What started out as just a board and wheels sometime between the 40’s and 50’s has quickly evolved into a popular sport. Skateboarding has quickly risen to a desirable talent and is even considered an art form. As technology continues to advance and evolve, so does skateboarding.
We are now able to add motors to our boards, making them fully electric and even more enjoyable. However, creating one yourself may not be as difficult as it seems. This article will go over all necessary parts, batteries, and creative possibilities to create your own electric skateboard.
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Components you will need
There are many components and options to consider when looking to design your own electric board:
Skateboard or Longboard
There are many benefits to both a skateboard and a longboard. Traditionally, skateboards are anywhere between 28’ – 33’ inches. Their smaller size and narrower wheels allows them to be more versatile in skate parks, street skating, and performing tricks.
Longboards, however, can be anywhere between 34’ – 59’ inches in length, making them much more stable to new riders. Their long decks and wider wheels allow them to be a much smoother ride. Typically longboards are designed for cruising or ‘street surfing’ and cannot be used in parks. Depending on how you plan to enjoy your deck will help you decide the appropriate length. Whatever you end up deciding, remember to get a board with grip tape included.
Keep in mind that the battery for your board will be placed below your deck, so it is important to choose a battery that will accommodate enough space between the battery and the ground. Typically, batteries will range anywhere between 24 – 48 volts. The higher the voltage, the more expensive it will be, but the more hours you will be able to use it.
Choose a battery according to your budget, but keep in mind that the higher the Wh rating the bigger the battery will be.
If you choose a 24 volt battery of 6 cells, it will be 45 – 77mm in width, and 130 – 200mm in length, and about 9mm thick. However, 6 cells batteries will take up more space than 3 cell batteries. 3 cell batteries are about 28mm in height, so putting two 3 cell batteries side by side (as opposed to one 6 cell battery) would be more beneficial.
The motor is the fun part, but it is important not to be too experimental when implementing the motor. Investing in a good engine will result in top performance and ultimately a more enjoyable experience. For electric skateboards, anything between 200 kV – 300 kV is standard, but there are also two different types of motors you can choose from.
The first is hub motors. These are efficient, affordable, and are easy to maintain. They are a great option for your first electric skateboard. The second is out-runner motors. These are typically harder to maintain, more expensive, but offer more torque. Depending on your budget, choose an appropriate motor option.
This may be the most important feature of your electric skateboard, and regenerative braking is currently the most popular options for boards. Regenerative braking redirects the electricity back into the battery to charge it. The biggest issue with these types of brakes is that once the battery is at 100% it will not continue to charge, causing the breaks to fail.
Most electric boards that you buy will send a beeping signal to let you know the battery is almost full. However, it is important to know how to foot brake as you would on a traditional longboard or skateboard, by dragging your foot on the ground to slow yourself down.
All electric skateboards will come with a remote to help you control the speed of your board. These are typically wireless and handheld, allowing you to ride freely without worrying about wires or cords getting caught. Each remote will come with different speed levels that will align with the motor you have chosen. Depending on the speed you would like to go, it will send signals to your motor causing the board to speed up or slow down.
Additional features if desired
In addition to all necessary parts listed above, you may also want to consider wheels and trucks. The thicker the wheels, the faster and smoother you will ride but the harder it will be to perform tricks. The smaller and lighter the wheels, the more tricks you will be able to perform either on the street or in a skate park.
The trucks go hand-in-hand with the wheels. You can loosen or tighten your trucks by screwing the bearings. The tighter your trucks the harder it will be to make turns. It is important to buy wheels depending on what you plan to use your board for, and adjust the trucks accordingly.
Cool additional features
While there are many things that are required to make your electric skateboard, there are also some fun features you can add to your board to make it more unique and creative.
Lights under the board
Adding lights underneath your skateboard can add a fun glow to night skating. These are typically LED strips that attach to the bottom of the board or to the trucks. They come in all colors and put out a strong light, also making you more visible if you choose to ride at night. It’s a fun way to add some color to your ride, and will not get in the way of your motor or battery.
Reflectors for night riding
If you do plan to ride at night, taking extra safety precautions is advised. These are inexpensive and are typically adhesives. You can place them on top your board, on the side of your board, or even on your helmet. This will make it easier for cars to see you at night to avoid any accidents. Even taking ones that would be for a bicycle would work quite well.
Covering to keep battery/motor safe & dry
Covering your battery and motor is extremely important to keep it protected and ultimately prolong it’s life. There are many options to this, but the simplest and most cost-effective solution would be a small plastic box or cap that can easily be put on and removed.
It is important that is be secure enough to prevent damage, but also easily removed in case you need to change the battery or motor on your electric skateboard. Keep in mind that the covering must also not be too bulky to keep it from hitting the ground while you are riding.
When looking for the right products, remember not to buy any fake products. These are not always manufactured correctly and can result in malfunction or injury. Electric skateboards can go pretty fast, so wearing a helmet is extremely important if you were to crash. Always be aware of your surroundings and understand how to maintain your electric skateboard for optimal performance.
Professionally manufactured electric skateboards are almost always safer than homemade ones, not to mention covered by warranty should something go wrong. SkateboardIt.com has a list of reliable boards worth taking a peek at.
In conclusion, electric skateboards are continuing to rise as the sport continues to gain popularity. With the advancement of technology, comes a wide variety of creativity when putting together your board. Whether you choose to cruise around and ‘street surf’ or would like to master the art of skate tricks will depend on whether or not you need a longboard or skateboard and which length would be most appropriate for what you need.
There are many features you can add to your board, but the most essential ones being a motor, battery, remote for your speed control, and a brake system. From there, you have full creativity to make your board as unique to you as possible.