Glassing 3D Printed Boards

try the rice-paper

Hmm… I’m not sure if rice paper tightens up and conforms like tissue paper but this seems like it would be worth a shot.

I’ve tried looking and asking around for the “micro sandwich foam” that wyve mentioned but I haven’t found anything yet. If anyone has any idea what that is please let me know.

I think small fractures led it to leak as after a session the board was half full of water

I suppose we shall see but I have hope based on my testing so far and the fact that wyve surfboards seems to be able to make lattice boards work somehow.

I’ve been doing some strength testing on the voids today with the different layups. I also put a hot coat on each test piece yesterday to give it some extra rigidity. Even 1 4oz layer does seem to be able to take my weight when I put my full 185lbs on my heel down into the void although 1 layer of 4oz cloth has much more flex than 2 layers of 6oz as would be expected. Then I tried pushing a large #3 phillips screwdriver through the voids. The results of that were:

1 layer 4oz - could do it with one hand with a decent amount of force
2 layers of 4oz - could do it with one hand and slightly more force
1 layer 4oz, 1 layer 6oz - could not do it with one hand, took lots of force with two hands
2 layers of 6oz - same as previous, could not do it with one hand and took lots of force with two hands.

Its not very scientific but anecdotally based on flex amount and puncture avoidance I think 4 oz on its own (even two layers) is just too soft for the size of my voids. 1 layer of 4oz and 1 layer of 6oz is probably the minimum I’d want to use so that’s probably what I’ll do for most of the board and then maybe I’ll add an extra patch on the footbed area to give some more strength there.

One other thing to note… on Make Cardboard Surfboards

Sheldrake recommends 1 layer of 4oz and 1 layer of 6oz on their smaller boards and then an added layer of 4oz on the top. This gives me some level of confidence that I’m in the ballpark here for my layup if that’s what the cardboard guys are doing.

Glues… I tried many different glues to stick the tissue to the plastic with varying levels of success. The winner needs to soak into the paper so that it can follow the shape of the board and also stick well to plastic:

White Glue - conforms well but isn’t the strongest hold
Wood Glue - conforms well but isn’t the strongest hold
Glue stick - doesn’t conform well or stick well
Lepage Spray Adhesive - sticks pretty good but extremely messy and takes a long time to dry under tissue
CA Glue - sticks very well but causes wrinkles in tissue and doesn’t allow tissue to conform
epoxy - doesn’t soak into tissue easily to conform to board shape
Water Based Varathane - Conforms well, sticks pretty well, yellow tint
Water Based Concrete Sealer - Conforms well, sticks pretty well, clear finish. WINNER

I also wanted to try the actual dope used on balsa planes but I don’t have any and the internet says it doesn’t work well on plastic, could melt it, and has terrible fumes so I think I’m ok with not testing it and I’ll just go with the clear water based sealer I have.

Once the tissue is attached to the board I can then either a) coat it with more sealer to strengthen it b) coat it with epoxy as stoneburner suggested or c) just start doing my layup right on the bare tissue. I did a test piece to see if c was possible and it seems to have worked perfectly fine with the thicker 17gsm tissue I’m using now and it still resulted in a perfectly flat surface so I think I’ll go with this method to save a bit of weight unless anyone sees a good reason not to. I’m doing a final test piece with this method now to confirm everything and if all goes well I’ll go print another board and hope for the best.

I read somewhere that wyve make some kind of molds for the glassing process

I used polyspan tissue first, then fiberglass. I sold it early on, so I have no idea of longevity. The tissue is very strong. Stronger than silkspan tissue.

Polyspan (

The next step up would probably be silk. Google both, and also try researching canoes or kayaks built with a skin over open framework. Maybe something like rip stop nylon could be an option, then fiberglass.


Rip stop nylon is the same thing as peel ply so it definitely wouldn’t bond at all. Polyspan looks like a great option.

Any updates?

Sorry I got a bit sidetracked over the winter here and wanted to rework my cad files again to make a few mods to the lattice. Things are progressing again over the last week or so and a new board is on the printer right now. Should have updates soon.


Ok, new board using tissue paper under the fiberglass is now complete. I used water based floor sealer to stick the tissue to the 3d printed blank along the lattice frame and then spritzed the whole thing with water while still wet to get the paper to shrink up evenly. After the tissue papering was complete I fiberglassed with epoxy directly on the board with one layer of 6oz and 1 layer of 4oz cloth and then a fill coat ontop of that and sanded down to final finish.

In general this method worked pretty well but I had some issues getting the tissue paper to lay completely flat across the entire board and not crease or dimple anywhere. I had to do some tissue repairs in a few spots which were pretty easy to do. Anywhere that I had to join two sheets of tissue I found it was best to overlap them at least 2cm or more otherwise they would fall into the voids a bit. I also found that after the tissue dried there were floor sealer drip marks in the middle of some of the voids that probably don’t affect anything but just look a bit unsightly. The dripping can be reduced by going a bit lighter with the water and sealer and I did that on the bottom with some better results.

This newest board has a tiny bit of bowing between the voids but I think its within an acceptable range. Using Polyspan like Huck recommends would probably solve the bowing issues even more and would also probably be easier to not have it wrinkle as much so I’ll try to find some for next time. I’d also like to keep trying to find a way of doing the layup off the board and then transferring it to the board directly after a short cure period and not using anything underneath. My target weight is under 3kg and this one came in at 3.35 which is pretty close. I printed this board laying flat instead of having the pieces standing up and that results in a lot of wasted 3d plastic support pieces that are a pain to remove so next time I’ll definitely try to stand the pieces up although that might require a re-design of the lattice geometry.

Here’s link to an album of the process:

And here’s some finished pics.


Hi! Great work and thanks a lot for sharing.

This is awesome to see; thanks for sharing all of your progress.

You may want to connect with Patricio Guerrero in Santa Cruz. He is making 3d printed boards, too. (I don’t know him, I just saw this article the other day):

They’re interesting boards, this technology certainly is worth exploring. It looks to me from that article that they print a thin skin that gets glassed over? Is that possible? My knowledge of 3D printing could be written on a pin head!!!

Thanks for the link to Swell! It looks like they’re printing with a thin exterior wall which definitely makes glassing simpler as there are no voids. As I’ve mentioned above, when I’ve tried a thin exterior wall I’ve had issues post-construction with the thin exterior plastic warping a little bit underneath the fiberglass between the infill lines once it gets heated by the sun causing a bubbling effect on the surface of the board.

In the news article it says Swell is printing in PETG plastic which might solve some of the bubbling since it has more heat resistance than the PLA plastic I’ve been using. However printing really large objects with PETG can be tough since it does tend to warp more on the build plate as it cools but I’ll give it a shot. I’ve tried printing single-walled objects like model airplane wings in the past with PETG and found it warps a bit during the print but I’ll try it again if they’re making it work.

I believe WYVE and a few other board printing companies I’ve looked into are printing in PLA and its generally seen as a more eco-friendly plant-based plastic but regardless its worth looking into other plastics.

I can also just use a thicker exterior wall which would increase the weight but it might be the right trade-off to reduce the warping. I’m using a 0.6mm nozzle on my printer and I believe a 1.2mm thick exterior PLA wall (2 walls) won’t warp under the fiberglass in normal conditions but a 0.6mm wall (1 wall) does seem to bubble.

So FYI over the last week we’ve had a heat wave here in BC Canada and I’ve had some serious issues with these 3D printed PLA plastic boards warping and delaminating. The lattice-style boards are holding up better than the thin walled boards however the one I did with the tissue paper over the voids had a full side of fiberglass delaminate right off the board and I had to do some big repairs but the 3D printed core is ok. The thin walled construction boards warped beyond repair after I left them in the sun for a while (one was leaning against a wall and it folded right in half!) which obviously isn’t ideal for a surfboard. I had hoped that with the fiberglass and epoxy coating the plastic boards would be protected a bit more from the sun but that’s definitely not the case.

Going to try some different filaments and see if that helps.

Would the addition of a vent help?

Probably a good idea to include one and connect all the internal air chambers.

I just stumbled upon these guys: Site says they use fiberglass and one layer of (CENSORED)… lol. I wonder if its polyspan or something similar?

“First composite layer… Our innovative approach to crafting surfboards involves a closely guarded secret - the base layer technique. This technique employs a composite material to set the foundation for the board’s construction. The specialized base layer creates a smooth surface that enables the subsequent fiberglassing process to occur seamlessly and consistently, resulting in a high-quality and durable surfboard”

They say each board uses about 50 soda bottles worth of recycled plastics which makes me think they’re printing in PETG.