Electric Longboard Roundup

ev longboards everywhere!

Everybody and their grandmother is longboarding electric-style these days: here are some of the most recent developments in the world of kickless cruising.

First up, [comsa42] has punched up an excellent step-by-step visual guide for first-time EV hopefuls, detailing the basics of a battery-powered longboard setup and thoroughly explaining the particulars behind component choices. His build is relatively straightforward: combine a board with a low(ish) kV outrunner motor, some LiPo batteries, an ESC (Electronic Speed Controller), a transmitter/receiver, and a few custom parts for gearing and mounting. This build should be commended not only for its simplicity but also for its frugality: [comsa42] estimates a final cost of around only $300, which is a staggering difference from commercial alternatives such as the Boosted Board and newcomer Marbel.

[comsa42’s] other significant contribution is a low-key and low-cost cover to house the electronics. He simply fiberglassed a small enclosure to protect the expensive internals, then mounted and painted it to blend seamlessly with the rest of the deck. You can find loads of other useful goodies in his guide, including CAD files for the motor mounts and for the wheel assembly.

But wait, there’s more! Stick around after the jump for a few other builds that ditch traditional wheels in favor of a smoother alternative. There’s also a smattering of videos, including comsa42’s] guide overview and some excellent cruising footage of the other board builds doing what they do best.

[psychotiller's ev longboards]If you’re serious about electric vehicle design of any kind, you’ll want to head over to the forums at endless-sphere, where you can find the tireless efforts of folks like [pyschotiller], who recently chose to deviate from the traditional skateboard wheel in favor of some beefier alternatives. His build with all-terrain XT Wheels offers a reasonable substitute, using off-the-shelf mountainboard parts to cushion his ride. Perhaps more interesting, though, is his most recent setup: [psychotiller] sourced some 6″ casters and rigged them to fit his axles. Although the larger wheel meant a major adjustment to the gear ratio, the end result—a much smoother ride—was worth the effort. Videos of both boards are below.

No mention of EV longboard development would be complete, however, without checking in on [beetbocks], the engineer behind Alien Drive Systems. His initial push toward a smoother ride was this “urban commuter” board, which also used pneumatic wheels—but not casters. Instead, [beetbocks] sourced the parts from roller skis (also known as Nordic Skates, or Skikes). [beetbocks]'s custom wheelsThe 5″ Skike wheels are smaller than [psychotiller’s] casters and made for a more natural longboarding experience, but the plastic rims introduced a complication. Although they cushioned the ride, these larger wheels wobbled horribly (YouTube link).[beetbocks] solved the problem by machining his own custom wheels from scratch. Milled from solid billet 6082 alloy, these aluminum rims are carefully balanced, accept a normal skateboard bearing, and even weigh less than their plastic predecessors. [beetbocks’s] most recent design is a 6″ off-road interpretation. Be sure to check out the videos that follow!

 

[comsa42’s] tutorial video:

[psychotiller’s] board with XT Wheels:

[psychotiller] blasting through the riverbed on the 6″ pneumatic board (with a friend riding the XT):

[beetbocks’s] Urban Commuter Board:

[Thanks Vlad]

17 thoughts on “Electric Longboard Roundup

  1. That looks affordable and kinda fun (and a bit risky, but then again, whats not).
    I’m amazed that this small Motor and only two batteries are able to power all this for 10 Km. I guess it is on a flat ground and not a hillside, but even then its stunning. I was under the impression that you need one of those Segway or Monowheel-Bike Motors in the size of at least a fist. I’m delighted to see that this is not the case.

    I would just ditch the remote, as its only a additional item I had to keep with me while going somewhere. Also its an additional battery. I would insert one or two vandalism-proofed pushbuttons, so I could press on them with my shoes. Aside from that… thank you for sharing!

    1. I’m not sure foot controls for speed is a good idea, since your feet need to be free for steering. I’m in the process of building one of these boards myself and opted for the hand throttle for that very reason

    2. Hello, this is comsa42 here. Even with a huge longboard like this one (45″) your feet still move around.. a lot! Maybe foot controls aren’t the best. My next project is a chain-drive board with a smartphone bluetooth controller. A simple app will power an Arduino which controls the board; sadly, I’ve destroyed my very last Arduino a week ago, so now I have to wait for the new one…

      Cheers!

    3. What about strain gauges on the underside of the board? My thought is that If the board is shorter where you don’t shift your feet drastically, then leaning forward could strain a gauge in the front of the board and accelerate the board, and leaning backwards would strain a gauge in the rear and decelerate. Maybe they both need to be strained a certain amount to sense that a rider is present. If they’re unstrained then it remains in standby mode.

      But therefore exact foot placement wouldn’t exactly matter, because applying pressure anywhere in the front or rear would get a reading.

      Plus that control method would look sleek! Thoughts?

      1. An addition! After reading through the rest of the comments, everyone’s worries about a ‘deadmans switch’ would be solved by strain guages. Problems with dirt and foot placement wouldn’t be an issue.

  2. Its good to see such awesome resources for this, I’m sure most people have one of these boards on their bucket list. Whenever I see these I imagine someone falling off and having to chase the board down, I like the remote to help with this but I kind of like Indyaner’s idea of pushbuttons to eliminate the need for a second thing to carry around.

    1. Yes, they should integrate a dead man’s switch somewhere, to avoid chasing the device on errors. But then again, it could be as simple as 2-4 brightness sensor-holes. As long as two of the 4 Sensors are pitch dark (a Shoes is on them), the buttons are live. If we change the shoe-position, it might shortly trigger, but we have most of the times 2 feet somehwere to cover the sensors and to activate the ability to speed up the motor. No one on the board covering the sensors? none of the pushbuttons are read out.
      Because I have a slight fear, that a grain of sand could potentially lock the food-buttons in a stage of constant pressed. If this case a simple realisation and a hop off would instantly kill any further acceleration.

    2. Hello, this is comsa42 here. Even with a huge longboard like this one (45″) your feet still move around.. a lot! Maybe foot controls aren’t the best. My next project is a chain-drive board with a smartphone bluetooth controller. A simple app will power an Arduino which controls the board; sadly, I’ve destroyed my very last Arduino a week ago, so now I have to wait for the new one…

      Cheers!

  3. Hmmm. Perhaps place extra batteries within the wheels and even in the board itself?
    Four tiny motors could be placed in the wheels.

    You could have a totally normal looking board that was controlled by a wireless hand controller and with all the guts (motors, electronics, batteries) hidden inside.

  4. methinks reed switches are the way to go for ‘deadman’s switch’. just cover the board with em and parallel them all, magnets on the feets.. that way there would always be a path for current to flow as long as you had a foot on the board somewhere.

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