Electric skateboards are the craze these days. With the required components getting cheaper, many people have taken to modifying their existing skateboards into a battery driven, electric skateboard. If you too are considering modifying your own skateboard, then this step-by-step guide will show you how to get started.
What You Will Need
Before you start, it’s necessary to consider the necessary items that you will need in order to successfully transform your skateboard into an electric one.
Top mounted Longboards
You can theoretically transform any skateboard into an electric board, but a topmount truck is preferred so that you can have enough space underneath for your components. A longboard is also preferable for its stability and for smoother rides. These are just preferences, so you can always make do with what you have.
You are going to need wheels with more diameter than average. The reason is because you need enough space to install the pulley wheel.
You will need a rechargeable battery pack for powering your electric skateboard. Most builders use Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. A 5,000mah battery should be ideal in most cases. If you have any lying around, then you can use it, else it is recommended to buy a battery pack like the EPOWER Pack (about $400) because these come with a charge level indicator, an ON/OFF switch, and a Battery Management System.
You need an electric motor with a high torque, this means anything with a low kv rating between 200kv and 300kv. Most builders use a 230kv motor. At slower revolutions per minute (kv), electric motors will have higher torques, than comparatively faster motors. This torque is the power you need to get you and your skateboard moving.
VESC Speed Controller
This is the main electronic component that you will need. It is what controls the speed of the motor. The VESC is a popular type of basic ESC motor speed controllers. It costs about $100. DIY kits are also available which include an electric motor and speed controller, and it saves you the time of matching components.
The pulley is what you’ll use to transfer power from the electric motor to the wheels. It needs to have a ratio configuration, with the motor pulley being smaller than the drive wheel pulley, so that it transfers less speed, but more torque. Most builders use a 14T or 16T motor pulley with a 36T drive wheel pulley.
You need a mount to attach the motor to the truck. If you have the tools, you can easily make one from aluminum and either weld it unto the truck or attach it in some other ways. Else, there are motor mounts for sale, and they cost about $80.
You need an enclosure for your components, so that they do not get damaged on the road. While plastic might work, it is better to use metal. Aluminum works great, and can be reinforced as you wish. Just make sure it has enough space to contain all the components.
You can use a wired controller for throttling. That is, anything that works based on variable resistance. You can also go a step further and install a wireless remote system. These cost about $60 or more, depending on design.
Step By Step Guide
Step 1. Fasten your device casing unto the lower side of your board. You can screw it on, or use any other means, as well as it is tightly fastened.
Step 2. Load your components into the device casing, and fasten them. These include the battery, ESC controller, and if you are using a wireless remote, then the receiver as well.
Step 3. If your electric motor has a round shaft, then you need to file away on two sides of the shaft to make it more rectangular, so that it can better transfer energy to the pulley system. You should also shape the bore of the smaller pulley to fit the motor’s shaft.
Step 4. Disassemble the skateboard wheel that you would like to use. Make sure that the bore of the larger pulley is wider than the diameter of the truck’s axle. Then fasten the larger pulley to the inner side of the wheel. You can use multiple screws or any other method you desire.
Step 5. Re-assemble the wheel with the truck.
Step 6. Fasten your electric motor to the truck using the motor mount, and then connect the motor’s wires to the ESC controller’s out.
Step 7. Connect the two pulleys using the belt, and adjust the motor mount until it fits tightly.
Step 8. Close the casing. Your ride is now ready.
This guide has introduced you to the art of building a basic electric skateboard. You are nonetheless free to use your imagination and make improvements as you see fit. You can use pneumatic wheels for example, double your battery size for longer distances, use a double motor system for extra torque, as well as add gadgets or any modifications of your choosing. Building your own skateboard can be dangerous and more expensive due to mistakes being made and parts having to be re-ordered. We would only advise that you do this, if you have the expertise and knowledge of building skateboards.
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