Surfers have long been going to shapers for customized boards since it allows them to get the perfect board for the local conditions and their ability.
While they control everything from the size and shape of the board to the glassing technique, most people still buy premade factory fins.
However, a university in Australia is looking to change that using 3D printing. According to a press release from the University of Wollongong, researchers developed a project to 3D-print customizable fins.
“We want to come up with new, more efficient fins that can be designed for a particular surfer and a particular wave,” project leader and professor Marc in het Panhuis said.
Since 3D printing is so fast, in het Panhuis said a surfer can try out three or four different prototypes and tweak them as they go along.
The technology will help pro surfers further improve their performance. Professor Geoff Spinks predicts it will likely have a ripple effect in the surf industry. “It’s really an example of mass-customization, which is becoming a reality in many manufactured products,” Spinks said. “No longer do consumers need to accept the ‘one size fits all’ principle.”
The technology will be tested out locally in New South Wales, Australia before it will eventually expand.
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