by Yun-Han Lin
Balance board 101
A balance board can refer to any board that users stand on and keep their body balanced for exercise, where the board’s edges are kept from touching the ground and the users avoid falling off the board. The balance exercises not only a huge part of core muscles but also muscles throughout the body.
According to the introduction of balance boards on the Sun Sport website: “a balance board is a training device that promotes body’s sensory system, where users focus on muscle control and body balance, in order to perform stable and slow movements. Through balancing the tilting board, users are able to improve their dynamic balance and building overall muscle movements. A balance board is substantially helpful in improving the stability of the core muscles. Stronger core muscles allow people to maintain the right positions in body movements, and users are less likely to experience soreness or sprains. It can be used to improve the athletic performance, such as running, jumping, throwing, etc.
Types of balance boards
There are various types of balance boards found on the Internet, and they can be divided mainly into the following three types:
1. Rocker boards
Suitable for children to build their body sensory systems; simple in shapes and are easy to use.
2. Wobble boards
With a half-ball design at the bottom, a wobble boards tilts 360 degrees in all directions. In addition to standing on it, some people also do push-ups or plank exercise with it.
3. Long boards
The type we tried to build this time, where there is a rectangular wooden board with a roller beneath it. Users stand on the board and try to maintain balance by rolling to the left or right. To train for any specific sport, users often design their boards based on the equipment they use in the game, such as the shape of a skateboard or a surfboard.
Making your own board
Here’s the video of for our production!
Before we started, we also checked out the following products and videos for reference.
Products on a shopping platform:
Productions from other Makers on YouTube:
The difference between the two version above is the roller. The one in the video clip was a thick pvc water pipe wrapped with rough linen. The design was simple, but we had to figure out where to find that kind of pipe, since we have never bought it before. Also, if we went for the pipe, we would not be able to carve dents as tracks on the board for the roller to fit with different measures, based on users’ needs. The tracks can help beginners to balance on the board more easily. Therefore, we ended up with the design on Shopee, a shopping platform, where the roller is built with round wooden boards.
The challenging part was cutting the circular boards, which is key to the smooth rolling, so they need to be as round as possible. Originally, we tried to use laser-cut models, coupled with a rounding machine to manually cut the 18mm plywood into round shapes, but we gave up, since it was very difficult and it took a lot of work. Instead, we used laser-cutting for round thin boards and simply stacked them up for gluing. As for the smaller round plates inside the roller, we used a 16-sided plate instead, since there was no need for it to roll but to provide support of the whole structure.
The design drawings are as follows: