October 02nd 2023

Wood and laser - climbing holds 2.0

In his bachelor's thesis, Mechatronics student David Gruber explores an exciting and sustainable project

Climbing is becoming more and more popular - and not just in Tyrol. According the German Alpine Club, the number of climbing enthusiasts has increased almost tenfold in the last 30 years. Above all, the number of indoor climbers is rising steadily.

Most of the climbing holds used in the halls are mainly made of plastic. For his bachelor's thesis project, David Gruber set himself the goal of producing sustainable climbing holds made of wood that have a grip and slip resistance comparable to that of conventional plastic holds.

His idea to change the surface of the grips by means of a laser is completely new. In order to improve the grip, previously available wooden handles are usually brushed or produced with a band saw in order to obtain a certain surface structure. For the handles produced by David Gruber, different patterns are engraved into the wood surface by laser to obtain a corresponding surface structure.

A five-axis CNC machine was used for the implementation. In order to attach the laser, a special mount was installed on the spindle housing of the milling machine. The control runs on a G-code written in CAM software. To switch the laser on and off accurately, the code had to be adjusted and an interface was developed and implemented.

Tests have shown that in comparison to holds with untreated surfaces, the grip and slip resistance could be increased significantly and can definitely be compared to conventional handles.

Recently, David successfully completed the final bachelor's exam of his Mechatronics studies. Now, nothing stands in the way of an exciting professional career. We wish him all the best and above all much success with his impressive idea.

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