How is a Diving Board Made?

Recently, the popular TV show "How It's Made" answered the interesting question of how is a diving board made? We have included the embedded diving board video below as well as a transcript of the Discovery Channel episode that aired last week. The diving board manufacturer used in the video is S.R. Smith and we carry their entire line of high quality diving boards at Sunplay.com.

For those who may not wish to watch the video, or can't while at work, you may read the transcript below:

"One end of the diving board is fixed, to give the other end the bounce required for a big splash cannonball, or a graceful swan dive. To make the diving board's shell, workers load a sheet of acrylic into a clamping machine, which transports it into an oven. The oven heats the sheet for about 30 seconds to soften it, then a forming machine applies suction to draw the softened acrylic tightly over a mold in the shape of two diving boards. Fans blow cool air, hardening the acrylic into shape within seconds.

They extract the molded acrylic, then saw it in half to separate the two diving board shells. They coat the shell's surface in a resin and fiberglass mixture. This tool is called a chopper gun, because it chops and shreds the fiberglass string and then shoots it out, drenched in resin. They roll it to compress the fibers and push out air pockets. Any trapped air would create a weak spot in the diving board. After letting the resin dry and harden for 30 minutes, they begin filling the fiberglass cavity with half-centimeter thick fiberglass matte. They drench the matte in resin, rolling it all over to  make sure every millimeter gets well saturated. They lay down another fiberglass matte, this one a bit thinner, and saturate it with the existing resin.

The diving board's core is made of laminated wood, which is several thin layers of wood, grouped together. Laminated wood is actually stronger than a solid piece of wood. After rounding the top edge, they lay two wood laminate cores over the resin-saturated fiberglass mattes. They position clamps to hold the cores in place, but before tightening, they insert metal spacers to ensure the cores are correctly positioned within the shell. Once the positioning is perfect, they tighten the clamps and let the resin cure at room temperature for a half hour or so.

Then the clamps come off and workers cover the cores with an even thicker fiberglass matte, impregnated with resin. This is the bottom of the diving board. They make sure the matte is centered, then manually form it to the shape of the board, pushing out the air pockets as they go. They spray on some decorative paint and put the board in an oven for 24 hours to cure.

When it comes out, they use a diamond blade to saw off the excess fiberglass around the edge. Then they do a final trimming to make the edge neat and smooth. They mask the sides with tape leaving only the top exposed. This is where they'll now apply a rough texture, a safe, non-slip surface. First, they roll on a thin coat of resin. Onto that, they sprinkle a layer of silica sand, making sure to cover the surface thoroughly and evenly. The sand sticks to the resin, which sets and cures in about 15 minutes. After sweeping off the excess sand that didn't adhere, they roll on a coat of laminating resin, which bonds to the sand, giving the surface a clean, finished look. They pull off the tape and a apply a manufacturer's decal to the side. The diving board is now all set to be installed on a stand at the edge of the deep end; to await anyone ready to take the plunge."

*The video and transcript were not produced by Sunplay and we do not hold the copyright to this material. We share this information as a service to those who read our blog at Sunplay.com.

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