The serpent drivetrain was and still is one of my most ambitious mechanical design projects yet. A sub project of the Serpent Board, this mechanical system entailed high load belt systems, thermal management, material properties, and most importantly, stress concentrations. There have been seven full redesigns due to various issues that were not discovered until testing. Some of these included the following: Material deformation, excessive deflection under load, insufficient surface area for heat dissipation, part fatigue, stress concentrations leading to part failure. As of writing this, there is an eighth iteration in progress which will feature a fully custom CNC’d truck design with better load distribution and high strength aluminum vs the cast 356 aluminum of old.
The vacuum pump rebuild project was essentially an excuse to get my hands dirty. The pump was purchased in non-working condition at a local surplus store and was totally rusted over. The pump itself had seized and the motor burnt out. The entire pump assembly was torn down, degummed, repaired, painted and finally reassembled. This involved some serious scrubbing and part replacement. Once the pump itself was fully repaired, the motor was replaced with a comparable replacement. It was determined that the original motor’s starting coil was burnt out due to it running fine once turned. Unlike a starting capacitor, this could not be easily fixed. Since the pump was rebuilt, it has been used several times. It operates as intended and pulls a vacuum comparable to that of around the international space station.
The hydraulic deck press project was another spin off project of the Serpent Board. It was built so custom bamboo longboard decks could be pressed into shape. Typically, a press like this is unnecessary to make skateboards or longboards. This is because, typically, skateboards and longboards are made from many thin layers of wood laminated and glued together. When the layers are independent, they are easy to bend and form until the glue dries and they act as one thick piece. However, the deck I wanted to make are made from a single solid piece of vertically laminated bamboo. This piece is sandwiched in triaxial fiberglass so the laminate bamboo does not split and this is pressed into shape. Since it is one solid piece of bamboo, it is much stronger but also much harder to hold in shape. Therefore, the press is necessary. The press itself can apply about 40T of pressure over the surface of the deck which equates to around 100psi. The press also has a heated mold to heat assist the epoxy for full strength.