Hoverbike Turns Hoverboard Into Ebike

Hoverboards were a popular trend with the youths and in-crowd a few years ago, and now that the fad has largely died out there are plenty of them sitting unused in closets and basements around the world. That only means opportunities to put the parts from these unique transportation devices into other builds. A more practical method of transportation is a bicycle, and this build scavenges most of the parts from a hoverboard to turn a regular bicycle into a zippy ebike.

This bike build starts with a mountain bike frame and the parts from the hoverboard are added to it piece by piece. The two motors are mounted to the frame and drive the front chain ring of the bike, allowing it to still take advantage of the bike’s geared drivetrain. Battery packs from two hoverboards were combined into a single battery which give the bike a modest 6-10 km of range depending on use. But the real gem of this build is taking the gyroscopic controller board from the hoverboards and converting it, with the help of an Arduino Due, to an ebike controller.

Eventually a battery pack will be added to give the bike a more comfortable range, but for now we appreciate the ingenuity that it took to adapt the controller from the hoverboard into an ebike controller complete with throttle and pedal assist. For other household objects turned into ebikes, be sure to check out one of our favorites based on a washing machine motor: the Spin Cycle.

From Hoverboard To Scooter

I’m sure anyone who had seen Back To The Future was more than a little disappointed when “hoverboards” started appearing on the scene. They didn’t float and they looked fairly ridiculous for anyone over 12. But they have the huge advantage of being cheap and easy to find. [Made By Madman] breaks down a hoverboard for parts to make an incredible custom electric scooter.

The first step after breaking things down for parts was to break the wheel hub motors. He pulled out the axle and started machining a new one using the lathe and a milling machine. A quick temper later, he had a sturdy steel axle. An adapter for a disc brake was milled that could attach to the wheel. The TIG welder came out to weld up a box out of some aluminum to hold the electronics. The wheel had a bracket welded on with a spring shock absorber to help smooth the ride. The fork was machined on the lathe and belt sander, but actual shocks came from an old bicycle. To attach the fork to the frame, [Madman] bends a piece of bar stock into shape; like a madman. The handlebars were taken from the bicycle and the fork was extended up to an adult height.

A quick test ride in the alley showed that the back shock wasn’t strong enough, so he swapped it with a strong one. All the parts got a powder coat. Electronics wise, it has a standard speed controller and a custom battery made from 18650 cells wired up in a 13s6p configuration and bundled together into a package. After a significant amount of wiring, he took it for a test drove and we love seeing him zip around the streets in the snow.

So many parts here are machined to press-fit tolerances and then welded on. The skill, videography, and effort that went into this were just incredible. If you’re feeling inspired and don’t have a lathe on hand, perhaps this 3d printed scooter might be a bit more your speed. Video after the break.

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3D Printed Mecanum Wheels For Hoverboard Motors

At this point, somebody taking the motors out of a cheap “hoverboard” and using them to power a scooter or remote controlled vehicle isn’t exactly a new idea. But in the case of the FPV rover [Proto G] has been working on, his choice of motors is only part of the story. The real interesting bit is the 3D printed omnidirectional Mecanum wheels he’s designed to fit the motors, which he thinks could have far reaching applications beyond his own project.

Now, that isn’t to say that the rover itself isn’t impressive. All of the laser cutting and sheet metal bending was done personally by [Proto G], and we love the elevated GoPro “turret” in the front that lets him look around while remotely driving the vehicle. Powered by a pair of Makita cordless tool batteries and utilizing hobby-grade RC parts, the rover looks like it would be a fantastic robotic platform to base further development on.

The Mecanum wheels themselves are two pieces, and make use of rollers pulled from far smaller commercially available wheels. This is perhaps not the most cost effective approach, but compared to the alternative of trying to print all the rollers, we see the advantage of using something off-the-shelf. If you’re not sure how to make these weird wheels work for you, [Proto G] has also released a video explaining how he mixes the RC channels to get the desired omnidirectional movement from the vehicle.

If you’re content with more traditional wheeled locomotion, we’ve previously seen how quickly a couple of second-hand hoverboards can be turned into a impressively powerful mobile platform for whatever diabolical plans you may have.

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Hoverboard Turned Heavy Duty Remote Control Rover

They might not be the hoverboards we were promised in Back to the Future II, but the popular electric scooters that have commandeered the name are exciting pieces of tech in their own way. Not because we’re looking to make a fool of ourselves by actually riding one, but because they’re packed full of useful hardware that’s available for dirt cheap thanks to the economies of scale and the second-hand market.

In his latest video, the ever resourceful [MakerMan] turns a pair of hoverboards into a capable remote controlled mobile platform perfect for…well, whatever you want to move around. Its welded steel construction is certainly up for some heavy duty tasks, and while we can’t say we’d ever tow a SUV with it as shown in the video below, it’s nice to know we’d have the option.

The project starts by liberating the four wheel motors from the scooters and carefully cutting down the frame to preserve the mounting hardware. These mounts are ultimately welded to the frame of the rover, with a piece of diamond plate screwed down on top. On the bottom, [MakerMan] mounts the two control boards and a custom fabricated 36 V battery pack.

He doesn’t go into any detail on how he’s interfacing the RC hardware with the motor controllers, but as we’ve seen with past hacks, there’s open source firmware replacements for these boards that allow them to be controlled by external inputs. Presumably something similar is being used here, but we’d be interested to hear otherwise. Of course you could swap the RC hardware out for a microcontroller or Raspberry Pi if you were looking to make some kind of autonomous rover.

Don’t have a welder or convenient collection of scrap steel laying around? No worries. Prolific tinkerer [Aaron Christophel] put something very similar together using bolted aluminum extrusion.

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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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