42 Surfboards, the innovative manufacturer of classic surfboards has been named as Autodesk Inventor of the Month for June 2008.
The Oregon-based company uses Autodesk Inventor software to create its line of high-performance surfboards that are shaped entirely from sustainably harvested local woods. By avoiding materials like foam and balsa wood, which have a large carbon footprint, 42 Surfboards provides surf enthusiasts with a green alternative that reduces the environmental impact of the sport. In the past, foam and balsa wood have been the only materials that manufacturers could use to achieve the proper density ratios for their boards. But neither of these materials is very strong: foam and balsa wood boards often break within the first few months of use and need to be replaced. Additionally, both materials raise environmental concerns. Foam is petroleum-based, with a highly toxic manufacturing process, while balsa wood needs to be transported from South America to other parts of the world, making it prohibitive from a carbon-impact standpoint. Hardwoods have offered a greener alternative, but their weight adversely affect the speed and maneuverability of the boards.
Now, using Autodesk Inventor, 42 Surfboards has created a new generation of wooden surfboards by taking the strength of woods like spruce and poplar and giving them the lightness and performance of materials like foam and balsa wood. The key has been Inventor software's solid modelling functionality, which offers the ability to digitally shape a piece of hardwood and create a wooden surface exactly as thick or thin as needed. By precisely shaping the wood, 42 Surfboards minimizes the total weight while maximizing strength, creating a sturdy board that is very fast and highly maneuverable.
"Inventor is the difference between being able to do what we do, and only being able to imagine it", said Lars Bergstrom, president of 42 Surfboards. "With Inventor's solid modelling capabilities, we are able to be precise on the order of thousandths of an inch in designing our boards, and build them to exact specifications. We would not be able to get anywhere near the tolerance levels we require, and we would not be able to use locally grown and sustainably harvested wood for our surfboards, without solid modelling."Digital Prototyping enables 42 Surfboards to rapidly explore new product ideas and designs without the time and expense of creating physical prototypes. As a result, the company now offers seven different 100% wood surfboard models, designed to last a lifetime, helping to reverse the "disposable board" culture brought about by decades of inexpensive but fragile foam and balsa wood boards.
Each month, Autodesk selects an Inventor of the Month from the more than 700,000 users of Inventor. Winners are chosen for engineering excellence and groundbreaking innovation. For more information contact Autodesk at IOM@autodesk.com.