How to Build a DIY Electric Skateboard! – [Part 1 Designing Your Electric Skateboard]

In this first Part 1 of “How to Build a DIY Electric Skateboard”, we will show you how to design your electric skateboard so you can plan out what kind of electric skateboard you want to build along.

First, you must think about what kind of electric skateboard you want to build.  Are you building a board for a mile commute or 10 mile commute?  Are you building a board for going on smooth asphalt or over unpaved roads/gravel.  Do you need a board that can go up steep hills in San Francisco?  Do you want a board that is easy to carry around?  How much do you want to spend on building an electric skateboard?

These are the questions you must ask yourself before building an electric skateboard because there’s literally hundreds of ways to build one.

Parts Involved in Building a DIY Electric Skateboard

You will need a deck, trucks, motor(s), motor mount(s), motor controllers(ESC/VESC), wheels, bearings, battery pack, battery enclosure/box.  In below sections, we go into detail what kind of things you will need to plan out.

Deck

You will obviously need a skateboard/longboard deck.  If you have an old skateboard in your garage, you can convert it into an electric skateboard.   For smoother, faster, and more stable rides, we do highly recommend using a longboard deck as it absorbs a lot of the vibrations and also allows you to go much faster than a smaller skateboard deck.  While smaller skateboard decks such as cruiser decks are nicer for commuting small distances and being able to easily carry up flight of stairs, they do have limits in that if you plan to go faster than 20 miles per hour, you won’t feel stable and may have to stick with slower speeds.  Now, if you are not an expert electric skateboard rider yet, 20 miles per hour would still be more than plenty and keep you safe from big injuries.

Easiest Way to Build an Electric Skateboard

Now, for starters, I do recommend building a simpler electric skateboard with easy-to-find parts and easy-to-build boards.   For example, you can grab a dual belt motor or hub motor with trucks/motor mounts all assembled on eBay for around $100-150 which comes fully-assembled and you just need to connect to a motor controller(we call it ESC or “Electronic Speed Controller”).

For ESC and remote, you can grab a cheap $50 Chinese ESC which requires no soldering to attach to the dual motor setup mentioned above.   While this won’t give you the best acceleration, customization, and power, these cheaper Chinese ESC are rather safe and you will be able to build a board with no knowledge of programming a VESC.   They will do a decent job of getting a board built quickly without any soldering.

How to Choose an ESC(Electronic Speed Controller)

Now, if you want to build a more powerful electric skateboard with smooth acceleration/braking along with endless number of customization, you will want to go with a VESC.

What is VESC?

VESC is an open-source electronic speed controller developed by Swedish developer Vedder(hence VESC) and there are multiple different VESC you can buy including ones from companies like Flipsky, TorqueBoards, Maytech, and a few more.  Now, they all run based on VESC, meaning they are fully compatible with the VESC open source software.

With VESC, you can change the parameters of everything on your electric skateboard including how much current(amps) is put out to your motors, when to cut out the battery if voltage drops below a certain level, change the acceleration throttle curves/rampting time, and pretty much control everything else you can think of.

While VESC does have a slight learning curve, if you follow our tutorials, you will be able to easily configure it and optimize it to run with your electric skateboard.