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Electric Longboard Build & Clever CIM Motor Drivetrain

by all1by on August 25, 2010 Table of Contents Electric Longboard Build & Clever CIM Motor Drivetrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: Electric Longboard Build & Clever CIM Motor Drivetrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 1: Parts and Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2: Defining Problems and Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 3: Turning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4: Losing Weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 5: CIM Motor Drive Part1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 3 3 4 5 9

Step 6: CIM Motor Drive Part2 - Application to the longboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Step 7: Flexibility and Shock Absorption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Step 8: Miscellaneous Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Step 9: Cost and Feasibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Step 10: Performance and Pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

MIT Undergraduate

Intro: Electric Longboard Build & Clever CIM Motor Drivetrain

This Instructable documents the improving of a Proline 600 Altered Electric Longboard. It also serves as a useful resource for anyone attempting their own electric skateboard/longboard build. It ALSO serves as documentation for a mini-build: a new drive-train for the ever-so-popular CIM motors, which are often used in FIRST robotics competitions. Altered/Exkate electric skateboards/longboards are not known for their turning radius (its HUGE), their weight (the one we used was 48 pounds stock!), nor their performance (1, yes ONE, wheel drive). In fact, about the only thing they are known for is being one of the first companies to produce electric skateboards/longboards. So we decided to make it better. The further we went, the more we realized we could have started with a deck and built up; thus, I will endeavor to make this Instructable useful to both types of builders. CIM motors have been without a cheap, easy, and compact gear-reduction drive-train since their beginning. Now the wait is over. Read on! The team was part of MITs Edgerton Center Summer 2010 Engineering and Design Class, a month-long class where high school students learn and apply real-world engineering skills to various projects. Note: I'll apologize in advance for any bad quality photos. Also Note: I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this Instructable.

Image Notes 1. Stock Altered Pro-line 600 2. Transmitter 3. Lead Acid charger

Image Notes 1. CIM motor 2. The compact gear reduction drive 3. Aluminum lip-lick extension that keeps the belt from contacting the deck during turns.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Note: All parts listed are for/from the Proline 600 model. Other models parts may be able to be used with modifications. Parts: Option A: Rebuild an Exkate. 1) Proline 600 Exkate (Its not worth buying one for $600. Go to option B if you dont already have one) 2) Two CIM motors 3) Two of these planetary gearboxes . 4) Some aluminum plate. At least 12 x 12. 5) Some 2 Aluminum round. At least 2 in length. 6) Two timing belt gears. A good source for these is: 7) Two timing belts . (We used 400-5M) 8) Two ball bearings that have ODs small enough to fit inside the timing belt gear hubs and have a 5/16 ID. McMaster has cheap ones. 9) Two MBS mountain-board trucks . 10) Four rubber shock absorption (soft) risers 11) Nine lithium polymer batteries. We used these wired in 3S3P for a total of 9S3P (~36V and 6600mAh). Read up on safety information before using LiPos!!! They can explode if used improperly! 12) Nine electronic project boxes (used as battery boxes). Preferably plastic and as close to the size of your batteries as possible. 13) About 6 feet of 14+AWG wire. 14) PTC fuses~1Amp. At least 24 15) Deans connectors or other low resistance battery connector. 1 pair 16) Three of these charger s or equivalent. (why you need three will become clear) 17) Three of these power supplies or equivalent. 18) Low voltage detectors or equivalent. 19) electrical tape/ assorted heat shrink tubing 20) Blue RTV silicon sealant or equivalent. 21) LED strips. We used two 12V 16 Red strips and one 12V 8 white strip. 22) Lots of various machine screws. 23) Loctite Optional: 3 balloons (for waterproofing LVDs), some extra hard bushings (riders preference, but due to the extra long trucks, harder seems to be better), a small switch for the LED circuit Option B: Build from ground up. All of Option A minus the Exkate and plus the following: 1) A deck 2) An Altered electronics modul e. 3) Exkate Wheels: Two regular ( ) and two with drive gears ( ) Tools: Soldering Iron Band Saw Belt sander Drill press Drill Dremel with cut off, sanding, grinding bits Hot glue gun Hex keys, screw drivers, wrenches etc. Tap and die set Files (various) Optional: Metal Lathe (very helpful), Cold saw

Step 2: Defining Problems and Goals

Note: if you are building an electric board from scratch, you can skip this step. Problems and goals: The Altered longboard presented an interesting challenge. On one hand, it sorta kinda worked. It ran, accelerated reasonably fast, and had a reasonably fast top speed. You could get from point A to point B. On the other hand, it had some major flaws: 1. Turning radius. The minimum turning radius was measured to be about 10 feet. This is simply unacceptable for a longboard. It wasnt error on our part either. When the turning radius was measured, we were leaning so far out that the motor contacted the deck and the outside wheels started coming off the ground; it really was the most the board could be turned. But why is 10 feet too large for a turning radius? If you were riding on a sidewalk and needed to go around a corner, 10 feet would put you in the street. This means that you had to stop, pick up the board, turn it, and then keep going in order to make turns. Now thats a pain, but it was compounded by the 2nd major flaw: the weight. 2. Weight. The board weighed approximately 48 pounds stock. That is ridiculous. The lead acid batteries were the major contributor. The next was the 10 pound motor. The weight made it hard to pick up and carry (say at stairs or when turning). 3. One wheel drive. Only one wheel (rear left) was powered. This meant that whenever you turned right, the drive wheel would lose downward force, thus losing traction. It would often come off the ground completely, and you would just stop moving. 4. Flexibility. The giant plastic battery box underneath the deck really hurt board flex. This made for a very bumpy, uncomfortable ride. Goals: 1. Decrease turning radius by at least half (5ft). 2. Decrease weight to something more carry-able. 3. Make it 2 wheel drive. 4. Increase board flex.

4. Increase board flex and shock absorption.

Step 3: Turning
The first step was to understand why the turning radius was so bad. Part of the problem was that giant motor attached to the rear truck; its can would contact the deck, limiting how far the rear truck could turn. Trying to relocate the big motor was pointless, since the one large motor was going to be replaced with two smaller ones anyways. However, this wasnt the major problem. Exkate/Altered (same company fyi) trucks are custom- they have a unique footprint and use torsion bushings instead of compression bushings. They try to make their new type of truck sound awesome on their website, but the fact is they dont work as well as regular compression trucks. The front truck on our board would only turn so far before stopping. So we took it apart and found that it was stopping due to an irreparable metal design feature (its complicated, and the only way to fully explain it is in person with one taken apart). The rubber torsion bushing is held in place by three metal pins and showed some serious strain at those points. In summary, we didnt think it was a very good design, and our opinion is backed up by the poor performance of the board with respect to turning. So we replaced the trucks. Regular longboard trucks werent long enough for the giant wheels (even 180mm trucks). More specifically, the length of the axle wasnt long enough for the super wide wheels. Mountainboard trucks are designed to accept very wide pneumatic wheels, so we went with those. We chose to use the bushing-style trucks to save money, but shock absorber mountain board trucks would probably be fine. The MBS trucks came with small metal brackets (used to mount brakes) on both sides. The drive gears on the wheels would interfere with these brackets, so both brackets were cut/ground/sanded off of one of the trucks (making it the rear truck). The front truck was unmodified. Oh, and it turned out that the axle diameters were so similar that new bearings didn't need to be purchased (it was 9.5mm for the new ones vs. 3/8"). We found that using an extra hard bushing in the back and a hard one in the front gave the best ride, but its of course up to the riders taste. These trucks cut the turning radius from 10ft down to our goal of 5ft!

Image Notes 1. Extra wide wheels 2. Rubber torsion bushing 3. Non-standard bolt pattern.

Image Notes 1. Way over-built = heavy

Image Notes 1. The metal stop thing that prevented the trucks from turning far enough. 2. Metal pins that held the bushing in place.

Image Notes 1. The rear truck with motor attached. 2. Giant 10lb motor 3. Extra long axles 4. Timing belt drive

Image Notes 1. MBS mountainboard truck 2. Standard bolt pattern 3. Compression bushing 4. Brake brackets 5. Extra long axles 6. Riser

Image Notes 1. Bracket partially cut off

Step 4: Losing Weight

48 pounds is heavy. Our main strategy here was to replace the 20 pounds of stock lead acid batteries with lighter lithium polymer batteries, while maintaining or improving speed, acceleration, and range characteristics. The original batteries were three 12V lead acid batteries wired in series. We chose to use nine 11.1V, 2200mAh LiPo packs for various reasons. 9 was a nice number for wiring 3 sets of 3 packs in series and then wiring those sets in parallel. This gave us a total of approximately 36V (37.8V at full charge and 27V dead) and 6600mAh. We didnt want to go too far over 36V because the Exkate speed controller was designed for 36V, and we didnt want to increase capacity much because the stock range was fine and increased capacitance meant unnecessary battery weight and expense. LiPos were chosen for their high energy density and (now) relatively low expense thanks to Chinese exporters like HobbyKing. It also turned out that 9 would fit under the deck nicely. We could have gone with six or even three higher capacity packs, but having larger packs would have decreased board flex (larger, stiff battery boxes) and modularity. Modularity was important. Lipos are infamous for their violent explosions when handled improperly or punctured. Individual, waterproof, hard-plastic boxes(actually electronic project boxes-these come in almost any size fyi) were used so that if one pack failed, it wouldnt take out the other packs with it. The one issue with the boxes was that if a pack failed violently, the tight enclosure would pressurize and go off like a bomb. This necessitated the intentional weakening of a side of the boxes (aka. taking a dremel to a side and grinding down a thin spot) for a controlled blow-out point. The batteries were also wired such that if one failed, it wouldn't cause any others to short across it. Battery connectors were not used between packs; they were all hard wired together. However, not every pack was directly connected to every other. Wiring 3 packs in a series set, and then wiring those sets in parallel at the end meant that if one of the batteries shorted, the series set would just cut out. See circuit picture below. If the packs were wired in parallel sets (and those sets wired later in series), and a pack shorted, the rest of the parallel set would short across it and likely blow up, too. The packs were then wired in parallel sets. Yes, I just contradicted myself, but let me explain. The charging/balancing taps between corresponding packs in the series sets were wired in parallel (3S3P) to allow for easier charging. This way, there were only 3 balancing taps instead of 9. The main power leads were not wired in parallel between sets (they were wired in parallel at the end). However, we didnt want large amounts of current flowing in the small gauge tap wires (which would happen in the case of, for example, a shorted pack). Thus, small 1.2A PTC fuses were placed inline with the tap wires between the packs. PTC fuses act like little circuit breakers, and were small enough for our application. See picture for how the taps were physically wired. Theres one more problem that needs addressing. If three chargers are used in tandem, and the chargers are relatively cheap (like the ones listed in the parts list), then you will need three separate power supplies for them all, even if the power supply can handle the wattage. The problem with using a single power supply isnt related to power or the supply at all, but to the charging circuitry. Refer to the third battery diagram. Cheap chargers likely have the negative balancing tap lead output (the black one) connected directly to the ground (black/negative) input. This means that if all the chargers are wired in parallel to a single power supply, all of the chargers will be at the same potential and not allowed to float up to the higher voltages, e.g. 33.3V and 22.2V, necessary for charging the upper parallel stacks. If a separate power supply is used for every charger, the chargers will be able to float up to the necessary voltages. When in doubt, use separate power supplies for chargers. Alternatively, you could wire your batteries with connectors at all the series connections and disconnect them for charging. It turns out that we also saved weight by changing motors. Each of the smaller CIM motors we used weighs about 3 pounds. By using two of them instead of the one larger 10lb motor, we saved about 4 pounds. Switching trucks also saved us a few pounds. This battery scheme, or some variation, would work great for anyone building their own electric longboard from scratch.

Image Notes 1. Lead Acid Batteries

Image Notes 1. Fuses 2. 1 of 3 balancing taps. Wiring the packs like this got rid of 6 balancing taps and allowed us to charge 3 packs at a time.

Image Notes 1. 3 packs in series 2. Wired in parallel at the ends

Image Notes 1. These smaller wires represent the parallel balancing tap connections between packs. There wasn't enough space to draw all four and the fuses. 2. Trace the black wires. One goes to 22.2, another to 11.1, and another to 0V. This is bad. Three separate power supplies are needed. 3. Cheap chargers connect the ground input to ground output. More expensive chargers may have more sophisticated circuitry that alleviates this problem. 4. Thin wires represent balancing tap leads. Not enough room to draw all four wires.

Image Notes 1. The battery boxes were bolted to the deck with small machine screws.

Image Notes 1. One of three balancing/charging taps. 2. Fuses are here (covered by electrical tape). 3. The four tap leads. Each pack has 4 tap wires. They hook directly to each individual cell inside the packs. 4. power leads

Image Notes 1. having lots of batteries, and thus, lots of gaps, allowed for lots of board flex

Image Notes 1. Controlled blow-out point. The side packs have blow-out points on the sides facing out. 2. Blue RTV Silicon for waterproofing 3. These three are wired in parallel via the balancing taps and fuses. 4. These three are wired in series via the power leads 5. The three sets of series packs are finally wired in parallel here (hidden under the white tap). 6. One of the electronic project boxes with a LiPo in it.

Image Notes 1. rubber spacers were used to cut down on pack vibration

Step 5: CIM Motor Drive Part1

The first step is figuring out how/where you are going to mount the motor. After figuring that out, you can cut (band saw) the aluminum plate into the proper bracket shape. For example, we were mounting the motor parallel to the truck, so our mounting brackets were shaped as in the pictures below. There is a small raised ring near the shaft of the motor that is approximately 1/8 high and 1 in diameter (see: ) . A large (~1) hole has to be drilled in the bracket to allow it to sit flush against the motor face. The next step is to drill the two clearance holes for 10-32 screws that will secure the bracket to the face of the motor. Then countersink the holes so that 10-32 flat head screws may sit flush with the face of the plate. The next step is securing the planetary. The great thing about this particular planetary is that it is built for a 5/16, which happens to be the shaft size of the motor. All that you have to do is grind/file a flat spot on the shaft so that it can fit in the D-slot planetary hole. The next step is actually securing the planetary to the motor/bracket assembly. This is done by carefully transferring the 8 hole locations of the outer ring of the planetary to the bracket. Then those holes need to be drilled and tapped for #8-32s. The outer ring of the planetary cannot be drilled out or threaded due to the very brittle steel used in its construction (it WILL crack if this is attempted). The #8 screws will be a pretty loose fit, but this is ok and actually good because it is VERY hard to get the 8 hole locations exact with a drill press (if you have access to a mill, that might make it better); having the loose fit builds in error protection. The next step is to locate the four shallow holes on one side of the planetarys inner disk (see pics). Drill out and tap (using a *bottoming* 10-32 tap) these holes; make sure you dont drill the holes any deeper because you run the risk of drilling into the planetary gears. These holes will be the ones holding the timing belt gear. The best method we found for transferring these hole locations to the gear was cutting the heads off of some 10-32 screws, grinding them down to points, screwing them into the tapped planetary holes with the points facing out, and simply pressing the gear onto these points. Doing this would leave marks for clearance hole locations in the gear. If the gear you are using has support struts, then you will likely need to cut out (probably with a dremel) some of them. The next step is to modify the gear (this step can be done before the others). The hub of the gear needs to accept a bearing that has a 5/16 ID. The OD will be dependent on your gear. For example, if you are using a small-ish gear, you might need a smaller bearing. The whole point of having the bearing is to transfer forces (from the belt) from the gear to the shaft of the motor. The gear cannot be directly attached to the motor shaft because the shaft will be spinning at a different rpm than the gear (because the gear is attached to the planetary). Thus, a bearing is needed. I tried to draw a cut-away of the assembly showing the force transfer (see pics). Anyways, the best way to do this is on a lathe because bearings require very precise mounting surfaces. I first bored out the hole in the gear to a clearance diameter of 3/8 so that the motor shaft wouldnt contact the gear hub. You can see in one of the pics that the gears we used had a hub that extend past the front and rear planes of the gear. I cut this extension off. Then using a boring bar, a recess was cut in the hub to accept a raised portion of the planetary, allowing the gear to sit flush against the inner disk of the planetary. Then, again using the boring bar, the bearing surface was cut into the hub. I didnt put the recess and the bearing surface right next to each other; afterwards, I wish I had- see the pics for why, but basically, the motor shaft wasnt long enough to reach the bearing, so we had to flip the gear over, meaning that it was no longer flush with the planetarys inner disk. After machining the bearing surface, the whole thing can be assembled. First, screw the bracket to the motor. Next, slide the planetary on, making sure that the holes for mounting the gear face out. Youll need to find at least 3 out of 8 good holes to bolt the planetary onto the bracket with. Good here is defined as putting the least amount of stress on the planetary and making the planetary as concentric with the motor shaft as possible. If the planetary is off-center, the gears will grind and make a lot of noise. The inner disk/motor shaft should be somewhat easy to spin by hand. If it is not, or if it locks up, then youll probably need to find another set of holes. There is no good method for doing thisjust try lots of combinations until one seems to work best. The planetary will likely need to be spaced out from the bracket slightly to prevent rubbing. We found that #8 nuts with the threads drilled out and small washers worked best for spacers between the planetary and bracket. Another thing that helped was not tightening the screws down all the way; this lets the planetary find the spot it likes. Next, slide the gear on and screw it to the planetary. Now undo all the screws one by one, put Loctite on them, and screw them back in. Loctite will keep them from vibrating off. Finally, mount this assembly on your robot/longboard/invention/etc, put on the timing belt, and your good to go! Mounting the planetary in this fashion gives a 1:4.5 gear reduction (not including your timing belt gear ratio, of course). If you mount the planetary in a different way, I believe you can also achieve a 1:4 reduction. You can get some pretty serious final gear ratios if you use the right timing belt gears. Another great thing about this drive is that multiple planetaries can be stacked to achieve multi-stage gear reduction for a lot of torque. For example, instead of attaching a gear to the 4 inner disk holes, you could attach an aluminum disk that would also bolt to the 8 outer holes of another planetary. Then the timing gear would be attached to this second planetary. One flaw with this method is that you have to use a relatively large timing belt gear (for the gear attached to the planetary) because the 4 mounting holes are pretty far out. Another flaw is that getting the 8 holes in the bracket drilled precisely enough is very very hard; that being said, we did it twice without having to re-do anything.

Image Notes 1. CIM motors

Image Notes 1. The planetary 2. 5/16" D-slot 3. 8 outer ring holes that get bolted to the bracket

Image Notes 1. Our bracket 2. large hole for clearing the raised ring on motor so that this bracket can sit flush against the motor surface 3. 8 tapped #8-32 holes for securing planetary 4. two clearance holes for the screws holding this plate to the motor. These holes still needed to be countersunk at this point. 5. Threading #8-32

Image Notes 1. the hub extension that extended past the plane of the gear. I cut this off with a lathe

Image Notes 1. cutting the bearing surface. I should have put the bearing surface on the other side with the relief cut for the raised ring on the planetary 2. 3/8" clearance hole 3. Gear clamped in lathe chuck 4. boring bar

Image Notes 1. The four holes that needed to be tapped 10-32 in the planetaries. 2. pointy for transferring screw locations to gear 3. The raised ring on the planetary that required a relief cut in the gear.

Image Notes 1. bearings. again, I should have put them in the other side 2. holes not drilled yet for screwing to planetary. parts of these supports had to be removed for the screw heads. 3. 5M pitch timing belt gears.

Image Notes 1. First step. Screw bracket to motor. Note that no screw head is protruding. This is due to the countersink. 2. you can sorta see the ground down section for the D-slot on the other side of the shaft 3. Bracket sits flush against motor face thanks to this hole.

Image Notes 1. The four tapped holes for screwing on the gear. 2. #8-32 screws go in here. 3. spacers go between here

Image Notes 1. No shaft...oops. The shaft is too short, so we had to flip the gear around so that the bearing would contact the shaft. 2. Nice and flush.

Image Notes 1. The bearing contacts the shaft now, but this relief cut is now useless. 2. No longer nice and flush.

Image Notes 1. we painted them black 2. hole for truck 3. mounting bracket to hold motor bracket to truck 4. Countersunk

Image Notes 1. CIM motor 2. The compact gear reduction drive 3. Aluminum lip-lick extension that keeps the belt from contacting the deck during turns.

Image Notes 1. Trying to find the right combination of holes 2. drilled out nuts for spacers 3. We didn't tightening the screws down all the way; this lets the planetary find the spot it likes.

Image Notes 1. no bearing 2. forces are transferred to the planetary, which is bad

Image Notes 1. with bearing 2. force transferred to shaft

Step 6: CIM Motor Drive Part2 - Application to the longboard

The CIM motor drive was originally developed to be compact enough to fit under a longboard deck. We decided that only one bracket was sufficient to hold the motor in position. We could have fixed other side of motor, too, but theyre so light that aluminum on one side was fine. The CIM motor spins at a much higher rpm/V than the stock motor. In order to keep stock torque and top speed characteristics, we needed to gear them down- thus the need for the planetary gearboxes. The CIM motors @ 18V + the planetary + 1:1 timing belt gear ratio ~= stock motor @36V + 19:44 timing belt gear ratio in terms of rpm and torque. Note: we know that CIM motors are meant to be run on 12V and that we are running them at 18V (2 motors in series on a 36V circuit = 18V per motor). This is fine; they handle the higher voltage and rpm without any issues. The Exkate drive wheels have a 44T gear permanently attached to them. We did the gear ratio calculations and it turned out that a 1:1 timing belt gear ratio was fine, so we bought 44T gears to attach to the planetaries. If you use a smaller gear, youll get more torque (and thus acceleration), but I can tell you from experience that there is PLENTY of torque. A larger gear will give you a higher top speed (but less acceleration). But why did we go with 2 motors instead of 1 bigger motor with a solid rear axle or differential? (You can buy differentials for tricycle-style bicycles that are small enough to fit.) One reason is that both would require a complete chop-and-rebuild of the rear truck in order to get them to fit in the proper place; wed basically have to design our

own truck. But besides that, there are other problems with both. A solid rear axle would mean that both rear wheels would be spinning at the same rate. This is bad for turning. When a car turns, the outer wheels have to spin faster than the inner ones. If you have a solid axle on a longboard, the outer wheels have to slip in order to make the turn. This would seriously hurt the turning radius. A differential would alleviate this problem; however, in the case of longboards, it causes a different problem. A longboard is turned by leaning in the direction you with to go, causing more force to be on the inner wheels than the outer wheels. This means that the outer wheels have less traction. With a differential, the side with less resisting force (traction) gets more torque and vice versa. This means that, in very sharp turns where the outer wheel comes off the ground, the outer wheel will get all of the power and the inner wheel will stop spinning. This is the same problem we had with 1 wheel drive, but now on either side of the board! In summary, a solid rear axle or differential were not good ideas. So we used two motors. However, one thing we didnt foresee until it was too late was that we had created an electronic differential by wiring the motors in series. If one motor has less load than another, it will steal power from the other motor. Ideally, the two motors should be wired in parallel. However, that cant be done with CIM motors because, while 18V is fine, 36V would probably cause them to explode. The second best possible solution is to find two relatively low rpm/V (so that you dont need the planetaries), light weight, compact, 36V motors and wire them in parallelI couldnt find any such commercial motors. The best possible solution would be to completely overhaul the power system by using two motor controllers (one for each motor), finding motors that match our needs exactly (and don't need the planetaries), and creating a new radio scheme (because the radio receiver is integrated into the current electronics module). Note: when I say motor, I mean brushed motor. We decided to go with brushed motors over brushless because of their simplicity, being cheap, and ability to wire them in series or parallel. Brushless motors are more efficient and more powerful, so if anyone wants to undertake a brushless version of this project, that would be cool! (Im building one with in-wheel brushless hub motors, check it out here: / ) . The last thing to mention is how we mounted the brackets to the trucks. A hole was drilled in the bracket plate large enough to fit the truck through. Two small two piece clamps were machined out of 2 aluminum round stock. First, we cut 1/2 inch pieces of the 2 round. Then those had a big hole drilled in the center smaller than the diameter of the trucks at the point we were going to clamp it (if these holes end up being too small, filing can fix them). Then they were notched (see pic) and holes drilled (for a #10-32 tap) perpendicular to those notches. Two clearance holes for 10-32 were drilled through the face of each (to be used to screw the bracket to). Then they were cut in half (see pics). Then the bottom sections were threaded for 10-32 and the top sections were drilled out for clearance. The end result was two, 2-piece clamps that would fit snugly onto the trucks when screwed together. After fixing them to the trucks, the two face hole locations were transferred to the brackets and drilled and tapped for 10-32. Then everything was shimmed (to get the motors straight because I can almost guarantee that the clamps wont sit perfectly straight on the trucks) and bolted (with loctite!) together. Note: a better way to do this than clamps would be to weld the 2 round disks onto the truck.

Image Notes 1. figuring out where exactly the brackets should go along the truck

Image Notes 1. The custom 2-piece clamps. 2. clamping screws 3. two clearance holes for 10-32 drilled through the face 4. notches 5. cut in half 6. drilled hole 7. filed hole 8. After these were clamped onto the trucks, these hole locations were transferred to the brackets that were then drilled and tapped.

Image Notes 1. shims went between here 2. shim 3. bolted on 4. We calculated the exact distance the two gears needed to be apart before making the brackets so that the belts would be under proper tension. Image Notes 1. CIM motor 2. The compact gear reduction drive

3. Aluminum lip-lick extension that keeps the belt from contacting the deck during turns.

Image Notes 1. New, standard truck bolt holes carefully drilled

Image Notes 1. Motor positioned far enough below deck to not interfere with turning. 2. 1/2" ground clearance

Image Notes 1. Electronic Differential

Step 7: Flexibility and Shock Absorption

The deck is one of the two things Exkate really got right (the other is the electronics module). It is a VERY nice deck. Each of the 9 layers that make up the plywood deck was stained prior to assembly. It also flexes like a dream when it doesnt have a giant battery box screwed to it. Having individual battery boxes really helped flex, and thus, shock absorption. The other thing that helped shock absorption was a 1/2 of soft rubber risers between the trucks and the deck.

Image Notes 1. MBS mountainboard truck 2. Standard bolt pattern 3. Compression bushing 4. Brake brackets 5. Extra long axles 6. Riser

Step 8: Miscellaneous Notes

The low voltage detectors (LVD) plug into the taps and monitor cell voltage. If any cell drops below 3V (the lower threshold for LiPos), then the LED turns red and an annoying alarm sounds. A neat trick: You can put them in balloons and fill the neck of the balloons with hot glue to waterproof them. Hot glue can also be used to hold wires in place. While the longboard we built is technically water proof, I wouldnt run it through anything more than a light drizzle. Adding LEDs: Three waterproof, 12VDC LED light strips were purchased for the board: two 16 red strips, and one 8 white strip. These were wired together in series (with a switch inline so that they could be turned on and off) directly to the speed controller input power leads. They are held in place with hot glue. Note: the batteries were not hardwired to the controller. A deans connector is used to connect and disconnect the batteries from the controller.

Image Notes 1. LED strip

Step 9: Cost and Feasibility

The following are estimates: Electronics module: $170 Batteries: $150 CIM motors: $60 Deck: $150 Wheels: $55 Trucks: $65 Chargers/power supplies: $45 Other parts (wire, aluminum, hardware, gears, etc): $100 Total: ~$795 (not bad and totally worth it) Proline 600: $600 The extra $200 makes all the difference. It turns something barely rideable into something amazing to ride.

The Altered board we altered was donated by a private party (thanks Stephen!) to the Edgerton Center.

Step 10: Performance and Pictures

It is truly an amazing machine. It accelerates smooth, has ridiculous amounts of power, and is fast (I'd say around 15mph top speed). It also has a turning radius of about 5ft, which isn't bad for long boards. It weighs a little over 30 pounds, which is significantly better than 50, but still rather heavy to lug around. One flaw with it is that it only has 1/2 of ground clearance, which is fine for sidewalk bumps, but bad for large cracks, pot holes, etc. Its also somewhat noisy due to the planetary gear chatter. There is extra, lip-like aluminum on the bracket extending above the planetary (see pic). During turning, that hits the deck before the belt does, sparing the belt from damage. On your deck, make sure the belt doesnt contact the deck. If it does, you can try cut outs or more aluminum. Now enjoy some pictures of the longboard that has been affectionately codenamed eXKate.C.D. For more, including links to videos, check out:

Image Notes 1. CIM motor 2. The compact gear reduction drive

3. Aluminum lip-lick extension that keeps the belt from contacting the deck during turns.

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50 comments Add Comment view all 55 comments

nuttyjr says:
Friggin great example of what first robotics kids do after 6 weeks off builld lol

Mar 28, 2011. 7:43 PM REPLY

cschultz-1 says:

Mar 6, 2011. 9:22 PM REPLY What i don't understand, is that your battery system is set up for 36V, but your motors are clearly 12V, and trust me they will burn if you run them at 36??

all1by says:
They are wired in series (36/2=18V), and they can handle 18V without issue.

Mar 7, 2011. 6:38 PM REPLY

motleypixel says:

Dec 30, 2010. 10:01 AM REPLY Okay this is cool...I have all the tools including a mini metal lathe etc. I want to build from scratch (ground up) and your instructable isn't 100% detailed. For instance, could you please update some line items like #2 "Two CIM motors", where, how much, part numbers, etc.? What are the part numbers for every "major" component like in #6 the belt gears, you just give the main site and they have a ton of gears? Thanks!

all1by says:

Jan 1, 2011. 5:04 PM REPLY The CIM motors are the classic FIRST robotics motors. I put links in various places in the instructable to their specs. As for a place to buy them, I just googled "first cim motor". Many places sell them. Ex: The timing belt gear ratio you use is somewhat dependent on the motor controller(s) you use. If you use the Exkate one like us, then you could try the gear ratio we used. Step 6 mentions the gears we used (44T). , and look under "timing belt pulleys". Anything else? Hope that helped.

all1by says:
Some updates:

Oct 3, 2010. 7:34 AM REPLY

1. Make sure you make the bracket-claps better than we did. They should match the profile of the trucks. If they don't, they are prone to slipping. Also, I'd suggest using bigger and coarser thread screws for the clamp. Or just braze or weld it. 2. Make sure you use a good bottoming tap with the drive gear - planetary interface because you'll need as much thread engagement as possible to prevent the motor's torque from ripping the screws out. If worst comes to worse, JB Weld the screws in.

paperclip32 says:

Aug 31, 2010. 2:57 AM REPLY Great instructable,but I somewhat disagree with the premise of making an electric longboard.I think longboarding is about the experience,about pushing yourself(literally) to go that extra mile.An electric longboard just takes out the fun of riding a longboard,because you're pretty much capped at the speed of the motor,and pushing isn't an option because of the weight. But that's just my opinion.

denotsKO says:

Sep 2, 2010. 10:14 PM REPLY It is ideal for a person like me who has limited control of my left side due to nerve damage. I felt like a schmuck when I could no longer skate, but an electric drive board put me back on the streets.

paperclip32 says:
Woah.What happened?Are you better now?

Sep 12, 2010. 12:31 PM REPLY

all1by says:

Aug 31, 2010. 6:21 AM REPLY Have you ever ridden an electric longboard? It's a lot of fun, and I believe it is actually a progression towards the original goal of longboarding: surfing on land. And this board is even more so. But that is just my opinion. As for the speed (if 15mph, 20mph with gear changes, isn't fast enough), the speed of the motor is not the limit- the motor itself is. You are by no means limited to CIM motors. There are hundreds of more powerful (in terms of rpm and torque) motors out there, including much more efficient and powerful brushless motors....the brushed CIM motors are just the tip of the iceberg. With a few hundred dollars in upgrades, I know I could change its topseed to well over 30. However, you are correct about pushing; while it is possible to push this board, it really isn't pleasant.

paperclip32 says:

Sep 1, 2010. 7:38 AM REPLY I know a shop by the beach that rents them.Will try them out sometime! As for surfing on land,I'll have to agree with you.That's where the sport started,am i right?

all1by says:
Yep. Just a warning, the boards they rent might not turn well (if the stock exkate we used was any indication).

Sep 1, 2010. 4:59 PM REPLY

paperclip32 says:

Sep 3, 2010. 2:30 AM REPLY I tried it out today,you were right about it not turning well. It was pretty cool,but the longboard I rented was topped at 5mph since it was a beachside park with tons of people. Sep 8, 2010. 1:20 PM REPLY

ArNe_ says:
(No REPLY button??) No sensorless. Making your own sensored speed controller won't be eazy and will take mutch more time. + a more expensive motor :) I don't think it need to be sensored with that power (can be wrong,, ...will see... ) :)

I measure the current of the motor to adjust the controll signal,, its not really the same as sensored control but better than nothing :) You need more speed but I need more torque :) For more speed you need better motors. If you use more motors you will have more torque but still the same speed. (II think you already know that) :) No problem :) I have the same controller as him to drive my revo ( Massive brushless power!!!! :D Top speed 65mph! :p

all1by says:
I'm not sure why the reply button disappeared.

Sep 9, 2010. 1:22 AM REPLY

I'm running sensored brushless on mine (not the board in this instructable). Like you said, it takes more time and more expensive motors. The reasons for using sensored control are: a. the motors are current (and therefore torque) controlled, allowing for precise acceleration control. b. no cogging because the sensors know what state the motor is in. With sensorless, you might find that you have to kick start the board. As for measuring motor current, I don't see how that could help you control the board if you're using sensorless control. Sensorless control is always voltage control, which means control via RPM and not torque. Another way of putting it is that if you slam on the throttle with a voltage controlled system, it will apply infinite (well, as much as the batteries or motor controller can handle) current until that throttle command (RPM) is reached. There is no direct control of current, so you don't have any direct control over acceleration (indirectly, you do control acceleration by slowly applying throttle so you don't burn out). Sensor vs. sensorless brushless control is a subject I strongly suggest reading up on if it interests you. I feel "better" is the wrong word, especially because I custom engineered (design and fabrication) them. For more speed, I'd need a motor with one or more of the following: less turns, shorter, weaker magnets, larger diameter tires. However, I felt around 25mph was plenty, so I designed for that. It is true that if I use more motors, and don't divide the current among the motors, then I will have more torque. Nice. I used to have a brushless Revo, too. It was an old Gorillamaxx conversion with a Neo 8XL and BK-electronics controller: 1800W. It could hit about 55mph. I sold it because I got sick of replacing twisted Ti driveshafts and shreaded hardened steel diff gears, haha.

ArNe_ says:
I use pwm control so the motor has always the same voltage,, and the same torque Much better than voltage control. Do you have pictures or videos of your other boards? :) I'm really interested :) I have steed drive shafts on it now :) I don't have much time for it now... But I see it on the bright side,, no more broken parts :p

Sep 9, 2010. 10:46 AM REPLY

all1by says:

Sep 9, 2010. 11:19 AM REPLY Yeah. There's a link to my blog in the instructable (and from there you can link to other blogs that are amazing sources of knowledge).

ArNe_ says:
If you take a total of 9S lipo battery's you have 33.3V and not 36V

Sep 2, 2010. 12:53 PM REPLY

all1by says:

Sep 2, 2010. 6:01 PM REPLY You didn't read everything. At full charge, a lipo cell is at 4.2V. At full discharge, it's at about 3V per cell (depending on your LVD or motor controller). Therefore, at max charge, 9S is 4.2*9 = 37.8V. At full discharge, 9S is 3*9 = 27V. Please actually read up on batteries before commenting.

ArNe_ says:

Sep 3, 2010. 9:03 AM REPLY The original batteries are 13,8V when totally charged. 13,8*3 = 41,4V. When using 10S lipo,, at max charge you have 4,2*10= 42V So you do have a little more power and still 30V when full discharged. I use 6 5SLipo's,, 18,5V 5200mah so you have with 10S3P ~37V and 15,8A (for larger runtimes) Its only a suggestion. Its a nice instructable. Do you have a video of it when driving?

all1by says:

Sep 3, 2010. 1:19 PM REPLY We didn't go with 10S because we were worried about over-volting the electronics module and frying it...but that's a good point about the lead acids. Still, we erred on the side of caution, and there is no noticeable speed loss, probably due to the CIM motors. That's a lot of battery. 6.6Ah is plenty for this boards purposes (getting around campus). The other board I'm building will have a 12S setup with either 10Ah or 15Ah. For vids, see the link in step 10.

ArNe_ says:
I'm using 1 big 1KW motor. (35A) So I need the 15Ah :) nice vids You already now the top speed? :)

Sep 4, 2010. 12:55 AM REPLY

all1by says:

Sep 4, 2010. 8:30 PM REPLY Dang, what's you're top speed and acceleration like? Our top speed is around 15mph. The other one I'm building will be using four 500W hub motors and it should have a top speed of just under 30.

ArNe_ says:
Its not finished jet :) I'm building my own speed controller for it. And I also use a mountainboard wit air tires Top speed will be (at least) 40 Km/h (25 mph) If you go faster it becomes a little dangerous... But it's possible :p I'll post a video when finished and tested :) 4 500W motors? I think you can reach the 40 mph with that :p See this link: The board with 4 motors is so awesome!! :p

Sep 8, 2010. 5:09 AM REPLY

all1by says:
Are you using sensored control?

Sep 8, 2010. 10:53 AM REPLY

For my board, I calculated the top speed to be just under 30mph. My wheels are 4" in diameter compared to the 8" for air tires, so for a given power rating, my top speed will be lower (however, my acceleration can be quicker). THAT IS AWESOME! Haha, wow. Thanks for sharing the link! He's using sensor-less control, so he gets cogging at start up. I like his design though. Very simple and relatively easy to implement. My hub motor design takes a lot of machining and wouldn't be able to handle the kind of shock loads a mountainboard experiences.

all1by says:

Sep 9, 2010. 1:25 AM REPLY Oh, and after reading more of the thread, it turns out he switched to sensored control (by just adding sensors to sensorless motors...very easy to do) and his performance improved greatly.

Rimwulf says:

Sep 5, 2010. 8:37 PM REPLY I bought one from Exkate when they were still small, and I found out how expensive they were. See I bought it from my local Spencers for about $39 because it was their last one in stock and had it for years. So it got cheaper but the battery was existed from sitting so long unused. Then I made the mistake of returning it it was only after I found how much it was worth. The only thing I didn't (don't) like about it (them) is that it uses a radio transmitter, I'd prefer wired because there is no chance of someone being on the same frequency. But one question: Doesn't the belt and reduction wheel look a little to close to the ground for turning?

all1by says:

Sep 6, 2010. 6:38 PM REPLY The new ones use digital link up, which means it's physically impossible for someone to be on the same's very reassuring to know the board won't randomly fly out from under me. Nope. They don't interfere with the ground when turning. The motor bracket will scrape sometimes because of the 1/2" ground clearance, but it protects the gear and belt.

unbattlebots says:
lols they are frc cim motors, but hey you can buy them online anyway and with pre mounted planetary gaer reductions too

Sep 3, 2010. 10:23 AM REPLY

all1by says:
Yes, I know you can, I never denied that. But this one is the most compact design I've seen.

Sep 3, 2010. 1:08 PM REPLY

unbattlebots says:
im sorry if i came off in that manner, i was meerly stating something

Sep 5, 2010. 7:51 PM REPLY

rasta_mon_ya_know says:
thats rad mannn smoke a duby on dat sunbitch i like it alot

Sep 3, 2010. 10:47 PM REPLY

huston says:
With all the materials, what the cost of this project?

Sep 2, 2010. 6:07 PM REPLY

all1by says:
See step 9

Sep 2, 2010. 7:12 PM REPLY

kyle brinkerhoff says:

dude you totally ganked them from an frc kit.....

Sep 1, 2010. 4:13 PM REPLY

all1by says:
Which one?

Sep 1, 2010. 5:01 PM REPLY

kyle brinkerhoff says:

probably the 2010,2009,or 2008 KOP

Sep 2, 2010. 4:51 PM REPLY

all1by says:

Sep 2, 2010. 6:10 PM REPLY I've never seen it before. Can you send me links to pics? Regardless, no one has posted an instructable on a similar drive that I can find.

menahunie says:

Sep 2, 2010. 2:47 PM REPLY I can not wait for the high speed face plant you will do with this board. NO GROUND CLEARANCE. The minute you hit an unlevel surface the motor; pulley; battery will snag on the ground and "face plant"... The motor should have been mounted in the kicker area - more ground clearance. Battery made using 18650 li-ion batteries; longer and thinner; more ground clearance. I have a plug on the rear for a speed controller; trigger type to squeeze on how fast I want to go.. I machined a custom rear truck with a solid axle that DRIVES BOTH WHEELS..TOTAL WEIGHT ADDED TO THE BOARD ABOUT TEN POUNDS.

all1by says:

Sep 2, 2010. 6:09 PM REPLY No high speed face plants yet. There's 1/2" of ground clearance, which is fine for cracks in sidewalks, minor inclines, and minor pavement holes/cracks. Bigger stuff is easily avoided. The only thing that contacts the ground is the motor bracket, everything else is protected. The motors were mounted as high as possible without interfering with the deck during turns. We could have mounted them above the deck (the "kicker area"), but then it wouldn't have been very sleek looking. So you used 18650 li-ions? Cool. Our batteries are not the ground clearance limiters in our case, so we went with the more energy dense (aka, lighter) Lipos. If you're using a solid axle, do you experience turning issues (such as slip, poor turning radius, etc)? It's cool you machined your own truck. You should post an instructable about your design.

gripracer says:
Why not use a limited slip differential? Was a second motor cheaper to implement?

Sep 2, 2010. 10:36 AM REPLY

all1by says:

Sep 2, 2010. 12:16 PM REPLY Because any sort of differential/axle/driveshaft addition or modification would have required a complete rebuild of the rear truck assembly, which would have meant basically designing our own trucks and machining them. We only had 3 weeks (5 days a week and 4 hours a day) to design and build (and mess up and re-design) everything, so we went with two motors. These motors are only $28 each, so dual motors probably IS cheaper to implement, but I'm not sure. I haven't checked prices on small diffs, nor looked at how much it would cost to build one for ourselves. It would be very cool if someone could incorporate a limited slip differential into their electric longboard.

geegn1 says:
this is the coolest f***ing thing i have ever seen. god bless MIT

Sep 2, 2010. 9:27 AM REPLY

1up says:

Aug 30, 2010. 11:00 AM REPLY I have been working on an electric mountain board for a while and have been trying to figure out an efficient way to mount the motor. This is a good idea, thank you!

all1by says:
You're welcome! I'd love to see pics of the mountain board when its done.

Aug 31, 2010. 6:23 AM REPLY

1up says:
Not a problem! In fact, I will most likely be making an Instructable of it.

Aug 31, 2010. 10:24 PM REPLY

killerjackalope says:

Aug 29, 2010. 4:29 PM REPLY Excellent Instructable, really great project, I've been wanting to pick up a cheap electric skateboard to work on as a pet project and this gives me a great base of ideas to start with. My one criticism would be that the project needs broken in to smaller steps for easier reading...

all1by says:
Yeah, I probably should have split step 5 up...

Aug 29, 2010. 7:01 PM REPLY

robomaniac says:
Nice insutructables, I like the way you use the 1:4.5 gear reduction with the CIM motors. Really compact.

Aug 29, 2010. 6:56 PM REPLY

TOCO says:
where did you get the strip of red leds?

Aug 29, 2010. 12:17 PM REPLY

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