The T-shaped metal trucks are an essential part of the skateboard that impacts the skateboard’s movement. You might wonder how they’re created since the trucks are crucial to a skateboard ride.
The trucks are made using a simple process of forging aluminum metal. Knowing how these trucks and their different parts are designed and produced will enable you to make the right decisions when purchasing one.
Consequently, if you’re interested in knowing how metal skateboard trucks are made and how they work, you should keep reading. This article will satisfy your curiosity.
How to Make Skateboard Trucks
The basic idea of how skateboard trucks are made is straightforward. Most producers don’t begin by carving and shaping the truck’s pattern and shape from scratch. They utilize a truck mold with the desired design.
Skateboard trucks are made from aluminum alloy, which is very solid and light. The aluminum ingots are heated to 1,300°F (706.7°C) in a furnace, reducing them to a liquid. Afterward, the molten Aluminum is injected between two truck sand molds, the upper and lower molds. Then the skateboard truck molds are jointly pressed under a weight heavy as the weight of an elephant. This way, the air bubbles in the truck molds are removed.
Although the above process is the basic way of making trucks, there are two standard methods of carrying out the above process. These two methods both have benefits of using them. They include:
- Die Casting
- Gravity Casting
The aluminum mix is poured into the molds using high pressure in this method. This allows the aluminum metal to be distributed into every small corner of the molds. However, removing any trapped air bubbles in the molds is essential.
Advantages of Using Die Casting Method
- This method is fast and saves a lot of manufacturing time.
- The trucks come out precise with thin edges and corners.
- You can be sure that all batches of trucks made will be accurate in shape and pattern.
While die casting makes use of pressure, gravity casting uses the effect of gravity to pull the aluminum mix into the molds. This way, the mix slowly drops into the molds, filling all corners and preventing the formation of air bubbles. However, this method is time-consuming.
Advantages of Using Gravity Casting
- This method prevents the formation of air bubbles in the molds.
- The trucks produced are more sturdy and durable than the die-cast ones.
Other Materials Used in Making Skateboard Trucks
Although the most common material used to produce skateboard trucks is Aluminum, some manufacturers also opt for materials like steel, brass, titanium, and magnesium.
However, because aluminum-based are lightweight, durable, sturdy, and have good grinding properties, it’s usually advisable to purchase such trucks. They are the best choice of skateboard trucks that will ensure your skateboarding experience is excellent.
On the flip side, steel is stronger, heavier, and more long-lasting. But, they can cause your deck to move slowly because of their heavy weight. A high-quality truck should weigh 328g, except titanium weighing as little as 289g. You can watch this video on how it is made.
Truck Parts and Suitable Materials for Making Them
- Axle – this goes through the hanger and can be produced using steel.
- The hanger – is the part of the truck that receives most of the grinding impact. It can be made using Aluminum, with the die or gravity casting method.
- Bushings – these are responsible for the turning and spinning of the trucks. They are produced using polyurethane, having a hardness of either 80A, 85A, 90A, 95A, or 99A.
How Skateboard Trucks Work
Now that you have the basic knowledge of how skateboard trucks are manufactured and the materials used in the making, you might also want to understand how the trucks work. After all, they are the main reason why your skateboard turns, spins, or glides.
The Principle Behind Skateboard Trucks
Imagine a skateboard where you must step down to redirect the board deck whenever you want to change direction or movement. This would not only waste your time; it naturally kills the fun involved in skating. Thus, you can see that the trucks controlling the board’s movement are super important. How, then, do these trucks achieve that?
While all components of the trucks have a crucial part to play in how they work, the kingpin, bushings, and pivot cups are mainly responsible for tightness, responsiveness, and stability, respectively.
This is a big bolt nut found at the truck’s center that helps secure the hanger to the base plate. The kingpin is mainly responsible for the tightness of the trucks. Now you might be wondering how the tightness affects how the trucks work.
A truck can be loose or tight. You are assured of stability when skating at high speed when you have a tight truck. This is because the trucks are less wobbly. This is important because, as a beginner or pro, you won’t want to ride a skateboard truck that is not firm and causes the board to shake on any slight impact.
Additionally, tight trucks receive landing impact better. This means that when you land after performing a stunt, the tight truck has a better grip on the ground and prevents you from falling. On the other hand, if you’re a skater more interested in performing stunts and tricks, you will need a loose truck. The loose trucks offer more flexibility and maneuverability when riding.
The good side is that you can easily switch your trucks from loose to tight depending on your preference, provided you know how to adjust the kingpin.
This is the second principle as to how the trucks work. The bushings are what make the trucks responsive to your leg movements. This is important when you’re trying to perform tricks. These bushings come in three types based on the hardness level.
- The soft bushings below 92A: made with this type of bushings will help you turn better. Still, they might offer less stability, thus making them unsuitable for tricks. They are best for cruisers.
- The hard bushings above 98A: made with this type of bushings are tighter and more responsive to tricks and stunts. It also offers more stability to the riders.
- The medium bushings between 92A to 97A offer a perfect mix of softness and hardness. They are both excellent at turning and performing tricks.
Knowing that the bushings determine the truck’s responsiveness to your movement, you can decide if you need new bushings if your trucks are not performing well.
The Pivot Cups
The third principle of how trucks work is based on the effect of the pivot cups. The pivot cups are the vital link between the trucks’ baseplate and hanger. They confer stability to the trucks and keep them from shaking or shifting.
Keep in mind that brittle or worn-out pivot cups may dislodge. Therefore, if you want to keep the trucks going steadily, you must inspect them frequently.
The Truck’s Height
Lastly, how trucks work is also related to their height. Trucks can come in low, high, or medium height, affecting how the trucks work. The low trucks are between 46 to 49mm. These small trucks ensure your skateboard is lightweight and very close to the ground.
Additionally, the low trucks are the most stable because they are close to the ground. This differs from the high trucks above 58mm, which are less stable but allow the skater to perform tricks like ollies and carving easily. The medium trucks are between 50 to 53mm. They are perfect for most riders as they ensure the stability and performance of the trucks.
Now that you know the basic principles of how skateboard trucks work, if your trucks are not performing as expected, you know the exact parts to check and have replaced.
What is the best material for skateboard trucks?
What trucks do pro skaters use?
How are Independent Trucks Made?
Knowing how skateboard trucks are constructed will enable you to select the best trucks for your skateboarding trip without sacrificing your riding safety. Additionally, you get to have a great time because the better the trucks are, the better your ability to accomplish skate stunts.
In a similar vein, understanding how skateboard trucks operate will help you maintain them efficiently. You will also be aware of the parts and components to change if your trucks start to impair your skating ability.