Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Action Sports Retailer show, held Sept. 10-12 in San Diego.
Hydrofoil bike rides on 50 percent plastic
Mike Puzey has created a human-powered hydrofoil with a blow molded polyethylene tank and components of polypropylene, nylon and anodized aluminum.
``About 50 percent of the product is plastic,'' the product designer said in exhibiting his Pumpabike, now entering the retail market at $799. A user can assemble the device for vigorously exercising on water, which can reach speeds up to 16 knots, and just as easily disassemble the unit for transport or storage.
Puzey began thinking about the concept in 1994, developed a hydrofoil by 1996 and made about 50 prototypes during the next four years.
``We started looking at plastic injection molding for mass production [and] to get it into a box consistently,'' he said. Each PP application has 5 percent glass reinforcement.
It has ``taken us a while to make [the Pumpabike] stable enough for use in sea-water conditions,'' Puzey said. Aluminum extrusions needed waterproofing.
The PE tank's wall thickness is from 3.5 millimeters at the foot to 2mm at the top. ``We had to develop a process to do that,'' he said.
The total unit is 5.4 feet in length. The front foil measures 2 feet and the rear foil 7.3 feet.
Pumpabike LLC has its office in Tustin, Calif., and manufactures at a factory Puzey owns in Kaushung, Taiwan.
``Our main focus now is to find a retail channel,'' said Puzey, 37, a native of South Africa.
A more advanced Puzey business enterprise, EVO Powerboards LLC, makes gasoline-engine-powered scooters capable of speeds of 40 miles per hour.
Revolution designs composite skateboard
Revolution Enterprises Inc. of Poway, Calif., is compression molding skateboards containing Toray carbon fiber with a modulus of 33 million pounds per square inch.
``If you are a traditionalist, wood is still king,'' said owner and founder David Hadzicki, ``but if you are progressive, there is a lot of interest in this.'' The new skateboard is entering the retail market at $115, he said.
The firm has worked with carbon-fiber composites for other products over 15 years and began developing the skateboard in 2001. Former champion Tas Pappas began representing Revolution on the professional skateboard tour in early 2003 and provided input for further product development. For two months in Europe, Pappas used a single Revolution graphite board; normally, he would have gone through eight wood boards, according to Hadzicki.
Revolution employs 12 at its 6,000-square-foot plant. The company lays up each graphite board by hand. Its earlier composites work involved kayak paddles, golf club shafts, sport kits, and bicycle frames and components.
Hadzicki said Revolution's technology differs significantly from the wet layup process for the now-discontinued Bulletproof polymer-matrix-composite skateboard. A St. Thomas, Ontario, firm designed the Bulletproof board using a honeycomb core and carbon and Kevlar aramid fibers, and epoxy.