Bama suggested the original design of my board. Take a 1/4" 6061 aluminum plate. Put two bends in it, about 15 degrees apiece. Each bend is about 2 inches from the center. Take two 3x3 box tubing, one for the boom, one for the headpiece. Cut the box in half, expect for a piece about 6 inches long on one end. You can imagine that the box now looks sort of like an L. A 3x3 box attached to a 1.5x3 inch channel. Now weld the two boxes to each end of the body pan. Attach foot pegs and a handle and you have a luge.
For the front end I took a set of bike foot pegs and a long bolt, and bolted the foot pegs to the front of the luge. The attached both pegs. The nerf bar was held in place by tapping the foot pegs and bolting the nerf bar to the foot peg. I created two small handle and bolted them to the luge. The padding was attached to the luge using an s type hook.
For the tail, I created a head rest and attached it by an s type hook, The bumper was held by taking a piece of aluminum, and folding it over so the I could bolt it to the side of the luge.
I rode this board once before making modifications. I had to reposition the trucks, and I created new handles, a great suggestion by Kurtis Head. This is what the board looked liked after these modifications, and how I rode it for the first few races. Notice the long handle bars, also I removed the head rest.
The last modification I made has to lighten the board. At Mammoth 98 my board weighed in at 41 pounds. One pound over IGSA regulations. So for St. George 99, I removed the two corners of the tail of the board. The board weighed in at 39.4 pounds at St. George. Of course the regulations were changed to 45 pounds!
Later I changed the way the nerf bar was attached. Originally I had a single bolt that held both pegs on. I changed this to two carriage bolts. The carriage bolts would go through the end of the nerf peg, and would bolt on under the channel.
At the end of 99 I decided to build a new board. While I liked my board, I was tired of paying excess baggage, every time I traveled. I averaged once excess baggage fee a trip, which amount to about $500 for the year!
I set out to build a new and improved board. This time the board would be narrower (just under 16 inches, instead of over 19!) The pan would be shorter by 6 inches. The major reason for building the new board would be a removable boom. And finally I added a butt protector.
The boom was made out of a 1x3 channel. A solid 3/4 inch dowel of aluminum was welded on the end of the boom for the foot pegs, and the nerf bar was welded to the end of the foot pegs.
I found a large snowboard bag to carry the luge that is broken down. Since I've traveled with the new luge, I've only paid an excess baggage fee once.
You can see Kurtis Head's influence on my luge, when you see other luges he has built.
Mine is the silverish one second from the left.
I was sitting on my board one day and I got up and noticed that my hands were covered in gray stuff. I decided it was time to powder coat the board. I wasn't sure what color to go with, I ended up with a Neon Purple. The following pics were taken in the hotel courtyard just before the Red Bull DHX. The board had come back from the powder coaters shortly before the trip, and I hadn't had enough time to take pictures of it. Notice the cool rounded, shaped nerf bars. You won't be seeing them in that way again!
I built my first board when I didn't know what I was doing. I got some ideas off the web (back when there were only a few sites.) I measured my body, and built a board. It was originally two feet wide! The board worked, although I had to make a few modifications. When it was first built it was over 40 pounds!
At the time I was averaging one oversized charge per trip. With about 10 races in a year, that came to $500 a year in overage fees! I decided to build a breakdown board to ease my travels. I also hoped to reduce the weight of the board, mainly by using a smaller pan. While the board was broken down, and fit into a snowboard bag, it still weighed in at 39 pounds!
It was time to build an even smaller, lighter board. I liked the design of my board, its low to the ground (no rail underneath the pan,) nice long handles, a butt support to protect my butt in a collision. But I needed a lighter board. I also decided I needed to break the board down further.
First I went with a shorter, lighter pan. It is six inches shorter, and about three inches narrower than version 2. This makes the pan roughly three quarters the size. I then went from quarter inch to three sixteenths, knocking out another quarter of the pan. The new pan is almost HALF the size of version 2!
To reduce some more weight, about three quarters of a pound, and to make the board safer, I choose Tim's new bumpers for the front.
To reduce some more weight, and to tighten the wheelbase I shrunk the tail end. Originally I was going to bolt on both the tail end and boom to the pan. The front end of the pan is fairly complicated, between the butt pan and handles, so I stuck with a welded boom. But the tail end is simple, so its going to be bolted on.
This actually gave me some flexibility. I created three different size tails. The longest makes the luge as long as the previous version. Recently I have been riding with the trucks as close to the pan as possible, so I created a medium length tail to place the trucks in the same position as they were in last year. But because the pan is shorter, I can bring the trucks even closer. So I created a very short tail that allows me to place the trucks right next to the pan. Because the tail end is short, very little sticks out past the trucks, and my head. Makes it harder to tangle up.
For organizations that require number plates I created a plastic extension to hold the number plate. It is stiff enough to hold up the plate, but flexible enough to prevent entanglements.
A look at the luge after its maiden voyage at Templin.
I originally designed and built this board in late 2001. This was about the same time the whole pegged/pegless debtate raged. I raced my board with pegs for 2002, but in 2003 I decided to leave the boom at home. The board was never really designed to be boomless, but the original design called for the boom that supported the wheels to be welded to the pan, and the boom and pegs would be bolted on this portion. So I just left the bolt on boom off, and I was boomless. For a while I taped some foam on the front for the bumper. Eventually I bought a weight lifters bar bell pad which fit perfectly across the front.
I've been riding the same board since 2002.