SKATEBOARD DECK MANUFACTURING
SKATEBOARD DECK MANUFACTURING
Point started supplying custom skateboard decks in 2004. Since then we have refined and perfected our processes to offer a few programs to best serve our customers needs. For business customers: Want your products quick? Our ‘In-Stock’ program is probably the way to go. The ‘In-Stock’ program(for B2B customers) allows for lightning fast turnaround on custom skateboard printing for our most popular sizes, shapes, and concaves. We accept orders as small as 25 decks(even smaller orders are accepted but not as cost-effective). We now offer a ‘one-off’ custom printed deck option for samples.
Print Types Info Link
Our ‘Build to Order’ program(biz customers only) is for the company that wants to fully design a custom skateboard product from the ground up. If you are looking for custom shapes, molds, or more, this is the program. We also make non-skateboard products that might use the same production methods and materials. Please note that the ‘Build to Order’ program requires larger orders and may also require tooling and sampling charges.
Build To Order Info Link
Anybody/Anytime: We have a newer website that allows anybody to upload artwork and order a custom deck all online: pointdistribution.com/custom_skateboard
Can I use the same graphic on different size custom decks?
Yes, we do it all the time. Just make sure you set your art to fit the largest deck, on smaller decks the graphic will just trim off a bit more.
I need 200 custom printed decks in-hand in 2 weeks. Can you do that?
Possibly. Please check https://pointdistribution.com/wholesale/turnaroundtime for current turnaround times.
I want a flatter mold for a 15.5 wheelbase old school type shape. Do you have an existing mold?
We do. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with what you are looking for. FYI- Custom shapes have a larger minimum; 100 deck order, can be split 50 of one custom shape and 50 another shape if it uses the same laminate(mold and veneer size/color). The deck unit cost roughly follows whatever ‘stock’ deck is closest. Check https://pointdistribution.com/wholesale for more info.
Unless stated otherwise all of our decks are constructed of 7 plies of 100% American/Canadian Maple (wood species- Acer Saccharum) with skateboard specific glue. Occasionally and on specific request we use Bamboo, other veneer and exotic materials but the tried and true 7 ply Canadian Maple is by far our most popular construction.
We only make top quality custom skateboard decks. All of Point’s skateboard decks are cold pressed. This method takes more time than a hot pressed deck but does not subject the wood to high temperatures that can weaken the wood fibers. Careful attention is made to the fine details like veneer moisture content and the uncut decks are allowed to cure for 4-7 days in large stacks before finishing.
How our decks are made: 7 plies of premium maple sourced from the Great Lakes region are ran through a glue application machine. These veneers are put into a hydraulic press containing the mold top and mold bottom(mold determines concave) for 1.5-2 hours at room temperature(known as cold pressing). Post mold the laminated rectangle blanks(uncuts) are allowed to cure for 4-7 days in large stacks. Truck hole drilling and shaping by template or CNC router happens next. Edges are routed and then bladder/balloon sanded. Surface sanding is next and then a coat of lacquer. Lacquer is allowed to cure and followed by more sanding and a final lacquer coat. This how a premium professional skateboard deck is made.
CUSTOM SKATEBOARD SHAPES
Choose one of our existing molds to cut your custom skateboard shape from. An illustrator file(or other vector format) with the deck outline and truck holes are required. Sample charges and minimum order quantity apply. More info for custom skateboard shape
CUSTOM SKATEBOARD MOLDS
Custom molds are quite difficult! A cad file is required and tooling charges apply. Minimum deck order required. We have quite a few molds that are not listed. Check with a rep for more info.
I want the same shape but different deck widths. How much and minimum
A similar looking shape but with a different width counts as a different shape as different shape template/programming are used for each width. 50 per shape within 100 decks in an order is minimum for a full custom shape. (Our stock shapes have no minimum).
I want the old Girl concave. Can you do that
First off we never knock-off any company but if you want a really flat concave/mold we can check to see if we have something already made. We would need a CAD/3D file to make a full custom mold if that is what you want.
I want carbon fiber. What are your options
We don’t offer a carbon fiber option. In all the tests we have done carbon fiber doesn’t make a better skateboard deck than 7 ply hard maple. That’s just our opinion!
INK CHEMICALLY BONDED TO WOOD IS THE ONLY WAY WE PRINT A SKATEBOARD DECK. NEVER A STICKER, DECAL, VINYL, WRAP, OR SOME WEIRD PLASTIC LAMINATE
HEAT TRANSFER PRINTING
This is the industry standard printing process. Full bottom, full color printing is achieved by transfer printing. A custom skateboard heat transfer is a form of screen printing. Each transfer carrier sheet is printed reverse order with screen printing ink and/or digital ink. To apply the transfer graphic the printed transfer sheet is aligned to the deck and run through a heated silicone rubber roller machine that heats the specially formulated ink. Through heat and pressure the ink on the transfer sheet forms a chemical bond to the skateboard deck. After curing the plastic carrier sheet is peeled back leaving the ink bonded to the deck. Special formulations of ink and skateboard deck coatings are used to make a tight bond.
DIRECT SCREEN PRINT
This process involves direct screen printing to the bottom of a custom skateboard deck. The print area and size are limited because of the curved surface of the deck. Smudging and registration problems can also occur. Direct screen printing can be an economical alternative to transfer printing for companies that are looking for a lower cost and small ‘mini logo’ type print. 14″x7.5″ maximum print size between the truck holes. We recommend this type of printing for smaller, less detailed one or two color graphics or top prints.
DIRECT SCREEN EXAMPLE
Actual picture below. Small 1 or 2 color print usually for top prints or mini/small logo/graphic prints. This type of print works well with our stocked background colors when trying to have a variety of colors in a smaller production order.
SCREEN PRINTED TRANSFER-
For a spot color transfer a screen is made with a stencil for each color in the graphic. Each color is screen printed to the carrier sheet in reverse order. Four color process/CMYK are printed in a similar fashion with a screen made for each of the C,M,Y,K, and white ink colors that come together to form the graphic. The inks are highly specialized and contain compounds to chemically bond with the lacquer that seals the skateboard deck. Choose this method if your graphic is full board and 1-2 colors but not too fine of detail. Sometimes if you are doing 100s of the same graphic this might also be a more economical choice with more than 2 colors.
SCREEN PRINTED TRANSFER EXAMPLE
Actual picture below. Works best for 1-2 solid full length print colors & not too much detail, more colors than 2 then digital transfers are usually more cost effective
DIGITAL PRINTED TRANSFER-
The highest level of detail is achieved using this method. In this process the graphic is digitally printed to a carrier sheet with proprietary techniques and materials. This is a big advantage for graphics that have a large amount of colors and/or really fine detail as it doesn’t require the screens (set-up fees) to produce the graphic although some screen printing is used to make the transfer. Specialized coatings are used to bind the ink to the skateboard deck. The final print adheres as good as a screen printed skateboard deck graphic. Single sample custom printed skateboard decks are available using this method. Choose this method if you are trying to print detailed or photographic prints. Most artwork is best reproduced using this method.
DIGITAL PRINTED EXAMPLE
The pic doesn’t do it justice. Much better in person. Full board full color. Super detailed image reproduction. Spot color, gradient, and flesh tone reproduction excellent as well. Other pics of a digital transfer print.
WHAT PRINT METHOD TO USE?
The artwork will determine the best method to use for printing custom skateboard decks. Below is an infographic of what method works best depending on the artwork.
|PRINT GUIDE FOR CUSTOM SKATEBOARD DECKS|
|Direct Screen Print||Small one color||Bigger than 7x13|
|Top prints||Fine detail|
|More than 1 color|
|Screen Printed Transfer||1-2 Colors. (possibly more)||Fine detail|
|Knockout (wood shows through)||More than 2 colors (digital usually better for 3+)|
|Exact Pantone color match||Gradients, fade/shade, and photographs.|
|Digital Printed Transfer||Many colors||Some knockout limitations|
|Super fine detail: gradients/fades/shading|
|Small runs and samples|
|Printing can get really complicated as we sometimes combine the above print types with metallic ink, foil, etc to achieve a desired effect. Contact a Point Distribution rep about your artwork and print goals to get an exact description.|
Why no full board direct screen print option?
For direct screen printing art has to be built with large amounts of possible print color shifting taken into consideration. Ink bleeding, shifting print locations from loose mesh, squeegee streaks, variable dot gain, and many other reasons make direct screen printing less than desirable. Fine detail like photographic printing is not possible. The print adhesion of transfers is similar as direct screen and the cost for a full direct screen print is more than 3x as much. We don’t see a reason for less quality printing that costs more*.
Please know that other companies may say ‘screen printed’ when referring to the printing of the transfers and that does not mean ‘direct to deck screen printing’.
*There are some exceptions to this rule like a completely flat longboard deck or printing the veneer pre-pressing. Some just like the nostalgia, more power to you if disagree.
Can I just buy the custom printed transfer sheets?
We do not sell transfers apart from a custom printed deck. We do not print on skateboard products that we did not produce.
Transfer sheets are what we get the most requests for. These transfer sheets are specially created to work with the chemistry of the coatings on our skateboard decks and may or may not work with decks we do not produce. For application of these sheets to decks not all transfer machines are the same. There are certain settings that not all transfer machines can achieve. Further it just does not make financial sense to sell transfer sheets.
DIGITAL COLOR CONTROL
We have a regular schedule of controlling colors and testing for color inconsistency. You may think that you ‘set it and forget it!’ when you have dialed in a digital process for printing but the truth is there is constant change, updating of technology/continuous improvement, and hard work to keep colors looking and matching great
Below is one of our control images to test color reproduction. Click for in-depth info on color matching and how to do it
We offer the below printed deck as a SAMPLE you can order. You can use this physical deck to match colors in your artwork by referencing the print file versus the actual deck graphic. The process works this way: 1. Open the reference file in Photoshop and use the eyedropper tool to determine various CMYK values in the graphic. 2. Look at the same color on the printed deck and that’s how that color will look. File links and in-depth explanation here: COMING SOON.
Hello, I just wanted to find out which is the most commonly used print technique on skateboards, is it a screen printed transfer or digital bottom print? like what technique do all the big skate brands use?
The answer as with most things is ‘It depends’. All big brands don’t use the same print type. What determines the best print type are a few different things: First ‘What print type can reproduce the artwork the best’? fine detail with shading, fading, and many colors=digital transfer, solid blocks of color, metallic spots and exact Pantone matching= screened transfer. Second ‘What makes the most financial sense?’ The unit cost per digital transfer is higher but there are no set-up fees vs lower unit cost of screened transfers with screen set-up fees. You’d have to do the math and know the total units to see which cost averages out to the lowest cost. Then you can have weird combos that don’t fit into the above like a graphic I was just looking at that has 2 screened spot colors and digital in the same graphic… It really ‘depends’….
I've got a graphic where I have a really detailed picture, metallic gold, some solid color text, and I want a section where the wood shows through. Can you guys do that?
We have done that before. We’d have to see the art to know for sure. There are definitely some requirements and limitations. This type of print usually requires combining different print methods so expect bigger minimums and additional costs..
Can you show me pictures of product that you have made for different companies?
Most of our customers want their supply chain to be secret and we think it is pretty tacky to show pictures of our customer’s product(we occasionally do it but it’s very rare). To have confidence in Point as a supplier we suggest ordering samples so you can know for sure!
How do I know that my printing will look good?
First off our reps review art for obvious issues like low resolution artwork. We’ll let you know if we see an issue. We also provide a digital proof/confirmation(on the wholesale/OEM side) for your approval before accepting an order. If you are really concerned we suggest that you order a sample before doing a production run.
I want to buy skateboard printing equipment from you. How much for a digital printing machine?
Printing a skateboard is much more in-depth than just a digital printing machine. We actually have to use 5 machines to print a skateboard using our digital transfer method. Most of these machines are custom made to our specifications. We also developed the materials and inks specifically for this application. It took years of hard work and huge expense to get to where we are today(we are still improving our processes everyday). We are more than happy to make finished printed skateboard decks for you but we do not sell these machines, materials, or just the transfers.
I want to send you 100 decks to print on. How much for a full color bottom print?
Sorry we do not print on outside product or supply skateboard printing equipment, transfers, or supplies. We only print on the products we produce.
Usually this is the choice for the tech skater but some old guys that like flatter decks also appreciate this mold. Flat spots beyond the outer truck holes provide a stable platform for nose and tail slides. Smooth transitions through the nose, tail, and center concave provide a stable platform that is not too ‘twitchy’ for flip tricks. Click the sizes below for the most popular specs. Other specs available as stock shapes as well as full custom shapes cut from this mold. Custom shape info
Steep nose and tail with a medium/deep center concave. Deeper transitions abound, these help to stiffen the deck and give it a quick snap. Nose and tail flip starts a bit quicker then the mellow after the outer truck holes exaggerating the steepness. The kids love’em, top choice for most of the under 20 skateboarders. This is our best selling concave, but mellow has been steadily taking market share. Click the sizes below for the most popular specs. Other specs available as stock shapes as well as full custom shapes cut from this mold. Concave Tech Info Link
PINTAIL LB CONCAVE
Concrete Surfers Rejoice! Multiple mold sizes for different length and types of decks. All Canadian/American maple. Usually 7 ply but 8 and 9 ply can be made in a custom press run.
Standard street with shorter wheelbase to accommodate shorter legs.
Standard medium mold to accommodate longer wheelbase and wider width.
Longer wheelbase and made for closer to 10″ wide. Updated old school mold has a deeper concave and steeper nose/tail than the original concave for the late 80’s.
OG flatter street concave.
DOUBLE/SINGLE KICK LONGBOARD:
Multiple lengths, drop-through, freeride, etc..
RECENT CUSTOM SHAPE AND MOLD QUESTIONS?
I want to make a new mold for regular popsicle decks that is exactly symmetrical for deck widths 7.75 to 8.5. What's the cost?
The cost will be pretty significant. We’ll need a CAD file for the concave, usually the top plane and a few inches longer and wider than the widest width you plan on producing. We’ll probably need an order of 500 decks and the tooling cost will vary depending on the details.
I've got a deck shape I really like. Can you make a custom shape by copying it if I send it to you?
We really shy away from copying a shape from an existing deck. We’d need a vector/CAD file to make the shape. Copying from existing shapes is much harder than it sounds as different concaves can make the same vector shape feel very different to an experienced skater. With a computer file we can make sure things match up mathematically. Custom shape info
CUSTOM SHAPES AND MOLDS/CONCAVES
We make custom shapes all the time. This requires custom CNC and/or shape templates. Minimums are higher and turnaround times longer. Custom shape info
We have a variety of ‘open-use’ molds that we have used for various projects over the years that may work for you. Full custom molds takes tons of work and are very expensive. The molds have to be mapped in CAD, cut by a CNC machine, and tested. We usually require 100’s of decks to be ordered from a custom mold. Be prepared for significant investment if you go the custom mold route!
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