Electric Skateboard Becomes Mobile Skate Park

While building a skate park might not appear to have much in common with software development, at they very least, they both suffer from a familiar problem: scalability. Bigger skate parks need more ramps and features, and there’s no real way to scale up a construction project like this efficiently like you could with certain kinds of software other than simply building more features. This was something [Kirk] noticed, but was able to scale up a skate park in a way we’ve never thought of before. He built a mobile skateboard ramp that can turn any place into a skate park.

The mobile and approximately sidewalk-width platform is able to move around thanks to an electric skateboard as its foundation. It adds a NVIDIA Jetson Nano for control with a PS4 controller for input, although steering a skateboard with an actuator took a few prototypes to figure out since skateboards are designed to be steered by shifting the rider’s weight. Since they are already designed to carry a human-amount of weight, though, it was at least able to tote the ramp around with relative ease. Another problem was lowering the ramp into position when it got to the desired area, but with an electrically-controlled jack and a few rounds of debugging was eventually able to do this without much issue.

With all of that project development behind him, [Kirk] can finally realize his dream of having ramps scattered all across his neighborhood like in the classic videogame Paperboy, without needing to build them all individually or ask for permission to place them around his neighbor’s homes. For any future iterations of this build, we might consider adding tank tracks to the electric skateboard for better off-road performance, like facilitating a jump across a patch of grass.

A 3D-Printed Bowl Feeder For Tiny SMD Parts

[Andrzej Laczewski] has something big in mind for small parts, specifically SMD resistors and capacitors. He’s not talking much about that project, but from the prototype 3D-printed bowl feeder he built as part of it, we can guess that it’s going to be a pretty cool automation project.

Bowl feeders are common devices in industrial automation, used to take a big pile of parts like nuts and bolts and present them to a process one at a time, often with some sort of orientation step so that all the parts are the right way around. They accomplish this with a vibratory action through two axes, which [Andrzej] accomplishes with the 3D-printed ABS link arms supporting the bowl. The spring moment of the arms acts to twist the bowl slightly when it’s pulled down by a custom-wound electromagnet, such that the parts land in a slightly different place every time the bowl shifts. For the parts on the shallow ramp spiraling up the inside of the bowl, that means a single-file ride to the top. It’s interesting to see how changing the frequency of the signal sent to the coil impacts the feed; [Andrzej] used a function generator to find the sweet spot before settling on a dedicated circuit. Watch it in action below.

We’re really impressed with the engineering that went into this, even if we wonder what the vibration will do to the SMD components. Still, we can’t wait to see this in a finished project – perhaps it’ll be integrated like this Arduino-fied bowl feeder.

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