Jul 14, 2017 | By Tess

James Bruton of XRobots never ceases to impress with his 3D printing projects, which include one of the most realistic 3D printed BB-8 Droids we’ve come across. His latest venture, an electric skateboard made from giant 3D printed Lego bricks, has us pretty darn excited as well.

The UK-based maker, who showcases his fun and original 3D printing projects on Youtube, recently uploaded some new videos that explain how his 3D printed lego skateboard was conceived of and how it is being made. The project is currently still in progress.

The skateboard, as you can probably tell from photos, is not made out of regular Lego bricks, as Bruton found 3D models for Lego-like blocks on Thingiverse and scaled them up by five times (presumably to make the skateboard’s construction slightly more straightforward). As he explains in his Part I video, the Lego-shaped bricks took about a hundred hours to 3D print are were made using a variety of PLA filament colors.

With the standard-shaped blocks printed and ready to go, Bruton then had to think about what kind of motor his electric skateboard would use. The logical decision? A scaled-up version of a classic 1980s Lego motor, which Bruton designed himself using Fusion 360 software. For the board’s wheels, Bruton also designed his own Lego-inspired hubs which could be 3D printed and have a 3D printed tire installed. With an infill of 80%, the NinjaFlex tire took over 30 hours to 3D print.

The board’s deck, admittedly bigger than your standard skate or longboard, was made using a variety of 3D printed Lego blocks and was secured with glue. (Bruton says without glue, the parts were not staying together as well as he’d like.) The deck was also reinforced from the bottom with a piece of painted plywood with two front skateboarding wheels installed on it.

To give the board some steering capabilities, Bruton installed a 18 mm steel tube running down the center of the deck’s underside, which connects to the drive unit and provides a “pivot point” for lean-steering. The 3D printed electric skateboard is powered by two Turnigy 5000mAh 2S 20C Lipo Packs and a 1.5 kW motor.

In Part II of Bruton’s video series about the 3D printed electric skateboard, we get to see the maker taking his invention out for a ride. Equipped with both a 360 degree and standard camera, XRobot’s Bruton took to an empty lot to test his make out. As you can see in the video below: it works!

Bruton did say the skateboard did have some difficulty turning and he hopes to make some improvements and adjustments to its design. Among the updates he intends to make is adding some Lego light bricks to the front and back of the board. For the rest of the updates, you’ll have to tune in to Bruton’s third and final video instalment for the 3D printed skateboard which should be released next week.

You can check out the 360 degree video of Bruton riding the skateboard below:

Update Aug. 4, 2017:

Bruton has just released the third and final instalment of his electric skateboard made from giant 3D printed LEGO-type bricks. Among some of the new features he's added since his second episode are 3D printed LED brick headlights (in white and red); 3D printed casings for wiring and batteries; a 3D printed LEGO man; and 3D printed flowers to decorate the board’s tail.

To mark the completion of his 3D printed electric skateboard, Bruton took it out for a real ride—not just in a carpark—but on a park path, alongside pedestrians and cyclists. In the video below you can see that it was a smooth ride, and he actually seems to be going quite fast. At one point, the headlight coverings did fly off, but Bruton was quick to retrieve them. Driving into the night, the lit-up 3D printed skateboard looked especially impressive.

 

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