How to Build Your Own DIY Electric Skateboard
- 1 How to Build Your Own DIY Electric Skateboard
- 1.1 Benefits of Building an Electric Skateboards vs. Buying a Pre-assembled Electric Skateboard
- 1.2 What Parts do you Need to Build an Electric Skateboard?
- 1.3 Basic components
- 1.4 Mechanical components
- 1.5 Additional Parts/Accessories Include:
- 1.6 Essential Functions of the Parts Required
- 1.7 The Deck
- 1.8 Trucks
- 1.9 Wheels
- 1.10 The Electronics (Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), transmitter, and receiver)
- 1.11 Drive system/Drive trains
- 1.12 Enclosure
- 1.13 The Best Type of Motors
- 1.14 Battery
- 1.15 The Process of Building an Electric Skateboard Yourself
- 1.16 Approximate Cost to make a DIY Electric Skateboard
- 1.17 Our Final Thoughts
Now you can get your groove on with this efficient, fast, and exciting means of cruising the town for fun or running errands from one point to another.
Today, I’ll show you how to put together your electric skateboard even without any technical skills.
I know there are DIY kits that you can buy with all parts ready to be assembled, but nothing beats the thrill of sourcing for components that meet the standard or the pleasure you get from creating yours.
Before we start, we definitely recommend checking out some great videos on Youtube of people documenting their experiences making their own. Here is one of our favorite 3 part building series!
So, let’s enjoy the ride together! Shall we?
Benefits of Building an Electric Skateboards vs. Buying a Pre-assembled Electric Skateboard
If skateboarding is one of your favorite fun activities, you’ll find putting together your electric skateboard even more thrilling and fulfilling than the ride.
Using a DIY approach gives you complete control of the components you will install in your e-skateboard compared to buying what the manufacturer thinks will suit you. Nothing beats customization, that’s for sure.
In other words, you can decide on the features you want in the deck, wheel, truck, Electric Speed Controller (ESC), drive system.
You could also choose customized parts to suit your riding style, personality, and preferences - especially if you are an experienced rider.
Furthermore, building an electric skateboard will end up being cheaper than buying a pre-assembled one if you are on a budget.
On the other hand, if you have more than enough funds to spare, it is an opportunity to invest in high-quality parts to create a fully customized e-board.
But then, when going through with the DIY approach, be ready to conduct lots of research to get parts that have passed the safety and quality tests to minimize risks.
What Parts do you Need to Build an Electric Skateboard?
The parts needed to build an electric skateboard are classified into three. These are:
· Ball bearings
· Grip tape
· Hub motor or Belt motor
· Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
· Remote Control
· Bluetooth transmitter and receiver
Many brands offer their own kits which come with the mechanical pieces to attach to your board. We have written a guide on the best kits you can purchase here.
Additional Parts/Accessories Include:
· Nose guard
· Extra battery
· Wheel guards
· Rain wheels
We have also got a guide on the must-have accessories which you can check now!
Essential Functions of the Parts Required
The deck is the platform you are standing on when riding, and it is the most significant part of your e-skateboard.
There are different types of decks available based on the shape and material used in its manufacture.
Most are made from maple wood laminated together with a layer of carbon or fiberglass to guarantee rigidity and strength.
Your choice of deck must not be excessively heavy - but heavy enough to bear your weight.
The length of your deck, also known as a longboard, is vital for speed and stability. This is the crucial reason you should choose from 29” upward with a width of 8”.
When building your e-skateboard, you can consider any of the different deck shapes such as freeride, cruiser, or downhill.
They all serve different purposes. However, a bigger board is more suitable for performing jumps and similar acrobatic tricks.
You will discover that the cruiser is in high demand because of the minimum speed and large size required for even weight distribution. Conversely, the downhill variant is better for a fast pace (caution: not ideal if you are a beginner).
Another impressive feature of the downhill deck is the wider wheelbases (distance between the front truck and rear truck). This feature ensures optimal stability, even while speeding. In any case, the downside of this option is a lack of flexibility (the ability to absorb shock).
The trucks are the T-shape metal body beneath the two ends of your skateboard; they are the axis of an e-board, used in making turns.
It consists of the bushings, baseplate, kingpin, hanger, and axle.
An essential function it performs is transferring your body weight from the deck to the wheels and bearings, while also determining how the skateboard will ride.
Always choose trucks with a length closest to the board’s width because if the board’s surface is large, then the board’s axis must also be substantial.
The wheels are what drive your e-board from one point to another. They assist in the transfer of weight from the trucks to the pavement.
The e-skateboard wheels are available in different shapes, sizes, and colors for diverse boards and skating specifications.
The larger diameter types (50-90mm) accelerate slower, rolls faster, and moves quickly on uneven pavement.
On the other hand, the smaller diameter variants (40-54mm) keeps the board lower to the ground, does not need much force to accelerate, has a lower center of gravity, and can give you slower top speed.
To get value out of your wheels, ensure they are made from polyurethane to enhance their durability.
The Electronics (Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), transmitter, and receiver)
The Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) is the brain-box of an e-skateboard that controls the motor’s drive and speed.
On the other hand, the transmitter and receiver are located in the remote control for processing the data that it needs to operate optimally.
The parts are interconnected with the motor and battery to control the inflow and outflow of energy (speed) from one to the other, thus controlling acceleration and braking.
With the use of remote control, you can take charge of every command you want to perform, thanks to the wireless and invisible communication between the e-skateboard and the remote control.
If you are going the DIY route, you may choose a more functional ESC with better battery life and protection, braking, acceleration, and other advanced features.
In any case, do ensure you buy quality products that will not burn out on your first trip.
One of the most recommended products in this regard is Vedder’s ESC (VESC).
Drive system/Drive trains
The Drive System contains components that transfer power from the motor to the wheel, thus helping your e-skateboard to move more effectively and efficiently.
You can use either the chain-driven or belt-driven drivetrains. Although the difference in performance is minute, the chain-driven pulley is much noisier, while the belt-driven (though on the quiet side), wears out faster and is much likely to snap frequently.
The four parts of a Drive system are:
· The Motor Pulley
· The Wheel Pulley
· The Drive Belt
· The Motor Mounting Plate
When designing your drivetrain, it is essential to consider the variable of the Gearing Reduction Ratio, Motor KV, Battery Voltage, Wheel Diameter, and Desired Top Speed to determine the rate of the propulsion system required.
Your DIY e-skateboard is incomplete without fitting it within an enclosure.
Such an enclosure is used to protect the ESC, batteries, cables, receivers, and transmitters from the elements.
They are made from wood, metal, etc., and should be sturdy enough to withstand heavy usage. This feature should also be breathable to promote ventilation, thus preventing the parts from getting overheated after prolonged use.
Having a sturdy enclosure also protects all the little pieces that control the board from getting destroyed when involved in a collision.
If you have a bit of electrical and technical know-how, you can use an electric drill and some pieces of metal to design something practical on your own.
The Best Type of Motors
Motors are an essential part of your e-skateboard, given that they make riding very smooth and convenient.
While it is advisable to buy a motor mount kit for safety and ease, you can likewise build yours from scratch, depending on the level of advancement and finish you desire.
Your choice of the motor should have a tremendous amount of power; this is a function of the torque, voltage, and total power output. It should also have a KV rating from 170-245, as well as wattage between 1500-3000.
You can opt for the hub motor or belt motor, depending on your preference.
The hub motors built inside the wheel are quiet and great for areas where skating is restricted or outright prohibited. Although they produce less torque, they will give you more range. But then, they have their disadvantages, like overheating (due to the placement).
On the other hand, the belt motor drives the wheel pulley, and both components are exposed to air, thus not prone to overheating. Note that this option has more mechanical parts and as such noisier than hub motors.
If you want more power, this may be your best choice in that it produces more torque. Be that as it may, it requires more power that lasts for a lesser range than the hub motor option.
Here is a great informative video on belt vs hub motors.
Batteries are the energy storage hub of an electric skateboard. They supply the motor with power.
You will discover that it is the most massive component of an e-skateboard given that the bigger the battery, the more range you will get, and vice versa.
Batteries are available in different chemistry, shapes, and varieties. However, the most common ones for e-skateboard are Lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries are similar to those found inside laptops and smartphones and, as such, considered safe for use.
Lithium-ion batteries are cylindrical components with special microchips for charging and discharging power safely in the cells.
You will enjoy a longer life cycle and low price compared to other types of batteries.
On the other hand, you can use Lithium polymer batteries with tons of power in a small package. Caution, though. These types are more dangerous because they can explode if not handled properly.
To get value for whatever type of battery you will eventually choose, you should observe the following precautions:
· Keep your batteries at room temperature
· Ensure you use your board regularly
· Always recharge the batteries before a full discharge
· Let the battery discharge level be around 50% before storage
· Buy brand new batteries always
· Endeavor to check the discharge status before use
The Process of Building an Electric Skateboard Yourself
Before setting out to couple your electric skateboard together, whether it is a DIY kit or you bought the components differently, you should have the following tools:
· Metric hex bit set
· Electric Drill
· Magnetic Bit Holder Extension
· V Skateboard T Tool
· Philips Screwdriver
Some of the parts would likely come with an installation guide to help you with your DIY assemblage.
Installation of the deck wheel bearings and bearing spacers
Step 1: Attach the backplate retainer to the electric longboard wheel by drilling the bolts through the wheel. The pins should be pre-drilled into the wheels and should hug the inner side of the hub.
Step 2: Attach the drive wheel pulley to the longboard wheels.
Do this by pressing the drive wheel pulley against the longboard wheel, matching the location and drilling the first bolt through the pulley. Subsequently, drill the remaining bolts across each other to make the board and pulley aligned and balanced.
Mounting of Electric Skateboard Trucks
Step 1: Select the bolt hardware and electric skateboard trucks.
Step 2: Place four bolts through the deck and align the truck through each lock. Use the skate tool and the Phillips screwdriver to bolt on the deck hardware.
Installing of the Battery and ESC
Step 1: Depending on the case you are using, you have to drill holes for the wiring, charging point, and power switch, which can be widened bit by bit to prevent cracks.
Step 2: After placing the case where you want it to rest, drill the screws into the hole to hold it down.
Step 3: Insert the battery and ESC into the case and connect the charging port to the battery. Next, connect the battery to the ESC and then the ESC to the power switch.
Step 4: Feed the motor wires through the holes drilled into the case and then connect to the ESC.
Step 5: Test the system to ensure it starts up before sealing the case.
Double-check to ensure every part is well-placed and tightened before taking it for a spin to test-drive it.
Note that putting together your electric skateboard (depending on your hands-on dexterity) will take between 20-30 minutes.
Approximate Cost to make a DIY Electric Skateboard
The amount you will spend on your DIY e-skateboard will depend on the quality and brands of the parts you will be ordering.
If you factor in the quality and type of materials used for each part, it will give you an idea of its price and worth.
With a budget ranging from $400-$1000, you will have an electric skateboard customized to your taste and purpose.
Our Final Thoughts
Go ahead, do your research, place your orders, or go shopping for every part you need to bring your dream to reality.
If it is your first trial, do take your time to ensure every part you purchase for your DIY e-skateboard fits correctly during the assemblage process.
I am eagerly anticipating to hear about your experience!