to the shaping machine users...

are the boards coming off either an APS or KKL (or any of the other machines) generally symmetrical? by symmetrical i mean one rail being the same thickness as the other?

many times my local machine guy seems to not get the registration right once he flips the board over after cutting the deck. the result is one rail being thinner than the opposite rail. easy to correct, but a bit frustrating as the resultant board is no longer what was intended.

just curious.


he’s using an APS machine, right…

no - he’s got a 3 axis CNC router with a vacuum hold-down system. I think it’s a Bridgeport machine.


i’ve heard of people having that problem with the APS machine, apparently caused by not enough support to keep the blank stationary, such that when cutting the rails, the blank shifted downward, and the machine didn’t cut as deeply as it should have.

could be the same issue.

Howzit kirk, I was talking with one of my shaper friends just the other day about this and he told me the company that does his computer shapes only scans one side of the board. They then program the shaping machine to recreate the same dimentions for the other side, ergo a board that is symetrical on both sides. Not sure if all companies do this or if all shaping machines can do this.Aloha,Kokua

For any CNC machine where you need to flip the board, you’d better be careful or you are going to get one thin and thick rail. I would guess cutting the bottom first would be better since the bottom is usuaslly flatter than the deck which will be more stable as when doing the other side. Bound to be a problem if you shape deck first, then you really need to allign things right to get even rails. To get true to the design you need to have good support. Does anyone know if the APS shapes bottom and top at the same pass? That would be much better.

Bdw. I think four cutting heads would be the best if you could fit them without interfering with each other (at an angle maybe). That way you would have the same load on each rail and two cutter pushing against each other at the same point on the dekc and the bottom. No twisting, less support needed (you’d still need good support though since the depth of the cut at the deck and the bottom would be different, yielding different pressure). It would also cut the shaping time to a quart and maintain a symetric board(forget it for asymetric designs though).



kokua, yeah…i think that’s how most shops are doing it. i know the file the machine is reading is symmetrical, just not the end result! thanks for the input.

how’s Hanalei today?!


that’s interesing, Havard. i might ask him to do that next time and see what happens.


Howzit kirk, Haven't checked Hanalei yet today but it should be pretty good sized, the only thing is it's really windy today. Just got my cast off of my hand from a fractured knuckle and the hand is still stiff and a little sore so I'm not taking any chances of reinjuring it by going out. Aloha,Kokua

I’ve had the problem on an APS - also had end to end assymmetry. I think the operator wasn’t spending the time setting the blank up straight and level. So I’m trying a new operator (happens to also be a different machine and software - a pain in the butt!).

problems will appear on any machine relying on a human operator. did you take the blanks back to the operator to get a credit? did you work thru the problem to get a better job? im sure if they were a business of any caliber they will work you thru issues like that and keep you as a satisfied customer!

I use Burford’s blanks and wouldn’t touch any other, thing is with shaping machines, they can’t or don’t go of the stringer,don’t know why they can’t get the stringers straight, but if you hand shape em it seems to work out in the end, shaping machines have not done much to help anyone except to make a whole lot more boards than was needed. If anyone thinks the pie has got bigger than it used to be, than I’m sorry and we do need Chinese imports as well, H.

You could rig up two yardsticks on each side and afix two laserpointer thingies to guage you got it right. Would cost ya maybe 30 bucks and you’d be spot on each board.

This is a can of worms so big, it goes from A plus to Sanford and Sons.

I was at a factory 2 days ago and the machine(s) they had were spit, bubble gum and prayers.

I have seen Brazilian machines the are only slightly better than a primative deck and bottom profiler.

Others have software that can only be viewed as a big pantograph, incapible of any sort of editing.

The hold down fixtures can cost as much as the machine itself. I saw machine owners setting up a machine with a bubble level?

I’m just a chump off the bus, but I have a damn digital level.

Even the best machines at time have problem blanks that refuse to get cut correctly, this most often is from the wrong rockers.

This results in having to force the blank to the rocker, which springs back when the vaccuum is released.

First, exact rockers for the individual program.

Second, a machine that can have its programs edited on the fly.

Lastly, machine operaters that know what the hell a surfboard is supposed to look like.

Howzit dave, A few months ago I visited the Patagonia shaping factory and their machine turns out some beautiful shapes. They had about 20 that were ready for glassing and I checked them out and they were about as perfect as could be. They have got it down to a science for any sized board.Aloha,Kokua

feraldave, i haven’t yet decided to take them back for a credit or not. there’s a piece of me that is interested in fixing them to see how they work! these are 9’6’s at 3" thick that, after fixing would have pinched rails and tail foils on the thin side. who knows, maybe they’ll work insane!

if i do decide against putting them on my shaping racks, then yes, i will definately take them back for a credit.


kokua, is that the factory in Ventura?


Howzit kirk, Yes it the factory in Ventura. I have a niece who works there who has final say so on what the company sells. Wanted to see their epoxy operation but the boys were surfing and the glassing shop was closed.Aloha,Kokua

this problem is known since the industry uses machines, including simple profilers. lets say the machine is set up right, the next troublemaker in line is the blank as we tend to use the stringer as the centerline. imagine the stringer not being perfectly vertical and the result is a decent misalignment. most stringers are neither straight nor vertical in the blanks.

as an alternative, you can fix the ends of the stringer and solve this problem to a degree but you will harvest other problems like twist, tension and so on.

then there is the operator who in most cases will earn his money on a piece rate and he will be more concerned with his pay packet than precise alignment.

Havaard makes an interesting point but I have always been very interested in cutting very controlled into the deck and when you cut the bottom first, you need to leave too much tolerance. this leads to deep decks cuts, not really what you want.

to help solve the issue I changed all APS3000 machines over into what I call Gen2. this change enables the APS3000 to cut the deck and the rail all around to the bottom in one go and when cutting the bottom, they cut only horizontal. this gives the board and the rail close to perfect symmetry and makes the operator job less demanding and less influencial. the attached screenshots will explain. by the way, the holding of the blank on the APS3000 is well solid enough and who says different does not understand how she works.

It could be that the X axis is not properly calibrated?