Nov 7, 2015 | By Benedict

He was a maker boy. She said ‘see you later, boy’. His 3D-printed skateboard wasn’t good enough for her. After being inspired by online videos, an ambitious maker named Saral Tayal has built a 3D-printed electric skateboard packing 1500W of power. Compared to the $1500 price tag on commercially available electric skateboards, Tayal's partially 3D-printed board costs just 10% of that price. Tayal’s skateboard can be ridden for around 10km at speeds of around 20km/h, but the addition of a further battery can increase the board’s endurance.

The 3D-printed electric skateboard consists of five main components:

The steps for building your own 3D-printed electric skateboard are as follows:

Step 1: Choosing the electronics

The links above represent Tayal’s suggested components, but you can also choose your own. The motor should be around 50mm in diameter, with a KV rating of under 300kv. Based on the chosen motor, go for a speed controller that can provide 10-20% more current than the motor's max current draw. The ESC must have a built-in BEC. Don’t buy an Opto ESC, since they don't have a BEC, which means that a separate battery or external BEC is required. The higher cell battery you buy, the faster you can go, irrespective of torque. Ensure that your chosen ESC can support the cell count of your battery. Pick close to the maximum cell count that your ESC can support, allowing you to maximise speed and keep current draw to a minimum.

Step 2: 3D-printed power delivery system

Two sets of parts need to be purchased. One for mounting the motor and the other for transmitting power motor to wheels. There are two common ways of delivering power to the wheels, either of which can be used. The recommended way is with timing belts and pulleys, a relatively inexpensive method which involves 3D printing the pulleys yourself. The alternative is to use chains and sprockets, as used in bicycles. Sprockets are much harder to source and the prices much higher, but they could potentially offer greater durability. Tayal opted for the belt system. If you do the same, aim for a torque level equivalent of a 80-100kv motor. The formula to calculate your gear reduction ration will be (motor kv / 80 or 100). Based on the shaft of your motor, pick the number of teeth that the pulley will have. Based on the gear reduction ration, the pulley on the wheels will be the gear reduction value * number of teeth on motor pulley. Using this information, choose your belt: Tayal opted for a HTD-5 belt as it has wider spacing's between teeth than most other belts and this helps prevent against the belt slipping. It also prevents wear in the long run. This website can help you choose the exact number of teeth based on the distance from the wheels centre to the motor's centre. The STL files for Tayal’s own pulley and teeth can be found on his Instructables page.

Step 3: Mounting the motor

Tayal 3D printed his motor mount with a Prusa I3 3D printer. The maker used generic off the shelf metal pieces and bolted them to the truck with M5 bolts, before attaching a small piece of plywood to the other side of the trucks to prevent backlash. Use lock nuts or a thread lock to secure all bolts. Tayal’s 3D-printed mount was designed in Autodesk Fusion 360. Its STL file is also available on the Instructables page. Although the difference is minimal, Tayal recommends rear wheel drive over front wheel, as the electronics enclosure protects the motor from airborne gravel and dust.

Step 4: Attaching the gear to the wheel

The cheapest method doing this involves drilling holes in the wheels. Tayal used Bigfoot Mountain cruiser 78 mm wheels. Use a 5mm drill bit and M4 bolts to secure the gear on to the wheel. By using slightly smaller bolts than the hole, you can compensate for any imperfections in the drilling process.

Step 5: Mounting the electronics

For this step, the enclosure can be 3D printed or made in other ways. Tayal used some spare pieces of black poly-carbonate to make his. The maker 3D printed a hinge and used Velcro straps to keep the lid closed, and cut the poly-carbonate in a simple box form factor, using simple 3D-printed 90 degree brackets to hold the enclosure together. He used further 3D printed 90 degree brackets to mount the enclosure to the skateboard.

Step 6: Installing Arduino battery, speed indicator, headlights

For aesthetic and practical purposes, Tayal added a small 10 segment LED bar graph in the front of his 3D-printed skateboard, along with 2 switches on the side of his electronics enclosure: one to control the headlights and the other to switch the bar graph between speed and voltage readings. All of this features are controlled by an Arduino, using a shift register and this library. Tayal’s codes for speed and battery level are available here. For the headlights, use 4 x 3v LEDs wired in series to accept 12 volts, which are supplied by the LI-PO batteries' balance connector.

There you have it: a partially 3D-printed electronic skateboard. Tayal recommends kickstarting the board rather than allowing the motor to accelerate, for balance purposes. To stop, either put your foot on the ground or use the electronic brake functionality on the ESC. Thanks to Tayal for his Instructable, and good luck with your own building!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive