Welcome to the future. With the advent of accessible 3D printing, the possibilities for surf fin experimentation are not only endless, but totally feasible.
Now, 3D printing will likely not yield the best fins you’ll ever surf, but it does provide an avenue for quick prototyping and experimenting with unique materials and designs.
This guide is designed to help those who have purchased a Wave Arcade digital fin/comb file or want to design their own for 3D printing.
How to 3D Print a Surfboard Fin
Making your own fin is easy! With a WAVE ARCADE 3D-modeled fin you’ll simply need to:
- Download the .STL file from the email you receive or your account page after purchase.
- Open the file in your 3D printer’s editor to modify the print settings and convert it to g-code
- This is where you’ll determine the print orientation, infill patter, and print speed.
- Determine the filament material you’ll print with.
- Send your file to the 3D printer and press print!
You can also use this file with a CNC machine or as a guide to cutting and foiling your own surf fins by hand.
Be sure to check your measurements & settings. Get in touch if you run into any problems!
If you want to start from scratch, the following section is for you.
Designing your Own Fins for 3D Printing
If you want to design your own surf fins for 3D printing, it’s not too difficult to learn.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to design your fins and get them ready for 3D printing:
- Decide on the type of fin you want to make – model something based off an existing fin you like or try to design something totally new. Just keep in mind some of the basic principles of fin design and you’ll be good to go.
- Design the fin
- You can start designing by hand if you’d like or you can get started on the computer.
- Adobe Illustrator can be a good place to start if you have any experience working with the application.
- finFoil.io – is free software designed specifically for modeling fins. It has a desktop and online version and is very beginner friendly.
- OpenSCAD – a programming based 3D modeling software is a great way to create and add fin bases to fin profiles designed in finFoil.
- Other free and paid 3D modeling programs are good options too – the best one for you is going to depend on your familiarity with 3D modeling and the learning curve you’re willing to deal with.
- Double check dimensions – if you’re working in different programs, it’s important to make sure your dimensions are correct – especially for the fin base.
- Load and preview your fin in your printer’s 3D modeling program.
- Choose the filament you want to use and any other print setting like orientation and infill and get ready to print. Different filament material and infill patterns will yield different flex properties for your fin.
- 3D Print your fin and surf!