Pintail Skateboard

We made a skateboard using the Roarockit thin air press (TAP) kit.

It took longer than anticipated, and there were a few surprises along the way, but the end product is a successful pintail skateboard that is sturdy and smooth.

The deck is all from the Roarockit kit, and this model incorporates a piece of red veneer as the centre layer for a bit of flash. They said the dye permeated right-through, but it didn’t turn out that way when actually cut into. Nevertheless, the end result is a clearly visible streak of red in the middle layer of the deck.

The trucks, wheels, and bearings were all courtesy of the Longboard Living skate shop in Kensington Market.

Deck screws, helmet, and a good bit of friendly advice thanks to CJ Skatepark and school.

The vinyl decal was printed/cut at Graphic Print and Copies, another New Toronto shop.

Using the TAP bag from the kit was pretty easy. The first surprise came, though, upon reading the internal instructions, which say to glue the first three layers, then the second three layers, then the last two layers. This increased the amount of time needed to complete the deck by several days. The expectation was that the deck would be glued-up after eight hours; the reality was that it took three eight-hour sessions with the TAP bag. Not bad, but unexpected.

Rasping off the edges was a snap. The tool included with the kit worked very effectively and it was easy to sculpt the edges of the deck down to the correct profile.

Sanding down the edges was also pretty easy, but did take determination.

Sanding down the deck surface took several sessions as well. Starting with 80 grit, then 120, then 220, then 300 and finally 400 produced a beautiful surface on the maple veneer.

The finish for this deck was spar varnish. Stinky stuff. Not sure it will be used in the next deck. The biggest challenge was getting a smooth surface without burning through the layer; unfortunately this was not an entirely successful result. There are a few spots where the layers show through but generally speaking it’s a nice result.

This deck also incorporates a vinyl decal. To make sure that the deck was preserved properly, the decal only went on after three layers of finish. That ensured that the deck was completely sealed, and there was enough varnish to even out the drips and what-not. There are another 4 layers of varnish on top of the decal, and the profile on the deck face is almost smooth – only a wee bit of a bump where the decal is applied.

Sanding of each layer was 220 – 400 grit. The final layer was sanded up to 2000 grit, which I obtained through the most awesomest of stores, Lee Valley Tools.

Cell Phone Microscope

This latest project is based on the post “$10 Smartphone to digital microscope conversion!” by Yoshinok from Instructables.

With a bit of patience and perseverance we were able to get some great pictures of everyday stuff like paper towel, sand, milk weed seeds, snake skin (ok — not so everyday).

Preparation for 6 – 10 kits took about a day. Assembly can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on skill level.