Date: November 16, 2006
Table of Contents
Report Summary Page
|Author: Everett Bird||Team: Uberboard|
The skateboard market has expanded greatly in the past several years. Recently the industry has seen many alternative boards hitting the market aimed at buyers seeking an improved ride. Each new skateboard to hit the market seems to have advancements in some areas however, the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.
The primary focus of the advantages and disadvantages of each design is centered around the skateboard’s method of steering incorporated in each board. The Uberboard aims to accomplish an ideal steering mechanism with great improvements in carving and stability without sacrificing weight or adjustability.
The steering system has 6 major requirements. The steering system must be:
- Natural to the rider
- Capable of smooth turns
- Stable at low and high speeds
Meeting these requirements will ensure the best possible steering system for the skateboard.
The specifications were generated using benchmarking and other market analysis. They are largely based on the requirements of the steering system. The specifications of the steering system are as follows:
- Must be no taller than 4.5 inches.
- Must weigh no more than 15 lbs.
- Should turn the wheels approximately 15 degrees when there is a 50 lb force differential on the deck.
- Must be stable and maneuverable at speeds approaching 25 mph.
To start out, many different steering designs were generated through brainstorming with the help of mindmapping. Mindmapping is useful because it seems to use early ideas to fuel other ideas. From the many ideas generated, the practical, more feasible ideas were extracted to continue in the design process.
Design Selection & Refinement
With many possibilities to choose from, a design selection matrix was used to determine which designs best met the steering system requirements. Using this selection method, the number of designs was narrowed down to the two best designs. The two best designs turned out to be the Coupled Path and the Composite Arm designs.
The Coupled Path design achieves turning by constraining the path of the turning arm at an angle. The angle is in and down from the board surface. When the rider leans to on side this causes the arms to travel inward along the path to achieve turning. This design could prove to be quite heavy, however it is a stable and durable design.
The Composite Arm design is the most innovative of the two. It uses an unbalanced fiber orientation to provide bend-twist coupling. As the rider shifts weight to one side it causes the arms to bend slightly. Due to the fiber orientation of the composite arm and the shape of the arm this will cause a twisting that will turn the wheels in the required direction. This design may prove to be harder to implement but it requires the fewest parts and would be very lightweight. The flexing of the arms could prove to be slightly less stable then other designs, however.
The top two designs were then investigated more thoroughly. CAD models were generated to better visualize the designs. With a deeper understanding of the prospective designs, another design matrix was generated to find the one best overall design.
Final Selection & Conclusions
The design that proved to be the most effective and innovative by the final design matrix was the Composite Arm design. Its simple appearance, innovative design, and minimal weight provide the optimal design of those considered. A skateboards steering system is perhaps the most noticable and important feature of a new skateboard design. It is what makes the board stand out and appeal to the consumer. With an improved steering system the Uberboard will accomplish its goal of being the greatest skateboard known to man.