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Mechanical Engineering Students to Snowboard Creators

July 12, 2017

About Me

Josh Filgate and Jesse Kuhn are NU Mechanical Engineering Alums from the class of 2008. They’ve both worked in product development since graduating and have a side business called “Filgate and Kuhn Fabrications” based out of Josh’s barn in Lyndeborough, NH. You can find them at www.facebook.com/FnKFab/, and filgateandkuhn.com.

Mechanical Engineering Students to Snowboard Creators

So there’s this thing that happens to engineers, at least all of the ones that I know. There’s this moment where you’re looking at a thing and something inside you clicks. It’s like something out of the final scenes of The Matrix, where the thing you’re looking at ceases to be the thing, but instead you can see all of the building blocks and how they all fit together. You see the parts, how they interact,and you can even picture how all the parts might have been designed or made. And sometimes, after experiencing this moment, you have the instinct to just go make one of your own in your garage, preferably with a friend who is equally as crazy as you are.

We started making boards about 5 years ago. At first it was a bit of a pet project. We watched a few youtube vidoes, read some forum posts, and hit the local lumber yard. It took us a bunch of long nights and countless weekends but eventually we put together a really crude vacuum press, some basic snowboard making jigs, and a handful of boards that only their creators could love.

As time went on, things improved. We went on to design and build a heated 18 Ton pneumatic press, a CNC router, a CNC minimill, and a handful of clever tools to help us get the process under control. We also started breaking things into what we called “30 minute tasks” where we tried to streamline each task into something that could be done early in the morning before work, or late at night before bed.

Looking back, you might think it’s strange that two engineers fully engaged in their day jobs would take on a project of this size. The truth is that we were (and are) addicted to it. There are so many things that you get exposed to in the course of the work day. When we’re in the shop, we take on any type of project we want: designing a jig, molding a part, running an experiment to optimize a fiberglass layup, design for the end user, artwork...the possibilities are really only limited by how much sleep you are willing to sacrifice and how big your garage is.

Well it’s the summer of 2017, we’re still going strong. We’re working on a totally fresh collection of boards for the 2017-2018 season and loving every second of shop time we get our hands on.

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