So you want to take it up a notch and transform your ordinary, foot-powered skateboard to an electric powered skateboard? So many skateboarders like you are trying their hand on DIY electric skateboard making and have succeeded. With the help of newer, better and safer electric skateboard parts, you can make your own electric-type board which can let you travel further. We have this DIY guide for you.
Why make your own when you can buy?
This is the usual question that people ask. Aside from the pride that comes out of making your own equipment, there are also some impressive benefits of building your own electric skateboard. Just check these out:
You can enhance your battery voltage output
When you build your own electric skateboard, you can choose your battery’s total voltage. The usual choice is 6S 22.2 volts, 8S 29.2 volts, 10S 37 volts and the most is a 12S 42 volts. If you purchase an electric board, you’ll have limited access to higher power outputs. If you make your own you can customize your ride with popular battery packs like a Custom 18650 pack with BMS or an RC LiPo.
You can get higher battery amp output
Don’t let a typical battery slow you down! You can add more amps by using a better, more powerful battery. The most common rating for a standard motor has a maximum output per motor of 80 amps. You may not need this much on an electric board. This is a lot more than what riders need and usually, this will only leave you off your board and on the floor.
You’ll improve your motor wattage output
A set up with bigger motors and stronger batteries will give you more power so you can get higher wattage out of your motors. When you buy a typical electric board, you’ll get 50mm motors and possibly smaller. Meanwhile, there are DIY electric skateboards with potential speeds of 25 to 30 mph or higher. And although this is a very powerful motor, you might only injure yourself.
You’ll get better mileage and travel long distances
If you DIY your own electric motor, you can carry extra battery packs or use a stronger battery. Take note that the bigger your battery pack is, the more weight you will add to your skateboard. But despite this, you will end up adding more range, about 10 to 20 miles more out of your standard battery pack.
More power and more traction
One of the best reasons to make your own electric board is you can select a single motor or ride a dual motor. Dual motor skateboards will give you more power (up to twice the speed of single motors). This is a good setup if you are a heavy rider or you want to use your electric skateboard on hills (up to 20 to 30 percent inclines).
It’s easy to set up and repair your own electric skateboard
After you have built your first electric skateboard, you will find it easier to build another or modify your existing setup. This opens a whole new world of enhanced accessories for you and no doubt that you’ll want to make more for your family and friends or even make money out of your skills and talents.
Read Also: Best Electric Skateboard Review 2019.
What do you need to convert?
Making your own electric skateboard is not just about snapping on an electric motor to your existing skateboard. You need to consider some important details to make sure that your electric board setup is safe, efficient and durable.
Things to consider when choosing parts and materials
Remember these two important considerations when choosing electrical components:
If you ride on mostly flat ground
If you ride on streets that are 80% to 89% flat ground, you need a setup with medium to a high powered battery, more durable boards, improved torque, and very durable motor. Experts recommend:
- Batteries – 6S to 12S 5000 mah RC LiPo battery packs or equivalent.
- Controller boards – 6S ESC or 12S ESC. A 12S ESC is more durable
- Pulleys and drive belts – a 16 T motor pulley plus a 36 T drive wheel pulley is the best ration for a strong and dependable setup. There is no reduction in torque, only a smooth ride ahead with this combination.
- Motor – a 6355 230 KV motor is recommended. A motor with a 63mm diameter and a 55mm length is best for either a single or dual setup. Higher power offers less resistance and lets a heavy 200 to 230-pound person climb up to 30% inclines.
If your route is more uphill
If your route home is more of an uphill climb, your set up should be more powerful and more efficient. Also, if you are on the heavy side, a powerful setup is the best way to go.
- Batteries – 10S to 12S at 5000 mah LiPo RC batteries or an equivalent will provide good power. Besides, 5S and 6S battery packs are easy to find in most bargain centers.
- Controller boards – a board for a dual setup at 12S will give you a smooth start. No worries especially when you’re in a hurry.
- Pulleys and drive belts – a dual 6355 230 KV motor is the best pick because of its higher KV which lets even a heavy 260-pound person move up a hill with up to 30% incline. Dual motor = to double power plus traction to climb hills. This is also safer to use for downhill rides. Motor
Now that you have an idea of the specs for the electrical component of your electric skateboard, it’s time to get your board’s mechanical components. There are a few mechanical components of an electrical board: the longboard trucks and the mount where your motor will be fastened.
- Longboard trucks – there are many kinds and brands of skateboard trucks. Choose the most durable which will allow you more customization. Experts recommend the TorqueBoards v2 Pro Trucks as well as products from SurfRodz and Caliber Trucks.
- Mounting component for the motor – this comes in different styles and sizes.
Other mechanical components include wheels, trucks, risers, motor mounts, spacers, bolt hardware and drive wheel pulley risers, bearings. If you don’t want to worry about picking the right type and size of hardware, try mechanical kits for single and dual motor setups.
Wiring everything together is also made simple with special switches and connectors for single and dual motor setups. For RC LiPo battery packs, you need an on and off switch and connectors. If you are using a custom battery like the 18650 custom battery, you don’t need to use any wires or connectors because everything is included.
Building the electric skateboard wheels
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what kind of battery, motor and electronic and mechanical parts you need for your electric skateboard, it’s time to learn the most important part of building an electric board and that is installing the wheels on the board.
You will need the following
- Longboard wheels – most kits available come in 83mm to 90mm longboards
- Drive wheel pulley – pulleys come with a variety of teeth and this can vary according to the gearing ratio that you wish to reach whether you want more torque or increase your speed.
- Drive wheel back plate retainer – there are wheels with a back plate retainer while some don’t
- Bolts for drive wheel – some kits come with specific types of bolts so be sure you have the tool to use for this kind of bolt.
You also need tools like an electric drill, metric hex bits (M4, M5, and M6) and a bit holder extension.
Assemble the wheel bearings for your longboard
Place the wheel bearings on the wheels along with the bearing spacers. Use a small amount of grease or oil.
Place the backplate retainer to the wheel
Use a drill to attach the bolts on the wheel. Take note of the pattern in the wheel pulley as well as the back plate retainer. You should pre-drill the bolts through the wheels hugging most of the inner portion of the lines.
Place the drive wheel pulley on the wheels
Now that the bearings and retainers are attached and assembled, it’s time to attach the drive wheel pulley on the wheels. You must do your best to match the place where the initial bolts were drilled to the pulley.
The rest of the bolts must be drilled across each other for improved balance.
How to mount the trucks
The electric skateboard trucks support everything including your weight. This should be installed perfectly otherwise, you will suffer from unnecessary movements which can even affect your balance and overall performance.
You will need
- Longboard trucks/decks
- Bolts – to secure the longboard trucks to the skateboard deck. The most common bolt sizes include 10/32 and M4 bolts.
- Risers – you need rubber risers at 1/8” or 3mm sizes. You need to install risers to help make your board more comfortable even when you are riding on a rough road.
You should have a skateboard T tool and a Philips screwdriver to assemble your skateboard trucks.
- Choose the bolt hardware and the type of electric skateboard truck you prefer.
- Attach the two bolts in place on the deck using the T tool and place the truck through the bolts
- Attach the truck to the deck using hardware bolts. You can use the skate tool with a screwdriver to make sure everything’s tight and right.
Accessories for your electric skateboard
Aside from the usual electric skateboard parts and components, you can spice up your ride with accessories starting with the remote control on and off switch. You may have seen electric skateboard riders with something on their hands. This is the remote control that controls via RF the motor switch of the skateboard.
Similar to remote control of an RC car or plane, it has buttons to power on and off the skateboard and sometimes there are knobs for the speed as well. A remote is usually slung on a rider’s hand or has a shape of a remote control stick similar to a trigger. You need powerful, rechargeable batteries to use on your remote otherwise you might not be able to control your board, especially during high speeds.
You can’t ride an electric skateboard without safety gear. You need a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads the least. Invest in a good shoe which can grip the pavement in case you want to stop the skateboard the old fashioned way.
You may want to strap on some lights such as small LED lights at the back of your board for safety when riding it at night. These are very cheap and are available in a wide variety of colors too.
And lastly, don’t leave home without extra battery packs. You’ll never know when you need it, so always be on the safe side and have a fully-charged spare with you wherever you go.
Where to buy electric skateboard kits?
When you say, electric skateboard kits, this is a complete set that includes the skateboard motor, torque boards, drive wheel pulley system, motor pulley system, timing belt, longboard wheels, wheel bearings, bearing spacers and deck hardware.
Everything is included BUT the actual skateboard. You will find a kit for single motor kits and dual motor kits. You can buy these kits from skateboard shops and from electric skateboard accessories and supplies shops.
The cost of an electric skateboard conversion varies depending on the type and brand of component you want to use. Just an example, a single motor mechanical kit costs almost $200 online while dual motors are available for almost twice the cost of a single motor kit.
To save on your purchase, buy from reputable sites and from reliable distributors of electric and mechanical parts. These shops have promo codes and special deals, especially during special occasions and events.