Plastic skateboards aren’t always useless. While they are limited in functionality compared to wooden boards, that doesn’t mean they don’t work. They are still better than cheap skateboard decks or free skateboard decks.
If there’s one common aspect between wooden and plastic designs, it’s that you can make both at home. For real? Absolutely!
Now, if this truth sparks some creativity in you, let’s not allow it to fade. Let’s learn how to make a plastic skateboard deck. Here, we’ll create a visually poppy board that’s sustainable, made from scratch, and is reasonably functional.
Table of Contents
What to Prepare
As mentioned, plastic skateboards have a few drawbacks compared with wooden decks. Nonetheless, having these tools and materials could help us ensure a quality recycled plastic deck.
- Plastic – As mentioned, we can sustainably make plastic skateboards. Thus, prepare 1.8kg of recycled plastics as the primary component of our deck. Note that some plastics may not be as durable as others. So, you might as well assess this aspect before collecting.
- Skateboard mold – We can’t lay a skateboard pattern on a piece of plastic to cut it the way we do with glued pieces of maple. So, the best thing for this tutorial is to secure a skateboard mold to take care of the deck’s shape and concavity.
- Heating machine – Yes, a piece of extrusion equipment would be costly to make only one plastic skateboard. But if you have the odds of a friend owning one, you can make your DIY cruiser board.
- Sandpaper (60-grit)
- Trucks, grip tape (optional)
Steps to Making a Skateboard Deck
We will deal with plastic and heat, so be careful enough to prevent burning your skin or damaging other objects around you. Here are the steps to make a skateboard out of plastic.
Step 1: Prepare the plastics
Skateboard deck parts need to be durable enough. So, let’s not take chances and ensure a durable deck by sorting out sturdy plastics.
Suppose you have collected enough plastic from bottle caps, bags, stools, or other unused plastic objects.
After sorting, break these materials into smaller pieces. It will help us melt them faster later. You may also want to group these pieces by color to tailor your desired design like cool skateboard decks.
Step 2: Melt the plastic
Many eco-friendly organizations spearhead movements to make skateboard deck from recycled plastics. And common to these groups is an extrusion machine, the best tool for melting the plastics we prepared for this tutorial.
If you are lucky enough to borrow this equipment, melt your plastics as the machine manual dictates. Otherwise, you can try other options for melting plastics to get the same quality machines produce.
Some enthusiasts use ovens by placing plastic caps on a mold and liquefying them inside the appliance.
Our only goal in this step is to liquidize the plastic well enough for molding. Specifically, the melting process should have the heat at around 200°C and take approximately 2 hours.
Step 3: Filling the mold
Once the plastics enter their liquid state, it’s time to let them flow into the skateboard mold. Extrusion machines have a flow tube from the melting pot. So, you can place the mold at the tube’s exit.
Before pouring melted plastic into the mold, some skaters place a few solid plastic pieces on the mold’s bed to design the deck’s stepping surface.
Ensure you fill all the skateboard mold’s sides, corners, and patterns. Once done, place the top layer of the mold over the melted plastic.
Let the plastic cool for around 24 hours.
Step 4: Cleaning and sanding excess plastic
Let’s say your deck has cooled down completely. Unlock the skateboard mold and pull the plastic board off it.
Grab a cutter to trim down excess pieces of plastic around the deck’s edges. Be careful not to cut through the deck’s shape.
Grab a piece of sanding paper. If you have an electric sanding device, you can use that instead. Sand the sides of the skateboard deck. Keep rubbing the edges until you achieve the perfect deck texture.
Step 5: Finishing
Now that you have a skateboard deck, it’s time to furnish it.
So, start by plotting the eight truck bolt holes. Most skateboard molds come with truck bolt markers, which means all we need to do is identify them.
Grab a drill and poke holes through the plastic deck. Keep the drill’s direction straight because it will dictate the hardware’s positioning.
Slide the truck bolts from underneath the board’s stepping surface. Align the baseplate’s holes to the bolts as you mount the truck to the bottom of the deck.
Lock the truck onto the skateboard deck with the bolt nuts. Repeat the same process with the other truck.
Grab your choice of grip tape and lay it flat and neat on the board’s stepping surface. Finally, give your new skateboard a test ride, and experience a different flex and lightweight feeling.
What is the Best Material for a Skate Deck?
Of the many potentially free skateboard parts, it’s the deck many skaters would want. Not to undermine sustainable plastic skateboards, but maple remains a top choice for making skateboard decks. Here’s why.
- Maple is durable and long-lasting.
- It has sufficient flex that makes it resilient to impact from tricks.
- Maple is also friendly on the manufacturing side, allowing easy deck shaping.
Here are other materials making up some of the famous skateboard decks today.
- Bamboo – Bamboo’s shock absorbency and pop makes it perfect for skaters who practice the most demanding techniques.
- Carbon Fiber – This material has the perfect balance between weight and durability.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass boards aren’t as flexible as maple boards, but they are superior in durability. However, these skateboards may be a bit too costly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my plastic skateboard breaks?
Several green skateboarding companies recycle plastic to build skateboard decks. Does that include broken plastic skateboards? Yes!
If you have bought a skateboard from these businesses, all you must do is return the broken deck, and they’ll have it restored. Again, these boards come from plastic. So, why will it ever be impossible to make a new board out of a broken one?
Now, if you made a homemade plastic skateboard deck, you can also fix your board like these groups.
What skateboards use plastic?
We mentioned the limitations of plastic skateboards in terms of the level of usage and durability.
So, what skateboards work with plastic as the primary deck material? Examples of plastic skateboard name are penny board and mini cruiser skateboard.
Penny boards use aluminum trucks. These boards for beginners have sizes ranging from around 22″ to 27″. On the other hand, plastic mini cruisers use a unique pair of wheel holders. They are also a popular choice for kids.
A single shift to plastic skateboards may not affect the environment noticeably, but our collective efforts in recycling plastic will yield a macro effect. Despite these plastic boards being inferior to wooden skateboards, they are still worth a try.
Now that you know how to make a plastic skateboard deck, you can finally join movements for plastic recycling and other eco-friendly causes. All you need is the appropriate machine and piece of equipment and a whole lot of caution.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.