SAN RAFAEL, CA -- Autodesk, Inc. has named 42 Surfboards, an Oregon-based manufacturer of classic surfboards, the Autodesk Inventor of the Month for June 2008. 42 Surfboards uses Autodesk Inventor software to create its line of high-performance surfboards that are shaped entirely from sustainably harvested local woods. By avoiding materials like foam and balsa wood-which have a large carbon footprint-42 Surfboards provides surf enthusiasts with a green alternative that reduces the environmental impact of the sport.

The Inventor of the Month program recognizes the most innovative design and engineering advancements made by the extensive community using products from the Autodesk Inventor software product family -- the foundation of the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping. A digital prototype is a realistic 3D model of the entire end product, used to virtually optimize and validate a product before it is built to reduce the necessity of constructing physical prototypes.

Historically, foam and balsa wood have been the only materials that major surfboard manufacturers could use to achieve the proper density ratios for their boards. Unfortunately, neither of these materials is very strong: foam and balsa wood boards often break within the first few months of use and need to be replaced.
What's more, both materials raise environmental concerns. Foam -- which is a petroleum-based product -- has a highly toxic manufacturing process, while balsa wood needs to be transported from South America to other parts of the world, making it prohibitive from a carbon-impact standpoint. Hardwood is much stronger than these materials -- and has been used by individuals for centuries to fashion surfboards -- but it has the disadvantage of being very heavy, which affects the speed and maneuverability of the board and its surfer.

Solid Modeling Leads to Innovation

Autodesk Inventor enables 42 Surfboards to create a new generation of wooden surfboards by taking the strength of woods like spruce and poplar and giving it the lightness and performance of lighter materials like foam and balsa wood.

The key is Inventor software's solid modeling functionality, which enables 42 Surfboards to digitally shape a piece of hardwood and create a wooden surface exactly as thick or thin as needed. By precisely shaping the wood, 42 Surfboards minimizes the total weight while maximizing strength, creating a sturdy board that is very fast and highly maneuverable.

"Inventor is the difference between being able to do what we do, and only being able to imagine it," said Lars Bergstrom, president of 42 Surfboards. "With Inventor's solid modeling capabilities, we are able to be precise on the order of thousandths of an inch in designing our boards, and build them to exact specifications. We would not be able to get anywhere near the tolerance levels we require, and we would not be able to use locally grown and sustainably harvested wood for our surfboards, without solid modeling."

Digital Prototyping enables 42 Surfboards to rapidly explore new product ideas and designs without the time and expense of creating physical prototypes. As a result, the company now offers seven different 100% wood surfboard models within its product lineup. Each model is designed to last a lifetime, helping to reverse the "disposable board" culture brought about by decades of inexpensive but fragile foam and balsa wood boards.

"42 Surfboards saw a market need for an environmentally friendly surfboard, and Inventor gave them the technology to make that vision a reality," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president of Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions. "It is a pleasure to name 42 Surfboards as our Inventor of the Month."

About the Autodesk Inventor of the Month Program

Each month, Autodesk selects an Inventor of the Month from the more than 700,000 users of Autodesk Inventor software, the foundation for Digital Prototyping. Winners are chosen for engineering excellence and groundbreaking innovation.

About 42 Surfboards

Oregon-based 42 Surfboards is a manufacturer of classic American surfboards. By hand shaping local wood into beautiful high-performance surfboards, the company aims to change the very paradigm of choosing a surfboard.

SOURCE: Autodesk

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