SYSTEM Details

Introduction to the GEARBOX Fin System

GEARBOX is a unique fin box design with some features not found in other fin systems.

GEARBOX is a system that is light, strong, while at the same time simple to install and easy to use. A design optimized for under the glass installation. The goal was to deliver a system that was both simple and easy to install.

GEARBOX is as light as possible without compromising the strength. The unique patented design, delivers unprecedented strength for an under the glass system.

There is a lot of information on this site about various aspects of the system.

Enjoy exploring!

GEARBOX XPLOD

OVERVIEW

DETAILS ON THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE SYSTEM

Presented here is a high level overview of the main components of the system. Navigate from here for an in depth overview and greater detail on each of these components.

There is a lot of information about the system, but it can be explored progressively, as needed.

1ROUT Install
BOXES

There are a lot of unique features to the system starting with the design of the boxes. Explore all of the details in this section.

STANDARD Install
COVERS

One of the unique features of the GEARBOX system is the load beam cover. It exists to allow for better adhesion and customization.

POST LAM Install
STANDARD ROUTING System

The standard routing system is used to perform a normal install, which is a two-prt rout in either polyurethane or high density EPS foam.

STANDARD Install
1ROUT ROUTING System

The 1ROUT routing system is used to perform installs in low-density EPS foam where a HD foam backing block is used to provide additional support to the box.

OVERVIEW

SECTIONED Box

{{An unprecedented amount of innovation is currently occurring with fins and fin systems. Ranging from the simple to complex, tool-less fin attachment, to a wide range of other options.

Our choice was to go back to basics, with a system that is light, strong, while at the same time simple to install and easy to use. A design optimized for under the glass installation. The goal was to deliver a system that was both simple and familiar for builders to install, and surfers to use.

GEARBOX is as light as possible without compromising the strength. The unique patented design, delivers unprecedented strength for an under the glass system.

Current under the glass systems rely on the bond between the laminating resin and a plastic flange that surrounds the box. This is less than optimal! GEARBOX turns the flange concept on its head by placing the web of the flange lower down on the box, creating a load beam collar. This collar creates a flange shaped to form a cup on it's upper surface, a cover is then placed within this cup.

We select a cover material that provides optimal bonding to the resin system. The entire exposed upper surface of the cover allows the bottom laminate of the surfboard an optimal bonding area. The outer flange of the load beam encapsulates the cover. More important is the unique aesthetic created once installed in a board. Creates the appearance of a pin line around the outer perimeter of the box.

The high density expanded ABS utilized in the cover being stiff, imparts additional rigidity to the collar!

The design of the collar does not restrict the cover material, anything providing a good bonding surface is fine. For example, in a balsa wood board the cover could be balsa so that the box blends in with the surrounding wood. The design of the cover supports the application of inlays or overlays to its upper surface. Facilitating different appearances for the installation of the box.

While a wide array of stylistic uses exist for the cover, the primary criteria is good bonding with the resin system. Covers are also available in a range of primary colors to provide further customization options!

The cover also has a recessed cant angle indicator located at the outboard edge. It is used to easily check the cant angle of the box once installed in a board, and when there is a fin in the box.

GEARBOX employs a familiar screw placement, located on the inner side of the box, generating a locking force on the fin base. The fin bases have recesses onto which the screws land to help force the base into the slot. Center boxes have opposing screws. A bridge in the center of the slot ties the two sides of the slot together to resist the lateral forces on the box.

To assist in the fine tuning of a board, the slot features 5mm (3/16") of movement forward and backward. Not only does this help when installing a fin, but it also facilitates control over the performance of the fins.

The box's slot is compatible with dual tab fins, and with our own full length base.

The two step install process creates a cavity with a shelf onto which the load beam collar rests. Providing better bonding to the surfboard foam. The complete routing system makes the installation process simple. The routing system also supports a single routing option (1ROUT) if one of our HD foam support blocks are utilized. These blocks are sold separately and have been machined for a precise fit in the routed cavity and to the box. }}

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

GEARBOX was designed against a small set of important design principles. To better help understand the design choices made for the system, more details on some of the design criteria are discussed here. It is also important to understand that the system is not static, we are constantly making tweaks to improve the product!

STRENGTH

{{This has been our primary focus for the many years we have spent developing the system. We were adamant that we wanted the strongest and lightest box we could design. Many different aspects of a design can impact the strength, from material selection through to the shape. Our design addresses all characteristics that can impact this important element.

We derived strength from two different aspects of our design. Our patented load beam collar handles the loads, dissipating them throughout the structure. Also the depth of the beam allows for increased shear strength around the perimeter. Installation strength is critical to spreading loads, on the box, throughout the entire structure. Our installation technique coupled with the load beam design enhances this strength.

It is also worth pointing out that the shape of our box also plays a large role in the strength. The large footprint is better able to handle rolling loads, while at the same time providing a unique appearance!

APPEARANCE

Not something given much consideration, when looking at current fin systems. They range from bland chunks of plastic, to random shapes that don't always compliment the surfboard. Due to the unique design of our load beam we have been able to create an aesthetic not seen in other fin systems. With our design the box all but vanishes into the board once installed. The cover in the load beam facilitates this by completely hiding the underlying structure. All that remains visible is a thin outline of plastic around the perimeter, plus the dam surrounding the slot and screws. It doesn't get more minimal than this!

We made a design decision that the load beam should support a wide variety of different cover material types. We select cover materials from a wide array of choices that provide good bonding strength. Additionally, we have a wide range of color covers that make it simple to enhance the appearance of the system when installed in a board!

WEIGHT

In modern surfboard design, weight is a critical component. This has alway been a high priority for our design. We wanted the lightest possible box, that met our strength requirements.

There are many ways of reducing weight, but doing so without compromising strength can be a delicate balancing act. The design and shape of our load beam has allowed us to push the weight reductions to the limit! But we chose not to sacrifice strength for weight!

SIMPLICITY

We wanted to keep the system as simple as possible! It needed to be easy to understand how it worked and how to work with it. To achieve this we stuck with many tried and true techniques for creating a removable fin system.

Focus remained on the customer, the system needed to be approachable and familiar to all surfers! We achieved this by limiting the options, and sticking with grub screws for locking the fin in place!

EASY INSTALLATION

Here we once again tried to rely on what board builders are already familiar with in their factories. The system had to be an under the glass install, eliminating an extra step compared to a post install. Saving time and expense for the board builder.

These days most use either a two-step process or a single rout. We elected to use a two-step routing process as it better fit with the unique aspects of our load beam. Ours differs because we have a much deeper load beam.

To simplify the process we designed an entire routing system that minimized the number of steps. Different construction techniques sometimes need a different installation process. We designed our system to enable these alternate installation options.

COMPATIBILITY

To provide the widest array of fin choices the system is compatible with all available dual tab fins. }}

My Image

What's with the name?


Why did we call it GEARBOX! We feel that the fin system plays a unique role, as the interface, for transferring the power the surfer applies to the surfboard through to the fins! Much like a car, where the gearbox is used to transfer power from the engine to the wheels, so GEARBOX made sense!

GEARBOX, an engineered solution, designed to get the best out of your surfboard and fins! Delivering what we call Finplicity! —GEARBOX SURF

GEARBOXAnatomy

GEARBOX Anatomy

BOXES

The GEARBOX fin system consists of six (6) different boxes. Five (5) side boxes, featuring different cant angles, and a dedicated center box. Load beam collar cover. Designed for placement underneath the glass during the lamination process.

Side Boxes
Side Boxes
Center Boxes
Center Boxes

A unique patented load beam collar with cover, turns the entire top surface of the cover into a bonding surface. Truss openings in the load beam collar lighten the weight without sacrificing strength. Outline shape of the beam improves roll strength of the system once installed. Features a wide mid-section providing largest possible footprint, without impeding close to rail installation.

The design of the collar does not restrict the cover material to any one material, anything providing a good bonding surface is fine. For example, in a balsa wood board the cover could be balsa so that the box blends in with the surrounding wood. The cover enables the application of various overlays, for example, carbon fiber, fiberglass, etc. Facilitating customization of the box appearance. Allowing the boxes to blend in with the rest of the surfboard!

Side box covers feature a recessed cant angle number centered at the outboard edge. This number indicates the cant angle of the associated box. Supported cant angles - 0º, 2º, 4º, 6º, and 8º. The cant angle is also marked in the slot, as well as on the bottom outside of the box. Making it easier to identify the cant angle.

The outer flange of the collar provides an aesthetic detail by forming a thin pin line around the perimeter of the cover.

Box Dimensions
Box Dimensions

Adjustment of 5mm (3/16") forward and backwards provided by the fin slot. Allows fin placement to be fine tuned. Designed to be compatible with all dual tab fins on the market. Each box ships with a card containing 3 pieces of die cut masking tape. These are used to cover the slot and screws during installation. Side boxes ship on trays containing 10 boxes, die cut masking tape, and 2 hex keys. Center boxes ship in packs containing 5 boxes.

Load Beam Collar
Load Beam Collar

A unique patented characteristic of the GEARBOX design, is the load beam collar. Location of the cup shaped beam is below the upper surface of the box. A high density material placed within the load beam, increases the bonding area for the bottom laminate. This is called a cover.

Selection of cover material is based on good resin adhesion characteristics. Installation bonds the entire cover into the collar. Turning the load beam collar into a strong structural entity that is efficient at load dissipation. The design of the collar results in a cover that has the greatest amount of exposed surface area possible. Allowing for a superior bond with the bottom laminate of the board.

Box Dam
Box Dam

A dam is a requirement for an under the glass system. It serves to provide a ramp over which the bottom laminate can be draped, allowing the dam to be exposed when the board is sanded. It also allows the grub screws to be protected during the laminating process.

Die cut masking tape is provided that fits the top of the dam to cover the slot and screws during lamination. The dam has high enough clearance above the bottom lamination to allow it to be sanded down to expose the slot and screws.

Fin Slot
Fin Slot

The fin slot provides the housing for the base of the fin, and is designed to provide a snug fit for the base. The GEARBOX slot also provides an 3/16" (5mm) of adjustment for the fin, allowing the fin position to be tweaked!

The slot supports both GEARBOX and DUAL TAB bases.

Slot Bridge
Slot Bridge

GEARBOX features a bridge at the center of the fin slot, on the bottom. This bridge serves to tie the two sides of the slot together for additional strength. Tying the sides together in this manner means the slot is less likely to spread apart under the loads applied to the base of the fin.

GEARBOX fin bases have a corresponding semi-circular notched cutout to fit over the bridge. Dual tab bases fit either side of the bridge.

Grub Screws
Grub Screws

GEARBOX utilizes two grub screws to lock the fin into the slot. The screws are tightened down into a notch in the fin base that pushes the fin down, locking it into the slot.

For side boxes the two screws are placed on the stringer side of the box. While the the center box the screws are on opposing sides of the box.

Fin Base
Fin Base

The GEARBOX fin bases is a full length base in order to provide the strongest support in the slot. This minimizes the amount of flex in the base of the fin allowing it to flex as designed.

The base features notches, on the side, onto which the grub screws land allowing for a compression fit into the box. These notches are designed to support adjustment of the fin position within the slot. The notch also minimizes the risk of the fin falling out of the box should the screws loosen.

COVERS

The cover provides the greatest possible bonding surface for the bottom laminate. Allowing for a stronger installation. The cover extends down through the trussing of the load beam, providing a better bond to the underlying foam shelf. Sandwiches the web of the load beam, locking it in place!.

Hex Side Covers
Hex Side Covers
Hex Center Covers
Hex Center Covers

Hex covers are now the standard cover for the GEARBOX system. A hexagonal scoring pattern is engraved into the upper surface of the cover. In addition, to the normal excellent bonding properties of the cover material, the scoring adds an improved mechanical bond!

The load beam cover provides the greatest possible bonding surface for the bottom laminate. Allowing for a stronger installation. The cover extends down through the trussing of the load beam, providing a better bond to the underlying foam shelf. Sandwiches the web of the load beam, locking it in place!

Because the cover is a separate part, from the box, its material can be optimized to provide the best possible bonding characteristics. All covers come pre-installed in a box, with a sanded upper surface! Loose covers can be purchased for customization purposes.

Besides the structural role that the cover plays within the load beam, it also has an aesthetic aspect. The large surface area, can be covered in different overlays to enhance the appearance of the installed box. Customization options are available for the cover. For example, the use of balsa veneer in a balsa wood board would compliment the appearance. This decorative covering is applied to the upper surface of the cover, can provide a wide range of other design options. These coverings can range from carbon fiber to wood veneers, or printed fabrics.

Installation strength is further improved through the extensive trussing in the load beam web. The cover extends through these truss openings, creating a bond between the cover and the surfboard foam.

Cover material selection is driven by bonding properties of the material to surfboard resin systems. Examples include high density foams, carbon fiber, wood veneer, fiberglass, or other structural materials. Provides greater creative flexibility with the box installation.

The standard covers feature a small recessed number at the outside edge, opposite the screws. This number provides an indication of the cant angle of the box. Because of its location it is visible after the box has been installed making cant identification easier when there are fins installed in the board. There are cant angle numbers for each of the available angles - 0º, 2º, 4º, 6º, and 8º. The center covers have no indicator!

Color Side Covers
Color Side Covers

Optional color covers are available in seven different colors - BLACK, GRAY, YELLOW, MANGO, RED, BLUE, GREEN,and PURPLE! All these colors are also available for the center covers.

All color covers are HEX covers only! All of these colors are made from Expanded ABS.

NOTE: colors shown might not exactly match the finished product!

Cant Angle Indicator
Cant Angle Indicator

To simplify cant identification on finished surfboards, the cover features a recessed number on the outboard edge that indicates the cant angle. This serves as a permanent indicator that is visible even when there is a fin installed.

Side Cover Cant Angle Range
Side Cover Cant Angle Range

The supported cant angles are - 0º, 2º, 4º, 6º, and 8º. Cant indicators are not present on color or custom covers. There are no indicators present on the center covers.

One of the unique aspects of the GEARBOX system is the use of a cover in the load beam collar. Not only does this cover facilitate better bonding with the laminating system, it also provides a unique customization opportunity.

Custom Hex Cover
Custom Hex Cover

Covers can be optimized by overlaying the top surface with a wide variety of materials ranging from wood veneers to various exotic composite materials!

There are two distinct types of customization that can be performed on the covers, depending on which cover is being used as the base.

HEX COVERS

Hex covers are used for most of the customization options. There are two different types of customization - inlay and overlay.

The inlay process involves sanding down the cover by the thickness of the inlay material that will be added to the top surface. Normally, the inlay materials are selected based on the resin absorption of bonding characteristics. The most common materials are wood veneers as these are relatively thin a easy to apply to the surface, while still providing excellent resin absorption.

Customization is most commonly built on top of an existing cover in order to better control the fit into the collar. But it is possible to completely replace the cover with one made of a different material.

For the overlay process a material is added to the top of the cover that extends over the flange lip as well completely hiding the edges of the box. We provide a simple guide to cover customization customization.

HEX COVERS - COLOR FILL

Hex covers can also be customized by filling the grooves in the covers with different color resin, allowing the hex pattern to be accentuated. This is easily performed with a syringe, then once the resin has cured the covers top surface is sanded down. A guide is close to being ready that will provided instructions on how to perform the customization and will be found customization.

STANDARD ROUTING System

Standard Routing System
Standard Routing System

The primary installation method is a two-step process. It creates a cavity with a shelf onto which the box’s load beam collar rests. The lower part of the cavity houses the bottom of the box. To ease the routing of these cavities the routing system includes jigs that simplify the routing process. These jigs allow the routing to take place without the need to adjust the depth of the router bit.

The system consists of three jigs - base, bottom, and top. The base jig is the primary positioning jig that locates the other jigs.

The bottom jig routs the center cavity for the bottom of the box. It nests within the base jig when in use. Finally, the top jig routs the shelf onto which the box rests. This jig sits on top of the base jig and has overhanging ends that position it on the base jig. It is the thickness of this jig that sets the correct depth of the router bit.

In addition to the complete routing system the jigs can be purchased as a set or individually making it simple to replace any part of the system when needed.

All jigs are made from glass filled polycarbonate so they are strong, durable, and relatively inexpensive.

Base Router Jig
Base Router Jig

Base jig is the foundation of the routing system. Ensures correct placement of the routing system. Soft rubber pad on the bottom prevents damage and minimizes movement of the jig.

Features a number of markings on the upper surface to assist in the correct placement on a board. Made from glass filled polycarbonate, making them inexpensive and durable.

The base jig is the primary jig, locates the system on the surfboard, and it isn't removed until the routing process is complete. Designed to make the process of locating the system on the surfboard as simple as possible. Small windows extend through each end of the jig that make it easier to position the jig on the shapers mark.

Base Router Jig
Base Router Jig

Used in conjunction with a pair of centerlines extending the length of the jig, and down inside the central cutout in the jig. There are two centerlines. One that represents the actual center of the box and runs down the center of the jig. Used when installing a center box. The side box centerline positions the side boxes, this centerline represents the inner face of the fin slot.

Marks on the jig help alignment when installing side boxes. An arrow and the word "Rail" indicates the positioning of the jig, relative to the rail of the surfboard. There are two shapers mark windows, so that they work for both sides of the board. The back window on the jig is always used to position the jig on the shapers mark. The base jig has a soft rubber pad on the bottom to protect the surfboard, and also to prevent the jig from moving. The bottom of the base jig is also shaped to make it easier to place in deep double concaves, and for easier handling. Accomplished with a 45º chamfer around the bottom edge of the jig. Made from glass filled polycarbonate.

Bottom Router Jig
Bottom Router Jig

Placed within the inner cutout of the base jig, the bottom jig to routs the cavity for the bottom of the box. No positioning required, drop it into the base jig and then rout the cavity. For this operation the router bit is set to the deepest depth.

Like the base jig, this jig has a rail side indicator to help orient the jig. Made from glass filled polycarbonate.

Top Router Jig
Top Router Jig

This jig is used to rout the shelf onto which the box rests. After routing the bottom cavity, the bottom jig is removed and the top jig is placed on top of the base jig. The jig is self positioning on top of the base jig with locators that lock the jig in place.

The jig automatically adjusts the router bit depth. Like the base jig, this jig has a rail side indicator to help position the jig. Made from glass filled polycarbonate.

Router Bit
Router Bit

Utilizes a router bit with an upper bearing. This bearing runs against the inner surface of the routing jigs, generating the correct outline.

The router bit has a 6mm (1/4") shank. 9.5mm (3/8") cutting diameter. 19mm (3/4") cutting depth. Utilizes a 13mm (1/2") diameter bearing.

Hex Key
Hex Key

A hex key is provided with the routing system. This key is used to adjust the grub screws before installation of the boxes. Features a full-size Allen wrench housed within the plastic, so it is very effective. Also used when installing fins in the system.

WARNING: do not over tighten screws as this can lead to stripping!

Depth Gauge
Depth Gauge

The final piece of the install system is a depth gauge that is used to set the depth of the router bit. It is used as shown in the illustration below. There are two separate depth settings on the gauge, STANDARD (circular notch on the side) for a normal install, and CONCAVE (triangular notch on the side) for installations in double concaves, this depth is 1/32" deeper than the normal install.

ROUTER BIT Depth Setup
ROUTER BIT Depth Setup

The side with a notch is always up to get one of the two depths - CIRCULAR = STANDARD and TRIANGULAR = CONCAVE. The flat edge is placed on the router base, as shown, and the depth is adjusted till the cutters touch the gauge.

Install Guides
Install Guides

The routing system also comes with a printed install guide detailing the entire process. The STANDARD Install Guide covers the basic install process for normal boards. A separate guide is provided for low density EPS installation in the form of the 1ROUT Install Guide. A lot of information on how to correctly install the system is provided, with variations for different construction techniques.

All of the information available in the various install guides can also be found on this site. Along with a lot of other information about the installation process.

More details here - INSTALL DETAILS

1ROUT ROUTING System

1ROUT Routing System
1ROUT Routing System

The 1ROUT or EPS installation method is a single rout process. It creates a single cavity into which a HD foam block is installed. The box then fits into the foam block that provides a stable support system. The routing of the single cavity is handled by the base router jig from the standard routing system, the other two jigs from the system are not utilized.

It also includes a router bit, hex key, and install guide.

Base Router Jig
Base Router Jig

Base jig is the foundation of the routing system. Ensures correct placement of the routing system. Soft rubber pad on the bottom prevents damage and minimizes movement of the jig.

Features a number of markings on the upper surface to assist in the correct placement on a board. Made from glass filled polycarbonate, making them inexpensive and durable.

For 1ROUT/EPS installs this is the only jig that is needed as this routing system involves a single rout.

The base jig is the primary jig, locates the system on the surfboard, and it isn't removed until the routing process is complete.

Designed to make the process of locating the system on the surfboard as simple as possible. Small windows extend through each end of the jig that make it easier to position the jig on the shapers mark. Used in conjunction with a pair of centerlines extending the length of the jig, and down inside the central cutout in the jig. There are two centerlines. One that represents the actual center of the box and runs down the center of the jig. Used when installing a center box. The side box centerline positions the side boxes, this centerline represents the inner face of the fin slot.

Base Router Jig
Base Router Jig

Marks on the jig help alignment when installing side boxes. An arrow and the word "Rail" indicates the positioning of the jig, relative to the rail of the surfboard. There are two shapers mark windows, so that they work for both sides of the board. The back window on the jig is always used to position the jig on the shapers mark.

The base jig has a soft rubber pad on the bottom to protect the surfboard, and also to prevent the jig from moving. The bottom of the base jig is also shaped to make it easier to place in deep double concaves, and for easier handling. Accomplished with a 45º chamfer around the bottom edge of the jig.

Made from glass filled polycarbonate.

Router Bit
Router Bit

Utilizes a router bit with an upper bearing. This bearing runs against the inner surface of the routing jigs, generating the correct outline.

The router bit has a 6mm (1/4") shank. 9.5mm (3/8") cutting diameter. 19mm (3/4") cutting depth. Utilizes a 13mm (1/2") diameter bearing.

Hex Key
Hex Key

A hex key is provided with the routing system. This key is used to adjust the grub screws before installation of the boxes. Features a full-size Allen wrench housed within the plastic, so it is very effective. Also used when installing fins in the system.

WARNING: do not over tighten screws as this can lead to stripping!

Depth Gauge
Depth Gauge

The final piece of the install system is a depth gauge that is used to set the depth of the router bit. It is used as shown in the illustration below. There are two separate depth settings on the gauge, STANDARD (circular notch on the side) for a normal install, and CONCAVE (triangular notch on the side) for installations in double concaves, this depth is 1/32" deeper than the normal install.

ROUTER BIT Depth Setup
ROUTER BIT Depth Setup

The side with a notch is always up to get one of the two depths - CIRCULAR = STANDARD and TRIANGULAR = CONCAVE. The flat edge is placed on the router base, as shown, and the depth is adjusted till the cutters touch the gauge.

Install Guides
Install Guides

The routing system also comes with a printed install guide detailing the entire process. The STANDARD Install Guide covers the basic install process for normal boards. A separate guide is provided for low density EPS installation in the form of the 1ROUT Install Guide. A lot of information on how to correctly install the system is provided, with variations for different construction techniques.

All of the information available in the various install guides can also be found on this site. Along with a lot of other information about the installation process.

More details here - INSTALL DETAILS

To find out more, or to get questions answered.