DIY Electric Beach Luge Is A Thrill

[John Dingley] describes his Electric Beach Luge Project as an exciting mashup between “a downhill luge board, a kite surf buggy, a go-kart, and a Star Wars Land Speeder” and it’s fresh from a successful test run. What’s not to like? The DIY experimental vehicle was made to run on long, flat, firm stretches of sand while keeping the rider as close to the ground as possible. The Beach Luge is mainly intended to be ridden while lying on one’s back, luge-style, but it’s also possible to lay prone in the “Superman” position.

The whole unit was built from the ground up, but [John] points out that the design isn’t particularly complicated. There is no fancy self-balancing or suspension involved and steering is simple. A tube bender and a welder took care of making the frame. The rest is mainly used go-kart parts obtained cheaply from eBay, driven by a 500W 24V electric motor from an old Golf Kart. Like a luge sled, the goal is for the vehicle itself to interfere as little as possible between the user and the earth to make the experience as visceral as it can be.

You can see it in action in the two videos embedded below, but even more videos and some great pictures are available on the project’s page. [John] says it’s great fun to ride, but feels it could use twice as much power!

[John Dingley] has been experimenting in this area for some time now; don’t miss his earlier self-balancing one-wheeled motorcycle project. [Nick Thatcher] helped with the test drive, and he’s experienced with DIY electric personal vehicles of his own.

14 thoughts on “DIY Electric Beach Luge Is A Thrill

  1. That’s pretty cool (not prone though, ouch) but I can see why he says it needs more power. Not exactly scooting along very quickly compared to what I was expecting based on the description.

  2. A jogging pace is a “thrill”?

    Also, I hope he doesn’t mind mouth reconstruction surgery if he rides superman style. First thought was his face going right into the top of the headset bracket.

    1. Two things:

      1. He made it and it works. When I put as much effort into making something, as I’m sure he did into making this, I’m thrilled when it works as designed.

      2. When you are lower to the ground you feel like you are going faster than you really are.

      Combine the two and you would likely be thrilled as well.

  3. I hate pictures that don’t link to a larger version. And NO, not enabling script just to look at a larger photo.
    That said. (from small pics) The welds where the frame comes to the steering head look pretty weak (“iron bird” droppings).
    Add a salt environment to get into those crevices and you’ve got a corrosion/breakage problem coming.
    The cross member welds look a bit rough also.
    I hope you ground out and re-welded them after the pics were taken.
    And maybe toss that stick welder for a mig rig?

    That said, now go enjoy that sucker!
    I do envy a stretch of beach, vacant enough to ride this.
    And apparently no ordinances prohibiting it?
    Just Don’t tell where, or there’ll be a damned crowd in two years.

    1. Oh no sir, I’m not kicking the venerable rod burner!
      Just thinking of how the learning curve -seems- to be a bit faster for the hot wire gun.

      Tough to beat stick welding for welds/repairs on non-ideal metal conditions.
      Hmm, I wonder if plastic hangers are making acetylene torch &coat-hanger work, a fading (redneck) skill yet? ;)

  4. YouTube needs to stabilize these shakers and tremors. Holeywood used to use this effect for storm at sea or earthquake scenes. Simple tip, hold phone with both hands! I had no chance to see anything as detailed as welds.

    1. In this day and age everyone expects all youtube videos to be movie quality. come on give them a little break on this.

      and i bet youtube did stabilize this! lol and it’s still bad.

      And with the speed…come on guys push it a little bit harder!!! i’ve only built gas powered things. but nothing this slow. i think at 5 i was pedaling faster then this with my power wheels. Maybe its built to follow joggers on the beach?

      More Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

      other then that nice job. looks fast. you have half of what it needs done.

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