DIY $150 Electric Longboard

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About: Hi, my name is Nikodem Bartnik. I'm 19 years old. I am into designing, making, programming and electronics. In the future, I want to start a company and make my own products. As for now, you can find my work...

Electric vehicles are cool and there is no doubt about it. Especially electric skateboards! Ever since I saw Casey Neistat riding boosted board I wanted to try this on my own. Price of the boosted is high or even very high so as usually I thought that instead of buying one I will simply build it myself. So there it is I managed to build it for about $150 (I know this may sound too cheap, but actually I spent a little bit less than that, I bought a really cheap longboard for about $50 and even with $30 18650 battery pack that I made it is still below $150) it can drive with a max speed of 24km/h and drive 15km on a single charge (with my DIY18650 battery pack)

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YouTube: youtube.com/nikodembartnik

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Patreon: patreon.com/nikodembartnik

Step 1: Parts

There is a lot of different motors, ESCs, pulleys and batteries that you can use for this project. Here is what I decided to go with. I bought the longboard locally it was just about $50.

As the battery for this project, I used my old LiPo batteries. You need to power the ESC with 6S battery so I used two 3S packs and connect them using this connector. I want to replace those batteries with 18650 and BMS, I am not a huge fan of LiPos.

If you don't want to make motor mount on your own as I did, you can try using this one but it may not fit your truck.

Step 2: Making the Motor Mount

I wasn't sure if any of the motor mounts that are available online will fit truck of my longboard so I thought that it is a good idea to make it on my own since I have Dremel CNC that can mill aluminum. I decided to start with prototyping the shape of this mount with a 3D printer. I did a rough design in Fusion 360 and after an hour of printing my first prototype was ready, I got it really close to what I wanted to have right on the first try. After 5 different designs, I got one that was perfect so I headed to my workshop to machine it out of aluminum on a Dremel CNC because obviously 3D printed part for that is not strong enough.

Setting up this milling was easy to do just 3 pockets to cut and one contour cut. Pockets went amazingly well, shiny surface, perfect dimensions. But there was a problem with contour cut and there was a small shift on each layer so I had to cut out the part manually.

After assembling I dropped the longboard accidentally and the mount got loose so I had to reinforce it with a 3D printed clamp (100% infill, 4 perimeters, PETG filament).

Step 3: Attaching Pulley to the Wheel

To attach the pulley to the wheel we need to drill 5 holes in the wheel. In my case, I also had to print support for this pulley because it was a little bit too deep in the wheel. Drilling those holes is quite simple to do, use a standard drill bit that you would use for metal or wood and go slowly, it's easy to melt this rubber. After that simply put in place those 5 long screws and try to perfectly center the pulley in order to make it work great. You can find my 3D printed support design below.

Step 4: Assembly

Start by drilling two holes in the aluminium plate to attach 3D printed clamp. Then fix a motor to the plate with 4 screws, don't tighten them completely yet. Put the mount on the track and fix it as strongly as possible. We can also put a smaller pulley shaft on the motor shaft. Now it's time to mount a wheel with a pulley that we attached previously. And the last thing, add belt and tighten it by moving a motor and now you can tighten the motor screws.

Step 5: Electronics

Electronics connection is extremely simple in this project we need to connect the batteries and thanks to XT60 connectors there is no way to do it wrong, we also need to connect the motor to the ESC (just 3 cables). If the motor spins in the opposite direction just swap two of three cables and it will change. It's really as simple as that, there is nothing more to do with electronics connection.

Step 6: 3D Printed Case

I always try to make my projects as professionally as I can, a simple 3D printed case can really add a lot to your project. It's also always good to spend more time on measuring and designing in CAD then reprinting the part especially when it takes few hours to print it.

I end up with two different design of the case, a smaller one for LiPo batteries and a bigger one for my 18650 battery pack. You can find both of them below. For smaller case, there is also a flap to print and you should use threaded inserts in order to be able to fix the flap to the case. Keep in mind that the way that smaller case is attached is really not reliable and it can break easily, I fixed that with a bigger case.

Step 7: Drive!

It's time to test your very own electric skateboard. Grab a remote, put your helmet on and skateboard on the ground. You need to turn on both the skateboard and the remote. Gently push the throttle up, be careful if you never ride any electric skateboard before it's easy to fall. It takes some time and practice to master riding an electric skateboard, but that's a lot of fun and is a great way to go through crowded streets!

Step 8: DIY 18650 Battery Pack

LiPo batteries that I used were in a really bad condition, I knew that I will have to replace them soon. So a week after finishing my electric skateboard I bought some 18650 batteries to make my own battery pack. I decided to go with 6S 3P pack that means 3 batteries in parallel and then 6 of those in series, together 18 batteries. The proper way to make this kind of battery pack is to spot weld it, unfortunately, I don't have a spot welder because of that I had to solder them. Soldering those batteries is not recommended, it's easy to destroy them that way. To solder them I used nickel strip, that's what they use for spot welding. This pack turned out slightly bigger than my LiPo batteries so I had to redesign the case and print it again. In order to properly and safely charge the batteries, we need to solder the balancer connector to the pack and connect it to the BMS (Battery Management System). The problem is that BMS that I used can output max of 15A, that's too low for an electric skateboard. That's why I connected my XT60 connector directly to the battery and not to the BMS, that way we don't have over discharge protection from the BMS fortunately electric ESC substitute has the low voltage protection and it will shut down the motor when the voltage of the battery is too low. Completely unprofessionally I protected all of the battery terminals with insulation tape, not professional but works fine :) Then I added the charger port to the BMS, put all of that in the 3D printed box and mounted to the skateboard. And it was time to test the skateboard again, this time with the proper range test, if you want to see the results check out videos about this project on my youtube channel!

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    14 Discussions

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    BrunoR114

    Question 6 days ago

    Nice detail on project!
    How does that motor goes from standstill? Do you have to help to start the board in motion only then you start the motor?
    I used the same exact motor on my kid's bicycle and if he tries to start from standstill the engine makes alot of noise kind of metal grind and it seems like it will "explode" internal... the total weight (kid plus bicycle its 40kg), not sure if the engine is not strong enough.
    Thanks

    7 answers
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    wclapieBrunoR114

    Answer 5 days ago

    I would think such a small motor would have very little torque compared to the size of the bicycle wheels. Maybe a very different gear box arrangement would help? Something with at least a ten to one ratio I would think. There are many "propel" style motors out there for bicycles.

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    BrunoR114wclapie

    Reply 5 days ago

    Hi, thanks for the reply, I thought the same maybe buying another sprocket for different rations to see if would help but the ones I saw are expensive... Just wondering after all this "grind" the engine now sometimes completely blocks and I have to push forward and backward to "unlock"... so considering a motor with less revolutions.

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    wclapieBrunoR114

    Reply 3 days ago

    In general lower rpm means more torque. Good luck.

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    nlohrBrunoR114

    Answer 5 days ago

    Did you followed the instructions on the banggood-page "How To Connect Remote & Control Board?" (item 1.-4.). The motor is a "N5065 320KV 1820W Outrunner Brushless Motor", so a three phase one, and with it's 1820Watt it is sure stronger than you can hold manually... I guess it's a connection fault of one of the three current-cables. If only 2 are connected, the motor can't start nor rotate evenly and makes this grind-noise...

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    BrunoR114nlohr

    Reply 5 days ago

    Hi thanks or the reply, I havent read it, also I can't find it :S
    But as you mentioned its a 3 cable to connect to the ESC that also has 3 cables, not possible to be a connection fault.
    My kid needs to put the bike in movement so that the motor can actually pull... otherwise as you mention start the awful grind-noise

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    nlohrBrunoR114

    Reply 5 days ago

    I've posted you the link above - anyhow, here the copy from:

    "How To Connect Remote & Control Board?"
    1. Connect the control board to power source.
    2. Turn the control board power on, wait 2 seconds, then press and hold the switch for about 6 seconds, till the power indication light flickering, then loose the hold of the switch immediately.
    3. Turn on the remote, then use a little stick to press the code synchronize switch on down left side of the remote.
    4. Turn off the remote, wait 2 second to turn it on again.
    Wait till the remote's sinal light and the control board's power indicate light both flickering. Then connect sucess.

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    BrunoR114nlohr

    Reply 5 days ago

    When I clicked on the link i takes me to their generic page.
    That information its for remote controls, my esc has a specific configuration which is slightly different then that.
    Thank you for the info provided but unfortunately its not the issue I'm facing. All the best to your project

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    Sadiyq

    Question 5 days ago

    Is it possible to purchase remote and motor setup from you as a package? Those items aren't available where I currently live and shipping in stuff like that will cost and arm and a leg.

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    WeTeachThemSTEM

    8 days ago

    This is brilliant! Great job on every aspect! I love the test video and seeing how far you were able to go. :)

    1 reply
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    wclapie

    Question 6 days ago on Step 5

    If I may. Your price ended up being close to the price of a commercial longboard?

    1 answer
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    Nikuswclapie

    Answer 6 days ago

    No, you would have to pay at least $400 for a skateboard with this range

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    loki2012

    6 days ago

    I like this project - in the Seattle area we have hills, I was thinking of adding a 2 or 3 speed RC transmission - anyone have experience with these transmissions? D0o they have the torque to haul a person?

    My thinking is the final gear ration be the actual gear ratio, and the other gear(s) are used for starting / hills.

    My daughter does longboards, I would fall on my a** in a heartbeat. But I do have a fat tire scooter I want to modify. Both I want to try these 2 - 3 speed transmissions.