Colorado School of Mines senior design team, G-Turn Ski Cores, is working on constructing all mountain, powder and terrain park ski cores for the Colorado-based company, Green Light Skis. Six mechanical engineering students and one electrical engineering student are testing ski cores for bending, shear and torsion until failure.
“One of the complications with the project is the skis are laminated, they’re not quite as straight-forward as what we learned as undergrads; we’ve had to dive in a little deeper to do a SolidWorks FEA analysis,” team leader and mechanical engineering student Shane Rumley said.
The team creates the cores by laminating wood in various configurations and cutting them using Green Light Skis’ computer controlled cutting machine. It takes three to four days for the cores to cure after the process. Once they are cured, the team cuts out the side profiles, which range from 2-12 centimeters. They measure the stiffness of the ski using a custom designed, electro-mechanical rig they built for the project.
“We use softwood for powder skis because when you are doing backcountry, you want skis that are light to carry and playful in the powder,” Rumley said.
Mechanical engineering student Ben Paley said research shows there is an appeal to having your skis custom made.
“One of the coolest things we’ve found is that people are buying around 25 percent of skis from unknown or small ski manufacturing companies,” Paley said.
Green Light Skis owner Ben Bramer started the company out of his apartment in spring 2012. He said working with the senior design team has exceeded his expectations.
“This research is important for Green Light Skis as it allows for sophisticated research and development of both skis and snowboards,” Bramer said. “This type of testing is non-existent in the niche of custom ski and board making and it will give us a competitive advantage as we can work with our customers to produce a proven product before they purchase.”