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.

Bike On Over To The Campground

Like many of us, [Paul] enjoys occasionally hitching up his tow-behind camper and heading out to the wilderness to get away from it all at his favorite campsite. Unlike the vast majority of those who share his passion for the outdoors, though, [Paul] is hitching his camper up to a bicycle. Both the camper and the bike are custom built from the ground up, and this video shows us a little more details on [Paul]’s preferred mode of transportation.

While he is known for building custom vehicles of one sort or another, this latest one is a more traditional bicycle frame that he has modified only slightly to fit a recumbent-style seat and a small gas-powered motor. Even though the motor is decades old, it started right up and gives the power needed to pull the custom camper. [Paul] builds one-person campers like this out of corrugated plastic for durability and light weight, and this one is specifically designed for his size and sleeping style. It includes everything needed for a night under the stars, too, including a stove, storage compartments, and a few windows.

With the bike and camper combined weighing in at just over 200 pounds, the motor can be used as a pedal-assist device thanks to the clever engineering behind a front-wheel-drive pedal system on this bike. With all of that custom fabrication, [Paul] is free to head out to the wilderness without all the encumbrances (and high price) of traditional motor vehicle-based camping. For those curious about some of [Paul]’s other vehicle creations, take a look at this tiny speedboat for one.

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Prototype Robot For Omniwheel Bicycle

For all its ability to advance modern society in basically every appreciable way, science still has yet to explain some seemingly basic concepts. One thing that still has a few holes in our understanding is the method by which a bicycle works. Surely, we know enough to build functional bicycles, but like gravity’s inclusion into the standard model we have yet to figure out a set of equations that govern all bicycles in the universe. To push our understanding of bicycles further, however, some are performing experiments like this self-balancing omniwheel bicycle robot.

Functional steering is important to get the bicycle going in the right direction, but it’s also critical for keeping the bike upright. This is where [James Bruton] is putting the omniwheel to the test. By placing it at the front of the bike, oriented perpendicularly to the direction of travel, he can both steer the bicycle robot and keep it balanced. This does take the computational efforts of an Arduino Mega paired with an inertial measurement unit but at the end [James] has a functional bicycle robot that he can use to experiment with the effects of different steering methods on bicycles.

While he doesn’t have a working omniwheel bicycle for a human yet, we at least hope that the build is an important step on the way to [James] or anyone else building a real bike with an omniwheel at the front. Hopefully this becomes a reality soon, but in the meantime we’ll have to be content with bicycles with normal wheels that can balance and drive themselves.

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What do we want? Monowheel!

Monowheel Mayhem: When Good Gyroscopic Precession Goes Bad

Since the dawn of the age of the automobile, motorheads have been obsessed with using as few wheels as possible. Not satisfied with the prospect of being incompletely maimed by a motorcycle, the monocycle was born. Gracing the covers of Popular magazines and other periodicals, these futuristic wheels of doom have transfixed hackers of all kinds. [James Bruton] is one such hacker, and in the video below the break you can see his second iteration of a 3d printed monowheel.

[James]’ wonderful monowheel is beautifully engineered. Bearing surfaces, gears, idlers, motors, and yes, twin gyroscopes are all contained within the circumference of the tire. The gyroscopes are actuated by a rather large servo, and are tied together by a gear that keeps their positions in sync. Their job is to keep the monowheel balanced at all times.

But as [James] discovered, the chief difficulty of only having one wheel isn’t lateral balancing. Ask any monocyclist and they’ll assure you that it’s possible. The real trick is balancing the machine fore and aft. Unlike a two wheeled velocipede, the monowheel has nothing to exert torque against save for a bit of gravity.

As [James] found out the hard way, it was within this fore-aft balancing act that the gyroscopic precession reared its ugly head. The concept is explained well in the video. We won’t spoil the surprise ending because the explanation and conclusion are quite good so make sure to watch to the end!

If you’d like to look at [James]’ first version, we covered it here. And if you’re the daredevil type, perhaps we can interest in you in a two stroke human sized monowheel that will probably end in an ER visit. At least they wore a helmet. Thanks to [Baldpower] for the tip!

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Keynote Video: Jeremy Fielding Wants To Help You Get Moving

For many DIY hardware projects, the most movement it’s likely to see is when we pick the assembled unit up off the workbench and carry it to wherever it’s destined to spend the rest of its functional life. From weather sensors to smart mirrors, there’s a huge array of devices that don’t need to move one millimeter to function. But eventually, you’re likely to run into a project that’s a bit more dynamic. Maybe you’d like to motorize your window shades, or go all out and build a remote controlled rover. With these more active designs comes a whole slew of new problems you may never have encountered before.

Luckily for us, folks like Jeremy Fielding are out there and willing to share their knowledge. In his fascinating presentation for the 2021 Hackaday Remoticon, Building Hardware that Moves: the Fundamentals that Everyone Should Know, he took viewers on a whirlwind tour of what he’s learned about designing and building complex machines from his years of professional experience. Whether its a relatively simple articulated workbench for the shop, a gargantuan earthmoving machine, or a high-dexterity robotic arm, each project he’s worked on has presented unique challenges that needed to be solved.

Not all of Jeremy’s machines will fit in your average workshop.

A lot of the projects that Jeremy has worked on are on a much larger scale than what your average hobbyist is ever going to run into. When there’s an arrow pointing out the tiny human in a picture of you and the machine you’re currently working on, you know things are getting serious. But as anyone who’s watched his YouTube videos knows, he’s got a real knack for taking these high-level concepts and distilling them into something more digestible for the home gamer.

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Axial Flux Motors For Electric Vehicles

In the everything old is new again folder, [Lesics] has a good overview of axial flux motors. These are promising for electric vehicles, especially aircraft, since the motors should have high torque to weight ratio. The reason this is actually something old is that the early generators built by Faraday were actually of the axial flux type. Soon, though, radial flux generators and motors became the norm.

The simple explanation is that in a radial system, the magnetic flux lines are perpendicular to the axis of rotation. In the axial system, the flux lines are parallel to the axis of rotation. There’s more to it than just that of course, and the video below has nice animations showing how it all works.

While these are not very common, they do exist even today. The Lynch motor, for example, is a type of axial flux motor that dates back to 1979. Usually, the impetus for using an axial flux motor is the ease of construction, but with the right design, they can be quite efficient (up to 96% according to the video).

We’ve seen plenty of PCB motors and most of those are axial in design. Not all of them, though.

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Ultrasonic Sonar Detects Hidden Objects

While early scientists and inventors famously underestimated the value of radar, through the lens of history we can see how useful it became. Even though radar uses electromagnetic waves to detect objects, the same principle has been used with other propagating waves, most often sound waves. While a well-known use of this is sonar, ultrasonic sensors can also be put to use to make a radar-like system.

This ultrasonic radar project is from [mircemk] who uses a small ultrasonic distance sensor attached to a rotating platform. A motor rotates it around a 180-degree field-of-view and an Arduino takes and records measurements during its trip. It interfaces with an application running on a computer which shows the data in real-time and maps out the location of all of the objects around the sensor. With some upgrades to the code, [mircemk] is also able to extrapolate objects hidden behind other objects as well.

While the ultrasonic sensor used in this project has a range of about a meter, there’s no reason that this principle couldn’t be used for other range-finding devices to extend its working distance. The project is similar to others we’ve seen occasionally before, but the upgrade to the software to allow it to “see” around solid objects is an equally solid upgrade.