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Thread: Building a Plywood Kiteboard - Blog

  1. #1
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    Building a Plywood Kiteboard - Blog

    Over the last few months I have been reading many threads about building boards. There have been so many invaluable tips and techniques that I have decided to build a mark two. While I do it, I thought it would be good to let you know of my progress in the form of an online diary of events. That way others who are also building or thinking of doing so can hopefully use what I have picked up from various threads.

    Although I have decided upon my design and started building, I am still interested in any way I can improve things as I go. Feel free to give advice or otherwise.

    CR

  2. #2
    Choo Chooo!!! alexb's Avatar
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    whats the URL of the blog.. or are you going to use this forum to record your progress?

    | Imp 1.7m | Blade 2 3m | Firebee 4m | Scudda 39 |
    I can't get the hang of predictive text messaging. I just end up looking like a complete aunt.


  3. #3
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    This is going to be the blog as I haven't really looked for a specific one yet.

    CR

  4. #4
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    I have been designing my board for several weeks using pictures in mags and looking at kit in shops. I am going to start with something fairly wide and long which will then allow me to cut it down to the correct size if necessary. Since I am new to the sport I need something that is easy to learn on. Namely wide and has buoyancy.

    Most boards in mags etc. appear to be roughly a quarter of the length wide at the widest point. One site I read said that a board should be roughly up to the collar bone in length. Since I am 190cm I will make my board 160cm, not sure if my head really is the other 30cm. Dividing the length by four gives me the 40cm width.

    I want to make the board as thin, light and strong yet flexible as possible. For this I am using 3mm plywood which is available in a 240 x 120 piece for about 8. Out of this comes two pieces (the top and bottom) at 160 x 40. A third piece measuring 160 x 20 will be sandwiched between the two. This will hopefully give me more rigidity but also lightness.

    To give me a margin of error when cutting and for another reason (which I will explain later) I have added in 3cm buffers at the edge of each 40 x 160 piece. First I cut out some of the waste wood so 240 x 120 becomes 160 x 120. Next I cut the major pieces so 160 x 120 becomes the following:-

    2 x 160cm x 46cm (incl. 2 x 3cm buffers)
    1 x 160cm x 20cm
    2 x 160cm x 3cm (2 x 3cm buffers)

    On each of the 160 x 46's across the width I will mark out from the edge 3cm, 10cm, 20cm, 10cm and leave 3cm to the other edge. This will help create four lines 160cm long. Laying one of the 160 x 46's flat, I can place the 20 x 160 piece on top in the centre. The two 3 x 160 pieces will lay on each side of the 160 x 46. The other 160 x 46 will then lay on top.

    This is as far as I have got but tonight I hope to do some bending and sticking.

    Next will come injection of buoyancy followed by shaping and varnishing.

    CR
    Last edited by cave_raver; 21st February 2004 at 13:22. Reason: Changed some dodgy measurements (mm that should have been cm)

  5. #5
    Registered Member kiteingcolin's Avatar
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    build a board

    the best board builder i have come across in 20 years is a guy called mike pacy-some may remember him as a wild speed sailor,he has been fixing windsurfers for ever,I have seen one of the kiteboards he built last year,fantastic,-he is a mine of information,I have lost his tel no, but robin hood watersports in leeds have it,he fixs boards for them,speak to gump at the shop.Also rake(ron) has been building boards for a year,so he should have some good tips to pass on,he will see your thread today and be on line,no worries about that,

  6. #6
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    Well if he's out there then I hope he feels free to drop me some tips. As I said, this is a bit of an experiment and I fully expect to reach mark five before I get bored

    CR

  7. #7
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    Me and a buddy from uni have been building our own board using the university facilities! He studies sculpture and i study graphics so should be a good looking well made board!

    It is constructed of layered ply and glass fibre, it has a rocker and a slight concave bottom. The rails are shaped to taper down from the deck to the bottom. It is about 140x40 give or take! We are also going to glass fibre the bottom and epoxy/resin as a final layer. Its looking sweet.

  8. #8
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    I didn't do much last night. After a week of work I considered that getting thoroughly drunk was a far better idea. Although beforehand I did get some fibreglass matting (8 square ft) some resin (must have been at least half a litre), some hardner (50g tube I think) and most importantly some cellulose thinner for cleaning ME up.

    Today I have been doing the fibre glassing and as you only have a certain length of time before the glass goes off, you have to move fast. So as I used to be a cub scout, I'm totally familar with 'be prepared'

    Firstly I checked the lines measured out on the 160 x 46 pieces. There should be four on each marked out to the measurements I had marked out before. I also found the centre of the length (80cm) and marked this off on the width. I will need this for making the curves at a later date.

    While doing all this I picked up a couple of splinters so I roughly rubbed down all the edges. This has helped tremendously and saved much pain.

    I intended to cover the bottom piece in a layer of fibreglass mat and resin and place the 20cm board on top stuck with more resin. However it occurred to me that it may be fiddly to place this middle board in the right place. After all, the pencil lines would be covered with fibreglass. So I have hammered in about six or seven panel pins all the way down each line that marks the position of the 20cm board. This would then hold the board in place on top of the other. Two pins also marked the middle.

    Each piece of wood when being stuck with resin needs to be scored to aid the sticking so I spent a few minutes scratching each face to be glued with a screw driver tip. I soon had a fine criss cross of score lines on the 20 x 160 (both sides) and on one side of each of the 46 x 160 pieces..

    The reason for using fibreglass was to hold the bend in the board for the rocker and also to strengthen the board generally. I placed two bricks on the floor, 160cm apart and checked them for being level with a spirit level. I then placed a piece of wood at 80cm between the bricks, the halfway point as it were. With the spirit level on the bricks again, the top of the wood to the bottom of the spirit level had a 3cm gap. I tested this curve by placing one of the 160 x 40 pieces on the setup. With some old sash window weights placed in the centre caused a good curve to show.

    The fibre glass mat was cut to shape. This worked out to the one piece cut into 2 x 40 x 80 pieces but despite measuring several times I eventually made sure by offering the glass up to the wood.

    With everything ready, I started fibreglassing. I used 350g of resin and the instructed amount of hardner and applied it to one of the scored 160 x 46 pieces. I then applied the matting and got out all the lumps and bumps until the resin was coming through it. Next went another mix of resin completely covering the mat. While it was still wet I placed the 20 x 160 piece of wood between the nails and ensured everything was lined up. Both pieces of wood were then laid on the bricks with a weight at each end and the most weight in the centre. I then left them to dry.

    After about 2 hours the board was dry and stiff enough to move. I mixed up about 200g of resin this time and applied it to the 20 x160 piece before placing the other 160 x 46 piece of wood on top (pencil lines uppermost). Remember those 2 x 3cm pieces? Now it was my intention to attach those to the edges of the 46 x 160 resined piece and with the other large peice on top, it would form a single piece with holes only at the ends. However this in the end seemed a phaff so I didn't bother. With the three pieces all now stuck together, I returned the whole thing to the bricks and weights. While things are drying I am going to draw out the curves on paper. I'll let you know how it goes later.

    This is so much more interesting than DIY which is what I should be doing today!

    CR

  9. #9
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    Yesterday, apart from varnishing, I finished the board with a few minor notes for mark 3. When sticking the layers together I am going to make sure that I use some g-clamps and braces. The layers at the end didn't quite take and it has meant that I had to screw them closed with grub screws.

    I needed to make a template for the four curved edges of the board. To do this was rather a complicated event but it worked....sort of. Luckily I was working on a wooden floor in which I was able to hammer in some nails. I placed two nails 160cm apart, hammered in enough so as they couldn't come out but still stuck up to tie a piece of string around. I then placed another nail between the other two (at 80cm) but 10cm above. With a piece of strong string, I created a loop between the two nails spaced at 160cm. I then drew this as tight as possible using a larks head knot or prussick. This then meant that I could just draw up one side of the loop over the third middle nail making a squat triangle. Placing a pencil next to the middle nail, within the string loop, I tensioned the string and moved the pencil to the left most nail. This created a gentle curve which I recreated on the waste plywood and cut out for the template. Due to my cr*p cutting ability, I spent half an hour or so sanding the curve on the template until it looked okay.

    Using the template I transferred this curve to the four edges of the board and cut them out. Again I had to spend some time sanding the curves down to look good. All I had to do now was fill in the gap between the plywood at the edges.

    Using expanding foam gap filler which cost about 5, I filled the gaps. This seemed to be a great idea at first as it would give flotation and also be light. However I hadn't bargained on the power of the expansion. I thought that any excess expansion would come out through the open sides but the ply top and bottom pieces were too flexible. Consequently the sandwhich looks a little full at the edges in places. Not quite twisted but certainly fat and irregular. Bit of a pain really but I reckon that with some clamps and braces this should not be a problem with the mark three At the begining I envisaged the long thin 160 x 3 strips down each side holding the three layers together but later on they seemed unnecessary. Arse! Still, you live and learn.

    Down each edge I forced in a good chunk of wood filler. My theory is that not only will this improve the finish but it should also harden up the edge preventing flexibility with the foam. I may instead fill it with resin next time though. That way the varnish shouldn't crack...I hope.

    Next stop is the varnishing, leash and footstraps.

    CR

  10. #10
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    Been giving this hassle of the expanding foam causing the irregular thickness some thought. I think I may dig out the filler and foam, buy some clamps and redo it. Otherwise I'm gonna have a silly looking board or I do it again. Best done now than when it's varnished.

    CR

  11. #11
    see you on the beach bladebrother6's Avatar
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    This concept of injecting buoancy , sorry to tell you this but it doesn't work. The most buoant thing you can have in any volume is nothing. Even a light weight expanding foam has much more mass than the air it is replacing.
    This is why moderm boards have gone two ways:
    1. trainer boards with a shaped core that has little or no structural purpose, overlaid with various composites.
    2. 'zero' volume boards, basically well shaped and tuned planks.
    Yours sounds like a sort of hybrid between these two concepts, I'll be interested to hear if it works. Good luck.

  12. #12
    Plymouth Air Junkie
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    Cool cheers for the advice. I see your point. Maybe with mark 3 I will have a go at creating a hollow board that is airtight as by the sound it that may be more bouyant. Perhaps an aircraft wing structure. Still better finish this one as otherwise I'm gonna have a board graveyard

    CR

  13. #13
    see you on the beach bladebrother6's Avatar
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    The 'aircraft wing' structure works well. The first board i built was constructed exactly like a model aircraft wing with ribs and spars. Then covered in 1/16th balsa sheets. (soak them in water, pin them on wet, then when its all dry glue them on. They curve best that way.) This core was then covered with a sigle skin of carbon fibre. The result was an incredibly light board that was really stiff and very strong. Total built cost was about 75. If you want any advice about materials for this sort of thing i'd recommend talking to Paul at Marplas in Norwich, he knows his stuff, and will ship to anywhere.

    One thing to remember, sort out hard points for fins and straps before you apply the balsa skin, or you'll end up schratching you rhead a lot!

  14. #14
    Registered Member ned1710's Avatar
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    Hi. I am a new plymouth flyer at the uni studying composite materials and have been thinking about how to make a board. Too much uni work at the moment to do anything about it though!

    I don't like the sound of a hollow board. What happens if you get a hole in it?! A closed cell foam core with a composite skin would be the best option. The foam is easy to shape and if you do damage the skin the closed cell foam won't soak up much water and should be easier to repair. Also the foam adds alot of stiffness to the board. You could also insert threaded metal fixing points to in the foam before putting on the skin for the fins and foot straps.



    Hope this is of some use!

    Cheers

    Ned
    Last edited by ned1710; 26th October 2005 at 11:41.
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  15. #15
    see you on the beach bladebrother6's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree with you on all of the above, I learned it the hard way!! My mark II was carbon over a foam core. (still was not as strong as the baggage handlers at Madrid airport though!)

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