Learning about skateboards isn’t only one task on your to-do list. It’s more of a continuous journey where you need to advance in skills and knowledge.
Similar to any sport, science also has a vast influence on skateboarding. And like many curious minds, you might have once asked, “what simple machine is a skateboard?” Interestingly, skateboards come as a combination of two machines—a wheel and an axle, and a lever.
See how this composite works through this article.
Skateboard: A Combination of Two Simple Machines
If you go back to your grade school textbook, you’ll find six simple machines, of which two are present in a skateboard.
These simple machines are the wheel and axle and the lever. Let’s define them and understand how they work on skateboards.
The first simple skateboard machinery manifests with the deck, particularly with the nose and tail. Whether these areas are flat or upward-sloping, it won’t matter, as stepping on one end will still cause a lever motion on the other.
And since a fundamental lever machine requires a fulcrum, manufacturers created the skateboard’s trucks. This part is where the deck controls motions on the board.
To illustrate, let’s say you’re doing a regular skateboard pick-up. While standing behind the skateboard’s tail, you’ll point your foot toward the tip of the deck. Then, you’ll step on it, and the other end of the board will pop up high.
Another example of this mechanism is nose pick-up. When skaters want to slow down, they’ll leave their front foot on the deck and step their back foot on the ground. The front foot will exert pressure on the deck at the same time.
This movement lifts the opposing end of the skateboard.
Wheel and axle
Young skateboarders would have been more enthusiastic had they ridden skateboards before seeing the wheel and axle simple machine in their books.
This simple machine is straightforward as its name also depicts the exact skateboard component. The truck axles come in a sturdy alloy, while the wheels are of polyurethane material.
The axles attach to the wheels firmly through the bearings, driving them to rotate in parallel directions.
Through the wheel and axle, the rider performs motions such as rolling, carving, and grinding. Without this simple machine, no skateboard ride will transpire.
What simple machine is a skateboard? It may be safe to say skateboards aren’t simple machines. They’re more like compound machines with huge science behind them.
The wheel and axle and lever are only two examples that make skateboarding an exciting activity. Understanding these mechanics may help you appreciate the sport more.
Ready to know more about the science of skateboarding? Tell us what you think in the comments.
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.