Given the cost of a quality electric skateboard these days, it’s no surprise that more and more people are compiling electric skateboard kits and doing it for themselves. Indeed, who can argue with a cheap electric skateboard? Of course, you’ll have to get downright crafty if you want to make something that works and lasts like its premium counterparts. While we can’t come over and build something with you (or for you), we can definitely help you put together a trusty electric skateboard conversion kit. After that, it will be up to you and your mates to put the “Y” in DIY.
How to Build Your Own Electric Skateboard
Before we even get started, you might be asking yourself: what the heck is an electric skateboard kit? The answer is as simple as it sounds. Electric skateboard kits put all the essential parts for building an electric skateboard in one place. Specifically, we’re talking about the deck, wheels, trucks, electronics (batteries, motors, etc), drivetrain, and the enclosure. Tools will also come in handy. Duh.
If you’ve already bought all the essential parts, here’s a helpful video to get you from zero to electric skateboard in just 24 minutes:
Electric Skateboard Kit & Gear
You can’t build an electric skateboard without the following components:
Electric Skateboard Decks
As anyone who’s even heard of skateboarding is guaranteed to know, the deck is the flat board you stand on. When building your own electric skateboard for the first time, it’s recommended that you employ a longboard deck over something smaller, as you’ll get more balance and a better ride. Most skateboard decks are made of wood such as bamboo or maple, while others utilise a range of artificial materials. What’s important is that your deck is solid and slightly flexible. Also, you should go with a top-mounted deck (as opposed to a drop through) the first time around, allotting plenty of ground clearance.
Here are some quality decks for your consideration:
- SCSK8 40″ Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Deck with Stained Wheel Wells – Buy it here
- Moose Drop Through Deck – Buy it here
- TGM Skateboards Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Deck KICKTAIL Inlay Stripes 9.75 in x 36.5″ – Buy it here
Electric Skateboard Wheels
As with the deck, you have your options when it comes to the wheels. That said, you should go for wheels with large diameters and a medium amount of suppleness. For your first build, in particular, consider plastic longboard wheels, which will make things easier when you’re installing pulleys on the drivetrain.
Check out the following types of wheels:
- Orangatang Caguama 85 mm Longboard Wheels for Cruising, DIY Electric Skateboards, Eboards (Set of 4) – Buy it here
- Cal 7 83mm 78A Cruiser Skateboard Wheels, Longboard Flywheel – Buy it here
- MBS All-Terrain Longboard Wheels – Buy it here
Electric Skateboard Trucks
To state the obvious, trucks are what keep the wheels in place underneath the deck. At the center of the truck is a giant bolt known as the kingpin. Standard longboard decks usually employ reverse kingpin (RKP) trucks, in which the bushing and kingpin face outwards. On a regular skateboard, you’re more likely to find a traditional kingpin (TKP) truck. Since we’ve established that a longboard is preferable to a skateboard, you’ll want RKP trucks.
Here are some reputable longboard trucks:
- Caliber Trucks Cal II 44° RKP Longboard Trucks – Set of Two – Buy it here
- Paris V2 180mm 50° Longboard Skateboard Trucks (Set of 2) – Buy it here
Electric Skateboard Electronics
At the heart of your electric skateboard conversion kit are the electronics. It is called an electric skateboard, after all. The first question to ask yourself is whether you want to go with a single or dual motor set-up. Presuming this is your first time, our advice is to get one big motor with a relatively lower Kv (i.e. the constant velocity, which is measured in RPMs). Should you opt for a dual-motor set-up, prepare to spend much more.
The brain of the motor is called the ESC, also known as the motor controller. When putting together your first electric skateboard kit, you might be inclined to buy the cheapest ESC you can find. You certainly wouldn’t be the first to do it, and then you wouldn’t be the first to have that same ESC burn out in the blink of an eye. Our advice is to spend a few extra bucks and get a quality ESC, the type of which you’d find in a car. Look for the letters HV in the name, which indicate that the unit supports high amps.
On the battery front, you have choices to make. Most folks stick with powerful lithium-ion polymer batteries, which inject tons of power into a small and manageable package. On the other hand, this type of battery can explode or get destroyed if it’s not handled properly. If you want something more affordable and maybe even a tad more reliable, pick up regular lithium-ion batteries.
One other thing you’ll need is a transmitter and receiver, i.e. a remote control set-up. Thankfully, you can find a good one for about US$25.
Peruse the following list and proceed accordingly:
- MBoards 6355 180KV Motor – Buy it here
- MBoards 10s2p Complete Battery Solution – Buy it here
- MBoards 10s3p Complete Battery Solution – Buy it here
- Power Switch – On/Off Button – Buy it here
- Battery Percentage Indicator – Buy it here
- MBoards 6374 180KV Motor – Buy it here
- Single Belt Drive 5055 Motor Kit – Buy it here
- Dual Belt Drive 5055 Motor Kit – Buy it here
- Dual 70mm Hub Motor Kit – Buy it here
- XCSOURCE 2.4GHz Radio Transmitter Remote Controller + 4 Channel Splash Proof Receiver + Binding Plug for Electric Skateboard OS917 – Buy it here
- Remote Controller Nano – Buy it here
- Remote Controller Mini – Buy it here
- BLDC ESC 4.12 Based on VESC – Buy it here
- Turnigy 5000mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack – Buy it here
- Turnigy 5000mAh 5S 20C Lipo Pack – Buy it here
- Teenitor Fireproof Explosionproof Lipo Battery Safe Bag – Buy it here
- IMAX B6 Balance Charger W/ Power Supply – Buy it here
- SKYRC iMAX B6 Mini Professional Balance Charger / Discharger for RC Lipo Battery Charging – Buy it here
- 3 Pin Charger – Buy it here
- 3 Pin Charge Port – Buy it here
- 10s BMS – Battery Management System – Buy it here
Electric Skateboard Drivetrains
The drivetrain consists of four components, which collectively deliver power from the motor(s) to the wheels. To make a proper drivetrain, you will need the following: the motor pulley, the wheel pulley, the drive belt, and the motor mount. Bear in mind that ratios matter, meaning you need to consider the size of your motor(s) and wheels before assembling your drivetrain. You should also know the RPMs of your motor(s), as this will help you determine the Gearing Reduction Ratio and furthermore reach higher top speeds.
To avoid belt mishaps, you should mount the motor directly onto the truck. However, you might find that this makes it harder to adjust the tension on the belt. Consider making the motor mount in two parts, and applying extended bolt holes, allowing room for adjustments.
Use the following components for your DIY drivetrain:
- Premium Clamp Motor Mount – Buy it here
- Simple Abec Pulley System Kit – Buy it here
- Complete 36T Abec Pulley System – Buy it here
Electric Skateboard Enclosures
With all that trusty tech and hard-work sitting underneath your board, you’d be downright crazy to leave it exposed. That’s why no DIY electric skateboard kit is complete without an enclosure, which protects the batteries, cables, ESC, receiver and receiver pack. You want an enclosure that’s both sturdy and breathable, featuring materials like aluminium along with holes or grates.
- DIYE Electric Skateboard Battery & Electronics Customizable & Scratch-Proof Battery Enclosure – Buy it here
Electric Skateboard Tools and Accessories
You’ll need a fairly intensive slate of tools and accessories if you’re going to make this thing happen. We’ve got you covered with the following products:
- Black Diamond Longboard Skateboard Grip Tape Sheet – Buy it here
- Mob Super Coarse Longboard 11″X48″ Grip – Single Sheet – Buy it here
- Skateboard Hardware Set – 1″ – Buy it here
- 1/2″ Rubber Riser Pads – Buy it here
- Orangatang Nipples Longboard Skateboard Truck Bushings (Set of 4) – Buy it here
- Swiss Whites Bearings – Buy it here
- Bones Reds Skateboard Bearings 8 Pack – Buy it here
- Zeato All-In-One Skate Tools – Buy it here