Introduction: Street Luge Version 2

About: I'm Ben. I'm currently weaseling my way through undergrad at MIT where I'm majoring in physics and nuclear science and engineering. I made this account back in middle school (hence the cheesy name), and I real…

I previously made a street luge and instructable, however my previous design was not the best. It still worked pretty well and went fast on steep hills, but it was uncomfortable to ride and would not go very fast on less steep hills. I recently made a new street luge, and it works much better. It is much more comfortable to ride, and goes pretty fast on hills with a  grade as little as 15 degrees. This instructable shows the new design and construction.

Step 1: Materials

You do not actually need that many materials for this project. basically so long as you have some wood and a skateboard you should be able to make it. Here are the materials I used:

-two pieces of quarter inch plywood measuring about 18" by 10" (adjust dimensions based on how big you are)
-one two by four that is about 24" longer than you are tall
-another piece of two by four that is about 18" to 24" long
-two skinnier long pieces of wood each measuring about 24" long (1/4 - 1/2 inch diameter pvc works just as well)
-an old skateboard or wheels and trucks off of a skateboard (if you could get these from a long board you would have a really good luge, but they tend to be expensive. I advise getting a cheap skateboard from wall mart, for trucks and maybe roller blades from goodwill for wheels.)
-fence screws long enough to attach two 2 x 4 s together
-other smaller screws

I also used these tools:

-screw driver
- pencil

Step 2: Cut Two by Four and Add the First Support

The first step is to cut a 2x4 to be about two feet longer than you are tall if you have not already done so. Then you need to add some 2x4s to the back part to support the head/backrest. You want to get the head rest to be at about a 20 to 25 degree angle, so take one 2x4 about 18" long and screw it onto the main 2x4 a few inches from the back. 

Step 3: Cutting the Back and Head Rest

You are going to need a place to sit on your street luge. If you have not already cut some 1/4 inch plywood into tow rectangles each measuring about 18" by 10". One of these will be your head/back rest and the other will be the seat. I chose to make my rectangles congruent but you can change their dimensions based on your size, and what seems comfortable to you. You will not attach these pieces to the luge just yet, so hold on to them. I didn't have any 1/4 inch plywood lying around, but there was a big piece of 1/8 inch plywood that was lying in my garage for a long time. I cut four of the 18x10 rectangles out of this and doubled them up. The black stuff you see around the edges in the picture was gorilla tape which was added to cover splinters around the edges where the cut was made, and to cover screws which stuck out a little. 

Step 4: Adding the Second Support

Cut a piece of 2x4 to be about 10" long. You are going to screw this to the 18" long support that you previously screwed onto the body. This is what is going to hold the head/back rest at a 25 degree angle. Before you attach the support, place it on the first support and lean your head rest against it to decide where you need to attack it to get the headrest to fit on at a 25 degree angle. Once you found where you are going to attack it, screw it onto the bottom support.

Step 5: Attach the Head Rest and the Seat

Lean the head rest against the supports, and screw it in at a 25 degree angle. I used five screws to secure it. a few inches from the bottom of head rest place the seat. Center it as best as you can and screw it down. again I used 5 screws to do this.

Step 6: Adding the Trucks

Obviously you are not going to go very fast without a good thing to mount wheels to. It is also very important to be able to turn your luge by leaning. Therefore you need to use skateboard trucks. If you have an old skateboard laying around your garage you can use that so long as it is somewhat decent. I personally am not a skater so I didn't have any, but I did have a set from my first street luge (see in another instructable.) which I originally bought from wallmart for about twenty US dollars. It is probably best if your trucks are made of metal so they won't shatter when you go over a big bump (this happened to freeza36 with his plastic trucks). Also be sure you use screws with wide ridges so it will grip the wood well and will not be pulled out when you hit a bump (this has happened to me before). Last you should make sure your trucks are as lined up as possible. I tried to do this by measuring half way across the two by four in two places to draw a line and then doing the same on the trucks and lining up the line on the trucks with that on the two by four. In the end though I just ended up eye balling it and that seemed to work better. This part will probably take a little fine tuning, but do not be discouraged.

Important note: the closer together you have your trucks the easier it will be to turn. put the back trucks a couple inches from the end so you can easily drag it back up and to hills by holding the foot pegs and letting the back wheels roll. put the front trucks a few inches in front of the handles (far enough a way they will not touch your hands).

Step 7: Wheels

The single most important part of the street luge besides the trucks would be the wheels. If you want to end up going somewhat fast, you will need to make sure you have good ones. I have found that roller blade wheels work better than skateboard wheels and give a much smoother and quieter ride, but there is no reason you couldn't use the wheels that came with your trucks.

The bearings that are in your wheels make a huge difference in the maximum speeds you can obtain, and the over all performance of your luge. I had a lot of extra bearings laying around from wheels I tried out and didn't like. Odds are the bearings already in your wheels will work fine, but if you find they are a little difficult to turn, or do not continue turning very easily, it could be a good idea to replace them. If you have bearings that turn easily and stay turning for a long time, you should probably use those. each wheel needs two bearings. To remove the bearings I pried the first one out with a flat head screw driver, and then hit the second one out from where the first one was. Putting the new bearings in is as easy as placing them on top of the hole in the wheel and gently tapping them into place with a hammer or rubber mallet. 

Step 8: Taking Care of It and Riding

To keep your luge working and to ensure it does not fall apart while you are going down a hill you should do the following:

- Tighten screws holding on the foot pegs and handles whenever they start to get a little loose
- Tighten the nut on the bottom of the trucks if you wobble a lot when you try to turn
- Loosen the nut on the bottom of the trucks if you cannot or are having a hard time turning.
- Tighten the nuts holding on the wheels before you take your luge out
- spray your wheels with a little WD-40 to keep them spinning well
- remove and clean your bearings every now and then to keep them free of dust and excess grease

to keep from hurting yourself while luging, you should do the following:
- Wear a helmet and possibly other pads
- do not ride on busy roads or roads cars could drive on
- do not ride out into intersections, your low profile will make it difficult for cars to see you
- do not ride on sidewalks or roads with debris covering them
- If you are riding with friends on a narrow path wait ten seconds between each luger to allow for appropriate stopping time

That being said I am not responsible if you still manage to hurt yourself while luging.

Wheels Challenge

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Wheels Challenge