Thrashing the Future of Design With Topology Optimization and Skateboard Trucks

Skateboard TrainWhen it comes to skateboarding, flips and grabs are cool—but downhill longboarding is completely insane. Reaching speeds of more than 90 miles per hour, downhill longboarders combine skateboarding and surfing in an adrenaline blast that is all about speed. Clearly, keeping the wheels attached to the board is critical to these downhill daredevils.

The “truck” of a skateboard is that piece on the underside of the deck that the wheels are attached to. Made of axles, bushes, and pins, the truck is the interface between the wheels and deck that gives the rider the necessary control through shifts in weight, bending and reacting to the board’s travel. It’s a pretty important part, to say the least.

And now, like aircraft parts, furniture, and so many other modern objects, skateboard trucks are set to change, thanks to topology optimization and metal additive manufacturing. Topology optimization is an algorithmic process that reveals the most efficient design based on a set of constraints or characteristics, often by removing material from the design.

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