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Is this necessarily a bad thing? Selling on the backs of masterful showmen certainly makes more sense than whittling a pitch from a shy, average sapling, or a decaying, stiff geriatric- but those are said to work too -- solely on the basis of relatability.

Is Tony Hawk really the best skateboarder ever there was and deserving of an unlimited supply of Egg McMuffins for all eternity? A majority of skateboardists- "core" or otherwise, might definitely disagree -- but McDonald's PR wouldn't. However, the team is clearly dismissive of Tony's ruinous touch on that fateful 9: as marketeering uninitiatedanados ...


fdm 60 frame

Previously, I floated the idea that frames can/could/should be printed cheaply using an FDM/FFF printer with PLA0 and then strengthened using one or more of a variety of techniques- which would yield an inexpensive, fully compostable/disposable skate part, to be manufactured on demand anywhere by anyone with electricity and a basic printer.


I thought this was going to be difficult, would require strength-adding design compromises and might take a lot of trial and error to make work for more than just a session or two, despite PLA's rigidity and technically ideal mechanical properties ...


FDM/FFF (Fused Deposit Modeling/Fused Filament Fabrication)

This is the cheapest and most widely available 3D printing technique, wherein a spool of plastic is additively melted to create a form. Materials: PLA (polylactic acid), ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), Nylon (polyamide), Polycarbonate, etc.

Potential Applications

  • Soul Plates
  • Buckles
  • Frames
  • Boots


  • Inexpensive printer hardware
  • Widely available
  • Easy to use/learn/get started with
  • Cheap consumables


  • Not that strong without heat treatment/chemical post-processing. Still less durable than injection molded plastic.
  • Slow: 10+ hours for a frame

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering)

Plastic (usually nylon/polyamide) powder is mechanically spread and ...


  • Don't worry, pants are still important and divisive
  • Rollerblading was removed from the X-games a little after Y2K
  • Some still do big hammers, many do not. Every trick is not a nail.
  • Living legend Jon Julio of Hoax II and unity grind fame ran a Roces aggressive sub-brand for several years called Valo that produced skinned and unskinned UFS Majestic 12s ("V13s") as well as a carbon skate: that company is no more and JJ currently sells THEM skates, which are based on the UltraWheels sabotage with modernizations.

    Yes, JJ has been pro the WHOLE time since 1995/6 ...


The main problem thus far (2020) with printable parts is a lack of durability. This isn't an issue for grind blocks or antirockers, which can be trivially reprinted- but an item like a complete plastic frame requires a more expensive printing technique like SLS than good 'ole FDM, or less environmentally friendly filaments (think fancy fiber-nylon) to last very long -- and SLS prints are probably going to be produced by a third party with deep pockets.

But it might be possible to overcome this hurdle by designing parts specifically for FDM, meanwhile leveraging the positive side effects of a ...