One of the things i do with my boards to set them apart is to inlay the phase leads for the motors into the deck. While primarily a way to keep them from getting snagged, stretched, and from rubbing up against the motor cans, It also serves as an aesthetic asset. I make them part of the theme of the build with colored wire when possible and complimentary colored paint or stain in the channel on the wood itself as the background. Then i fill it in with glass clear resin and do my bottle glass grip over the top of it. ITs actually sort of a trademark of mine in a way, so i’m planning to file for that officially soon. But that does not mean i won’t encourage you to use this method in your own personal builds. I’d be delighted. A few people already have. It just means i’ll be forced to sue faceless asshole corporations that use it and try to leverage it as branding.
But how do i do all that shit? Here’s some pics that will explain it. I’m using a build i’m doing for Gear Diary in this post, so you may recognize some of the artwork involved if you follow them and read their articles.
First, I have an x-carve that does the actually channeling. Originally i sat in my driveway with a dremel and did this a couple of times, but then i realize that a robot would be better at it. So fo the first couple of builds i did, i actually sent my boards of to @cmatson to carve them for me on his, and when i got the cash together i got my own.
But remeber, you don’t need an x-carve to do this. You can do it with a decent router or even a dremel. Hell, if you’re feeling especially “authentic” you can use wood chisels. The x-carve just lets me drink heavily while watching a robot do some cool shit.
Next up is prepping the channel. After sanding and getting it clean, you’ll want to do somethign with the wood before you put the bullets in there. Paint or stain is fine, but keep it thin. The resin still needs to bond to all the imperfections so if you use paint, let it soak in and don’t coat it too much. In this pic, the paint takes very well so it can stay thin and still have adequate coverage.
After its painted, the next thing is to tap in the bullets. HEre’s where having an x-carve comes in handy. It can not only carve the channels, but also drill the holes for the bullets. If youre using a router or dremel, you’ll need to drill the holes manually. Measure your bullets and find a drill bit to match the outer diameter exactly. You’re going to tap the bullets in with a hammer, so they need to be super snug. This is to keep the resin from dripping through between the wood and bullet connectors. IF you can’t get it snug enough, you can also use some hot glue to keep it from dripping out. Epoxy doesn’t really stick to hot glue all that well, which is something we’ll use to our advantage next.
After the bullets are in, get your wire and for each one, make it the exact length it needs to be in order to lay in there flat on its own and not poke up or curl. Tin each end of the wires, get some solder into those bullets, and then solder each wire onto the bullets. For the ones near the wheels, you can sink the female bullets in deeper and dremel off the ends to create a flat spot for soldering. For the males you’ll want to fill in the hole with solder to give yourself a pad. You don’t want the wires bending into the backs of the connectors, they simply won’t lay flat that way.
When that bit is done, it should look like this:
Notice the thin blue tape. Now comes the trick with the hot glue. I use hot glue to build up a barrier around the outside of the channel to keep the resin from flowing all over the board. This is important, because you have to overfill the channel in order to sand it to the shape of the deck and also to let the bubbles rise up far enough to sand them all out.
So then we start on the hot glue walls:
BECOME A 3D PRINTER. Slowly trace a line of hot glue around on the tape, then when you circle all the war around, keep going on top of the glue you already had down. I usually go up three layers or so because my decks have weird curves. This takes maybe one long stick of hot glue.
Once that’s don and the glue is cold, mix up your resin and pour it in:
it takes me about three ounces or so to properly overfill the channel to where the bubbles will rise past the sanding line. Then set it somewhere and let it cure overnight.
Once the resin is hard, the hot glue just peels right off like so:
Then its a matter of just sanding the shit out of it with some 80 grit. I use an orbital sander for this, but you could just as easily waste an entire day hand sanding it. With an orbital it takes about 30 minutes or so to grind it down and then another 5 minutes or so with 220 grit to smooth it over.
So hopefully, when its all said and done, you’ll have this before you clear grip it to show off your channels: