Construction methods - why not molded

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BTB
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Construction methods - why not molded

Post by BTB » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:42 am

This is something that I just dont get.

For many years surfboards have been constructed by starting with the foam core (adding a stringer in many cases) and shaping it and then building it up in layers. This technique is fairly easy and cheap, it can be done in an average domestic garage. For surfing this works fine as boards are small and relatively cheap and quick to produce by small localised industry - enough to service locall markets with a few bigger players making larger quantities. But it doesnt lend itself to scaling up. It is hand making products in complex shapes.

For windsurfing the original production lines were closer to sailing construction, molding plastics / fiberglass and filling the void with foam. In its most basic forms this produced heavy and sometimes flexy boards and delamination an issue if it wasn't done right. That said some decent gear did come out of molds in the mid 90's. But around this time the big far east factories appeared and they started a shift to an industrial approach to the build it up from a blank method. Get a machine to do a lot of the shapping but essentially starting from the bottom and building up layers with hand finishing where the machines can't. Loads of sanding etc. The result is we now have excellant quality with stiff light boards but at eye watering costs in comparson to other similar products. This technique just doesn't lend it self to big scale production.

99% of high end carbon fiber parts are maunfactured by moulding the parts and sticking them together and things have moved a long way since the late 80's where molding of poor quality materials was the norm. All the parts can be moulded - foam can be molded and the inserts like fin boxes etc are molded. So why are boards not made from 4 or 5 sections of molded glass / CF. If formula 1 cars can be made by molding carbon fiber sections and gluing a lot of it together why cant a windsurf board be made the same way?

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BTB
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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by BTB » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:09 am

Just to illustrate the point - this is the basis of a carbon fiber head tube coming out of a mold. This section then will go into another mold with the carbon fiber that forms the tubes that will be formed around this to create the front triangle.

Image
Last edited by BTB on Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by JB:) » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:14 pm

You can. But tooling costs are expensive and if you want to churn out 1000's you need a market to sell it to. If surfing doesn't have the market for tooling up, how can you expect our niche sport to do it?

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by Radialhead » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:10 pm

Are the Patrik air-inside boards molded?
"DICTIONARIES have admitted defeat and announced that from now on ‘lose’ will be spelt ‘loose’.

The move follows the apparent inability of the entire English-speaking world to spell a simple four-letter word correctly" - The Daily Mash

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by PK1111 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:32 pm

It’s the classic trade off between high capital investment for a high volume standardised product, vs a low capex, but higher operational cost that is more adaptable.

With a low range of products, slow adaptability and high volumes, it makes sense to invest in machinery which increases productivity and reduces unit costs.
Early roto and blow moulded plastic companies could therefore knock out a board at super cheap prices, especially if they were generalist plastic manufacturers, and making boards only required moulds and were making use of spare production capacity.

There were the obvious limitations of using those types of plastic, and the moulding companies eventually moved to fibre reinforced plastics. These required less expensive capex in machinery, but the moulds were still expensive if using steel, so GRP moulds were used as an alternative.
As a very cheap and adaptable alternative, you can use vacuum bagging, but that doesn’t give the externally moulded, standardised finish.

I’m not sure if the standard Cobra technique utilises moulds, but I expect so.

Some manufacturers have now moved to using concrete moulds, which have the benefit of being very cheap to produce and have their own weight to compress the sandwich inside whist it cures.

Don’t forget, every step in the supply chain adds cost, and not always much value!
Typically the retail price of a product only costs 20% to 30% factory costs. The rest is made up of design & marketing brand owners, importers, wholesalers and retailers.

Surfboards being quite small and light, don’t need the structural strength of windsurfers, and surfers value the artistic creative element of low volume manufacturing.
It also cuts out at least one and maybe two or three steps of the supply chain, which really keeps costs down.

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by BillG » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:10 pm

I suspect we will see an increase in locally made custom windsurfers as they are now as cheap or cheaper than production (moving further away from molded). Goya/Quattro boards will be £2049 next year! (from Goya dealer meeting)

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by PhilN » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:48 pm

PK1111 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:32 pm
Don’t forget, every step in the supply chain adds cost, and not always much value!
Typically the retail price of a product only costs 20% to 30% factory costs. The rest is made up of design & marketing brand owners, importers, wholesalers and retailers.
Then topped off with 20% VAT.

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by PhilN » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:51 pm

BillG wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:10 pm
I suspect we will see an increase in locally made custom windsurfers as they are now as cheap or cheaper than production (moving further away from molded). Goya/Quattro boards will be £2049 next year! (from Goya dealer meeting)
They are one of the less expensive brands as well. A full carbon board from a French custom brand I've been keeping tabs on is €2200. 50 hours work put into each board. I wonder what Moo boards cost.

ps Flikka are €2090 for a carbon board.

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by BillG » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:05 pm

PhilN wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:51 pm
BillG wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:10 pm
I suspect we will see an increase in locally made custom windsurfers as they are now as cheap or cheaper than production (moving further away from molded). Goya/Quattro boards will be £2049 next year! (from Goya dealer meeting)
I wonder what Moo boards cost.

ps Flikka are €2090 for a carbon board.
http://www.moocustom.co.uk/shop/boards/ ... om-boards/

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Re: Construction methods - why not molded

Post by DavidA » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:31 pm

We could buy in Carbon Art Boards from NZ, beautiful bits of kit have a look at their website. Current exchange rate delivered to UK about £1500.00. Of course there is always Witchcraft but they are circa 2000 euros but they are exceedingly well constructed and come with great fins and straps.
I do have a Moo as well and it is very good value for a personalised board, well built.

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