I have a question for you. Do you find it difficult to maneuver around on a skateboard like I do? Well if you are challenged in the skateboarding department like me, then do I have a fun (albeit expensive) project for you! I initially wanted to do this project because I saw people who were fantastic at skateboarding (and long boarding) at my school, and I wanted to get in on that action. It was difficult for someone who was an absolute newbie when it came to skateboarding, and the thought of careening down a hill without the ability to slow myself down was scary for a little 5'4" chick like myself. I wanted there to be a skateboard that I could control while maintaining balance on the board, since I am useless when it comes to kicking the ground and moving myself forward by myself on a board. An electric skateboard seemed like a great solution, and we wanted to try making one!
As a forewarning, I want to make it absolutely clear that this project is not for the faint-of-wallet. We were able to get many of the parts we needed on Amazon, but you're looking at triple digits missing from your bank account depending on where you can get your parts.
With that out of the way, let's begin!
Step 1: Your Parts
The image really speaks for itself here. We labeled the different components of our electric skateboard in the picture above!
*For the skateboard trucks, the wheels came separately. We bought the trucks specifically for a long board, and the wheels were your average large skateboard wheel.
Also, not pictured here, but we used an Arduino Uno as the brain of this board. Another thing we added to help with controlling the board was a Wii Nunchuck.
Step 2: Putting the Long Board Together
This step is all about assembling the long board as you normally would. We messed around with the tightness of the trucks on this board, and we decided that a looser truck was better than a tighter one. We designated a "front" and "back" of the board, because we wanted the back truck to be tighter than the front in order to provide us with stability for the pulley system that we were going to implement to allow the back wheels to propel the rider forward.
Step 3: Splicing ALL the Things!
So in this step, I pretty much just spliced the wires together from the speed controller to the motor, and then the speed controller to connector wires that can plug in easily to the Arduino. I used a combination of electrical tape and those heat-sensitive shrinking connectors to secure the wires.
Step 4: Setting Up the Nunchuck / Arduino Battery
WARNING: Obviously, this step requires you to destroy a Wii Nunchuck. BUT, if you do not have a Wii Nunchuck that you're willing to destroy, then there are special nunchuck extension cables that you can destroy instead.
Also with this step, we added those same connector cables to the ends of the battery lines in order to make it easier to plug it into the Arduino. That is a 9v battery, and we just hooked it up this way based on preference.
Step 5: Arranging the Pieces
This step is all about placement of your parts. Everything should be hooked up by now, and at this time we were coding the Arduino and using some of the codes that can be found on these websites:
Also, for how to go about wiring up the arduino, nunchuck, motor, and speed controller, refer to this:
The best advice I can give is to make sure that everything has space to breathe from one another, and ensure that none of your wires are touching. This is a pretty messy stage, as we were trying to figure out how to best configure everything, but in the next step you will be able to see what we initially decided.
Step 6: Securing Everything in Place / Finished Board!
Viola! We secured everything to the board, and everything is hooked up and ready to go! All of the coding is in place and we made sure that the Wii Nunchuck would be long enough for me to be able to grip onto it comfortably. This board will also be getting a custom fitted shield with that aluminum panel, but we need to re-do the first trial we had with that paneling.
This board should allow you to accelerate and decelerate using the joystick, and you turn as you normally would while on a long board. This board frees you up from having to constantly switch stances and kick to maintain speed, and it allows you to slow yourself down by pressing the joystick in the direction opposite of the one you're headed in.
In the picture of the underside of the board, we unplugged the battery from the speed controller since we didn't want it to be using up power while we got these pictures.
So that's it! Minus the gaping hole in your wallet, you should fully enjoy this electric board! I'm interested in seeing if you guys try this out and come up with more cost efficient or generally smarter ways to approach this project! We will be making a version 2 of this board with everything that we learned with making this one. Thank you so much for reading, and happy riding!