Designing a Snowboard
There are three main areas that
are important to consider when constructing a well-made snowboard: weight,
torsional stiffness and vibration damping.
- Weight: lightness
is one of the primary goals of higher-end boards. It makes lift rides a
lot more pleasant and is easier to handle during tricks, especially spinning
- Torsional Stiffness:
is defined as how stiff a board is as it twists. Additional torsional stiffness
is often added to increase the board’s ability to carve during fast
- Vibration Damping:
helps the most in chopped up snow, and can also increase the durability
of a board. A snowboard’s performance can be improved by adding materials
to reduce vibrations traveling through the board.
Constructing a Snowboard
Although many manufacturers differ
in technique and material when constructing a snowboard, they all start with
a basic structure.
Snowboards are composed of several layers of different materials that are
molded together. Some of the most basic layers starting from the bottom of
the board include:
- Ultra high molecular weight
polyethylene or plastic. This material provides the slippery surface that
allows the snowboard to glide on snow. Throughout its use it is preferably
waxed to keep it running fast.
- The base material is then surrounded
by steel edges so the board will dig into the snow while turning.
- Fiberglass is a layer that
provides stiffness and strength to the board.
- Wood or foam is the core of
the board and makes up most of the thickness. It also includes sets of metal
inserts needed to mount bindings.
- Another layer of fiberglass
lies on top of the core.
- Lastly, a top sheet –
which is a protective plastic layer – is added to provide a good surface
Molding the Layers Together
Each layer of a snowboard is placed
into a snowboard mold or press. A snowboard mold is similar to a large waffle
iron with the exception of a shape of a snowboard. The following steps are
conducted to mold the layers of the snowboard together.
- One by one, each layer of a
snowboard goes into the mold along with an adhesive or glue that holds the
- The mold is then closed and
heated for approximately 30 minutes. This causes the liquid-like glue to
- The mold is then opened and
the snowboard is removed. Any excess glue and material is trimmed off.