APEX Composites Inc., located in Burlington, Ontario, was founded in 2002 as a supplier and repair facility for race car body work. The company has evolved over the past few years, and now specializes in complex aerospace and defence parts manufacturing. While working alongside Apex engineers and technicians, Matthew Wiebenga, a co-op student from the University of Waterloo, initiated and helped to develop a new light weight, but stiff longboard design using advanced composite materials. The project was taken as a product development process. Conventional longboards are designed to feel very "surfy", with lengths up to five feet and widths up to 16 inches. For downhill longboards, like the one shown in Figure 1, stiffness is important to maintain stability at high speeds. A flexible deck can de-weight the rider as he or she travels over bumps, resulting in a brief loss of control and potentially an accident.
The objective of this project was the creation of a stiff downhill skateboard with less than 1 kg in total weight. Matthew Wiebenga, a co-op student from the University of Waterloo, worked alongside Apex engineers and technicians to investigate various options with regards to product shape, weight, material selection, manufacturing technique, and a layup schedule to achieve the desired weight and performance goals.
The teaching objective for this case study is design process including need analysis, conceptual design, preliminary design and detail design. This case emphasise the interactions between design, materials selection and manufacturing processes. It also intended to provide hand on example for composite materials with related to their structure, properties and processing methods.