How to Turn a Kickflip Into a 3D Sculpture

Data visualize or die!
July 16, 2017, 2:00pm

Even pulling off a standard skateboarding trick, like the ollie or flip kick, requires a very special skill set and a lot of coordination. But just how hard is it, exactly?

Thanks to a wild new data visualization project, artists and skateboarders are able to illustrate just how intricate the art of catching air on a piece of wood can be.

Dubbed Skateboarding Visualizations v1, the project uses a bevy of sensors and electronic equipment to capture a near-perfect 360 flip kick and render it as a 3D sculpture.


Over on instructables, new media artist Paul Ferragut explains how he rigged the board. The main challenge, according to his post, was designing a case to hold the fragile computer chips, which had to withstand the harsh impact of a crash. Aluminum was his lightweight, durable metal of choice.

Next, Ferragut notched out holes in the wheels to hold the sensors, so that the system could pick up the thousands of revolutions of each wheel as he skated down the street.

After jumping over some orange cones on a pier in San Francisco and pulling off a few other tricks, he uploaded the data from his skateboard to custom-built software. The results reveal the board's path of flight on the screen, which looks like a wicked squiggly spiral.

From there, Ferragut used a 3D printer to turn the data into sculptures so that he could "immortalize the motion of the skateboard and the style of the individual skateboarder."

The results are pretty gnarly.