Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Action Sports Retailer trade show, held Sept. 5-7 in San Diego.
Garage Manufacturing LLC of Tuxedo, N.Y., showed a polyurethane Softrucks device for learning, practicing and executing skateboard-style tricks and new technical dynamics. Pairs of Softrucks attach to any skateboard deck in place of the wheels.
The product was introduced in mid-July, said Joseph Raia, president and owner.
Injection molder Northern Plastics Inc. of Mauston, Wis., makes the product on a 500-ton press using a two-cavity mold. Selling for $46 with nuts and bolts, Softrucks eliminate the rolling action of wheels but maintain the feel of a standard skateboard.
Formed in 1995, Garage Manufacturing researches concepts and develops products, mostly for the toy industry.
Ridout exhibit sports performance board
Preproduction units of a black Flexdex carbon-fiber-reinforced performance skateboard were shown at the show.
``We are still working with Strongwell [of Bristol, Va.] on this particular laminate,'' said Elliott Rabin, president of parent Ridout Plastics Co. Inc. of San Diego, a material distributor and custom manufacturer.
The new model has a thin, deep-black, 1-ounce veil on the top and bottom. Flexdex uses a Motionmaster machine to engrave graphics on the skateboard's bottom. ``That is something you can't do with wood skateboards because they will snap,'' he said.
The black version retains the riding properties and virtually unbreakable strength of pultruded polymer-matrix-composite skateboards, the company claims.
AerOmagic latest toy from Star Sports LLC
Star Sports LLC of Escondido, Calif., introduced the $25 AerOmagic family-style toy, including a launcher and two ring air foils.
Materials include high density polyethylene for the 32-inch-long launcher, expanded PE for the 71/2-inch-diameter ring and latex tubing for the band. Subcontractors in California and Illinois made the components, and Star Sports handles the assembly.
Players can send a ring 150 feet and beyond and, together, use an AerOmagic similar to a Frisbee, John Hunter, the inventor and Star Sports president, said by telephone.
Surfboard company uses polyester skin
An innovative San Diego company applies durable polyurethane instead of traditional polyester for stronger glassing of surfboard skins, more dent resistance and improved flex patterns.
AST-Alive Surfing Technology Inc. subcontracts for chemically bonding the PU onto several styles of standard rigid PU foam blanks from Clark Foam of Laguna Niguel, Calif. The engineered resin system keeps molecules tightly packed, has minor cross-linking between chains and allows sliding among the different chains.
``We have spent half a million dollars going through types of PU systems to get a bearing on what works and what doesn't work,'' said President Mark Tolan.
While his resin bonds to fiberglass-reinforced PU, polyester constitutes the weakest link in a surfboard, Tolan said. The long-chain molecules form a second cloth reinforcement.
AST is starting in the surfboard industry, but Tolan believes the laminated technology has application in building boats, wakeboards and snowboards.