westkust itself make money?
Probably not, we run other businesses that actually make us money. We own several companies in solar, space technology, engineering, and e-health.  All social enterprises by the way. We are not in it for the money. It's funny - and completely understandable - that you ask this question. It's one that would not have been asked by Tom Blake's generation or generations before us. It's something that we as surfers have grown accustomed to; build a brand and make money. If we happen to make money it will go straight back into new stuff and the community.

What do you expect fin companies would think of your open source approach?
Haha! Let's wait and see. We hope they learn from it. So many companies have gone bankrupt by new technologies. Kodak anyone? They can either adapt or complain. We hope they will reach out to us and ask us how we can help them integrate this new technology and approach in their business instead of burning down new ideas and approaches. That would be too easy. 

Instead of being mass produced, like most other surf fins, Westkust fins are 3D printed on demand, preventing both unnecessary transport and overproduction. Eco-friendly if you will. No waste material. Even better, the designs are printed locally.

With all things new there can be hiccups. Call it Beta. Call it a trial period. We call it evolution and we are upfront and open about it. We are non-commercial too. If people are scared to know how their product is made and fear experimenting with designs, glassing, learning by doing and want world class customer service then they should move on to the big brands. They will be well taken care of by FCS, Futures and whathaveyounot. They will be sweet as a nut. 

We partnered with a network of printers with over 20,000 locations in over 150 countries, providing over one billion people access to a 3D printer within ten miles of their home. Westkust fins are all cutting edge open source designs, developed by and with the surfing community not by sponsored athletes. Westkust designs are for the experimental surf tinkerers, artists, makers, and counterculture loving people. Every detail has been meticulously engineered. Structural analytics have been taken into account. The hydrodynamics have been tested. We we even put them in a hydrodynamics testing tank at the University of Delft.

The cardboard blanks are interesting, what is the motivation for creating them? Environmentally friendly..?
One of us works with space technology at the European Space Agency and we saw this thing called grid stiffened technology which is used in satellites we thought it would be cool to make a surfboard with it. Some googling learned that Mike Sheldrake had actually already done this. We loved the way it looked. It really looks freakin' awesome and decided it needed more attention so we started building them. Just to show people that there are more possibilities and approaches. He also released all of his templates and files for free. We consider eco-friendly as normal, not something we specifically focus on to push sales. 

screen_shot_2016-01-22_at_3.25.34_pm.pngHow does the strength compare to typical PU/PE boards?
OK-ish, we are fair and open about this. It’s not some high performance unobtainium that makes you go faster and fly higher - recognise the surf marketing lingo? They just look sick and we love the way they surf. It's not going to be some world changing material or success. We know this.

Expect a lot more from us. We are releasing software with the guys from finfoil.io. It’s open source software that lets you create our own fins very easily online. We will be shipping wooden fins made with the CNC machine. We are also working on a new grid stiffened applications. All in all we want to feel connected to surf culture again.

Check out Westkust's website

Comments

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 5:42pm

Well they certainly nailed the pricing structure of fins correctly. Now where is the nearest 3D printer?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 9:42am

Brookvale - Northern Beaches printing.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 6:19pm

Looking forward to printing some 3D fins one day.

Fins are such a rip off id love to know the how much they cost to produce?…I'm betting a set of $130 fins cost $13 to make in China.

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clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 7:29pm

$5.00 to $10.00 a set.

Try www.alibaba.com

hehe

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

oceanmandan's picture
oceanmandan's picture
oceanmandan commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 4:12pm

$130 for fins?
As a lazy old lidder, I feel indignation towards the surf industry even more now!
I would have expected around 30 bucks for a set of screw in bits of plastic/fibre, including the industry markup!
I'm flabbergasted!

Back in the old christmas days I'd stop at O&E on the way to Conjola family holidays, pick up a spare lid for keeping the drinks cold, free plug and leash, lucky day gets a *pro quality* board with change from a double century.

Putting the 'count' in country

chickenlips's picture
chickenlips's picture
chickenlips commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 7:14pm

Can't wait to print a new board at Kelly's wave park! The Footure is like $

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 7:26pm

How much is a 3D printer? what materials are used to make a 3D printer?

I'll stick to chiseling my fins and whittling them with a tool made from my fallen out teeth into fine forms from discarded wood.

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 8:40pm

I am geeking out on that blank. Nice work, fellas!

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 8:58pm

I'm really curious to see how the open source mentality shakes out in surfing. It's totally par for the course in what I do (we all share code freely) but we're researching for public good not an industry generally based on profit. Or at least wages of the shaper.

My expectation is that it will fuel innovation faster than before as everyone can play with designs and learn. There's enough subversive types out there to drive that I think. But whether it will change the industry is something that will be cool to see.

mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Friday, 22 Jan 2016 at 11:52pm

I'd like to see an open source design for a bic style plastic mini-mal from waste sea plastics, you'd need an industrial 3d printer though and Im not sure if it could do the rocker??

Small 3d printers are getting very cheap and plastic melting/filament makers are cheaper too.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 9:03am

Speaking of innovation:

From trans world business site :

Firewire also continues to lead the way with some of the most innovative tech in the board category. Under its new partnership with Kelly Slater, who is now majority owner in the brand, Firewire is rolling out a new traction pad technology developed in conjunction with San Diego-based Bloom, which has created a process of turning pond scum into biodegradable, anti-microbial material that the surfboard company uses to create traction pads. Slater used the traction pads at the Pipe Masters, according to Price. Keep an eye out for leashes made from custom-woven kevlar rope bonded with a PU outer shell, also under Slater’s division. After undergoing rigorous testing, the 4.5 milliliter leashes took 2.5 times more weight to break than the average 6.5 milliliter leash.

http://business.transworld.net/features/surf-expo-january-2016/#XmgOMJqP...

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caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 2:57pm

indo-dreaming wrote: Speaking of innovation:

From trans world business site :

Firewire also continues to lead the way with some of the most innovative tech in the board category. Under its new partnership with Kelly Slater, who is now majority owner in the brand, Firewire is rolling out a new traction pad technology developed in conjunction with San Diego-based Bloom, which has created a process of turning pond scum into biodegradable, anti-microbial material that the surfboard company uses to create traction pads. Slater used the traction pads at the Pipe Masters, according to Price. Keep an eye out for leashes made from custom-woven kevlar rope bonded with a PU outer shell, also under Slater’s division. After undergoing rigorous testing, the 4.5 milliliter leashes took 2.5 times more weight to break than the average 6.5 milliliter leash.

http://business.transworld.net/features/surf-expo-january-2016/#XmgOMJqP...


Sounds like someone is onto the drag factor of legrope , I wonder who will discard the rail saver first
chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 2:45pm

want to make your own fins? all you need is fibreglass matting, resin and a grinder...materials that are cheaply and readily available, and have been for decades.
you don't need a computer, internet access, expensive 3d printers and specialised materials. But good on them for adding another way to DIY with free templates.

i don't quite get how the cardboard blanks work, but would love to give them a go. do you need a rocker table? how do you fine tune the rails? it looks pretty tricky.

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 5:33pm

Yep, chook, agree. The setup to make fins is not difficult. Granted 3D printers maybe able to throw up a neat fin but would still need finishing but importantly it is the material used. I would suggest not as good as what is used for fins today. The article mentions designs but it seems more about manufacture and distribution ? Fin design ? - cheez thats been to a lot of places and back again.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 6:45pm

Roy from NZ been making 3D printed fins for a while now, id like to give them a go but his prices are a bit out there…but i guess he did somehow sell a dog of a surfboard for 1.5 million.

http://shop-roystuart.biz/collections/futures

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udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 7:15pm

Roy has an interesting vid on his site: surfboard fin scaling.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 8:24pm

This is all complete gobblydegook to me.

Could someone translate it into plain english and explain how someone in the real world might use it.
Thanks.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 8:25pm

I mean at the moment there are people making fins in sheds here, hand foiling to my spec.
Why would I need some dutch computer guy to take that over for me?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 9:10pm

For you? Well, if you've already got guys making fins and you're happy with quality, performance, and price then I guess it's not for you. However, the rationale is that the fins would be cheaper and easy to produce, hence people who don't have "guys in sheds hand foiling their fins" can experiment with different fin designs.

I don't know about others but beyond rake=drive and upright=pivot I don't know that much about fin design (remember when you used to walk into a store and simply ask for a single, twinny, or thruster? That was the limit of fin specs!), so the advantage would be trying different fins for minimum price. If I got to the point where I wanted to design my own fins then I could do that - again, for a nominal price.

As the fella says, it won't be for everyone, lots of people will bank on the proven designs of FCS and  Futures, and others like yourself will continue with traditional fin making. But this form of manufacture is inexorably growing. I imagine there's a certain type of person that really enjoys the autonomy it provides.

In tech terms this type of disruption is called low-end disruption. A product already exists - in this case fins - but the low-end disrupter offers a simpler, cheaper, or more convenient alternative.

From Wiki: "In low-end disruption, the disruptor is focused initially on serving the least profitable customer, who is happy with a good enough product. This type of customer is not willing to pay premium for enhancements in product functionality. Once the disruptor has gained a foothold in this customer segment, it seeks to improve its profit margin."

The other type of disruption is new-market disruption: "New market disruption" occurs when a product fits a new or emerging market segment that is not being served by existing incumbents in the industry."

penmister's picture
penmister's picture
penmister commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 9:36pm

What do i do when the cardboard blank turns up and i put it together? Probs a stupid question.Ands that camel up there and hippo gazing up to the stars.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 9:41pm

You glass the bastard, Penmister.

Pop it up on your shaping stand, lay out a roll of cloth and spread the sticky stuff around.

penmister's picture
penmister's picture
penmister commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 9:47pm

Lol i thought so.
Id 3d fins with heaps of flexibility do turns that make you look like you know what your doing...in penmister world...

singkenken's picture
singkenken's picture
singkenken commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2016 at 10:20pm

Can you glass 'em in polyester, or do you need to do it in epoxy to avoid sag Stunet?

finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 3:10am

You just need to rotate some virtual fins and you instantly want to print them!
Check one out here: http://finfoil.io/s/r/xbxeyi

cory's picture
cory's picture
cory commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 8:52am

Hi tinfoil... I really like what you are doing and the opportunity to be involved with fin design. A well known friend of mine that has a set of fins available through FCS and Futures told me these fin companies are happy if that get the fin design 'close enough' and spend more time on what colour the fin set is going to be! I downloaded your program and like the simplicity. Going forward I would like to offer some suggestions...
- There needs to be measurements associated with your grid or even better would be the ability to get the measurements of the points
- There needs to the ability to click on a point and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to make specific changes rather than erratic mouse movements.
This program really has the ability to change surfing as we know it...

finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 10:54am

Thanks for the suggestions.
I wanted to keep the user interface as simple as possible leaving out things that weren't specifically asked for.
I might consider some of your suggestions, I specially like the arrow key suggestion.

v1.1 is about to release in a few days, already bringing some needed improvements.

Thanks

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:54am

Hey finfoils, another suggestion ... any chance, to make it possible to add another "point" on the profile? I'd like to be able to design something like this:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=749743268504564&set=pb.100004066...

Can't seem to do it in the current version - I think it needs another 'point', but can't seem to be able to add one.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:59pm

Hi Wignut,

This kind of shape is impossible to generate with finFoil.
finFoil uses horizontal slices and would get a very discontinuous surface if trying to create a shape like that. I'm thinking of implementing a sort of smoothing factor that would make this possible, but it's not a priority tough.

Addind control points is only possible by opening the .foil file in a text editor, figuring out the file format and adding it manually. Not easy but possible.

Thanks for using finFoil.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:55am

Have I missed something? I've downloaded the program too, but can only get 50/50 foil ... how do you change it to get 80/20 etc. for side fins? Can you do flat and inverse foil for the inside of the side fins too?

EDIT - I've noticed you can do it on the web, online version, but the downloaded design version is where I can only seem to have 50/50 (i.e. program won't let me change it)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

cory's picture
cory's picture
cory commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 11:25am

Hey wingnut... I was thinking the same thing but then I seen a drop down box about half way down on the right hand side and you can choose symmetrical, flat sided or asymmetrical.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 2:13pm

Cheers cory ... I was blind for looking. That must be ANOTHER beer I owe ya ;)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 6:23am

OK....thanks Stu.

But I still have no idea how the process works.

Could someone walk me through it?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 6:34am

Once you've got your digital file of the fin, you either need your own 3D printer ($3-5K for a "home desktop" version), or you can get it done commercially.

A quick Google brought up this company - I am sure there are many others - who explain things really well:

http://3dprint-au.com/3d-printing/how-does-3d-printing-work/

And here's their pricing structure:

http://3dprint-au.com/3d-printing/pricing/

Not sure about using other materials though as suggested in the article.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 9:06am

But Free ride you have to remember as time goes on these printers will drop huge amounts in price.

Maybe I'm being optimistic but I'm betting in five years time they will be around $500.

And off course its not just fin you can print on them, you can print almost anything you can imagine.

Ignore button is ON for Crypto knight

(Really no point entering into any discussion with such a sad bitter abusive old man, so go ahead bait and abuse me all you like)

finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io's picture
finFoil.io commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 10:51am

Ownership is a thing of the past. You can get your file printed on the two blocks from your home, trust me.
You can even get them printed in silver if you sent them to i.materialise !

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 7:57pm

You've gone way too far forwards in the process.

A digital file of the fin? How? Clap my hands and say abracadabra?
Assuming I need some software and some kinds of skills to operate it. Otherwise, garbage in = garbage out no matter how cheap the 3D printer is.

So how does one design a fin.

I mean, could anyone walk me through the entire process from start to finish?
At the moment it seems like a giant ball-ache to satisfy another consumer capitalist demand which is already well catered for with methods that have worked very well for 50 years.

It's no accident that Stephen Hawking has identified mans obsession with technology as probably our key threatening process. I know I'm drawing a long bow but this just seems one more piece of evidence of infatuation with the latest shiny bauble so nerds can get a hard on on the internet.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 8:27pm

Apparently FR you can just plug your laptop up to the Glowforge, with a picture of want you want, feed the material in one end and out the other end wa lah! magic, witchcraft or sorcery, your pick....

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

penmister's picture
penmister's picture
penmister commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 2:46pm

I want to 3d Scarlett Johansson.like weird science.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 at 7:11pm

Apparently these are the go!

https://glowforge.com/

In the 4th dimension, which is time. We will probably be making huge 3D printers big enough to build our own car, space ship or house even!

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:20am

Freeride, I don't know if you're deliberately baiting this topic, or if there is a hint of genuine technophobe within your mind. Either way, let me put it this way - why go fishing when you can just as easily buy a fish at the local seafood market (or, to make the analogy more artisan centric - buy off the local professional fisherman)?

Using a 3D design program, is really no different to say learning to publish your own web log - takes time, commitment to learn something new and some motivation.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:27am

Wingy, not trying to be obtuse.

Just trying to get someone to walk me through the process.

You seem to know about it.

Could you walk me through it from start to finish. Try not to take any of the steps (like designing a fin) for granted.

I'm not the most technophobic or computer illiterate person out there so If I'm struggling to understand how it works in practice I know there are lots of others.

Philosophically and materially I'm trying to simplify my life: thats why it's easier for me to go catch my own fish from the local headlands than go buy it from Woolies.
This sounds to me like more complication but if I could see how the process works and what the end result was I might be able to have a more accurate basis on which to base my thinking.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:34am

OK, Freeride, I'll try to guide you in ...

Have you downloaded finfoil's program? If not, start there ..

Here's the link aain: http://finfoil.io/s/r/xbxeyi

Just click on the "get STL" on the top left hand side, extract it (it downloads as zip file) and run it ...

Now, just have a play with moving some of the "points" around, see what it does to the profile (i.e. side view) of the fin design, and also the foil shading ...

Let me know when you get that far.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:40am

OK, thanks mate. Appreciate the guidance.

Everything is easy when you know how.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:30pm

How'd ya go freeride? Have a play with that software?

What did you learn?

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 9:46am

Now, while you're doing that Freeride, I'll run through the "simplicity" of my DIY custom surfboards process.

1. Design in AKU Shaper (it's still free, just get the old version)
2. Send file to be cut.
3. Pick up cut blank, finish it off (smoothing out the cuter ridges, tidy up tail and nose)
4. Mark in fin dots.
5. Take finished blank to glasser
6. Pick finished board up in a week or two - wait for it to cure.

Now, ride the board and decide where / how it can be improved, go back to the file, make some edits, and send the revised file to be machine cut.

Rinse and repeat.

Apply that to the fins process, would be essentially the same. Design in a program like finfoils, send file to a 3D printing service and go collect your new fins a a few days / weeks. Ride those fins, consider how / what to change - edit your file, and send it off to be printed.

Rinse and repeat.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 12:20pm

Might cost $5 in materials to make a wooden fin ?
Well not for quality wood.
You should mention the time to cnc route a fin accurately,
the cost of your router, labour
the design expertise to create the design.

Hi Wingnut,
go 15 feet to my shed,
kick off the router,
put fin in board go surfing,
rinse and repeat

Want a 3d printer large enough to build a surfboard?
http://www.openbuilds.com/
or a cnc router? but most of these would only fit a fin, are lightweight and would take hours to make one.

Yeah, I can make any properly foiled fin based on any NACA profile
and your outline out of wood, but it isn't quick or cheap.

Some of my stuff is open sourced, some is to my advantage,
write your own code, it's what defines your product.

Go well,
Colin

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 2:22pm

And, how many WCT surfers ride pure wooden fins? There's a reason for that. hey?

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 7:56pm

Congrats Westkruft on going the eco path. Surfing is so natural, but the industry uses such polluting materials.
I fully agree with the open source ethics, I have used open software since '85, it's great having open hardware and knowledge.

Wingnut, They haven't tried?
In 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
We simply have to stop making plastic ! Natures alternative to plastic is wood.

Using proper NACA profiles you can accurately define your amount and centre of lift and get some idea of laminar flow. The right wood is strong, especially when wrapped it glass or carbon fiber.

Standard moulded technology is mass production. To evolve profiles requires the 3D printing or cnc. I love the 3D print concept but hate the plastic.

quote Westkrust " We are currently using a CNC machine that makes a fin in one go out of a single block of wood. It looks sick......"
Where I have to do mine in two goes, turn it over for the other side. Westkrust must have a pretty sick mill, nice technology.

Go well,
Colin

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 5:16pm

Hello all,
Stu, another great article.

Few questions
Are they infringing on patent rights within fin design(did they just 3d scan a future /fcs fin?) kind of looks that way, then just creating 18 points of difference, to beat the patent?

As far as the blanks are concerned are they also 3d printed? where can they be sourced? (fantastic freight fees)what is the actual weight vs pu/pe?design seems flawed compromising structural integrity of outer layer of material increased resin distribution

Surfing is already pretty open source, it's not like surfers or shapers/designers hide the design/ materials used.

I have travelled through coastal europe surfing and boards are not cheap. Seems they are more than anything against the distributors/ manufacturers of surf products, pricing structure?

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 2:20pm

Hey LankyD, I may be wrong and someone on here will no doubt correct me, but, both the patents for the old style dual tab FCS fins (and associated plugs) plus the futures fins and boxes have all expired - AFAIK, it's the main reason way FCS have the new plugs and fins to match (i.e. so they can protect them under the patents)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 2:40pm

Hey Lanky D, as Wingnut says, there's no patent on original FCS tabs nor Futures. FCS II is a different story but the orginal tabs fit new plugs anyway.

As for the fin design, unless it's an 'out there' design - think Lexcen star fin, tunnel fins or the like - there's no way to profit via patent or protect them via copyright.

This extract was from an article I wrote on board design and patents:

"Andy Munro is a Senior Associate at the law firm Slater & Gordon. When asked about the potential for shapers to legally protect their ideas he immediately makes a distinction between copyright and patent. Copyright protects the “artistic work” from being copied by others, while a patent gives “the patentee the exclusive rights, during a fixed period of time, to exploit the invention.”

The criteria of each are similar: 'originality' is the key for copyright, 'novelty' for a patent. “The difficulty for a surfboard designer,” says Munro, “is that most modern surfboards are remarkably similar in terms of their basic elements.” Originality and novelty don't really exist.

As surfers we're familiar with the minutiae of design: a half inch of nose lift, a gently pulled tail, but such subtlety prevents surfboard designs from meeting the requirements of the Copyright Act or the novelty test that decides whether something can be patented.

Even if Simon Anderson had pursued his legal options, Munro doubts he would've been able to protect his invention. After all, Anderson wasn't the first to put three fins on a board, and the magic formula that made the Thruster work – equal size fins, wide tail, pulled nose – wouldn't have been enough to meet the legal threshold."

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 3:49pm

Full article here if you're curious:

'Shaping machines and the cut and paste of modern design'

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 5:11pm

Thanks Stu, another great article.
Ever thought about putting a book of your work together?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 3:29pm

Lets not forget McCoys legal letters to Roy Stuart over fin design

Roy kicked ass with his replies and matter was dropped .

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 4:13pm

Wingnut,

How much to get the blank shaped with your design as you described ?

And where can I get this done once I design it ?

I'm asking about the whole board , not just the fin blank if you don't mind ?

And how much to get a board glassed ?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 4:23pm

$25-$45 for a machine cut and $250 approx for a 4x4x4 glass job [gold coast glassing prices ]...blanks vary but major shapers get them for around $ 55 approx.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 4:35pm

Thanks Udo- you're an ocean of knowledge.

So I could get a blank for maybe $80, get it cut for $50 then glassed for $250, throw in some fin plugs and leggie plug for maybe another $40.

So $400 - $450 for a board of my own design shaped on a machine ?

Where can I get this done ?

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:33pm

Yep, $400 for your very own "custom" DIY surfboard - fully outsourced.

Do the glassing yourself, and it's closer to $200 ;)

Depending where you are, there are a few cutting services around - tip here, get ya blank from the same place ;)

Also, same for glassing services.

Obviously the prime surf industry locations have more options.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:39pm

Yeah , cheers mate.

Sounds good.

I'd just be getting it glassed so I can just pass through or rock up and it's ready to ride.

I've glassed a few boards.

Enough to know that if I don't have the time or inclination to do it myself then I'm not missing out on too much .

Great tips guys.

That AKU site looks unreal.

Exciting stuff.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:46pm

Got a name in mind for your exciting new surfboard label?

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:59pm

stunet wrote:

Got a name in mind for your exciting new surfboard label?

The FIRST thing that MUST be done - it's important.

That, and call yourself a "shaper" ;)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2016 at 3:55am

I'm thinking high performance.

I'm thinking acceleration in and out of the pocket.

I'm thinking .....Squirter Surfboards.

You haven't had a proper ride till you've ridden a Squirter.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2016 at 8:53am

'Squirter' Ha ha! Nearly spat my coffee into the screen.

Or maybe you could try 'Wet Spot' surfboards, lovingly handshaped by Blowin.

You could have the Screamer model.

Over to you Gary G.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Saturday, 30 Jan 2016 at 1:14pm

is that the Gary G spot model?

x

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:58pm

Yeah, AKU rocks - I looked at 'em all before jumping in - the tutorials made it easy to learn. I managed a surfable board from the outset. I'm a design kook ;)

You can get a free version of their website to trial and learn. :)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 5:00pm

Fin plug and leggie plug all included in the glass job price......Wingnut has the best contacts for all ?

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 6:42pm

Correct, fin plugs themselves and install included in glassing price.

My blank supplier, who does my cuts, is not interested in more DIY business - I think I;ve stressed 'em too much ;)

Glassing - can highly recommend Sam Parsons: http://www.parsonssurfboards.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parsons-Surfboards/120697429431

As I noted above, check ya blank supplier re: a cutting service - they're all linked up ;)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

calmbutnot's picture
calmbutnot's picture
calmbutnot commented Monday, 25 Jan 2016 at 8:43pm

How do you glass one of these, without the whole thing filling with resin and not sagging ?

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Friday, 29 Jan 2016 at 2:49am

When I started surfing you could buy fibreglass fin blanks from midget or b Bennett
I would love to get my hands on some tab suitable , hand foil able blanks
Forrget 3 d Printing Let me do it by hand
Give me the un foiled generic curve sandable Material with the required tabs
Am I dreaming ??

Roy Stuart's picture
Roy Stuart's picture
Roy Stuart commented Saturday, 30 Jan 2016 at 5:38am

saltman wrote: When I started surfing you could buy fibreglass fin blanks from midget or b Bennett
I would love to get my hands on some tab suitable , hand foil able blanks
Forrget 3 d Printing Let me do it by hand
Give me the un foiled generic curve sandable Material with the required tabs
Am I dreaming ??

For those who have a fetish for making fins which are as perfectly foiled as possible, hand foiling anything with a tab isn't the go. The tab/fin junction is almost impossible to get right. The dreaded flat spot etc.

Roy Stuart's picture
Roy Stuart's picture
Roy Stuart commented Saturday, 30 Jan 2016 at 5:36am

Strength is the main issue with 3d printing. Adding carbon fibre will only increase strength and stiffness if the print lines run vertically on the fin. This isn't ideal as the micro grooves are then at 90 degrees to the water flow, they can be sanded and faired out but it takes some time. If the print lines run horizontally then the strength is only as good as the binder ( in this case abs) which isn;t strong enough for most fins.

Our plan is to use 3d printed fins as plugs for moulds, which we'll then use to lay up fins by hand. 3D printing is ideal for making fins with accurate foils and details which can't easily be shaped by hand. The main reason for doing this sort of thing is curiosity and fun, it's never going to compete on the mass market. We all know that if a backyarder makes a 'better' fin or a fin which starts to become popular then the big guys will just take it over, so tinkerers are not going to get rich but that's not the motivation.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 12 Feb 2016 at 1:28pm

3 D printers will be available at Aldi next week - $499.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 2 Jun 2017 at 3:36pm

Fanning has just test ridden/struggled on a 3D printed surfboard.....hmmm looked like an absolute dog and coming in at more than double his normal board weight

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