May 14, 2015 | By Simon

Although skateboards have been around for a few decades now, their appeal as a form of urban transportation has grown exponentially thanks to their natural lightweight design and portable nature.  While many who choose to ride a skateboard as a method of transportation might have previous board sport experience, a new generation of products are aimed at making the skateboarding experience safer and easier for those who don’t - particularly remote controlled electric skateboard designs.    

Among others, Sune Pedersen of Faraday Motion is helping lead the revolution of electronic skateboards and he’s using 3D printing to help us get there.

With a wide variety of engineers, makers and researchers scattered across Denmark, Poland, Sweden and the US, Faraday Motion is a Maker Collective focused on creating a completely open source personal electric vehicle (PEV).  Although the Collective has started with a skateboard for their initial prototype, they aren’t necessarily expecting users to do tricks with them; rather, they envision the vehicle as being an entirely new way of thinking about urban transportation.  

“The technology we are using; compact batteries, high power motors and advanced computers with intelligent software interacting with a range of sensors and user inputs, can be applied to a range of totally different personal transportation devices not yet seen before, said Sune in a recent interview with Autodesk.   

“3d printing combined with our technology will make it easy to quickly invent totally new vehicle types.”

Of course, a product like this didn’t just manifest itself out of thin air; Sune himself suffered an injury in 2013 and has since been finding ways to make mobility easier for him and others with mobility issues.  

“I found a Onda Core longboard from Onda Motion based in California and decided it would be a good foundation to experiment with,” added Sune.

“It had 4 big wheels, was made out of hard composite plastics and it did not look like an ordinary skateboard. With basically no experience in 3D design I bought a 3d printer and some components and started designing the first parts using Tinkercad and generators from Thingiverse I was ready for building the first prototype.”

In addition to using Tinkercad, Sune used Autodesk’s 123D Design and 123D Circuits to simulate and fabricate his prototypes from directly within his living room on an Ultimaker 2 3D printer - or as Sune calls it, his “city startup garage”.

Now - nearly 15 design iterations later - Sune’s current design for his Smartphone-controlled electric vehicle is looking more and more like a polished product that others may soon be seeing on the streets of metropolitan areas.

Autodesk has since stepped in to help Sune at their Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco, where he will also be presenting his latest prototype at this weekend’s Bay Area Maker Faire along with the rest of the Faraday Motion team.    

“People of all ages approach me, they want to try, ask a lot of questions and I usually have minimum one new customer when I arrive back home,” said Sune.  

“It’s very motivating and gives me confidence that i’m on the right path with what i’m doing and that there is a foundation for building a company that will impact the lives of people of all ages.”

While Sune and Faraday haven’t released any open source plans for building your own electric skateboard yet, we’re pretty sure that it’ll be a hit when they do.  

If you can’t make it to this weekend’s Bay Area Maker Faire, you can stay updated on Sune’s progress towards developing an open source 3D printed personal electric vehicle over at Faraday Motion.  

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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