Introduction: DIY Electric Longboard!
Hello, Fellow creators out there, in this guide I'll show you how to make a DIY electric skateboard on a relatively small budget. The board I built can reach speeds of about 40km/hr(26mph) and run for about 18km.
Above is a video guide and a few pictures of my build. Please support my work by subscribing to my YouTube channel https://www.YouTube.com/NematicsLab
Lastly, Always skate within your ability, no matter what you ride, always wear a helmet and proper safety gear.
So with that being said let's Get started!
Here are all the supplies you will need to built the Electric Skateboard
Parts & Components:
- Longboard, Skateboard
- Brush Less DC Motor
Tools and Supplies:
Step 1: Selecting the Right Skateboard or Longboard
The first challenge was to find a skateboard which I can later modify to make it electric. I could have easily built one by myself but I didn’t have the right tools for that. Anyways when it comes to selecting skateboards there are quite a few choices like a penny board, speeding board, Longboard, etc.
The best choice here was the Longboard of course because they are usually wider and longer. In addition to having soft wheels, they are also more reliable, easier to ride because of a more balanced structure, making them a good fit for beginners and we will have a lot of room to add electronics later you can choose a different type of it will work just fine but keep in mind what suits best for you and get one.
Step 2: Selecting Motors & ESC
So here starts the fun part,
Welcome to a world of fun, patience, and options. Yes, options. There are tons of choices out there, whether it be motors, ESCs (Speed controller), or Batteries. But how do you narrow down what you want or don't want? I’ll help you as best I can.
Motor: There are mainly two types of DC motors,
1) Brushed DC Motor:
2) Brushless DC Motor (BLDC):
What you are looking for is a brushless (BLDC) outrunner motor with a kv rating from 170 to 300 and Power between 1500 to 3000 Watts. So think of your kv rating as how much toque your the board will have, the lower the kv the higher the torque. My motor is rated for 280kv and 2500watts that is pretty beefy and is more than enough for a person with a weight of 100kgs.
ESC: ESC is an abbreviation for Electronic Speed Controller since BLDC is bit advance and uses 3 phases to control speed hence you need a speed controller. The ESC is the 'brain' of the build. It’s the link between your batteries and the motor. It also connects to the receiver that goes to your remote control. The ESC gets the 'commands'(PWM Signal) from the receiver that (Duty Cycle) tells it how much the remote's throttle is pushed. It then controls the amount of energy that passes from the battery to the motor, hence controlling the motor's speed.
One I’m using is rated for 24Volts and 120Ampers, so if you do math i.e Power= Voltage * Current, then 24*120 = 2880Watts and the motor is rated for 2500Watts so we have some headroom here.
Note: ESC is the one part of your electric skateboard build that you do NOT want to cheap out on. The cheaper speed controller can catch fire. Also if you want you can use a VESC which is an version of ESC.
Step 3: Building the Battery Pack
The battery determines how far you can go. You will want a battery that is compatible with your motor. The battery pack I built is 6S 3P 18650 Li-ion which means I have 6 Li-ion cells in series with 3 in parallel. That means the voltage of my battery is 25.2Volts (6 x 4.2).
The capacity of the battery is measured in mAh and that determines how much juice your battery will have. I have 7,800 mAh and with this, you can determine how much energy you have in watt-hours.
I won't go into much detail on how to build a battery pack as I already have an Instructables post you can check that out!
Besides you can also use Li-Po 6S battery pack so you don't have to deal with building one, but I don't recommend Li-Po cells as they can be dangerous if not handled properly.
Step 4: Pulley and Motor Mount
Pulley and Belt: So your wheels, motor pulley, wheel pulley, and belt all have to fit in together into what is referred to as a drive train. The ratio of the wheel pulley to motor pulley is called the “gear reduction ratio”. You want that to be around 2.5 but can go as low as 1.5 or as high as 3. Generally, a lower reduction ratio is better but low speed. I used a 70mm wheel Pulley which comes in kit with a gear ratio of 3 for high speeds.
The Motor Mount: For my built, I decided to make my own motor mount because one I ordered was very fragile and useless.
For designing, I used Autodesk Fusion 360 and in design decided to go with the clamping technique for mounting it to trucks of a longboard. I created my final version, and with some testing and 3D printing, I figured out how much slide I could get between the motor and the truck axel to tight the belt in the future.
Once the design was ready I took it to nearby CNC workshop and got it manufactured using CNC. It is a subtractive manufacturing process which employs computerized controls and machine tools to remove layers of material from a workpiece and produces a custom-designed part. The material I used was Aluminum 6061-T6 because it is easy to work with and High strength characteristics.
You can download the STEP file or STL file if you like my design from below.
Step 5: The Built Process of Drive Train
Firstly I started by removing the rear right wheel so we can attach our mount and motor. Since the Trucks of skateboard had a slight curve to it, I used a metal file to get rid of it, such that the motor mount fits perfectly on tucks of the skateboard. After installing the motor mount I installed the motor using Machine Screws.
Once that was done it was time to add a pulley to our wheel so we can transfer the rotational energy from the motor to wheel. It’s a really simple process just place the bigger pulley at exactly the center of the wheel and mark the holes where we need to drill through the wheel. After Drilling use some machine screws to attach the pulley to the wheel don’t forget to use thread lock or use Self Locking Nut with machine screws.
Now attach the smaller pulley on the motor shaft and put the belt along with Wheel and make sure it’s properly aligned, such that all three combined form our drive train.
Step 6: Electronics and 3D Printing
After finishing our drive train, we can attach our ESC to the motor. Just connect three wire from ESC to the three wires of Motor now connect your battery pack to the ESC and finally, it’s time to connect ESC to Radio Receiver.
I decided to build my own radio controller using Arduino and nRF24L01 Module but you can just buy one use it., For building one, you will need
- Arduino Nano x2
- nRF24L01 module x2
- Joystick Module x1
- 500mAh 1S Li-Po Battery x1
- TP4056 Module x1
- Switch x1
- Boost Module
- 3D printed case (Download STL from Below)
Just connect the Transmitter and receiver according to the circuit provided in this step and upload the code(Download from Below) to both Arduino after that connect 5V, GND and Digital Pin 5 of Receiver Arduino to the 5V, GND and Signal PIN of ESC respectively.
After attaching the receiver test if the motor is spinning in the right direction if not, just swap any two wires from the motor to ESC and the motor will spin in another direction. Now all you have to do is add all the electronics and Batteries into a case I have a 3D printer(Download from Below) so I made a custom case but you can use some plastic boxes and mount it to the underneath of longboard and you are ready to roll on streets!
Step 7: You Did It!
You did it. You just built your own electric longboard. Make sure to share your pictures with me on my social media.
Alright! Now for the numbers!
Top Speed: 40km/hr (Possible to reach 48km/hr but highly unstable to ride)
Cruising speed: 25Km/hr
Range: 18 Kilometres
Batteries: 6S 3P Li-ion (25.2V 7800mAh)
So that's pretty much it for this tutorial guys, If you like my work consider checking out my YouTube channel for more awesome stuff: https://www.youtube.com/c/NematicsLab
You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, etc for upcoming projects
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