I call it a profiler

So I’m thinking about shapes and my boards and how they ride. I decide I should record the shapes of the boards I own to keep for future reference. Okay, rocker, template, thickness, width, I can do that. What about foil, bottom contour and rail shape? Very important features but I can’t trace or use calipers to capture them. How can I record those features?

I thought about it for a while and this is what I came up with. I call it a profiler. It traces bottom contour and rail shape to paper. I can only get about 2/3 of the way around the rail. That’s okay. I flip the board, do the same on the deck so the tracings overlap on the rail making a full section. You can’t see it but the paper is 10 grid per inch so I can easily measure from the tracing. The pic is of my first try today. Seems to work. Should be handy.


Hi Ryan,

Thats smart thinking…It reminds me of the first “Pantagraph Profiler”, in which your pencil would be a router, and the tracing of an existing board in fact carried over to another blank.


Love it. If you ever get to Bristol R.I. visit the Herreshoff Museum. He was a GREAT yacht designer and in his model room are a whole array of cunning devices like yours for taking profiles of yacht models which he would then scale up to full size (70’+!). As a phenomenal engineer his gadgets would read off directly to whatever scale he wanted. There are all those wonderfully intricate dials, cogs and gauges, all hand crafted from brass and bronze. It is a real treat!!


Great alternate use of drawer slides…I like it.

Your paper can be gotten in 8 grid /inch (1/8") which would be easier to measure. 10 is good for metric but less accurate if working in feet and inches. Any decent art supply with drafting supplies will have it.



Rhode Island huh? Sounds like a great exhibit but Rhode Island is just about as far away from me as you can get and still be in the U.S. I do travel though so maybe I’ll make it there someday. Obviously I like contraptions so I’d like to check it out. Last June I got to visit The USS Monitor Exhibit at The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Viginia. http://www.mariner.org/ That was first class.

Pete, I was going for the smallest grid I could find go get best detail.

Thanks guys. Now I’ve got a bunch of tracing to do.

That’s Slick.

I have been using a piece of soldering wire wraped around the rail then scanned into the computer. Not quite as accurate.

Shouldn’t half the board be good enough?

Yah, half is good enough as long as I get top and bottom so I can get the complete section. I’m going to try to do some computer graphics stuff to digitally trace and blend the segments and make them one.


Awesome contraption. You say you are going to digitally trace? Does this mean you are going to put encoders on both of the axes of the tool?

Wow. Sounds like you have found an inexpensive way to digitally render a board…


Ahhh Max, if only I were as clever as that. No, I’m just doing it caveman style with paper and pencil. I will then either scan the tracings or take pictures and upload those. All together, with my rocker and template photos, various measurements and profile tracings, I can create a file in my computer that has all the vitals for my boards. Hmmm…now that I think of it, since the board is without fins and wax, I should probably weigh it also.

Cool tool, Ryan!

It’s too bad APS/AKU 300000 doesn’t let you overlay an image for the cross section.


Thanks. It’s true it doesn’t have an image feature for slices but you can do pretty well by scaling your slice to the real size. I just tried it. Pick a slice and hit “z”. This should give you half of a slice with accurate, real, on-screen dimensions. If it’s not exact, you can use the + and - keys to zoom in small steps until it’s the right size. Now you can either cut the tracings or just place them over the screen and adjust your slice as you wish. I can see the slice through the paper.

In my case the tracings are for reference for now and in the future. I’ve a board designed and I’m pretty set on template, rocker, and dimensions. I’m now checking it against some of the features of my current boards. My board is kind of a hybred so I’m really interested in the bottom and rails of two very different boards that I have. One is fast really fast with good drive and hold and the other is really manueverable and quick with decent speed. Now, with the tracings, I’m hoping to understand why a little better then incorporate from there.

Thanks again.