Roller Skating, Wile E. Coyote-Style

They say you learn something new every day, and they’re usually right about that. Today’s tidbit is that just anybody (including [Ian Charnas]) can exchange money for jet engines, no questions asked. Scary, huh? So once [Ian] secured the cutest little engine, he took a poll regarding possible uses for it. Jetpack rollerskating won, that’s obvious enough. So let’s get into those details.

[Ian] procured this particular jet engine from an outfit called CRX Turbines. It tops out at 98,000 RPM and 30 kg (66 lbs.) of thrust. Essentially, he is pulsing the engine’s ECU with PWM from an Adafruit RadioFruit and controlling it with a pair of stripped drills that are just being used for their convenient grips and switches. One is wired as a dead man’s switch, and the other controls the throttle signal.

In order to run the thing and test the thrust a bit before strapping it on his back, [Ian] went about this the smart way and welded together a sliding stand. And he didn’t use just any old Jansport backpack, he welded together a frame and roll cage for the engine and attached it to a full-body harness. There’s also a heat shield to keep his backside from catching fire.

At first he tested the jet pack with shoes instead of skates to make sure it was going to behave as he predicted. Then it was time to bust out the roller skates. [Ian] achieved a top speed of 17 MPH before losing his balance, but he knew it could go faster, so he invited some roller derby skaters to try it out. One of them went over 30 MPH! Be sure to check it out in the build and demo video after the break.

If you’re at all familiar with [Ian]’s videos, you know that he usually raffles off the build and gives the money to charity. Well, not this time! That wouldn’t be prudent. Instead, he’s going to choose the best suggestion for what to attach it to, build it, and raffle that off. Hopefully, he stays away from airports with that thing on his back.

36 thoughts on “Roller Skating, Wile E. Coyote-Style

        1. People have been fooled by cheap paint. It takes less to fool most people than most people think. A clip from C-SPAN, slowed down slightly and uploaded to facebook, was enough to convince 30% of Americans that Nancy Pelosi was drunk.

          You don’t need DeepFakes or vantablack to fool people. Fooling people is easy.

    1. Yes, but the device is quite common and the name makes a lot of sense; AFAIK most trains have a “Dead Man’s Switch” because if the driver has any kind of problem while driving that keeps him from being able to control the train (i.e. sudden death, or become unconscious), he would release the dead man’s switch and the train would stop safely.

      1. didn’t work for the Watervale train driver

        now the train drivers have a button they have to push every few minutes

        we should mention the few blokes crushed on EWPs during the RAH construction

        an EWP has a dead mans switch, how do you hang on whilst operating and still get crushed???

    2. The more sterile name is “Operator Presence Detect” or similar (sometimes swapping presence for some other word), but colloquial usage of dead man switch is hard to shake since it’s so vivid and illustrative.

    1. I’m sure that it was nothing special just a standard corporation contract same as all Rollerball player sign in the corporate-run society (ref: Rollerball 1975 film).

      Or else there was an EULA that was activated once their fingers touched the live-man switch.

      1. Consider a powered parachute/paraplane. That’s a pretty linear extension of what you already have, except for body position changes. (upright or seated rather than upright/leaning forwards.) It may be less work to get the engine/airframe working together.

    1. I can only dream of reaching Colin’s level of wildness. I had so many safety precautions… but Colin straight up put a pulse jet on an antique bicycle and rode it full speed without even a helmet. I don’t know how he’s still alive. Clones maybe?

      1. Little known fact:
        Colin Furze’s first significant project was rebuilding some sort of machine Nikola Tesla built for a magician named Robert Angier.

        He stopped wearing helmets after this. That old video has since been taken down but at the time you could really see a change in his behavior.

  1. I’m almost disappointed. This turns out to be both safe and practical – though I suppose it wouldn’t work for deliveroo riders as they need somewhere for the big box of food, so they’ll have to stick with e-bikes.
    The least sensible thing about this probably turns out to be the CO2 emissions.

    The roadrunner version has the jets in the shoes, which I bet is a lot less stable.

  2. I’d have gone for inline skates with large wheels while trying to go so fast and being pushed from so high, just to be more certain of dealing easily with any stray pebbles or whatever. I feel like skating is the closest I’ll ever feel to flying, skating without effort must be like following a thermal.

  3. Next time, just fuel it with diesel or kerosine, jet engines are not all that picky. acquiring jet A can be bothersome, and A1 even more so (the only real difference is that A is stable to -40c and A1 is -47c, and the anti static magic in A1)

    had to get 80 liters of jet A for a firewall test. showing up at the airport with a jerrycan or drum instead of an aircraft is… frowned upon.. same with avgas, even if you are known there

  4. The not so basic Erector Set construction is pretty cool. I like the concept of protecting the also not so cheap turbine engine with a full cage while neglecting protection for elbows, Ian thought about his knees but I don’t understand is choice of very light weight attire in favor of something a little more durable, like ride leathers.

    1. Ian, I talked to an emergency room nurse about people who were in motorcycle accidents. When you fall from a motorcycle at a high speed, you slide and it will tear your jeans apart and people come in to the emergency room without some of their clothes on and with a lot of skin missing. Any injury to your skin can be quite painful.

      I’ve listened to safety videos about aircraft and one of the worst clothing you can wear is anything made from plastic and polyester is a type of polymer. If it can melt or catch fire from an accident, it can be the worst thing on your skin because it can melt and be on fire when it sticks to someone which is why pilots are told not to wear clothes that are made from those fires because a crash can involve jet fuel and jet fuel is flammable. The reason I don’t ride motorcycles is because my parents told me they don’t have a bumper. When you drive one of those things, you don’t have a bumper because you are the bumper.

      “Image result for clothes type of plastic
      “Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers — all of which are forms of plastic — are now about 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide.Jan 11, 2019” –

      People may try to mimic or recreate what you do except I don’t have a few grand laying around to buy a jet engine so please be a better example.

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