Magine relies on its specially made press to create each snowboard by hand. The first step is constructing the core, made from local wood laminates from Newfoundland. The core determines the snowboard’s flex profile (a stiff or soft board) and durability. After the wooden core is built, the base plastic layer is cut and fitted with steel edging. Next, the production team proceeds with hand layup. Each layer of the sandwich is covered, coated and layered with epoxy, including the base, a layer of Bio-Tex, the wooden core, another layer of Bio-Tex and the top layer (usually featuring graphics). Once each layer is coated, it is then placed in the press, where it cures for nearly three hours.
The University of Manitoba performed mechanical testing on the first snowboards built by Magine. The university conducted a three-point flexure test to determine the boards’ flexibility and shape. Next came the fun part – test riding the bio-composite snowboards. “We all got a chance to test out the boards personally,” says Wheeler. “We had one rider come test out a blacked out board [no graphics] and he didn’t want to give it back!”
Magine has displayed their snowboards at several trade shows, including Composites Engineering 2012. “We’re just trying to get our name out there so people know that we exist,” says Wheeler.
For now, Magine uses the Bio-Tex fiber exclusively for the snowboards. The company has considered branching out to other winter sports equipment, but Wheeler believes it’s best to stay focused on snowboards.
Since Magine is such a small company, its main focus is providing value for friends, family and the snowboarding community. “I consider us to be a niche boutique company,” says Wheeler. Other companies create snowboards using composite materials; however, Magine Snowboards is the only Canadian snowboard manufacturer using bio-composite materials, according to Wheeler.
These bio-composite materials are currently priced slighter higher than fiberglass. Both Wheeler and Weager believe that once Bio-Tex becomes more prominent in snowboard manufacturing, prices will ultimately go down. That makes the future for bio-composite materials infinite. “Bio-composites offer an exciting combination of technical advantages and environmental benefits,” Weager says.