This month, #madeatMIDAS features Starlight Snowboards and creator, Jonathan Quarrie. Jonathan and his emerging business are a great example of the capabilities of the MIDAS facilities to help bring an innovative new vision to reality.
Our MIT-certified digital fabrication laboratory, or “Fab Lab”, equipment is geared to support this kind of entrepreneur development: collaborating and adopting state-of-the-art technology to create new and marketable products.
You can do it too! Check out our course calendar HERE!
Here’s a little glimpse into Jonathan’s entrepreneurial journey here at MIDAS:
Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you found your way to MIDAS.
A machinist/toolmaker who was trained in the aerospace industry in the U.K., I’ve always had a passion for creating things myself whether it be building a lego set as a kid or building the furniture in our home. I heard about MIDAS a few years ago when I was out riding a prototype bindingless snowboard I’d built at home. A guy I met told me about a meeting where they were going to talk about MIDAS and look for volunteers. I got involved there and then and started as a volunteer helping out with setting up some of the machines. I’ve been visiting MIDAS ever since then.
What was it about your project that made you feel DIY was the best way to go?
I’d been making Snowboards as a bit of a hobby for about 7 years as a bit of fun. I always enjoyed the process of designing and building something that I could then go and use and appreciate and to be able to see if I could improve or learn something new with each new board.
What is the intent behind your product and what are your intentions with it now that you’ve brought your vision to reality?
The intent was just to be able to produce a board that worked very well in the environment that we have locally. We tend to ride steep terrain that is treed, for this I wanted to build shorter than normal boards that were light and nimble but still gave enough float to handle deep powder conditions. This first year was all about refining some of the manufacturing techniques, experimenting with shapes and construction and seeing if there was interest in the product. The interest has been overwhelming and the results from the product testing have been great. Going forward I’d like to grow the project into a small company with the intention of selling boards starting 2018/19. There is still a lot to do but I feel we are heading in the right direction.
Please outline the process from start to finish with MIDAS, including the equipment & materials used, on this project.
There are over 100 individual processes that go into building a board, broken down and simplified it goes something like this:
1.Process starts with the board design which is done on the SpaceClaim program. This includes the outline board shape, board profile (how it curves when viewed from the side) and the design of the wooden core of the board (how its thickness alters throughout the length of the board)
2. MDF material is cut on the Shopbot that is assembled to form the mold that the board will be pressed into.
3. Various, wood types are selected and bonded together in a block, this is then cut on a bandsaw to produce a blank that the board core can be shaped from
4. Using the Shopbot the core is machined to allow a rubber sidewall to be cast into it. Once this is cured it is put back on the Shopbot to be machined on both sides so it is ready for assembly. It is this process that controls a lot of how the board performs. By altering the thickness of the core you can adjust how the board flexes and thus performs. By using the Shopbot and the digital design this is very easily controlled.
5. MDF templates are cut using the Shopbot that are used to rout out the base material by hand. Ultimately I would like to use the Shopbot to cut the base material directly.
6. The base material is edged using ski /snowboard edge material.
7. various carbon fibre and fibreglass materials are cut ready for the assembly process.
8. at my home the board is assembled from the components: base, carbon and glass layers, the core, topsheet, metal binding inserts and epoxy resin. It is then put in a hydraulic press that I built that compresses all the components together at around 100psi pressure until the resin has cured.
9. once cured excess material is cut off back to the metal edge, the board then has a base grind and some other finishing before decals made on the Roland vinyl cutter are applied.
10. The board is then waxed and ready for snow.
Do you expect you’ll use the MIDAS facility again?
Certainly, there is still development work to do and other ideas that I have that I’d like to try out there… it’s a fun place to be.
How would you sum up your experience at MIDAS?
It’s been great! The team at MIDAS have been really supportive and encouraging and have been a massive help in bringing my project to where it is now. It’s great to be there and see what other people are working on and to share ideas.
I feel very lucky to have such a great facility available to me and encourage anyone to get involved, if you have an idea of something you’d like to make go and make it happen.
You can do it too! All the resources you need to help take your idea, startup, or business to the next level. Check out our course calendar HERE!
Be sure to check out more about the process – Jonathan and Starlight Snowboards: