Our experience with our FUSE-UD tapes in building custom skis
In March 2023, we made our way to Innsbruck to visit the ski manufactory SPURart. SPURart is known for its handmade and custom-made skis, snowboards and splitboards.
The goal of the workshop was to once again use and test our FUSE UD tapes ourselves in the production of a composite product. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity to gain a more profound understanding of the intricacies of ski design and construction. These insights will in turn be incorporated into the product development of our FUSE UD tapes.
Simon Mayenschein from SPURart, who had previously built skis from our FUSE UD-Tapes (Click here for the interview with Simon), led the workshop. Michael Halbfurter, an Austrian organic farmer who grows hemp for various markets, and Valentine Troi from Standortagentur Tirol, which is working on a hemp research project, were also there. Valentine has already made ski poles from our Micro Tapes. So there was concentrated expertise on the subject of hemp and composites - the ideal prerequisite to thoroughly test our FUSE UD tapes.
The workshop started with choosing the ski shape we wanted to build - the ski shape is based on the skiing style, for example, touring or freestyle. The size of the ski is determined according to the skiing ability and the size of the rider.
Next, the construction of the skis began. The process involved laying down the base and FUSE reinforcement material, adding edges, and pressing the skis under heat and vacuum pressure. Each ski also received a custom top sheet with a design.
Once the skis were sanded and bindings were added, it was time to test our new FUSE hemp skis on the slopes. The material behaved extremely reliably. This means that the skis are very smooth-running due to their strong vibration damping. The fiberglass material used in most skis does not have this property.
But the workshop was not just about having fun on the slopes, it was also about gaining knowledge for our product development.
Finding 1: It is important to keep the amount of resin low to avoid the ski becoming too heavy. With a little manual effort, the tape can be impregnated perfectly.
Insight 2: To apply the material without bubbles, you need to impregnate from the bottom through the material to avoid air pockets between layers and create a good impregnation quality.
Finding 3: There is a preferred direction of the material alignment, which is noticeable by protruding fiber ends and influences from which side the resin should be rolled onto it. This is an issue that we will revisit in product development to have more flexibility in processing.
We took our filmmaker friend Florian Schurz along to the workshop, who documented the construction of a ski with FUSE UD tapes. Of course, he also got to join us on the slopes.
How we implement our findings within our product development will be documented here in our blog. We are currently working on new products such as the cross-laminate and PrePregs. More about that soon here as well.
Video by Florian Schurz from CoLab Film.