3D Printing an Electric Longboard as your next DIY Project
Transportation these days comes in many forms, some of those forms are dumb as hell. The hoverboard is the worst Idea ever. All self-balancing boards are. They are inefficient as they have to balance the rider and drive forward at the same time. I won’t deny the novelty there but they can’t provide any real transportation and the self-balancing Options that can transport you a fair distance are expensive and still can’t compete with something like an all terrain longboard could. Let’s face it most of us don’t get outside much anymore and when we do the car is our choice to get where we need to go even if it is only a half mile away and all we want is a soda.
I know I’m outing myself here but I have been playing a lot of Pokemon Go, maybe too much. but I’m going outside more and that got me thinking about transportation. For reasons outside my control my car has given up on me so I’m riding the bus. for a lot of us the bus and other forms of public transportation are part of the everyday hustle. It’s only natural to want to still get places fast. Bikes are cumbersome and the hoverboard and its ilk are not up to the task. I’m going to walk you through finding a longboard and walk you through building a usable electric board using a 3d printer to make the parts you need. Over time you can buy or make stronger metal parts but you should need to upgrade with away. This whole project can be done without a 3d printer of course but it will cost more. It actually will look better if you 3d print things like the battery case. This is kind of a hybrid project. When your done reading if you like projects like this let me know and I will find more projects that don’t completely need a 3d printer to work.
I want to start by saying I am no expert when it comes to skateboarding. I had one but hardly ever used it. That being said there are criteria we need to address when considering an electric longboard. It needs to be large enough that we can put batteries under it and still have room as to not scrape the ground. It needs to be sturdy enough that it can support you and the electronics. Last but not least, it has to be something you wouldn’t mind pushing when the batteries die. I am starting this project with a board I have chosen to ride while I collect all the parts needed to convert it later. I chose the Yocaher after reading reviews and looking at pricing. for under 100 quite a few skate pages recommended it as an ok start. Its shape makes it a great platform for and electric board. If you want a lot of batteries though you might want a taller board. If you really want to test the limits of your FDM printer you could print a skateboard.
What you are building is an RC car with no steering. The best place to go for RC if you’re on a budget is hobby king. That being said I have some qualifiers, depending on how much you are looking to spend you can buy kits from a list I will put at the end. But for now let’s assume you are looking to do this as cheaply as possible. The electronics are very straight forward. You need the following.
Here is one place some 3d printed parts will come in handy. There is a lot of empty space in this controller and it would be easy to remove the steering wheel and shrink down the form factor to make it less bulky.
Speed controller/Programming card
I’m going to link to a VESC made for Electric Skateboards later but it is twice the price. you will want to find a programming card for any esc you buy so you can get the board under control if you drive it like an RC car you will crash a lot.
Batteries and Charger
The more batteries you can afford the better but you will need at least 2 so make them count and get at least 5000mah but 6 cell is a must. As for the charger, it’s DC only AC/DC chargers cost more just use an old pc power supply to power it and you will be fine. You can also charge off a battery with it.
You want a big motor the larger the motor the easier a time it will have pushing you around. For those of you that aren’t familiar with RC cars and Planes the easiest way to find out what you need is to look for the KV Rating in the motors name. The smaller the KV the slower it turns and the more Torque it has the larger the KV the faster it will spin but it will have less torque When looking for a motor try to stay below 400kv. 400 kv is right at the limit of motors good for E boarding. You will always have to push first and then give throttle with a motor in that range. So get a motor in the 150kv range if you can afford it. 2 400 kv motors would work but then you need 2 speed controllers and all the mounting hardware to go with it. Almost all the large motors are on backorder right now so some shopping around will be required if you don’t want to wait.
That’s it for the electronics you’re going to want to buy wires and connectors but what how and why will depend on your build.
Here is where things get technical Depending on what you buy and whether you want to 3d print or buy the drive system and mounts you have a lot of options. If you want to 3d print mounts and pulleys I linked above to a bunch of models. Enertion Has a really good Open Source file list that will help you model and print or CNC parts as well. Whether you build or buy this is where the board becomes your project. I’m going to 3d print everything I can to see how well it holds and to save money. One thing I suggest is this battery box on Thingiverse.
Just a few places where you can get The pullies and belts.
Resources and Builds
I wanted to make sure everyone had plenty of material easily available so I put together a list of DIY and Stores that offer kits.
3D Printed electric Longboard V2
V3, No Weld, 3D Printed, Electric Longboard
DIY Electric Longboard for $300
Let me know if you like posts like this and I’ll find more Projects.