For surfer and industrial design student Max Robotham, lugging a surfboard around is the only downside of surfing. The fact is surfboards can measure up to ten feet in length, which makes commuting a hassle and overseas travel expensive due to excess luggage fees.
Robotham is currently studying Design Innovation at Victoria University in New Zealand, where he has recently come up with a design that solves his surfboard-portability problem. It is called Jigsurf – a collapsible 3D-printed surfboard. Robotham used special software to digitally design the board and the university’s 3D printers to print a full sized prototype of the board out of ABS plastic.
The defining feature of the design is its jigsaw-like structure made up of 48 individual (but interlocking) pieces, which are held together by high-tensile steel wire and two balustrade wire tensioners. Each piece took three to four days to print, which amounted to six full days of print-time. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces can easily be fitted together to form a five-point-nine-long surfboard, and can just as easily be deconstructed and packed away in a duffel bag.
Despite the fact that the prototype testing was successful, Jigsurf is still a work in progess. In addition to developing a 3D-printed nose guard, traction pad and leash, Robotham plans to design a customisation system that will be able to create different types and styles of Jigsurf boards.