Picture of Make a Scooter from Scratch
I go to a pretty geeky engineering college (Harvey Mudd) where most people use some type of wheeled transportation, ranging from longboards and unicycles, to scooters and free lines. The geeky part is many people build their own versions, customize them with engravings and stencils, and occasionally add LEDs, accelerometers, and other cool electronics.

When I visited the campus in my senior year in high school, I saw a guy who made his own longboard out of aluminum and clear acrylic, with custom machined trucks and all. For the next week I was obsessed with making my own once I came to Mudd, but then I realized I'd have to learn how to longboard, which proved to be more of a problem then I originally guessed. So, I abandoned that idea and decided to apply the same basic design motif to a scooter, cause even I can ride a scooter (I think, at least). Also, as far as I know, no one has made their own scooter here at Mudd, so it's a little more original too. 

To provide a timeline: I spend the first month of school designing the scooter, and soon after ordered all the metal and some of the fasteners and other odds and ends. I began working as soon as I got access to the school's machine shop, which was around the end of September 2012. For several months I worked all day every Sunday, and completed everything up to Step 5 (the front wheel bracket). I took a break to make Christmas presents for my family like cooking spoons and decade boxes, and resumed work after Christmas break in late January 2013. I then built most of the rest of the scooter before March, and took several parts home to weld over Spring break. I laser cut the deck and finished the rest of the details near the end of the school year in April and May 2013.
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JeffreyF26 months ago

that looks like the kind of scooter that'll get reck'd on first ride.

BikeHacker1 year ago


Sammi114021 year ago
A lot of kids my age do this and make some pretty awesome scooters they just buy the parts from different stores and put it together and customize it however they want lol
Very nice!!!

I noticed where the aluminum was welded that the glob wasn't smoothed out. Do you think you welded too quickly? Are you going to smooth it out in the future or do you like the aesthetics of the globular "look."

Are you going to put on some grip handles?

Also, why did the shop superviser not let you swap the mill vise for a turntable? Do you need more classes to do that or is it a "safety/insurance" reason?

And btw aluminium dust and shavings left over from cutting or filing can catch fire if mixed with steel dust (the mix is known as thermite.)

P.S that bracelet needs to be in your locker or car! That's a hazard, Mr.! :)
Actually, thermite is a mixture of aluminum powder (or other extremely hot burning metals) and iron oxide (or other oxidized metals), not steel dust .And he is completely fine, even if it was iron oxide. Thermite requires extremely hot temperatures to ignite, it almost needs to reach the white hot stage, such as by igniting with magnesium.
Purple people,

Maybe if you want to purposely MAKE Thermite. But the combination of welding steel and aluminum can explode... Aka Thermite
Thermite does not exist without an oxidizer, and neither welding steel nor aluminum are an oxidizer, aka not thermite.
it may cause a reaction due to molten steel comongnin conact with aluminum powder, but not close to an explosion, and not close to thermite.
Sam DeRose (author)  Picturerazzi1 year ago
My reply is attached as a photo. I typed it out and my browser wouldn't let me post it (?). I didn't want to re-type it so I just took a screen shot, haha.
Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 3.16.43 .43πµ.png
Too bad that there aren't any professors in the shop to teach you hands-on... although with budget cuts these days you're lucky you even have a shop though, right?!... :P What does your Dad do? You mentioned he helped you get the right wires and stuff.

And the bracelet thing is because my Dad is a contractor and would pretty much fire someone over jewelry. He doesn't like blood and that's what wearing bands/chains will get you. :P I'm glad you never wore it while working but try and make it a habit to leave your jewelry in your vehicle because that one time you forget could be a baddddddd baddddd thing! And painful and grousom! :/

P.S What is your Major & what job are you planning for? My younger brother (about your age) is finishing his degree in Computer Software Engineering/Science? Something along those lines!
is the acrylic grippy
Sam DeRose (author)  TREX ZoaR0K1 year ago
Not really, but the heads of the button-head screws provide some nice traction.
Lohe1 year ago
Actually if you want it to light when you step on it, you could simply manage to make the pad act like a big switch ... Awesome build btw :).
P.S when you brush the oxide off of the aluminum, with a never-been-touched-by-steel, stainless steel brush, make sure to brush in ONE direction otherwise the oxide will go into the aluminum which will not let you weld the aluminum at the normal temperature. And be gentle because if you're too rough with the brush it contaminates the aluminum with the oxide. Basically aluminum is a pain in the butt!!!

And to make your puddle more clean-looking, push the gun away from the weld puddle rather than pulling it. This is a nicer cleaning action, will reduce weld contamination, and improve shielding-gas coverage... And the aesthetics will look better.
Sam DeRose (author)  Picturerazzi1 year ago
Thanks for the tips! Im definitely going to take a class or something before I try welding aluminum again...
Can't wait to see your new projects!!!
kkreitman1 year ago
Most scooters use a pad that presses against the rear wheel as a brake, spring loaded to keep it off the wheel when not being deployed. Nice build!
Dude! This is AWESOME!! Aluminum welding FTW!!!!
Aluminum welding is dangerous stuffs.... Don't dare to try unless you research the heck out of it and preferably have an experienced welder supervising you so you don't blow your house/shop and yourself up!! :P Thermite is no joke......
macrumpton1 year ago
Looks very nice but very overbuilt compared to most scooters I have seen. You don't mention what it weighs.

I have been pondering making a scooter myself, but I am going to try to use larger 8" wheels in hopes of getting better performance on rough surfaces. I have a GoPed Kicker now, which is a nice design but the glide leaves something to be desired.
I found some nice wheels at:

One unexpected bonus of riding a kick scooter is that I found you can effortlessly carry a huge amount of groceries hanging from the handlebars while scooting along. I usually take a giant IKEA bag and get 2 weeks shopping in one trip.
Sam DeRose (author)  macrumpton1 year ago
Yeah, it is pretty heavy. I dont know the exact weight but I'd say about 15 lbs. I'll weigh it when I get home and add that to the post in the last step.

I mainly wanted to use stock that beefy because I knew I was going to be riddling it with screw holes, and I didn't want to compromise the structural integrity. If I had gotten a stronger aluminum like 7075, or if I had welded the whole thing (like commercial scooters) I could have made it lighter. But that also would have been a lot more expensive....

Those look like some nice wheels! Were you thinking the air ones or the hard ones? My wheels are 8 inches too and it definitely is a smother ride. The bearings could be better though, so it doesn't seem to glide quite as far as it should with one kick.
jongscx1 year ago
In the spirit of Over-engineering everything... it needs an Arduino.
Sam DeRose (author)  jongscx1 year ago
Haha yeah! Funny you should mention that because last night my dad and I were talking about adding something so when you step on it it lights up. Could use arduino for that, or maybe might be able to do it with just transistors and stuff...
frdmrckr1 year ago
Just curious, what did you use to weld that aluminum?
Sam DeRose (author)  frdmrckr1 year ago
I used a MIG set up with a new 'steel free' tube liner and 100% argon shielding gas. man was it a pain though, haha
ha ha. Id imagine. Working on some trim panel idea for a vehicle, but welding aluminum doesnt seem like an option for me. Looking into it some more ideas. Thanks
ORGANISM441 year ago
Step 1: Become an engineer
Step 2: Learn all possible math available
Step 3: Become a welder
Step 4: Build a scooter in a few steps
aqua 121 year ago
Very cool but a little confusing check mine out