Firstly, sorry I haven’t posted in a while; Snow Trax had taken a back seat after I changed jobs in February; don’t worry though, I’m back on the project now.
In July, I’ve managed to get back to the social media posting (Instagram and Facebook), and the blog posting (see this months blog post on “The 10 best ski runs in France“). I’ve also managed to get back to the design to a point where I can order the sample plastics.
Designing for Manufacturing
The first few iterations of the design weren’t going to be easy to build because they were designed to be easy to build. Now I’ve finished the design, I’m going back over all the components to see if things can be made better or with less parts.
The battery housing was a serious concern on a price front. It had multiple holes, slots, channels, and threaded parts on it, which was going to be very expensive and would need to be made of metal so that other parts could be welded to it. With a bit of tinkering, the base can now be injection moulded as a single piece with all the attachments (no welding required). Plastic will also last longer than metal in the abrasive, cold, and wet environment you will experience in the mountains.
Due to the swing arm design of the Snow Trax, a catch mechanism is required to hold the tracks to the snow (engaged position) or up between your feet and out of the way (neutral position); this catch mechanism has been the most difficult part of the design because it has to fit around the rest of the parts (motors, batteries, and the rider). With the design finally finished, and the plastics sent off for samples
I’ve also been able to shave 40mm off the width of the unit, so it’ll fit onto even more sizes and styles of snowboard. As long as your snowboard is between 230mm (9″) and 400mm (15.5″) wide in the middle, Snow Trax should fit your board.
All the plastics and metalwork designs have been sent off to be sampled, so towards the end of August I should have the first working prototype, with videos to follow in Early September. The Kickstarter will be in October (3 months later than I planned), but the first units should ship late-November, just in time for the start of the season in the Northern hemisphere.