Liv3mind nGage fin boxes are deep in the R&D process and we are hopefully close to being confident in offering them as a viable solution/option to other two tab boxes on the market. When I originally set about designing them the goal was simple, I wanted a solution to there being virtually no box on the market suitable for Bonzer fin setups specifically. The big issue is Bonzer side fins need to be set at quite an extreme angle compared to most setups, upwards of 20-22 degrees of cant angle and therefore are mostly available in a glass on configuration, which is less than ideal for packing or traveling with a board. It ended up turning into so much more.
I had been pretty well immersed in 3d printing when I decided to tackle the boxes, and being very involved in finding ways to re-use and recycle material, I spent a lot of time looking for materials that were not "virgin" or first-time use plastics. For strength purposes, PLA (Polyactic Acid) filament is less than ideal, it is very brittle and has little to no flex available. PLA, on the other hand, is biodegradable under very specific conditions, this was hard to pass up. I ended up settling on PETG (polyethylene terephthalate with added glycol) as my material of choice. The reasoning behind this choice was the combination of tensile strength and flexibility, and the ability to use recycled materials. There are a few manufacturers now making PETG filament partially from recycled bottles, about 43% of the soda/water bottles in the US alone are made from PET so there is great potential for re-use of plastic that has already been manufactured for other purposes.
The idea behind the design was pretty simple, make it fit into the same routing slot as a FCS fusion, and allow for customization of fin cant up to the specs Bonzers require. Why FCS fusion size? It is one of the most popular fin box choices, and most shapers/glassing shops will already have router setups for it. I wanted to set the cant angle in the box itself, so in order to provide extreme angles, the box was designed as one piece without the foam doughnut. In order to help handle the issues of bonding and a lack of foam, We created a channel that runs around the entire box horizontally so a good amount of resin could create a physical barrier midway through the box and assist with bonding.
Once we started physically printing the boxes we began to test various manufactures and print settings in order to achieve a good balance of weight and strength. In conjunction with the box creation, we simultaneously were working on a set of 3d printed twinzer fins for my Alien Fishy shape. With materials selected for both the boxes and the fins, we had the version 1 of the boxes installed into an Arctic Foam Algae blank, using Advanced Resin Systems epoxy resin. The installation went very smooth and an absolutely massive shout out to Mikey at Color Wheel Glassing in Oceanside for handling the installation of the boxes, feedback was great: "install just like a fusion box". While he was working on the algae installation, I had another Alien Fishy being glassed at Whitlock Surf Factory (also in Oceanside and a huge thank you Nick and Skylar), this one in Marko Foam Envirofoam eps and again Advanced Systems epoxy resin. Installation again went as expected, smooth and easy. We have a couple more boards in the works currently, including a Bonzer setup.
The 3rd Wheel (3 tab fin box) is a whole beast unto itself, with potential for tons of application. Retro fish setups with big boy keels, alternative fin setups, adjust-ability for standard fin setups, asym setups, and so much more. I believe I am the first to offer these as a single box, and not a 2 tab box plus a single plug. I am very excited to see these come into use, and hope to have a project set up for myself very soon.
Hopefully, this will be a good insight into the background and a little about the development of the boxes, I will do a part 2 that goes into details on strength testing.
Please be sure to check out
Color Wheel Glassing:
Whitlock Surf Factory:
Advanced Resin Systems: