Aaron Pearson
Vice President of Public Relations

Shanon Marks started sailing as a child and windsurfing when he was only 12 years old. Growing up on Long Island, New York, Shanon would sail the New England coastline with his family. Now living in Chicago, his passion for sailing and surfing – and making these sports accessible to everyone – is still growing.

At the end of 2012, Shanon founded MADE LLC. It’s mission: to not only make windsurfing accessible and affordable for everyone, but to also make it easier for windsurfers to enjoy. MADE LLC provides customized windsurf boards that are built specifically to the size, style, and conditions of each customer.  The cornerstone of the company’s strategy is 3D printing, using a top-of-the-line Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D Production System.

made boards, shanon marks

Built For the Way You Ride

“Rather than figuring out which board to ride, you’ll be out on the water having fun!”

– Shanon Marks, Founder of MADE Boards

While there are a lot of advantages to 3D printing windsurf boards, such as lowered cost and reduced waste, the most exciting benefit is “mass customization” - producing customized boards at the level of mass production.

Today, newbie windsurfers try to choose a board best suited to their particular size, weight, surfing technique, expected weather conditions and more. MADE SmartBoards™ are designed based on a large set of windsurfer-specific details, tailoring the ride to each of them.

How Does It Work?

3d printed windsurfing board A windsurfer takes to the water on his finished Stratasys 3D-printed board

Surfers download the MADE performance analytics tracking app called VOLUME on their smart phone (either Android or iOS).  The phone is put into a waterproof case and then worn while windsurfing. Over the course of a few days, the app collects the windsurfer’s performance data and also cross-references it with other details, including the date,  wind speed and direction, wave height, speed and direction, barometric pressure, altitude, and freshwater versus saltwater. Those findings figure into the exact build of the unique customized board.

Better for the Environment, Too

By 3D printing windsurf boards, MADE is lowering the impact on the environment. According to Shanon, traditional board manufacturing can be a wasteful industry with about 60% of a board’s foam core tossed out during the shaping process. Although his build still requires fiberglass and polystyrene, additive manufacturing minimizes how much material is needed – and wasted.

Why Stratasys?

windsurfing, made boards Catching a wave on a custom designed and 3D printed board

When we asked Shanon why he decided on Stratasys and the Fortus 900mc 3D Production System, he named two factors – technology and people.

The Fortus 900mc creates parts as large as 914 x 610 x 914 mm (36 x 24 x 36 in.). The boards are built in sections and bonded together.  The large build tray limits the number of build runs needed, lowering the production time. A typical 7- or 8-foot-long board is built in three sections, built in about 30 hours each. Each bond takes another hour, and total setup time is only 20 minutes.

Shanon said the materials available are a critical element in the design, stability, and durability of MADE boards. MADE is currently using Stratasys ABS-M30 production-grade plastic material (out of the current nine material options for the Fortus line).

While he may have first chosen Stratasys for its 3D printers, 3D Production systems, materials and technologies, Shanon says the team have been “wonderful and a big added plus.” Rob Winker, a Senior Applications Engineer at Stratasys, helped Shanon with the prototype board.  Winker walked him through the entire process and today Shanon considers him to be not only an integral part of the MADE team, but also “like part of our family.”

“We owe all of our progress to date to Stratasys. They provided the internal structure for the first board. They helped us through the engineering pitfalls that we had encountered. And they’ve been a supportive partner throughout this process.”