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!

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Wireless luge timer levels the playing field

wireless_luge_timer

In Colorado, amateur luge competitions are serious business.

Every winter, [Ryan’s] friends dig a long luge track through the many feet of snow that occupies their yard, and have competitive sled races to see who can make it down the giant hill in the least time. They call it the Mario Cup, after one of the participants, not the Nintendo mascot, and they were in desperate need of some timing equipment.

You see, the luge track is several hundred feet long, and they decided that a human armed with a stopwatch is not a good enough means of picking a conclusive winner. A set of three Arduino sensors packed inside plastic food containers were used along with light sensors to track when the luger passed the start, midpoint, and finish lines of the race. XBee radios then transmitted the timing data back to the base station for recording.

The system worked quite well according to the participants, and they look forward to using the system again in the future. Of course, improvements have been planned, including dual timers at each checkpoint to gauge the luger’s speed, as well as a Christmas-tree starting signal like you see at drag races.

Continue reading to see a video below of the luger’s in action, as well as the timer system undergoing some tests.

[via Make]

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