June 7, 2018
Whether it's paddle boarding or skating, our Creative Lead loves a board under his feet. Not far from our office is a skatepark and if you can't find Dylan at the office, odds are that he's there. Rather than use a normal skateboard, he wanted something lighter and with more flair, so he printed Daniel Noree's skateboard trucks and bushings using NylonX and PRO Series Flex.
Setting out to print skateboard trucks means that the material requirements are very specific; needs to survive sitting in a car on a hot California day, needs to hold together under the weight of a person and the forces from skating, and needs to be light. NylonX fits this profile perfectly: the nylon base will hold its shape well past the temperatures in a car, the chopped carbon fiber strands throughout the filament bring strength and rigidity, and being a polymer makes this a strong but light material. If you were to attempt this with some other plastic like PLA or ABS, it would deform from either heat or weight, making NylonX the optimal choice.
After some significant modifications, most printers can print using NylonX. You may need to swap out some parts, create new material profiles, optimize settings, are test until you can create strong parts reliably. The easier option is the Pulse XE: a printer designed and tailored to print NylonX out-of-the-box without modification and the best parts to ensure success. The Olsson Ruby nozzle has an actual ruby in it, enough to handle the incredibly abrasive carbon fibers strands in NylonX, along with a garolite print surface for supreme adhesion and a Bondtech QR extruder for maximum torque and control over extrusion.
The Olsson Ruby solves the problem of abrasiveness, but what about bed adhesion? Nylon is notoriously warpy (although not as bad as ABS), so bed adhesion is extremely important to keep the proper shape and dimensions once your modeled part is printed. Garolite solves that problem; a interwoven glass fiber fabric impregnated with epoxy resin, creating a build plate just textured enough to grip onto your nylon or NylonX print. And when you pair garolite with the Flexplate system, you can be absolutely certain that your part will stick and release with ease.
Once the material and printer were determined, it was time to get to printing. Before printing out the parts in NylonX, a prototype was made in PLA to test assembly and see whether the standard truck hardware like bushings and bolts would fit. It turns out they were a little too loose, so the truck base was adjusted and new bushes were printed with MatterHackers PRO Series Flex. These fit much better and held the trucks straight with just the right give. Once it passed the test and fit together, he printed the two NylonX parts out on the Pulse XE, with the basic settings consisting of: extruder temperature of 255C, layer cooling fan off, 70C on the bed, and 50mm/s. If you'd like a more in depth guide and discussion of the optimal settings when printing with NylonX, you can read more in our How to Succeed When Printing with NylonX.
With the parts printed, threaded rods cut to length, and the trucks fully bolted together it was time to test out his creative new board at the park.
NylonX and the Pulse XE were the perfect combination of material and machine to handle what Dylan needed. We are currently on v3 of our NylonX skateboard trucks with more iterations to come.
To read about the specific settings, recommendations, and best practices when printing with NylonX, read more in our article all about Succeeding with NylonX.
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