Hoverboard Becomes Kart In Easy Build

The hoverboard furnished to the world in the 2010s was not the one promised to us by Hollywood. Rather than a skateboard without wheels, we got a handsfree Segway, delivering faceplanting fun for the whole family. [Emanuel Feru] decided to repurpose his into a much safer electric kart. 

The build starts with a pedal-powered children’s kart, which has its drivetrain and rear axle removed. The hoverboard is bolted in its place, with its track and wheel size conveniently similar enough to make this practical. The original circuitboards are left in place, reprogrammed with custom firmware for their new role. [Emanuel]’s code enables the stock hardware to drive the motors with Field Oriented Control, for better efficiency. Additionally, the hardware reads a set of pedals cribbed from a PC racing wheel for throttle input, replacing the original gyrometer setup. With field weakening enabled, [Emanuel] reports the kart reaching up to 40 km/h.

It’s a tidy hack that makes great use of all the original hoverboard hardware, rather than simply throwing new parts at the problem. We’ve seen similar hacks before, with Segways in lieu of 2015’s most dangerous Christmas gift. Video after the break.

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A Hoverboard As An Assistive Device

Assistive devices for people with disabilities can make an inestimable difference to their lives, but with a combination of technology, complexity, and often one-off builds for individual needs, they can be eye-wateringly expensive. When the recipient is a young person who may grow out of more than one device as they mature, this cost can be prohibitive. Some way to cut down on the expense is called for, and [Phil Malone] has identified the readily available hoverboard as a possible source of motive power for devices that need it.

Aside from being a children’s toy, hoverboards have been well and truly hacked; we’ve featured them in Hacky Racers, and as hacker camp transport. But this is an application which demands controllability and finesse not needed when careering round a dusty field. He’s taken that work and built upon it to produce a firmware that he calls HUGS, designed to make the hoverboard motors precisely controllable. It’s a departure from the norm in hoverboard hacking, but perhaps it can open up new vistas in the use of these versatile components.

There is much our community can do when it comes to improving access to assistive technologies, and we hope that this project can be one of the success stories. We would however caution every reader to avoid falling into the engineer savior trap.

Homebuilt Onewheel Uses Hoverboard Parts

Since Back To The Future II first screened back in 1989, people have been waiting for hoverboards to become reality. Instead, we got a dangerous two-wheeled contraption going by the same name. Wanting something a little cooler, [Bartek Plonek] decided to convert his to a one-wheel design. (Video, embedded below.)

The hack starts by machining the hub motors of the hoverboard. They’re bolted together, and used as the hub of a single larger wheel. Care is necessary to avoid cracking the motor housing during this process, as [Bartek] found during his first attempt. The wheel is then fitted to the centre of a steel frame, upon which two halves of a skateboard are attached to act as a footplate. The original hoverboard controller is still used; we’d love to know if firmware modification was required to work with the new motor configuration.

It’s a classic garage hack that results in a viable personal electric vehicle. Plus, cornering is far easier, with the DIY onewheel capable of carving back and forth quite well. We’ve seen others aim to commute using similar builds.

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Hackaday Podcast 053: 1-Bit Computer Is A Family Affair, This Displays Is Actually Fabulous, And This Hoverboard Is A Drill Press

Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams navigate the crowded streets of the hackersphere for the most interesting hardware projects seen in the past week. Forget flip-dot displays, you need to build yourself a sequin display that uses a robot finger and sequin-covered fabric to send a message. You can do a lot (and learn a lot) with a 1-bit computer called the WDR-1. It’s never been easier to turn a USB port into an embedded systems dev kit by using these FTDI and Bluepill tricks. And there’s a Soyuz hardware teardown you don’t want to miss.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (~60 MB)

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Hoverboard Grows Up, Becomes Magnetic Drill Press

If you need to drill metal in tight places, the magnetic drill press, or mag drill is your BFF. The idea here is that a drill press with an electromagnetic base can go anywhere, and even drill horizontally if need be. If you don’t need to use one often, but want one anyway, why not build one out of e-waste?

[DIY KING 00] built this mag drill starting with the motor from a hoverboard. While these three-phase brushless motors have a lot of torque to offer reuse projects like this, they’re not designed to be particularly fast.

He was able to make it about three times faster by cutting the windings apart and reconnecting them in parallel instead of series. He designed a simple PCB to neatly tie all the connections back together and added an electronic speed control (ESC) from an R/C car.

Reluctant to give up the crown, he made his own three-coil electromagnetic base, using a drill to wind magnet wire around temporary chuck-able cores. The coils are then potted in epoxy to keep out dust and drilling debris. Everything runs from two large LiPo batteries, and he can get about 15 minutes of high-torque drilling done before they’re dead. Can you feel the electromagnet pulling you past the break to check out the build and demo video?

Depending on what you’re doing, you might get away with a magnetic vise instead.

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Electric Unicorn Is Our Kind Of Rideable

When [Charlyn] took a unicorn rocking horse in to work, it was an instant hit. Naturally, the people wanted more, and suggested it needed electric propulsion. Naturally, she rose to the challenge, and Rocky the Unicorn got a motorized upgrade.

The build consists of a frame built out of PVC pipes, hooked up with Formufit fittings. These are a great way to build useful structures out of PVC pipe, and made the build a cinch. The frame has a footrests for the rider, and the rocking horse already has a comfortable seat. For propulsion, a hoverboard is installed in the base, with the frame sporting a pair of casters to avoid tip over. Twin PVC handles are used to interface with the footplate of the hoverboard, allowing the user to drive and steer, as well as turn on the spot. A bouquet of fake flowers round out the aesthetic and hide some of the zipties.

It goes to show that PVC pipe can be an excellent material for quick, fun projects – all you need is the right fittings to make it all happen! It’s also fun to see a hoverboard used in such a way that doesn’t end with severe injuries.  Unicorns always bring a nice flair to a project, too. Video after the break.

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The Ultimate Hacker’s Compact 4WD!

If you’ve spent any time at one of the larger European hacker camps over the last few years you’ll have seen the invasion of little electric vehicles sporting hoverboard motors as an all-in-one propulsion system. German hackers, in particular, have incorporated them into the iconic Bobby Car children’s toy, and ca be seen whizzing around looking slightly incongruous as adults perched on transport designed for five-year-olds.

[Peter Pötzi] has created just such an electric Bobby Car, and his one is particularly well-executed with a 3D-printed steering column extender and four motors for full 4WD rather than the usual two. A steering wheel-mounted display has a neat enclosure, and is fed SPI from the ESP32 that runs the show via an RJ45 patch cable. Many of these builds use hoverboard motor controllers with hacked firmware, but this one instead takes a set of off-the-shelf VESCs. Control comes via a set of Xbox 360 trigger buttons mounted to the underside of the steering wheel.

The result is typically self-contained as are all the Bobby Car builds, with the added bonus of the extra power of four motors rather than two. We’re not so sure that 4WD gives it off-road capabilities though, but having seen these vehicles perform some nifty maneuvers in the past perhaps it’ll lend extra traction on corners.