Visualize some radio controlled airplane fanatic of yesteryear, with the requisite giant controller hanging from a strap, neck craned to see the buzzing dot silhouetted against the sky. It’s kind of a stereotype, isn’t it? Those big transmitters were heavy, expensive, and hard to modify, but that was just part of the challenge. Additionally, the form factor has to a degree remained rigid: the box with gimbals — or for the 3-channel controller, the pistol-grip with the big pot that looks like a cheesy race car wheel.
With so much changing in RC capabilities, and the rise of custom electronics across so many different applications, can commodity RC controllers stay relevant? We’re facing an age where the people who invest most heavily in RC equipment are also the ones most likely to want, and know how to work with customization for their rapidly evolving gear. It only makes sense that someone will rise up to satisfy that need.
Continue reading “Can Commodity RC Controllers Stay Relevant?”
Challenge: Perform an electric conversion on a bicycle. Problem: No significant metal working skills or equipment. Solution: 3D print everything needed to electrify the bike.
At least that’s the approach that [Tom Stanton] took to his electric bike build. Having caught the electric locomotion bug on a recent longboard build, [Tom] undertook the upgrade of a cheap “fixie,” or fixed-gear bike. His delta printer was big enough for the motor mount and weather-resistant ESC enclosure, but he needed to print the drive pulley in four quadrants that were later glued together. We can’t say we hold much faith in the zip ties that transmit all the torque through the rear wheel’s spokes, but as a proof of concept it seems sturdy enough. With a throttle from an electric scooter and a battery in a saddle bag, the bike turns in pretty decent performance — at least after a minor gearing change. And everything blends in or accents the black frame of the bike, so it’s a good-looking build to boot.
Want to catch the cheap electric personal transportation bug too? Check out this electric longboard, or this all-terrain hoverboard.
Continue reading “Simple Electric Bike Conversion From 3D-Printed Parts”
Skateboards are fun, but you have to do all that pesky kicking in order to get anywhere. That’s why [Nick] decided to build his own electric skateboard. Not only is the skateboard powered with an electric motor, but the whole thing can be controlled from a smart phone.
[Nick] started out with a long board deck that he had made years ago. After cleaning it up and re-finishing it, the board was ready for some wheels. [Nick] used a kit he found online that came with the trucks, wheels, and a belt. The trucks have a motor mount welded in place already. [Nick] used a Turnigy SK3 192KV electric motor to drive the wheels. He also used a Turnigy electronic speed controller to make sure he could vary the speed of the board while riding.
Next [Nick] needed some interface between a smart phone and the motor controller. He chose to use an Arduino Nano hooked up to a Bluetooth module. The Nano was able to directly drive the motor controller, and the Bluetooth module made it easy to sync up to a mobile phone. The Android app was written using MIT’s App Inventor software. It allows for basic control over the motor speed so you can cruise in style. Check out the video below for a slide show and some demonstration clips.
It’s a popular project, and eerily similar to the one we saw a couple months back.
Continue reading “On Your Phone While Driving An Electric Skateboard”
What would you do with a catalog of parts and a nice budget? [Ben Rothschild] decided to build an electric go-kart from scratch, for a contest he’s trying to win.
He designed the entire go-kart in 3D CAD using off the shelf components to speed up assembly. The frame is made of aluminum extrusion with t-bolt brackets, and he’s using modified FIRST Robotics wheels with standard #25 chain and sprockets.
Two 1850W Turnigy SK3 brushless motors make up the drive system, equivalent to almost a 5HP engine — except with a constant torque profile, meaning it’ll have no problem going up hills at 3km/h or 30km/h, no gearing necessary! To power the beast he’s using four hard-shell LiPo batteries (4S1P), which are rated for 14.8V and 5Ah. Two el cheap-o 24V 500W speed controllers (slightly concerning) provide the control system, which he may plan to upgrade in the near future.
The test drive video is a bit short, but it looks like with a bit more work this go-kart could have a lot of potential!
Continue reading “Electric Go-Kart Made From Off The Shelf Components”