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Laterally Slide-able Board (freeboard for the rest of us)

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The Freeboard is a great project for those who love snowboarding and want to do it all year round, or those who want to have a new boarding experience.

This Instructable covers the concept of the laterally sliding board, to be edited to fit your personal needs. 

Please note: Freebord  is a brand of freeboards (Lateral sliding boards) based in America. But the concept has been around since the 80's. The schematics are available online somewhere, check google.

Another brand is Gravitis Freeboards based in Italy.

Freebord makes great introduction Videos though, so: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmZa1TP2pHI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDI-u7PGzcQ

The basic principle of the board is:  Six wheels, One board. Four outer wheels let you carve just like a longboard. Two center wheels on casters let you slide.

In this example I made the board as well but won't cover that in this Instructable. My board is 100 x 20 cm with a very slight concave and flex.

Important Notes:

1. I am now an Version 2.1. In this Instructable you will see some photos from the Latest Version as well as 1 and 2
2. The Board: for beginners it should be completely stiff. Flex or a camber will get you hurt . Concave is good for turning. 
3. Wheels. I haven't given exact measurements for the casters or the wheels. it will depend on what is available to you. as a general rule you want to have small wheels, closer to the ground= more like snowboarding.
4. Tuning. After i was done i added riser pads to my casters in order to slide easier and wedges to the skateboard trucks to improve turning geometry.  See the last page of this instructable





 
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Step 1: Materials & Equipment

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You will need:
- A Board (you can use an old longboard or make your own, its easy)- Skateboard/Longboard Trucks ( i used skateboard trucks, because they're cheaper and then changed their geometry with wedges to improve carving)
- 4 Longboard wheels, extra soft.
- Four of the longest Spacer Nuts you can find (i got 50 mm ones) Diameter 8mm
- 2 Casters approximately the size of your longboard wheels- 2 inline wheels approximately the size of the longboard wheels (and they have to fit in the casters), extra soft
- 4 8mm bolts, (i used 40 mm but it depends on what kind of spacer nuts you get. 

- 8mm drillbit
- 5mm drillbit
- variable speed drill
- Vice
- Metal epoxy (alternatively you could weld)
- Wrench 

Step 2: Widening the trucks: Why

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The wider the axles are the more stable the board will be.  My skateboard trucks started at around 135 mm (hanger width) and are now 235 wide. 

Despite what some of you might be thinking, this works. My axle hasn't snapped and isn't deformed and i weigh just over 90kg at 194cm

And it was cheap.

This method creates a hollow hanger. a hollow hanger is very weak until it is filled with a high grade steel 8mm bolt 

The bolt goes through the wheel and forms the new axle. This axle is then screwed into the hollow hanger formed by the spacer nuts.

Sounds confusing? Take a look at the next step.

Step 3: Widening the Trucks: How

Drilling the spacer nut

1. Hold the Spacer nut next to the axle. You will see how much of the threaded portion you have drill away. 

2. Measure the distance from the hanger to the start of the threaded part of the axle.

3. Take a felt tip pen and mark that distance on your drill bit. Thats for visual guidance

4. Put the Spacer nut into the vice and drill it open. Stop just before you reach the mark on your drill bit. 

5. Put the Spacer nut onto the axle. It should slide right. try screwing the spacer nut onto the axle. 

6. If it fits, you're very lucky. I had to repeat it a few times, drilling about a millimeter each time. 

7. When it fits completely and can be screwed on without a gap, move to the next axle on the same truck. 

8. Do each axle individually, they might not be exactly the same length.

Glueing the Spacer nut

1.  Mix a small amount of 2 component metal epoxy (check www.thistothat.com)

2. Spread the Skateboard truck axles in a thin film of epoxy. 

3. Screw the Spacer nut onto the axle, just like we practiced.

4. Use a wrench to make sure the Spacer nuts are screwed tight.

5. Wipe away excess glue

6. wait.

Step 4: Add Wheels and high grade Bolts.

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As explained in step 2. you now need to screw the bolt with the wheel into the hollow axle. I used 1 mm spacers, for no reason in particular. 

The pictures should be pretty self explanatory. 

use a wrench, make it tight.

Step 5: Casters

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Very simple: Remove the crappy plastic wheels from the casters and put in shiny new inline wheels. 

Don't get casters with a brake 

Make sure the inline wheels and casters have approximately the same size.

Step 6: Attach Everything to Board

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The title says in all. 

Drill appropriate holes in your board using the 5mm drill bit.

Make sure everything is centered. This is Vital as with any longboard.

Step 7: Tuning

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Tuning:

The reason for this Instructable was to re-introduce a forgotten board for the DIY crowd.

Because I haven't given exact measurements everyones board will be different. Thats the way it should be, but it also means everyone will have to get on their board, fall down at least once and then start tuning it to suit them .

What I did: 

My outer wheels are about 8mm off the ground. Add and remove risers and experiment with what you like. 

I made my board a lot longer than it should be.  My first board was 80 cm long, now i've got just over 100 cm. aim for 75-85 cm. 
(Because my longboard is longer, my turning radius is bigger. but i find sliding easier) think about what you want. 

I made bindings but don't use them a lot. they can be bought for 25-50 euros, or made with a heat gun and a piece of pvc pipe for next to nothing.

I changed the turning geometry of my trucks with wedges. why did i do this: because of the larger turning radius of the long board i needed to make my turns easier. ( http://www.randal.com/guides_faq.html )

Because I used wedges, i had to make a 4 mm riser for the casters. i made it out of plywood, but i'm not that happy with it. 

Because i used wedges, I'm higher off the ground than I'd like to be. avoid this by using trucks with a turning geometry you like. 

My board doesn't have enough concave, i wanted to make my board more like a snowboard. this makes the leverage i have over my trucks lower and again effects turning.

Tune your setup and make it your own. 

Give it a try, wear safety gear, have fun.



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Where can I go to get appropriate casters? How can I tell that they will be sturdy, smooth, and sized correctly? What brand did you use here? What are there specs? Any problems with the ones you chose?

Any help appreciated! I am actually looking to make a caster board and am hoping to make it with about 100mm/100a inline wheels for speed and distance. I don't know where to start regarding the casters though.

bettina-sisr3 months ago

ooo ooo ooo please post a video of someone riding one:-) btw awesome fun INstructable!

Jerry1SK3 years ago
Have you some idea how to make, spring what hold caster when it turn 180° ? It is on attached pic. Anyway awesome tut.
FreeboardG10truckSide.jpg
Where is that part from? Is it from an original freebord?

no, from an original gravitis!

please post a video of how it rides
Can you please leave a link to the casters that you used? I went to my local lowes but all their casters were either to small or did not have removable wheels. And can you also leave a more detailed description of how to make the foot binding? thank you
mcsk8rg2 years ago
those caster which you used are not spring equipped ... will that make a difference? is it good or bad or doesn't matter . if it does .... how?
srice72 years ago
Awesome but I would love to see it in action before I modify my board
sir bobby3 years ago
Hey great instructable bra, but where did u get casters to fit inline wheels?
duckef3 years ago
Do you think you could do it with a campus cruiser
airsoft10173 years ago
can you jump and what not with this kind of board? like in some of freebords vids?
airsoft10173 years ago
Do you use a bolt that the wheel bearings fit on? or do you just let them sit?
airsoft10173 years ago
what material do you make the bindings out of?
why not make one with 4 casters?
jfaneumann (author)  technosasquatch4 years ago
Because:
1. you wouldn't be able to pivot between slides and carves.
2. the outer wheels let you break if you're going sideways.
3. if you mean 4 casters in a row, thats just unnecessary. two is enough

that being said, i have seen versions of this board with the skate trucks between the casters. Kind of a -I I- setup instead of what i've got: I- -I
I meant like one each corner
jfaneumann (author)  technosasquatch4 years ago
how would you stop? or steer? the wheels would just always go down the steepest slope. you'd only get slide and no carve.
dont know
It will be like riding shoping basket =:3
kevman00443 years ago
Can you add details on how to make the bindings?
ajensen123 years ago
Whats the width of your board. I'm making a board but i don't know how wide an average longboard is
YoChuck4 years ago
After a lengthy search for the longer spacer nuts (i.e. standoffs), I discovered McMaster-Carr has a great selection. Just wanted to put it out there in case anyone else is having trouble finding them.

Great instructable, btw!
csmyers YoChuck3 years ago
Can you message me a link as to what you ended up getting? I need 5/16th or 8mm standoffs, as long as they have.
I had the same problem finding many parts at Lowes. The man in the hardware department recommended me to another local store. Try searching for "fastener" or "bolt" on google maps if you're having trouble finding the parts.

Also, I don't know where everywhere else is, but in America, the metric spacer nuts were essentially impossible to find locally. The axles on my skateboard measured 5/16th of an inch, so that's what I'm using.
Dr.Bill3 years ago
Nice innovation.

We only had steel wheels on our boards. Old shoe mount roller skates.
I used to skateboard a lot 45 years ago and I got to say this board looks like it might put a new crack in my butt. lol
gtboyz134 years ago
my longboard trucks are m8x1.00. nobody in the world makes a spacernut/cupling nut that size. what do i do?
locofocos4 years ago
I've got it all together. Unfortunately, the JB weld I used didn't hold. I had to drill further than I think you were describing. I drilled the whole length of the 8mm part of the trucks and the threaded coupling slid completely onto to. (I would have left some to screw on, but the thread pitch was radically different and wouldn't go on any). As I was moderately tightening the bolts through the wheels, the couplings began to rotate on the axle. However, they aren't sliding at all laterally, and seem to be holding up fine. I hope to remove them and reapply JB weld. I imagine there were air pockets and I didn't rough it up properly the first time. I think it might help to give a bit more detail (or a diagram) on exactly how far you drill into the threaded coupling. Good 'ible though!

Some tips I've found for learning to ride- Always lean on your toe or heel edge of the board. When you try sliding and balancing in the middle, lean towards whichever side of the board is uphill. This keeps you from leaning forwards, which will quickly throw you off the board.
sntgsrv4 years ago
do you think you could use a longboard to do this or do you have to use a skateboard
i cant believe how easy this was to make! i took my longboard i found in my bushes and added some casters i had in my house, and voila! i had a board!
vvshende4 years ago
Hi, nice instructable. You said that making a board is easy, I was wondering what material you used to make the board (wood, plys, etc.) and how you made it. I'm a longboarder and this looks like a lot of fun, and a great snowboard crosstrainer for the summer months.
jfaneumann (author)  vvshende4 years ago
I you can get it, use bamboo ply.
jfaneumann (author)  vvshende4 years ago
i used two 6 mm plys of Spruce. which i cannot recommend.

i pretty much went to my local hardware store and looked at the 6 mm plys they had. i then took a 120 cm x 60 cm piece and tried to bend it. i didn't like the first so i tried the next and so on.

the final choice was between birch, maple and spruce.
maple: too expensive
birch : way to flexible
spruce: ok, cheapish, stiff enough.

i did ply-fiberglass-ply and then put it in a makeshift press. afterwards i gave the bottom 3 coats of epoxy and the top 1 coat.

check out youtube though, and some of the instructables here. the next board i make i'm going to try a vacuum bag. the next board i make will be with birch, ply-ply-fiberglass.
jay bird4 years ago
Can you use longboard trucks like Paris 180s and then add the spacer nuts?
jfaneumann (author)  jay bird4 years ago
You definitely can, but do you want to? i think it would be a waste of some perfectly good longboarding trucks.

if you're asking because of the width, then ya, definitely, the wider the better.

but you don't need super carvy trucks.

plus: the vert. kingpin skateboard trucks are so much cheaper than reverse kingpin trucks. at least here in germany.

cutoi4 years ago
Thanks a lot. I've been waiting from something like this forever. I didn't even know freebord exists, but now definitely going to make one over several weekends and have something for summer. now i wonder if my great dane can be the fuel instead of down hill :D
quakefiend4 years ago
dude, thank you so much for introducing me to this. I love you.
doesdeer4 years ago
How does the ride transition from forward, skateboard-like motion to sliding with caster-wheel assistance? I spent many years on traditional skateboards in the 80s and 90s(Yes, eons ago!). I'm just wondering how this type of board works. I saw some action on television one time, but that doesn't tell how it rides. Just curious, today, at 39 years old, as opposed to 19.
jfaneumann (author)  doesdeer4 years ago
it actually doesn't ride a whole lot like a skateboard. you're always on the casters leaning left or right you always keep two of the outer wheels on the ground. The transition to the slide is by keeping the deck level so only the caster wheels in the center touch the floor. then you slide, and to stop the slide you just lean to place the outer wheels on the ground again.

Have you watched the second Youtube video? "you have to commit to the idea that you're snowboarding on pavement, not skateboarding."
Ah, I see now. The video explained a lot. I couldn't tell how long the board was in the video, or what amount of flex it has, but that would have to be figured out from trial and error. Cool, man!
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