So you’ve decided to build your very own e-board. This is without a doubt a very fun and fulfilling task for anyone who enjoys a hands-on experience. You’ll get the benefit of saving a little bit of cash, being able to fully customize your e-board, and you’ll end up doing a fun little project all by yourself (unless someone is helping you, of course). There is just one problem though: figuring out where to begin your research, especially for beginners. Well, here is a great place to get started.
Below we’re going to show you a list of all of the essential components that are needed for crafting a reliable and properly functioning electric longboard. If you have no clue what parts you’ll need in order to have a complete set then this article was made specifically for you. Below are the key components of electric skateboards.
You can also purchase a DIY kit which will make sure your components are fully compatible.
Let’s take a look at the essential parts you’ll be needing.
First is the most obvious piece of the recipe: the deck itself. It’s also often referred to as the board since it’s usually a wooden board that acts as the support piece for the whole thing.
Some people may overlook the importance of choosing a good board but we emphasize that picking a good deck requires as much thought and consideration as the motor or the battery. The deck is the piece that you will have the most contact with while riding so you really should make your choice carefully.
Not all decks are the same despite the fact that many of them look quite similar. Various woods are used, though some are better than others. We would recommend avoiding plywood and going for something like Canadian maple as these trees are exposed to harsher winters and thus are more durable. A balance of strength and flexibility is the key to getting a good wooden board.
A deck that has some coating made out of polycarbonate material is a good idea as well. This will likely bump up the price a little bit but a surface of carbon fiber is highly recommended to give you enough flex and ensure your board is as light as possible while riding.
It is also wise to think of the size of your deck. One that is a little wider and longer than average is a great choice for beginners who aren’t masters at balancing yet.
Next up are the wheels of your e-board. These are just as important as the deck, if not more so. Your wheels will determine the smoothness of your ride even more so than your motor or deck.
You may have different preferences depending on your level of riding experience though our recommendation would be to purchase large-diameter wheels, especially if you are a beginner or a total new-comer to the world of electric skateboarding. Wheels that are in the range of 80mm to 105mm in diameter would be a great choice. Wheels of this size will allow for better stability while steering at various velocities.
As for the materials, try looking for e-board wheels made out of plastic. Something like urethane is a great material that works really well if you want an all-terrain e-longboard. Plastic wheels also make assembly of your e-board a little easier when connecting the motor and wheel pulleys, so this is something to keep in mind if this is your first time building your own DIY e-board.
Now it’s time to get a little technical and start discussing the electronics. The motor is essentially the heart of your e-skateboard as this is where its power comes from. Many people feel ambitious and want to go for a dual-motor setup. While this is fine, you may want to keep in mind that this will not only make your board much faster but will also cost a sizable amount of extra cash (plus you’ll need a strong battery to be able to power them both). So our suggestion is to just stick with one for your first build.
When it comes to power, we recommend purchasing a motor in the range of 200Kv or less. Kv refers to the velocity of a motor and can be translated into rotations per second. This recommendation is based on the idea that there is such a thing as too fast. While some riders may want a board that can go faster than 30mph it is probably best to stick with something that can go at around half that speed.
No, we’re not asking you to purchase a pickup truck or an 18 wheeler. Trucks are the mechanisms that bolt your wheels to your deck from underneath. Each truck can support two wheels, so you will need two trucks in total, one for the front and the other for the back.
Unlike the previous components for e-longboards, you don’t need to worry too much when deciding on what kind of trucks you should get. If you are going for a longer deck, aka a longboard, then you should get what are called reverse kingpin trucks as their shapes are better suited for longer length boards.
A motor is useless if you don’t have an ESC (Electronic Speed Controller), usually referred to as the motor controller. This device, without getting too technical, is essentially the circuitry that is attached to your motor.
Some people think that this is a component where you can save money but we instead think it wise to spend a few extra bucks to get a good quality one. You probably won’t need an ESC in a crazy price range but cheaper models are known to have a more limited lifespan.
Assuming you have chosen a motor that is roughly 200Kv, you will want to get a battery that has compatible power. Something in the range of around 5000mAh would be a great fit.
When it comes to the specific type of battery, we recommend going with lithium-ion batteries. They are a lot more reliable than polymer style batteries as they tend to last longer in terms of overall lifespan. They also have fewer incidences of failure due to damage or wear and tear.
Choosing the right remote control for your electric longboard is pretty simple. Many great ones come at very reasonable prices. Ideally, you’ll want one that is pretty small but if you have larger hands and fingers you’ll have to keep that in mind as well.
Remote controls with a wrist strap are a solid choice because you don’t want to accidentally drop your controller when you’re going at 10mph or any speed for that matter.
An electric skateboard drivetrain is a mechanism that helps move power and movement from your motor to your wheels. It’s attached to your truck via a few components, including the motor mount, the drive belt, the wheel pulley and finally the motor pulley.
All you really need to keep in mind are sizes. Assuming you’re going for a long style board, you’re probably going to want pulley and belt widths in the range of 12mm to 20 mm.
Here is what will probably be the most fun part of customizing your very own DIY electric longboard. The surface enclosure is essentially the skin that you will attach atop your wooden deck. Not only does this sheet act as protection for the wood, but it’s also a great opportunity to style your board with a design of your choice.
This is definitely one of the best parts of making your own electric longboard as you get to decide precisely what it will look like (some great craftmanship can be seen here).
You will also need a bottom enclosure to protect the batteries and other valuable circuitry. They are essentially scratch-proof trays. Feel free to get a water-resistant one as well if you know you’re probably going to be skating in light rain.
It will be virtually impossible to assemble a longboard, or anything mechanical, without the right set of tools. Assuming you don’t already own some, you will need a variety of Allen keys, wrenches and screwdrivers to piece everything together.
To finish off the list, you’ll also need to acquire some skate wheel bearings and some rubber riser pads that connect your truck to your deck. These items can be found at cheap prices so you don’t need to be too picky about them.
One important thing you should keep in mind when shopping for your components is to not always worry about saving money. While that is certainly one of the bigger appeals of going down the DIY route, you shouldn’t let it become the priority. This is how people end up buying low-quality wheels, ESCs or some other crucial item of the e-longboard that really isn’t up to par.
Having parts that aren’t very good can actually be dangerous, particularly if you like to ride very fast. Choose your parts wisely, especially if you want your e-board to last a long time. Also, don’t forget to check the warranties offered by the various manufacturers for each part of your setup. If one component breaks or stops working, you ought to be able to send it back for a new one as long as it’s within 6 months or so—or however long the warranty for that specific part is.
Another good tip is that you should look out for bundles. You can often find a motor controller bundled with a remote control and a receiver. Often you can find wheels that come with bearings or trucks that come with riser pads. This can help you save a little extra cash and time while making your shopping experience a little more convenient.
You can get some inspiration for your own custom build from the esk8 builders forum.
While the task of actually building your own electric longboard or skateboard may seem daunting, some find the actual research and decision making to be even more of a chore. We hope that this article has helped make things much more simplified for you. Assembling your own personally tailored e-longboard is a lot more fun than it initially seems, so we hope you will discover the joy of this cool and rewarding pastime.