The True Boot
The Current Skiers Frustration
When a skier is in need of a ski boot there is a fundamental issue with the experience at the ski shop. Skiers simply do not get the true skiing experience when they are deciding on a purchase in-store. Boots that are bought will often feel significantly different when on the mountain as opposed to how they felt before being purchased which often leads to a very discomforting ski trip.
A survey conducted by Das Boot found that skiers would prefer knowing the feel of a boot at a ski shop store over knowing a number provided by a ski boot manufacturer. The solution is to allow skiers who are in the market for new boots, to test out ski boots as part of the purchasing process. Team Das Boot aims to do this with the True Boot.
The True Boot is a device that will allow skiers to create simulated skiing movements while wearing their ski boots. The movements will aid in choosing between sizes, brands, boot flex by ultimately allowing skiers to feel what numbers simply can’t explain.
The Design Inputs
Das Boot had a few main goals in mind before finalizing on what the True Boot’s features would be. The True Boot has to appeal to both a ski shop and their customers. With product appeal for both groups in mind Das Boot included a device maximum cost of $800 or less and wanted a ski shop to be able to add the device to their sales floor with no issues in realty and transport. This limits the True Boot in size to fit within a standard door frame of 32″ x 80″. The True Boot must be able to fit different brands and sizes of ski boots. It has to be able to be used by the majority of skiers with a limit on user weight at 250 pounds and allow the users to follow through the most basic skiing motions.
The Proof Of Concept
The proof of concept was created by the team in order to aid in deciding the final concept of the True Boot. With cost and manufacturability being an important aspect to the project, the proof of concept was designed to let the team know whether or not a simple horizontal track would allow enough movement to simulate skiing motions. Answering the question was important since a more complex and costly design was being considered that utilized a carve like motion for skiers.
The proof of concept resulted in positive results from testing; which involved visual verification of allowing the user to keep their head centered, still, and allow a spine to ankle angle of more than 140 degrees.
The final design was a combination of a concept team member Chris submitted with a few design additions added by the remaining team members. Team Das Boot believes the final design tackles the projects goals by allowing a horizontal translation, roll & yaw in once single motion. The design allows for possible adjustments to suit skiers with a weight range of 66-235 pounds and is able to accommodate most ski boots in the range of 250-350 mm sole length. Its compact size enables easy transportation since it can be carried by four able bodied people and can easily fit through a standard 36″ by 80″ door.
With real estate in mind for ski shops, Das Boot believed a compact device was necessary. The base is the largest component by area and spans 48 x 50 inches. It is made of 1″x 1″ steel. The track itself is made out of MDF Retaining Plywood for durability. The carriage is made of 4″x4″ hot rolled steel and houses the “yaw & roll” block. The carriage will be mounted on top of trucks which will slide along the track and be actuated by bands on each end of the two carriages. The “yaw & roll” block and the foot-beds are made out of 6061 aluminum. This aluminum is lightweight and has substantial strength for the True Boot’s specifications. The main components are shown in the images below.
Base and Track
Yaw & Roll Block
Once most of the designs were complete, fabrication began. Fabrication was done as the parts ordered were delivered. The majority of the fabrication was completed at the UNR Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop. The larger parts were cut using either a vertical or horizontal band saw.
The carriage and “yaw & roll block” were cut using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Mill with the aide of Tony Berendsen (Development Technician).
The more detailed cuts were done with a horizontal mill. When all final cuts were made, the appropriate sanding and threading was done to the components. The base was welded together and the track was connected by a threaded bolt. Finishing procedures such as painting and coatings, and JB welding were done outside the machine shop.
Das Boot has completed fabrication of the True Boot with the final product being able to provide a new tool for skiers in the market for Ski Boots. The video below demonstrates skiers with different experience levels trying out the True Boot.
Ryan C. Tung: Team Mentor
Mike Heath: Lead Welder
Tony Berendsen: UNR Machine Shop Genius
Das Boot Team Members
Aidan Dolan: Dynamic Analyst
Aidan grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to Reno in 2014. Once he graduates, he will pursue a career as a Manufacturing Engineer. He currently has a summer internship lined up with Click Bond in Carson City as a Manufacturing Engineering Intern. He lives with his wife and enjoys running and playing nostalgic video games in his free time. Aidan graduates in May, 2016 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
Brian Biersdorff: CAD Drafter, Research
Brian is from Grass Valley, California and moved to Reno to attend UNR. Brian is an avid adventurer and enjoys the outdoors in both summer and winter climates. He plans to travel outside of the country after graduation. Brian aspires to work for a company that stands by his passion for adventure and manufactures skis, bikes or camping equipment. He would also like to work with companies who aid the environment. Brain graduates in May, 2016 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
Chris Duong: Product Design and Manufacturing
Chris is a local to Reno, Nevada and plans on taking a small break after graduation. He plans to be part of a company where he aspires to become a head engineer that can make a difference. Chris graduates in May, 2016 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics.
Juan Guzman: Research, Manufacturing, and Website
Juan is a local to Reno, Nevada and plans to take a small break after graduation to travel the United States. He enjoys the outdoors by camping or off-roading and is also passionate about competitive video gaming. He aspires to be a test engineer or become involved in research & development for a company that makes a positive mark on society. Juan graduates in May, 2016 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics.
Kyle McDonald: Team Leader, Product Design, CAD Drafter, and Manufacturing
Kyle is a local to Reno, Nevada and plans to take on engineering positions in new cities. He aspires to acquire a longer term position as a test engineer. Kyle graduates in May, 2016 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.