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Ever wanted to shred down the mountain atop a sheet of super smooth glass? The folks at Network_A and Signal Snowboards teamed up to make a real glass snowboard and see how it rides. This video is fun to watch — you get to see the entire build process and the exhilarating field testing afterwards. It looks like they had a blast.

Signal owner Dave Lee traveled to Brescia, Italy to have it made out of quality Italian glass. Watch as they cut the two pieces of glass, bake (melt) the tip and tail curves into them, give them a tempering salt bath, join together the two halves, vaccuum seal it, and finally bake it in a gigantic autoclave.

Once it’s finished, Signal Italian team rider Giorgio “Iannino” Morell takes it through its paces in on a Tuscany mountain. As soon as he gets his boot strapped in, Dave asks, “How does it feel?” Iannino replies, “Fast, man. So fast!”

The actual performance of the board appears to have been unpredictable. At a certain point, the board just stops out of the blue. But other times, like “when Iannino would get the board on a steep section of this hill, then it would break loose, and all of a sudden it would be the fastest board you’ve ever seen.”

After the first run, the glass had cracked, but since it’s tempered, the board was still intact, and he continued to ride. They got a couple hours of riding in, but then on the last run, everyone heard a loud crack, and it broke for real.

[via @vice]

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Dave and Iannino heading towards the mountain.

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Iannino strapping in to the beautiful glass board.

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“On toes and heels it feels so good. You just push a little bit of pressure and it just turns.”

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Cracked, but still intact.

I like Dave’s words at the end of the video: “Our day is done. And we’re not sad about it, because that’s what Every Third Thursday‘s all about. You give things a try, and sometimes they work out, and sometimes it’s back to the drawing board.”

Laura Cochrane

I’m an editor at MAKE and CRAFT. I like hiking, biking, and etymology.


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Comments

  1. So amazing and cool. Too bad it broke so soon.

  2. Jeff Nme says:

    Maybe the next version could be laminated, like a windscreen?

    1. cliff says:

      It was, that’s what kept it together when it first broke. It looks like it was three layers of glass and two sheets of plastic. It was probably stronger than a windscreen since I think they are only two sheets of glass.

      1. cliff says:

        OK I looked back and I think it was only two sheets of glass. Three thinner sheets probably would have been better.

        “After the first run, the glass had cracked, but since it’s tempered, the board was still intact” tempering makes the glass stronger and keeps it from creating big sharp nasty pieces of glass. The lamination is what kept it intact.

  3. Mike says:

    It obviously has potential. You just need a manufacturing technique that ensures the glass is unbreakable and you have yourself a winning board.

  4. Jason! says:

    This seems like a perfect application for Gorilla Glass.

      1. Eric Chu says:

        This snowboard is beautiful! Maybe someone can laminate a sheet of Gorilla Glass onto a half-thick wood board to make it more durable but still have the same properties of riding on glass.

        1. Yeah. Just imagine how little to no friction that kind of board would produce. Thats definately worth exploring :D
          The only question that remains is if gorilla glass handles temperature changes well. Going from room temperature to below zero and back is where the unknown factor lies.

    1. cliff says:

      Who is to say it wasn’t, but Gorilla glass may not be the best application here since its designed to resist scratches. A snow board has to be flexible. I’ve seen enough phones with broken screens to know its not indestructible.

      I wish I still had easy contact with an old friend. He makes windshields for PPG and would love to see this and would have some answers.

  5. Goli Mohammadi says:

    #ifihadglass :))))

    1. Hehe nice one. But that joke made me imagine for a second. What if you you could project stuff on to the glass snowboard? Speed, surface temperature, friction, the track ahead of you etc. Yeah I know I’m going a bit off the rails here but the thought seemed awesome :D

      1. Laura Cochrane says:

        “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” -Peter Diamandis

        : )

        1. Good to know. I am full of those ;D

        2. ka1axy says:

          Right you are! That was a fascinating video. I was impressed by the punishment the “board” took. Kudos for having the idea and following through with it. Perhaps we will see glass boards next year?

  6. Craig says:

    There is (or was) a product that we used to call “Flexi-glass” in the touchscreen factory I worked at years ago. It was paper thin and able to make a 90 degree bend. It could be easily laminated to a fiberglass board.

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