Here’s how it looks all done. Simple looking, sleek and upscale in my opinion, but like every project there’s more that goes on under the hood. Let’s go through what you’ll need and how to make your own!
First let’s talk specs.
-18 mph top speed
-12+ mile range
-24 volt 6s Lipo configuration
-Over 30% grade
-Fast charge (with different charger) of only 30 mins.
-Also it’s small, like fit under a chair small.
Parts List Summary:
-Motor & Truck Assembly –Aliexpress.com
-VESC V4.20 Dual 100A –Amazon.com
-Flipsky 2.4 Ghz Remote –Aliexpress.com
-Zippy Compact Lipo 8000mah 3s (2x) –Hobbyking
-ISDT H605 Air Lipo Charger
-Preferred Deck –Omenboards
-XT-60 and Motor Bullet Connectors
-M8 Countersunk Bolts (3x)
-M8 Countersunk Rivit Nuts (3x) –Accu.co.uk
-Double Sided Tape
-Heat Shrink Assortment –Amazon.com
-Soldering Iron w/ Solder and Flux
-Drill w/ Drill Bit Set
-Counter Sinking Bit
-Small Flame Torch or Heat Gun for Heat Shrink
-Alan Key set
-Vise Grip would be handy too
-3D printer (a big one preferred)
-Hot Glue Gun
Aliexpress is your BEST FRIEND for most parts!
Why do I say this? Well a lot of parts are being sold by resellers at crazy markups on eBay so just skip all that noise and just wait for parts to come unfortunately. It really makes a difference on build cost and some parts will need to take awhile to get to you so might as well go to the source. If any of these parts have cheaper alternatives go for them, just reseach to make sure all is compatible.
Let’s start out with the remote. Its the FlipSky VX1, you can find it on Aliexpress for about $30-40. This is definitely the best choice for a remote since it directly communicates with the VESC over UART so expect no calibration for control and just a plug and play experience. Just use the multi-colored cable and throw the blue one in the probably not important bin.
Next is batteries. Two Compact Zippy 8000 mah 3s Lipos nicely fit in the enclosure and pack a decent amount of power density. In yellow to improve top speed of course.
Probably the best charger out there for the price. Connects to a mobile app for viewing all the cell voltages, how much the battery absorbed in energy all in a beautiful app. Also if you want to skip the app just set a default profile, click the big button on top and you’re charging. Simple, easy and small.
This is the best most over engineered ESC you can put in an electric skateboard. It is designed by Benjamin Vedder giving it the name VESC. It has too many features to mention here, but check out vesc-project.com for more info. It’s good for a total of 100 amps, 50 each motor and has an important feature of having FOC (Field Oriented Control) and what it does is allows the board to swiftly accelerate from a dead stop. Otherwise a crazy vibration would occur until the board is in motion. It also has many smart features to allow current control and low battery cutoff. Make sure to purchase the VESC Dual V4.20 with the power button.
The skateboard is an OMEN Surfcraft bamboo deck. It does not flex, but with our big (and flat) batteries thats a good thing.
This is the exact deck I used, but if their is one that matches the width of mine or is wider that should work too. Also if a different style matches your taste they have others that are dimensionally the same. Omenboards.com
Motor Assembly w/ Trucks
Honestly not a fan of the butterflies, but the motors look beefy. They are some of the largest motors you can fit to a electric skateboard and are sure bigger that the ones on my Boosted Board Dual V2. Size 5065 to be exact. Rated for 6s configuration, but these can happily do 8s in my testing. Hills and full throttle leave these monsters barely warm enough to notice. The quality of everything is impressive, quite thick phase wires and heavy gauge metal for the mounts just make this an impressively solid assembly. These are found on Aliexpress, but don’t be fooled into buying any of the ones that claim high power with thinner wires. Aliexpress.com
9 pin Aviation Connector
I searched for hours to find a good quality connector, then with enough hope this gem showed up. I cannot express how this was worth every penny. It’s robust, well made and perfect for this application. If you buy anything for you board, buy this. It usually goes along with the name “WS16” on Aliexpress and it’s simply amazing. Aliexpress.com
100 amp AMI Fuse
6S LiPo Balance Lead
Now Let's Build it!
Step 1. 3D Print
First is to find a printer that can make parts in the Z direction of 10.6 inches at least. I printed mine in PLA on a MakerBot Z18 at my university at a 90% infill and with 5 shells. The result is super tough and it can easily take the harsh vibrations and abuse of being on the bottom side of a skateboard. It’s also super thin, for what it is containing as much as it does. For reference the charging connector is about the same height as the enclosure.
Download Here: Thingiverse.com
Step 2. Check Fitment
Now just see if everything fits. Depending on the accuracy of your printer some sanding may be required. Everything though seemed to fit quite nicely first try.
Step 3. Pair the LiPos in Series
Now for the more dangerous stuff. After fitting the LiPos into the enclosure I found an appropriate length for the cables to be linked in series. I had offset the lengths in order to make the fuse lie flat in the enclosure nestled in the void between the cells. The tabs of the fuse were gently bent up and the wires were put through them. Then a piece of heat shrink covers it all in order to protect from shorts and a small cutout was made to see if the fuse were to ever become blown.
Pro Tip: When heat shrink tubing is open ended, crimp the edge while it’s hot to seal it off.
Step 4. LiPo Balance Connector
Caaarrreeefullyyyyy take each pin out of the connector one by one and snap it into a 6s connector one by one. This is done so it’s easier to remove the pack and is much safer than attempting to solder directly to the charge port. I used a small flat bladed screw driver to bend the plastic tabs on the original connectors to remove them. Use a lithium balancing cable diagram anywhere from Google as reference since its difficult to show the configuration here.
REMEMBER! If any of the balancing cables touch another it’s a dead short between one or many of the cells!!! Tape loose wires regularly as every wire is soldered.
Step 5. LiPo Bullet Connectors
Here you can get a better idea of what we’re trying to do here. Now with the fuse wired up now we carefully add our bullet connectors. On the battery leads it is soldered as shown at a 90 degree angle in order to improve compactness when all is connected. On the ends coming off of the VESC the leads are simply soldered normally where the wires sit within the “cup” and soldered. Also heat shrink everything!
Step 6. Make the Power Charging Cable
Now make the power leads the same length of your male sided balance leads. Solder and heat shrink some wires that can handle over 2 amps.
Step 7. Wire up the Balancing Leads to the Connector
Now wire up the balancing leads by soldering and heat shrinking each wire to help ensure there wouldn’t be a short when squeezed inside the connector. A good idea would be to put all the wires though some heat shrink to neaten things before soldering. Wire this part up however you like, but keep in mind that you must do the same order for the connector inside the skateboard too. Inside use a female balance connector and wire it to the charging port in the board.
Pro Tip: Use a continuity meter since it is vital to check if the order of everything is correct before connecting the battery.
Completed Charging Harness
Step 8. Drill the Bolt Holes into the Deck
Mark the holes into your deck by using the enclosure as a template and using a marker or something sharp to mark where the three holes need to be drilled. Then counter sink them and bolt up the enclosure.
Step 9. Neaten up wires and Setup VESC
Add the receiver and hot glue it in place. Solder on the bullet connectors for the motor and heat shrink. Then zip tie away any wires that could move around and break from work hardening. Insert all the rivet nuts and the hardest part is done. Now connect the VESC to the computer and go to vesc-project.com to download the VESC configurator and run the FOC setup wizard with the motors connected. If everything works hurray, you are so close to done!
Step 10. Double Side Tape the LiPos
Now just double sided tape the cells on the side facing the enclosure and stick them down. I used precut sections from Dollar Tree (US $1 store) and they have great adhesive surprisingly. Just don’t put too much tape since removing them in the future still can remain an option.
Connect all the cables, bolt up the enclosure to the deck, connect everything and you’re DONE!