All our topsheets are dye sublimated. Dye sublimation is an environmentally friendly process that uses water based inks and a paper carrier which is recycled. The ink is digitally printed on the paper and transferred into the plastic topsheet material with heat and pressure. The heat causes the dye sublimation ink to become a gas, which migrates into the plastic topsheet. As the material cools the ink becomes a solid and is fixed in the material.
Most of our base graphics are die cut. Base material begins as a sheet of plastic. In order to create a die cut base graphic, each component (letter or shape) is cut from an appropriately colored piece of base material. The same shapes are cut into the base or background color. Each piece is then put together much like a puzzle. All the pieces are held together with tape while the board is being pressed.Dye sublimated base graphics involve digitally printing dye sublimation ink on paper. The printed paper is laid in contact with the plastic base material. Heat and pressure is applied. The heat causes the dye sublimation ink to become a gas, which migrates into the plastic base material. As the material cools the ink becomes a solid and is fixed in the base material. This technique is very durable as the ink will penetrate the entire thickness of the material.
This simply involves cutting the base to the appropriate shape. We do this on our cnc machine with a swiveling knife called a drag knife.
The tip and tail portion of the edge must be bent to fit the shape in the tip and tail using various bending dies.
The edge and base material are pre-assembled to produce a sub assembly that goes into the board.
We laminate large blocks from ¾ in lumber in a press. That block is sliced, much like you slice a loaf of bread, on our sawmill to produce individual core blanks. A core blank is placed on our cnc machine and cut to shape. Some cores then go into another lamination process in which we laminate a side stick (ash lumber with ABS sidewall pre-laminated to it) to the side of the shaped core. Others have sidewalls applied to them after the core has been tapered. We place the core back on our cnc machine and cut the taper or core profile.
Insertion of Inserts
Before the board is pressed, the inserts are pressed into the holes that were drilled in the core.
This is exactly what it sounds like. We have to cut the fiberglass sheets to length before the board is pressed.
Cutting aluminum laminates
The metal laminates that go into our metal construction snowboards is machined on our cnc. The cnc will cut the shape and drill holes in the aluminum.
Layup and Press
This is the final assembly process. It involves wetting the fiberglass (or carbon or aluminum) sheets with epoxy and assembling all the components in the correct order. The stack of materials is then put in a heated press that shapes the board. The heat in the press accelerates the curing of the epoxy enabling us to remove a board after about 20 minutes.
Finishing involves a number of different operations. We first remove all the flash (excess material and epoxy) with a band saw. The edges have to be cleaned up and ground to a 90 degree angle on a side grinding machine. We then shape the sidewall so that it angles slightly back from the edge. The inserts are located and then opened on a drill press. We sand the top edge of the board to remove burs and round it over.
This is a common tuning operation. It is, however, quite different at the manufacturing stage. The bottom of the board has epoxy and tape on it. This must be removed and the base must be ground flat. We start with very aggressive belts to help remove the material that is stuck to the bottom of the board and work our way down to a 150 grit belt for the final passes.
After the belt grind, we carefully finish each board with a factory stone grind to ensure the base is perfectly flat and provide better glide properties.
Demask & Bag
The board comes out of the press with a layer of masking on the topsheet. This protects the top when the board is being finished. When this tape is removed, the board is inspected for the last time before it is put in a bag.