well engineered diy Segway


[Mark] wanted a Segway but why buy something if you can have more fun building it? His end product is an amazing homemade version of the self-balancing transportation package. We’ve seen several projects that include auto-balance, but this one is large enough to ride on and has a bit of an advantage in the design. The motors, batteries, and other components are mounted below the wheel hubs and are weight balanced. This means that the device wants to find balance naturally, even when the electronics are switched off.

The frame was modeled in CAD and then welded together. For propulsion [Mark] has installed two 750 Watt motors which will use sprockets and chains to turn the wheels. The machine balances based on data from both a gyroscope and an accelerometer, with the entire packaged tied together using an Arduino.

[Mark's] build log is well laid out and details each part of the build with a different post. His two most recent entries include video of the unit balancing and of him riding the 95% completed project. A big thanks to [Mark] for taking the time to document this so that we can share in the excitement of a well-executed project.


  1. Marc says:

    Hopefully there will be documentation soon…I don’t see any build info, and I want to make one!!

  2. durp says:

    would love to see a cost breakdown of this

  3. Erik says:

    We made one as well. :)
    2 x 1kw motors

  4. monkeyslayer56 says:

    down with manufactures and up with DIY o wait we need manufactures to make the stuff we use on teh DIY stuff… well it saves money sometimes

  5. Jussi says:

    How hard would it be to use brushless hub motors? Will they withstand the torsional forces?

  6. fenwick says:

    I really like the bike tires; easily replaceable and durable.

    It looks like it just needs handlebars and an enclosure for the motors/controllers.

  7. Adam Ziegler says:

    Oh wow… we got though 6 posts without rag on safety… err … (just kidding)

    This is very cool the video was a nice addition.

  8. Patrick says:

    Can I get one with lasers? I want the most unsafe lasers possible.

  9. pookey says:

    OK… Based on the last few articles, I know exactly where this comment thread will ultimately end up.

    We know that “hackaday sucks,” but why waste a bunch of bandwidth and aggravate your carpal tunnel syndrome by typing the same trolls over and over again?

    In order to streamline the process of whining, I’ve created the following comment form. Simply check as many as apply:

    ( ) i have nothing useful to say
    ( ) that’s not a hack!
    ( ) what the hell, it has an arduino?
    ( ) lame, I built one of those when I was 3
    ( ) why build it when you can buy one?
    ( ) i hate projects with LEDs
    ( ) does it use matchbox cars as a switch?
    ( ) does it twitter?
    ( ) if i built it, i would blah blah blah
    ( ) i like to piss on other people’s work, but never build anything myself.
    ( ) i am a legend in my own mind

    Hope this helps!

  10. andrew says:

    (X) what the hell, it has an arduino?

  11. rob says:

    (X) i have nothing useful to say

  12. jamieriddles says:


    well done, this needs to be posted on the main page

  13. anon says:

    (X) I want to make a list of possible comment responses to show I’m quite observant in nature, a trait commonly cheered upon in hacking communities.

  14. Gosh says:

    (X) this is actually something useful to post on hackaday, unlike say, computer parts in a cardboard box.

    @pookey there’s a big difference between trolling/whining for nothing, and having genuine gripes about a site that seems to lose it’s focus no and again. there’s also a big difference between posting a comment that has something to do with the hack, as opposed to a list of observations done in a snide way.

  15. KT says:


    there is, but as of lately, the whining and trolling all seems to converge. Lets just discuss the hack at hand shall we!

  16. mech says:

    What, no helmet? OMG… Great post. I like the counter balance idea.

  17. John Berube says:

    nifty im working on one my self and I have the same “gyro” he has. good old ebay.

  18. jake says:


    If you’re interested in this hack, this link may be helpful.

  19. grovenstien says:

    Awsome if only i had the time to build one!

  20. liebesiech says:

    This is awesome!

  21. steaky1212 says:

    just a question tho, what happens if the power fails?
    presumably the wheels dont just lock up, or do you end up falling flat on your face?

  22. Mark B says:

    >>Hopefully there will be documentation soon…I don’t see any build info, and I want to make one!!

    What kind of build information did you want?

    >>would love to see a cost breakdown of this

    Rough breakdown:
    2 Motors, £70 each
    4 batteries, £10 each
    Steel, £30
    2 OSMC, £100 each
    Arduino and sensors, £50
    Misc, £50
    +£50 for tendency to underestimate costs

    Total: £560

    >>How hard would it be to use brushless hub motors? Will they withstand the torsional forces?

    The trouble with hub motors is the controllers don’t seem to have the level of control needed, i.e. Locked Anti-phase PWM. I may well look into this further, but with a sensored hub motor (if they exist) with my own-build controller (if commercial 3 phase locked-anti-phase controllers don’t exist).

    >>Can I get one with lasers? I want the most unsafe lasers possible.

    Sure, send me a check for £5000.

    >>nifty im working on one my self and I have the same “gyro” he has. good old ebay.

    Awesome, be sure to keep a blog and send me the link please! I may make my .pde available.

    >>just a question tho, what happens if the power fails?
    >>presumably the wheels dont just lock up, or do you end up falling flat on your face?

    If the power fails, its not so drastic as other segway clones due to the really low COG. You have a few seconds to jump off before it hits the ground. Best thing to do is avoid a power failure, although my test-pilot friend managed it and escaped injury-free.

  23. macpod says:

    That was clever to use the disc brake holes for a cog.

    Hmm, I wonder what a good way to support the wheels without having the bar go overtop would be.

  24. goga says:

    @pookey, you missed

    () this is completely useless

  25. pookey says:


    Here’s a homework assignment for you.

    1) Read *all* the comments for the last ten hacks posted on this site.

    2) Sort the comments into two piles. Pile (a) will contain comments directly relevant to the project– kudos and suggestions for improvement. Pile (b) will contain non-value-added commentary, including “this sucks,” “this is not a hack,” “this is stupid/lame,” and “I would have done it better” type stuff.

    3) compute the signal-to-noise ratio. Divide the number of a’s by the number of b’s.

    4) When you get the answer, and realize what it is telling you, you can then come back here and post a message apologizing for being mean to me.

    Seriously, my recent comments are an attempt to draw attention to, and make light of, the absurd atmosphere that some people have created in the comments section. It has become nasty enough that I have asked myself more than once, why bother coming here?

    The truth is that I like hackaday, and always have. And, while I don’t personally find all of the hacks useful, I certainly appreciate them *all,* because, in total, they represent a group of people who are out there building, tinkering, fabricating, experimenting, and thinking, as opposed to doing what most Americans seem to do– sit in front of a tv all day long playing video games, watching football, or obsessing over what Oprah thinks.

    If I had the choice between being stuck on an island with some guy who knows every play the Lakers ever made, and a guy who wires up matchbox cars so that he can photograph them when they crash, I’ll take the matchbox guy.

    If I have the choice between living on an island with somebody who devotes themselves to knowing all the details of Michael Jackson’s funeral, or what Lady Di was wearing when she died, or how many babies Brad and Angelina have, vs a guy who makes his own beer with the help of an twittering Arduino-based controller, I’ll take the arduino guy. Get it?

    As to hackaday losing its “focus,” since when was that “focus” defined by you? The focus is what the editors/administrators of hackaday decide it is. If the focus turns out to be something that isn’t your cup of tea, well, adios. If enough people feel that way, hackday will get the message and modify their content.

    My guess is that overall, most people are happy with things just as they are. I know I am.

  26. @pookey,
    BRAVO (claps slowly and stands up).

    maybe, just maybe, Hackaday has been listening to the fans. Maybe that is why they have been broadening their scope (since about 2005).

  27. DownIsTheNewUp says:

    I like this. It makes the Segway potentially useful, instead of just expensive and ironic. My concern is with the second video. I’m envisioning somebody on there losing their balance (as the motor catches up or something) or just hastily dismounting and stepping forward to catch themselves. You probably see how this would be disaster as they try to stop the machine while it revs to full tilt into them. I suggest a plate up front to avoid that reaction from happening, and maybe a kill switch on the handle. It’s just a thought, and maybe not a problem at all.

  28. DownIsTheNewUp says:

    P.S. I’m sorry if my distraction from your distraction from the story at the top of the page is annoying. It’s an important and enlightening conversation. In fact, it seems to be a conversation about comments and content that are unrelated to the stories posted here, which it is itself. I’m not trying to offend those discussing said topic, i just enjoy a little irony once in a while.

  29. Mark B says:


    I’ve tweaked the gains of the PID loop so it is more responsive so you don’t see the ‘catching up’ effect you see in the video.

  30. alex says:

    Congrats Mark, I know you have been working on this for a while and its nice to see a good project come to a stable point!

  31. tj says:

    The design already looks refined, maybe mag wheels instead. Also the whole practical power less energy consumption dilemma could be researched.

  32. Paul A says:


    Curious to know how long the batteries last?

  33. Aldrin Nunes says:

    Mark, could you e-mail with the necessary tools, hardware and electronics, I really need build one.
    thank you in advance

  34. Hey mark
    Love the controversial feedback you’re getting!
    When can i ride this thing?!
    Rupie x

  35. Gerald says:

    Just so you guys know, the code on the website is missing major bits. Like its missing the loop() which is essential for an arduino. If anyone has that may i have it? My email is vignesh1230 AT gmail DOT com

  36. i dont think the back bike wheel …(already got sprocket ) will do the job? as the sprocket on it go on one direction….but your wheel can go back..reverse..?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,369 other followers