At least, I think it’s the world’s first Steampunk Snowboard. The idea started when two conversations came togehter.
Russssman and Nino were talking about repainting topsheets on snowboards on a recent trip. Meanwhile, Allie made a post about losing a camera that was taped to the top of her board. I started thinking about solid ways to mount a camera to a board. Once the logistics of the plexiglass idea gelled, I took it in an art direction.
I started gathering pieces a couple of months ago. Mostly I picked things up at thrift stores. I made a few runs to the hardware store as well. I didn’t start building the board until last Tuesday night. I worked on it for 3 evenings alone. On the 4th evening, Nino jumped in and started to help. She had lots of great additions for the board, including the beautiful cloth she sewed into the sails.
I didn’t calculate cost or track true build time. If I had to guess, I think I spent around $150 in materials. I had to buy a jig along the way, otherwise we had all the tools we needed. I almost dropped the project after the first couple of days. I didn’t think we could make it in time for Skijam/Freebasin on Saturday morning. However, when Nino dropped her duckie costume project and jumped in to help me, things came together very quickly.
My intention for the sails was to gather air and force it into the rear chamber. The airflow would then run “something” such as a generator attached to lights. It was obvious we didn’t have time to get a generator working, so I decided just to drop dry ice in the rear chamber for a smoke effect. As things turned out, we didn’t really have time to stop for dry ice. So while the sails turned out amazing, they didn’t actually do anything. Still, when they first starting going on, I felt the project was coming together for the first time.
When we finally brought the piece up on the mountain, we were tripping over people asking questions about what it was, what it did, why we built it, etc. At the top of the lift, folks gathered to watch me ride it down. Employees at A-Basin followed us down the whole way. The attention was a lot of fun.
The machine rode fairly well. The sails scooped up a lot more air than I expected. Unfortunately, they also scooped up snow if I turned too hard. In version 2, we’re wanting to have the sails up considerably higher. We also need to re-engineer much of the front design to be stronger.
While the current design is effective, it’s very difficult to keep everything secured for high speed. I’m considering drilling into the deck of the snowboard and inserting whatever those threaded things are that hold the bindings down. She held together surprisingly well at full speed. Still, she looked her best at cruising speeds.
It was great seeing the project come together so quickly. If there is one key lesson Nino and I learned from this: we need a shop!
Thanks for taking the time to check out project out. Check out the complete flickr set.