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SAFETY FIRST!
(please read)

OVERVIEW
  terminology

EQUIPMENT
  a. required tools
  b. ski press
      - press frame
      - mold
      - bladder
  c. core profiler
  d. edge bender

SKI
CONSTRUCTION
 
a. materials
  b. graphics
  c. ski design
  d. template
  e. base
     edge bending
  f. wood core
     - lamination
     - sidewalls
     - profiling
     - tipspacers
     - inserts
 g. composites
 h. topsheet

LAYUP
 a. preparation
 b. layup

FINISHING

TESTING

VIDEOS
Free Video: Intro to Ski Building (30MB).  Get an overview of the process.



Layup

Overview  After all the preparations have been made the actual pressing can begin.   Be sure to give yourself enough time (15-20 minutes) for the entire process.   Latex gloves are must for this process.   The following describes a layup that uses cloth as the graphics layer for the top and bottom of the ski.  If you have screen printed or sublimated graphics you can skip steps 4 and 9. 
 


 

Step 1  Start by carefully measuring out the epoxy resin and hardener.   For one ski, 300-500 grams of resin should be enough.   The resin will be easier to work with if measured out in smaller batches of 100-150 grams.  Otherwise the mixture will set off too quickly and may possibly cure improperly.  Keep the resin and hardener separated until you are ready to begin.   If using pigments add them into the resin and mix at this stage.    

An easy way to measure epoxy is by using a scale.  Food scales work great and are relatively inexpensive.

Step 2  Mix the first batch of resin and hardener.   Place a generous amount of the epoxy onto the base material and spread evenly. 

Make sure that the epoxy covers the edges well and seeps into the cracks.  Remember that epoxy is the only thing that holds the edges onto the base so insuring adequate coverage is important.  

Step 3  If using rubber dampening strips, dip them into the epoxy and use your fingers to squeeze away the excess epoxy.   Cover the edges of the ski with the rubber strips.   Carefully remove any large wrinkles or folds in the rubber with your fingers. 

Step 4  Place the fabric graphic layer on top of the base material.  Remember that the graphic should be facing down.   Carefully center the graphic with the base.   Coat the fabric with some more epoxy making sure the entire surface is wet. 

Step 5  Lay the composite on top of the fabric layer.  It's easiest to have the composite rolled up beforehand.  Start at one end and slowly unroll the composite.   Wet the composite out with epoxy as done with the fabric layer.   The composite should look semi-transparent when wet.   

Step 6  Flip the wood core base side up.   Coat the bottom with a little epoxy.   Flip the core over again with the base side facing down and place on top of the composite layer.

Make sure the core is properly aligned and nail into place using the pre-drilled holes.   

This step is very important because a misaligned core can ruin the entire ski.   Coat the top of the core with some more epoxy and spread evenly. 

Note that in the above picture the nails are shown protruding from the core.  This is shown only for demonstration purposes.  Normally the nail heads would be hammered until they are flush with the core.

Step 8  Place a composite layer on the core and wet out with epoxy as before.

Step 9  Arrange the fabric graphic layer on the composite and coat with some more epoxy.

 

Step 10  Lay the topsheet on the fabric layer.   Note that the topsheet material may have protective masking on one side.  Make sure that this masked side is facing upwards away from the ski.   If the masked side is placed against the fabric layer it will not bond at all. 

Step 11  Place the top pressing layer on the top sheet material.   The top pressing sheet is something relatively thick and smooth that will not bond to epoxy.   This prevents the bladder from pressing directly onto the top sheet and leaves a smooth finish.   You can use a variety of plastics for this purpose.   Just make sure that this layer is completely smooth. 

Step 12  After all the materials have been placed in the mold it is time to seal up the painters plastic bag.   Wrap the excess plastic around the materials and secure the edges to the top pressing sheet with tape.  You should now have a bag that encloses the ski materials and epoxy.   

Step 13  Next, lay the bladder on top of the ski materials.  

Then place the top mold on the bladder. 

Step 14  Insert the mold with the bladder and top mold into the press.   Connect the air compressor hose to the bladder valve.

Step 15  With your safety glasses on, slowly increase the pressure of the bladder to 10-15psi.   Check if the bladder is providing pressure on all parts of the mold.   Pay careful attention to the tip and tail areas.   If there is a problem release the bladder pressure and make the necessary adjustments.  Perform an inspection on the press and make sure the frame shows no signs of malfunction. 

Step 16  Gradually increase the bladder pressure to the desired operating pressure (30-60psi) in 10psi increments.   Perform the routine inspections of the press along the way.     

Step 17  Leave the press running until the epoxy has completely hardened.   We usually leave our presses running 10-12 hours at room temperature.   For colder temperatures you may need a longer pressing time. 

After the ski has cured you can start the finishing process. 

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