Making a template from an Image of a Board

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S2DM's picture
Joined: 08/08/2013

Anybody have any experience blowing up an image of a board you'd really like to make from a standard website sized picture, into an image big enough to craft a template from? Tech tools involved? So far Ive learned alot by making copies of professionally made boards I own, but Id like to expand my template library a bit.

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

Sure, I do it all the time.  I just study the picture, draw the desired shape to scale (1 inch on paper = 1 foot on the real board) on grid paper with 1/4" squares, then draw a 3" grid on masonite, reproduce the drawing at full size - I used to bend sticks and fishing poles etc, but I finally realized freehand will get you close enough, leave a little excess and the fine tuning is done with sanding block after the template is cut out.

Basically you end up with the shape you want to make, based on the image of the board you like, rather than an exact copy (I prefer to build the board as I see it in my mind's eye).

Here's an example.  Ace posted some pics of this awesome looking glider, 9-6, I love Ace's work, and this board especially.  Ace not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk and generously posts the pics to prove it, gotta love him for that.I had a blank for an 8-4.  I studied Ace's pictures, template, rails, bottom, anything I could glean from the pics.  Then I drew my sketch on graph paper, scaled it up on masonite, and cut my template.  Shaped it using my mental notes from his pics, and a few of my own little tweaks.  Not an exact replica, but currently my favorite board.

Here's another example, and the first all foam board I ever made.  I studied pics of longboards, but especially Cooperfish longboards, as I really like Gene's work.  

I drew my template as per above, not an exact copy, but my interpretation.  An internet friend in Florida gave me some pointers on the rails and v-bottom in the tail.  I love this board, and a few others who have ridden have loved it too.

A third example is this 7-6 square tail I made, another good performing shape.  I liked the plan shape of Randy Stoker's boards.  I drew it out, and made my template.  But my blank wouldn't accomodate the width, especially in the tail, so I had to pull it in a little.  The shape itself is a little different, I have more dome in my deck, and thinner rails, tail, and nose.  But you can clearly see the inspiration for my template.

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mako224's picture
Joined: 12/26/2005

A 2 dimensional picture of a board is not going to lead to an accurate template.  There is no way to account for the rocker if you trace the outline from a picture.

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ghettorat's picture
Joined: 06/30/2010

mako224 wrote:

A 2 dimensional picture of a board is not going to lead to an accurate template.  There is no way to account for the rocker if you trace the outline from a picture.

Mako, that's a well thought out, and to the point response!

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chrisp's picture
Joined: 05/30/2006

ghettorat wrote:

mako224 wrote:

A 2 dimensional picture of a board is not going to lead to an accurate template.  There is no way to account for the rocker if you trace the outline from a picture.

Mako, that's a well thought out, and to the point response!

True... but, it will get you close. I have done it once and was happy with the result 

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atomized's picture
Joined: 12/06/2005

mako224 wrote:

A 2 dimensional picture of a board is not going to lead to an accurate template.  There is no way to account for the rocker if you trace the outline from a picture.

One of the things right off is the lens distortion of the camera has on the visual perspective in the image. Here's a composited image of the bottom and deck of a board photographed from the the same point on a tripod-ed camera. The bottom looks shorter than the deck because it's rocker is curving away from the camera. Objects visually receding in space appear smaller.

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johnmellor's picture
Joined: 03/17/2004

Without getting in to the morality of it all, it's a fact that it's pretty easy to save most internet images to your hard drive, print, and then enlarge/reduce via a copy machine to the correct scale size.  I.E. 7" image for 7' actual size.

By plotting several points along the stringer of the image, dimensions can be taken at each position and scaled to the corresponding position on a piece of Masonite.  Measure across those points on your scale image and scale dimensions up to the full-size Masonite pattern.  A metal ruler with fine gradiations is ideal for measuring the scale image.

A fiberglass rod can be used to connect the dots.  That, or with an accumulation of existing templates, use one or more of those to connect the dots.  The more template choices you have, the easier it is to connect the dots with them.  It's just a matter of finding the right one and shifting it around until the curves hit the marks.

Mako224 is correct that this method will slightly shorten the outline.  It's usually not much more than an inch or so longer if you follow the actual rocker.  Minor adjustments need to be made depending on how close you intend to copy the original.  By extending the pattern slightly and maybe taking a few extra strokes with the mini-plane when truing, you'll be pretty darn close.  'Eyeball' close anyway.

This is close to Huck's method but skips the hand drawing/graph paper part.

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Acqua_Glassing's picture
Joined: 06/20/2012

Ive seen someone make pretty accurate templates from a bigger boardmaker.. from internet images. Then as teh bigger brand boards came in he double checked his templates and was less than 1/4 inch off in the tail and less than 3/8s in the nose.  Not great tolerances but from internet art... its pretty impressive.

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"Get out of the library and into the lab"

sharkcountry's picture
Joined: 03/25/2006

You need a drawing program like adobe illustrator. There are many out there, and I'm sure there may be something free if you look around.

Open the image in the drawing program then trace it using a curve tool. You may need to make several anchor points to get the curve just right. I try to keep it down to 3. Once the curve is right you can duplicate it to have the complete outline to see if it looks right. Then size it to the proper dimensions, export a PDF and print it at you local kinkos or other printing shop, or import the drawing file into photoshop and cut it into slices that you can print on a standard printer. I use an 11X17 printer. Someone here said you can just print it from Illustrator to regular paper and the program will make the slices. I like to have my slices overlap and I add a reference line to line up each page. It's not going to be an exact copy, but it will be close to what the image was. The image may not be accurate too, so you can mess with the curves and make your own version. I do that a lot, I'll take a shape and stretch it or shrink it, change the width, wide point. I have my favorite rockers, so I just go for the outlines I like, but you can also do this with rockers.

Sometimes I take the paper template and make a masonite copy, sometimes I just lay it on the blank and draw it or lately spray paint it on.

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atomized's picture
Joined: 12/06/2005

sharkcountry wrote:

You need a drawing program like adobe illustrator. There are many out there, and I'm sure there may be something free if you look around.

One of the cool things that you can do with Illustrator is take 2 templates and interpolate (morph) any amount of steps between the 2. 

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ghettorat's picture
Joined: 06/30/2010

Don't misimterpret me here the abiity to take an image off a computer, and transfer it to a template is pretty cool; nonetheless it is not the same, and 1/8 or 1/4'' doesn't cut it, but its still a place to start.  Good templates without any bumps, or dips, and an asthetically pleasing curve is beautiful to my eyes, and probably everyone else; I feel the boards ride better too,  

Things change when you blow them up. Templates look different when stored flat than when put on a curved blank. Yeah its just the obvious.  Have fun however you make your templates, and check them when there done by bending them, and following the curve with your eyes, and if you see something that shouldn't be there, fix it.

Its the curves that are important, and with a few measurements and some adjustments with a good template you'll be suprised how many different boards of your own, you can come up with.

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BarrySnyder's picture
Joined: 02/21/2009

ghettorat wrote:

Don't misimterpret me here the abiity to take an image off a computer, and transfer it to a template is pretty cool; nonetheless it is not the same, and 1/8 or 1/4'' doesn't cut it, but its still a place to start.  Good templates without any bumps, or dips, and an asthetically pleasing curve is beautiful to my eyes, and probably everyone else; I feel the boards ride better too,  

Things change when you blow them up. Templates look different when stored flat than when put on a curved blank. Yeah its just the obvious.  Have fun however you make your templates, and check them when there done by bending them, and following the curve with your eyes, and if you see something that shouldn't be there, fix it.

Its the curves that are important, and with a few measurements and some adjustments with a good template you'll be suprised how many different boards of your own, you can come up with.

Ghetto gets it.

With just afew good templates, you can make many more.

I still make masonite templates all the time.

At this stage in my career, when a "new outline" comes along, I just search through my collection, Bingo there it is.

Some have been direct copies off of boards (with credit to whos board it was), others are pieced together from other templates.

200+ at last count.

Bandsaw, planer, beltsander. Done.

There is something very rewarding in trueing up a perfect template, no bumps, no dips.

Then being able to produce that outline again and again.

Put some woodshop skills to use.

Draw and make your own.

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Barry Snyder

Surfboards made by hand. Not machine.

http://barrysnyderdesigns.com

Instagram @barrysnyderdesigns

stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

I will assume you have the picture saved on your computer.  The higher the resolution the image is the better the end result will be.

If you have Adobe Photoshop (or you can insert the image into a MS Powerpoint slide), crop the picture so that the surfboard shape just touches the sides of the cropped rectangle (the widest points, the tail tip and the nose tip).

First re-size the cropped image's dimensions with "proportions constrained" feature on ("aspect ratio locked")  to be proportional to the "length" you would like the board to be (e.g. as John Mellor said 7" for 7 feet or 14" for 7' or 21" for 7' etc.)

Next, decide what width you want the board to be.  Turn off constrained proportions (unlock aspect ratio) and type in a width dimension that is proportional to the width measurement you you want (2" for 2' etc.) -- use the same proportional relationship (ratio) you used for length.

Save and you have a shape that matches your desired dimensions.  (The larger you make the image the more pixelated the outline will become).

You can now transfer the image to graph paper or template material as described by the others above.  The template shape will have the exact dimensions you want, based on the original shape in the picture.

My $0.02 ...

EDIT:

Post a good top or bottom view photo, give the desired length and width dimensions and I will provide a quick sample of this method.  BTW the surfboard in the photo needs to aligned in the vertical dimension like atomized's picture for an easy computer crop.  Otherwise, you need to print, crop by hand, then scan and re-size.

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

I used atomized photo for a quick demonstration (cropping not perfect).  Handcropping and re-scanning needed for photos not aligned with vertical axis.  All of this can be done mathematically using the original image dimensions multiplied by the proportional change in the desired dimension.

First picture, cropped and image length re-sized to 9" = 9'.

Then proportionally re-sized to 7" for a 7' board with dimensions proportional to the original 9' shape, 7" = 7' (width narrows, Aspect Ratio Locked).

Length re-sized to 7" (7') but width remains the same as the original 9' board. (Aspect Ratio Unlocked).

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S2DM's picture
Joined: 08/08/2013

Huck, really nice work man. You make some pretty boards. Good evidence that graph paper and some precision can do the job.

For the rest, thank you for the tips, really appreciate it.

In regards to the 2d image to a blank issue, I think the way Id approached it thus far was a 2d image, when placed on an unrockered blank, I.E. a block of foam, should be accurate. When placed on a rockered blank, there would be a discrepancy. Ive considered this as well when taking templates from shapes I own. If the initial rocker of the blank Im using is different than that of the board Ive templated, there will be a discrepancy. I actually ran through the math involved, had to break out the old scientific calculator ;) In that scenario, its quite a small difference. That said, I'm still less than 10 boards made and have no intention of 'leaving the garage' so to speak, so my desire to copy a shape is just to learn about how these shapes work and what different shapers do. So an exact copy has no real purpose other than as a means of practicing the craft.

I do have photo-shop, and GIMP, a free-ware alternative that seems to work well. Just wasnt sure what the steps involved would be for blowing up the image and creating printable slices. Looks like some photoshop tutorials are in my near future.

Really appreciate the thoughtful comments everyone. Thanks!

-S

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

S2DM wrote:

In regards to the 2d image to a blank issue, I think the way Id approached it thus far was a 2d image, when placed on an unrockered blank, I.E. a block of foam, should be accurate. When placed on a rockered blank, there would be a discrepancy. Ive considered this as well when taking templates from shapes I own. If the initial rocker of the blank Im using is different than that of the board Ive templated, there will be a discrepancy. I actually ran through the math involved, had to break out the old scientific calculator ;) In that scenario, its quite a small difference.

As my current tagline suggests, I've been reading up on Rusty's blog insights on surfboard design.  He makes one very honest observation that seems to have some bearing in this conversation: "When it comes to talking about surfboards, we think -- and shapers tend to work -- step-by-step, in a 2D world and by the magic of process, it all gets woven into a wonderful 3D, functional, sculpture."

Template is a good example of how we think and talk in 2D, whereas we all know the curves are compound and occur in 3D on the surfboard.  2D is just a useful tool, there is no way to really quantify a 3D description of a template on a shaped board, other than maybe by computer program - which is technically more accurate than a masonite template, but infinitely less useful to a backyard handshaper like myself.  

If there is a noticeable discrepancy that occurs when translating into 3D, you just have to deal with it as you shape.  If its not noticeable, i.e., I can't see it, then I'm good with the shape I have.  I'm not trying to duplicate the boards of other shapers, like a scan file, but rather let my boards be inspired and informed by the work of others.

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S2DM's picture
Joined: 08/08/2013

Hey Stoneburner, thanks for the feedback.

Its a takayama scorpion, I was planning on making a 5'10" by 21.25

This is the largest image Ive found on the web so far, also of a 5'10" (I figured finding the same model would help with the proportions as you blew the image up)

http://www.rajabra.com.br/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33...

Thanks!

-S

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

Photoshop or computer re-sizing is not needed if you measure the original photo shape's dimensions at regular intervals and proportionally plot them on graph paper or template material.

stoneburner wrote:

All of this can be done mathematically using original image dimensions multiplied by the proportional change in the desired dimension.

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S2DM's picture
Joined: 08/08/2013

ps - Anyone using BoardCad for this or similar purposes?

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gdaddy's picture
Joined: 10/31/2008

S2DM wrote:

ps - Anyone using BoardCad for this or similar purposes?

At the risk of getting scorched for saying so, I do it all the time.  Depending on image distortion sometimes the widths in the drawing don't match the dimensions of the boards, at which point I go to paralleling the lines on the image.  I would say a certain percentage of the drawings hit the stated numbers dead on, though.  

But after I'm done with that I ditch the original image and proceed to find the lengths, curves and widths I like.  I've never tried to actually copy a board.  I just takes bits and pieces.  By the time they interact with each other the results are always different than what I started with.  Usually way different.  

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

S2DM wrote:

Hey Stoneburner, thanks for the feedback.

Its a takayama scorpion, I was planning on making a 5'10" by 21.25

This is the largest image Ive found on the web so far, also of a 5'10" (I figured finding the same model would help with the proportions as you blew the image up)

http://www.rajabra.com.br/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33...

Thanks!

-S

Gotta jet right now.  But I will do an image re-size for you later today or tomorrow.  PM your email address and I will send you an original of the re-sized image (5'10" x 21.25").  Looks like I can just re-size the original photo to get what you want without cropping since it is nicely aligned in the vertical and horizontal axes.

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

OK I just did a "quick" re-size of the Scorpion:  I can give you something a little cleaner later and email it to you.

Original image re-sized proportionally to 5'10" (Proportions Constrained, Aspect Ratio Locked) width as in photo and a bit narrower than 21.25", 2" = 1'

Image re-sized to 5'10" with width changed to 21.25" (Proportions not Constrained, Aspect Ratio Unlocked), 2" = 1'

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sharkcountry's picture
Joined: 03/25/2006

Another thing I've done with images is find a tail I like and a nose I like then cut and paste them together before drawing the outline. I think it follows Kelly Slater's idea when he made the wizard sleeve. He kept the tail he liked and changed the nose. I have a tail shape I like and I have made a couple of boards of varying lengths based on that tail and tail rocker with different nose shapes, from wide like a noserider to pointed like a modern HPSB.

Same for templates, I may use one for the tail and another for the nose and a third for the middle.

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sharkcountry's picture
Joined: 03/25/2006

I don't like to try and resize a web image to surfboard size, it gets pixellated and becoames unusable. Thats where the drawing program works best. Photoshop uses raster files, and drawing programs use vector files. Vector files are numerical values and raster files are actual pixels or something like that. You can scale vector files without the pixellation, so a vector file imported into photoshop can be sized on import to whatever you want. Just specify the length and width and ot will do the math. Just be sure to have a powerful computer with a lot of RAM if you want to work with surfboard sizes.

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bluenose's picture
Joined: 07/02/2009

I am surprised this has not come up in this thread as a possibility.  I understand that images are distorted but it can act as a starting pt. A few years ago I imported an image into AKU shaper.  It is possible to pull the lines in and out in order to approximate a 2D picture that can be printed, glued on masonite and cut into a template.  I am sure someone on here could give some instructions to describe this process in detail.  I took a look at it and can't seem to remember what kind of file is needed to import.

I would also like to find a link to someone making a template from scratch.  There are a number of board build threads.  Is there a good "old school" template build thread?  I know people plot measurements and then connect them with fishing rods or thin battens.  I hear people use incredibly long string to create arcs etc.  etc. 

Here is a link from Greenlight on templates:

http://greenlightsurfsupply.com/surfboard-building-guide---making-templa...

Here is a Sways link:

http://www.swaylocks.com/forums/fiberglass-batten-templates

Mark Richards has something to say about templates.  Off topic a bit but maybe worth a look:

http://markrichardssurfboards.com/blog/2012/04/cardboard-history/

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

sharkcountry wrote:

I don't like to try and resize a web image to surfboard size, it gets pixellated and becoames unusable. 

Agreed.  Blowing up a photo to full size is not the way to go.  Enlarging the photo to scale while keeping the outline reasonably well defined and then re-plotting to template material, with or without a graph paper intermediate, is the way to use photos without going to some CAD driven design software.

In the Scorpion example, I would not draw a center line/stringer line.  I would measure image width at regular intervals and then divide by 2 for re-plotting.  I like to true up the shape with french curves or ships curves on graph paper before re-plotting to template material.  Even though the photo images are re-sized in inches, I measure the image dimensions in millimeters for re-plotting to graph paper.

EDIT, 02/16/14:  I have combined and expanded details about my posts in this thread at the following link.

http://bgboard.blogspot.com/2013/10/picture-to-template-to-resize.html

Re-sizing a full-size template discussed at the following link:

http://bgboard.blogspot.com/2016/01/re-sizing-full-size-surfboard-templa...

_____

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

S2DM wrote:

Its a takayama scorpion, I was planning on making a 5'10" by 21.25

So it looks like the Huckayama version would end up with an approx. 18" nose, 15" tail, and wide point 21.25" at 39.5" up from the tail.  I would use the grid to scale it up to full size on masonite, freehand the curves, cut it just a little oversize, so I could finish up fairing the curves with a sanding block.  You can kinda fine tune the nuances of the template as you do the final fairing.

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stingray's picture
Joined: 12/24/2004

Neat thread.....guess what? No matter how much time you spend using your computer to rip a template from someone else....sooner or later you have to go out into the shop and make the template.....I like the old fashion way of ripping off templates. Plop down some hardboard on a surfboard I'm repairing. Trace it .........With my Walden longboard template and my speed egg template I can draw out that Scorpion  thing in FULL size long before you guys transfer the stuff from the computer to the workshop.................21.25 is wide for a 5'10" but it will work. I'm amazed how many guys have built surfboards in my garage without a "Template". Get a good idea and run with it! I can do a nice curve with masking tape too. Hard to explain.....Have fun! What blank do you plan on using?

Stingray

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ghettorat's picture
Joined: 06/30/2010

Never needed a computer to make templates, and like Barry I have some going back decades; furthermore most boards are in there somewhere.  Still I enjoy making templates, and the new ones aren't any more valid than the old ones, but serve as a nice reference point.  Most of you don't speak the same language when it comes to copying which we all do at times.  For an experienced shaper with a degree of tolerance calling a computer image off the net, that still has to be transfered to a blank close enough to be called a copy is   well, retarded; there I said it, even though its not politically correct.

Its hard enough having the same templates, like we did at CI to copy a board to what Merrick would consider excellent than most of you will ever know.  And even he had a collection of Tom's boards that he could reference by feel, as well as, the 3x5 cards on which he kept his notes.  

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BarrySnyder's picture
Joined: 02/21/2009

Huckayama, that's the best!

I too have that template.

Might have to change to that name.

Ghetto, I know you. When you said "retarded" I know you shrugged your shoulders and had a big grin on your face.

Your the best.

Hopefully, someday those arcaic old wooden templates won't be used for firewood.

They'll be used to make some "new" style surfboard shape.

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Barry Snyder

Surfboards made by hand. Not machine.

http://barrysnyderdesigns.com

Instagram @barrysnyderdesigns

ghettorat's picture
Joined: 06/30/2010

All most as retarded as "Surf PE" Barry...  Good Times...

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

I guess if you wanted an exact copy of another surfboard, then scan and cnc computer file is pretty much gonna be the gold standard. Nothing hand drawn will be as accurate.

In a literal sense, the term "copy" doesn't really translate when discussing templates made from surfboards, images of surfboards, or anything besides other templates.  Because a template can only be a copy of another template, and only a surfboard can be a copy of another surfboard. A template can't be a copy of a surfboard, because a surfboard is a 3D object, and a template is basically, for all intents and purposes, a 2D object.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Rusty gets it, he said the surfboard is a 3D object, but shapers tend to talk and work in a 2D world.

However, if you are making your own designs, it is possible to use surfboard images off the internet as a reference point to aid in making your templates.  You can then use that template to make a board similar to the one pictured, if your rocker, rails, foil, etc. is similar.  But since its not really a copy, if the board is a dog, there is no one to blame but yourself, its still your own design.  On the other hand, if the board is a success, then it only seems right that you can't claim all the credit yourself, LOL.  

I've made several this way, and they have all worked very well for me.  I gladly acknowledge those whose boards inspired my shapes - pro shapers who build awesome boards and post pics of their work on the internet.

A lot of us design and make our own surfboards, to ride.  Since we don't advertise them as a copy of another shaper's board, for us the thread title "Making a template from an Image of a Board" (no mention of copy) makes perfect sense.

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kayu's picture
Joined: 07/24/2009
A plan shape is but one part of a well designed foil......if you don't know the other correct parts of the foil , you will not replicate the board , apart from creating something that looks roughly the same to the untrained eye.....if you have the knowledge to create a complete foil , you have no need to copy someone else's plan-shape.......just design a board with similar features and style.
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Jamie's picture
Joined: 04/27/2006

Both Precision Shaper (software) and Shape 3d (software) allow you to import a ghost image of both outline and rocker into your computer file so you can "copy" the outline and rocker, and then print a template (or cut blank on machine). You can scale the image to be the same length as the file you are working on. Keep in mind (as outlined in many posts above) there are many pitfalls to doing this, such as length/shape distortion due to rocker, and the photo having the board slightly tilted, etc. I like to treat this feature as just another tool to help develop a shape, rather than make an exact copy. In truth it is something that the customer really appreciates, because they say, "make me something like a XXXXX" and I can show them my design ghosted over an image of the XXXXX, so they can see the similarities.

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

"Something like" is the operative phrase here ;-)

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stingray's picture
Joined: 12/24/2004

neat...

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stoneburner's picture
Joined: 12/30/2007

Huck wrote:

thread title "Making a 'Template' from an Image of a Board"

...

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