How to build an Electric skateboard tutorial *free version*


10 kW
Oct 17, 2012
I figure since everyone seems to be asking the same questions over and over, I'd put together a *free* tutorial. It won't cost you $30. I think most of the parts have become quite standard so we at least have a good idea of what will work right now. Some of this will be opinion, but I will try and just list the known options available. I've tried to keep up to date on this forum, but may this will not include everything. Tell me what needs to be added.


Any board should work. Pick your preference for flex and style. If you opt for a drop down or drop through or both you will be limited on where to mount the electronics.

Trucks and Motor Mount:

Beetbocks Alien drive system. Only fits Holey trucks and Caliber trucks. Single drive kit is 95 pounds ($150). Dual drive is 185 pounds($292) not including shipping.

Lagrange Trucks. Built on Surf Rodz CNC trucks. It has a spinning axle so you can mount any wheel you want. $400 on ebay or

On their website there are also a few articles on how to build a board. Some useful information, and you will get a different opinion.

Welded trucks. Pick any truck you want in cast aluminum. Take it to a machine shop and have an aluminum bracket welded onto the truck hanger. Should be around $50 to have that done. You can buy the aluminum and cut your own bracket with a saw if you want also. Aluminum is cheap. Prices will vary. You will need to figure out where you want it welded onto the truck hanger before you go in. Also verify your angle to make sure it is correct. You want it done right the first time. You will need to remove the truck hanger so they can weld it. If not your bushings on the truck will melt. You will need to at least drill holes in the mount to secure your motor and one large hole for the motor shaft. You can make the holes for the motor elliptical so that you can tighten your belt when needed.


Torqueboards is now selling his weldable trucks - either do it yourself or welded onto Independent trucks.


You need wheels that will allow you to mount a gear hub to it. If you bought the Lagrange trucks, pick what you want. 83mm size is what most are using. Helps to get over rough surfaces, rocks and such. You can go bigger or smaller depending on what you like.
ABEC 11 flywheels have hubs to allow mounting. You can buy knockoffs on ebay for cheaper - support the originals though. Be carefull with the knockoffs, I've seen some that have larger hubs that make it so the prefab gear hubs won't fit correctly.

Never Summer has 72mm wheels with a hub that allows for mounting. A small size for most though.

Alien Drive Systems now has Seismic Vent adapters:

Others have actually just mounted a gear onto the wheel by drilling right into it. I don't know how long those will last though.

Any others I am missing?

Gears and belts:

You will need someway to connect your motor to the wheels to get them to spin. Gear ratios can be all over the place depending on how fast or slow you want to go. Also if you live in the flats or have hills to climb. Just like a bike. If you want to climb hills you have a small gear on the motor and big on the wheel. Gear size also depends on your wheel size. You can't put a 44 tooth gear on a 72mm wheel. You will be riding on the gear, not the wheel that way. Most seem to use a 12-15 tooth gear on the motor and around 44 tooth for the wheel. If you go with a bigger motor/small wheels you can get away with a 15 tooth motor pulley and 32 tooth wheel gear. The most common pitch is 5mm htd. This is how much bite the gear/belt have. There are other types, but parts are harder to find. These are called timing belt pulleys. The width is usually 9mm, but you can also go with a 15mm width setup. That takes up more room though. I used a 15mm width motor gear/pulley because it was easier to find. These parts aren't that expensive, but shipping on these is outrageous. Buy more than what you need.
Belt length depends on where you mount your motor and size of your pulleys. Lengths range from 250mm to 290 for most uses. You need to somewhat figure this out before you do an order. You can always drill holes for your motor mount after you get these parts.

Also check Ebay.

If you have the ABEC 11 wheels, I had an engineer design a gear hub that fits into the wheels. It need to be changed a bit, but I'm not willing to pay for that. You can overcome the problems with little effort though. It only comes in a 44 tooth size, so you need wheels that are at least 83mm. The other flaw is it was designed to house and extra bearing. That makes the wheel too big to fit on most trucks without have the nut on the threaded portion of the axle. You can dremel that portion out if needed or just leave the space empty depending on if it rubs on your particular trucks. You can then glue the hub into the wheel or just leave it pushed into the wheel. Without adhesive it might still wiggle. That shouldn't be a problem since the forces from the belt will keep it in place and your motor mount won't allow it to slide too far out. $25.

You will need to drill holes into the wheel pulley to attach it to the wheel. I have gotten by with using only three long screws. More is always better though. Place nuts and washers on the other end to secure the gear in place. This need to be centered of course. Surprisingly the hubs have lasted all the trauma placed upon them.

Attaching the motor pulley is easier. Try and find a pulley that matches the motor shaft size. Unfortunately most of the smaller tooth pulleys are smaller than 6mm and most motors that you will use are 8mm. You can bore these pulleys out to fit your motor shaft, but that is hard to get it perfectly centered. Go slow and steady - hopefully using a drill press. The pulley attaches using a grub screw or two, check on that before you order, some don't have them and you will either have to add them later or glue on the pulley. Two grub screws is always better. Definitely want to use loctite to secure these screws. They are small screws and will end up lost if you don't. It also helps to secure the pulley. I would recommend making flat spots or indents on the motor shaft to correspond to these screws. Get them as tight as you can. You could even increase the size of the grub screw by taping it, but that requires the correct tools. Smoke em if you got em. The pulley will hold much better. That has been a consistent problem for me early on, so make sure you do it right the first time.

After putting the wheel onto the truck, make sure that nut also tight. The nut should have nylon to keep it secure, the more you take the nut off and on the less secure it will be. I didn't do this and had my wheel fly off, ruined my wheel gear and scratched up the motor. I survived though, don't let that happen to you.

Get the belt as tight as you can. You shouldn't be able to push the belt in too far. Too tight and you can damage the motor wheel bearing.


Here is where it get interesting. There are a bunch of options on what you want/need and somethings haven't been tested for very long. Long term things might change drastically as we find out what works well and what doesn't. Basically you need a motor, something to tell the motor how fast to go (ESC - Electronic Speed Control) and something for you to tell that how fast to go (Remote/Transmitter). The other part needed is the battery.
Hobbyking is the cheapest place to get your electronics. Not always the best or fastest shipping though. It does ship internationally though. Some of the other sites I've listed don't. I also like for their motors. As with the pulleys - make sure you have everything you need on one order. Shipping can kill the deal sometimes. Always wait on the Hobbyking webpage for the item you want. They will offer it cheaper to you in most cases, or you can just get an account and they will do the same. Hobbypartz usually has coupon codes or specials on shipping - order when they offer that.


For the lighter folk or those that want a dual motor setup a 50mm size motor should work. A smaller motor allows you to make a smaller motor mount and keep things higher off the ground. These sell for around $50. For more power, heavier people, or doing hills a 63 size is best. These are over $60 on Hobbyking and $55 on Hobbypartz, where you can usually find a 5% off or free shipping making them even cheaper. These motors are called outrunners, meaning the motor case spins with the shaft. Other than size, the KV of the motor is important. This can be as low as 138kv and as high as 270kv. The lower the number the better the torque. Higher KV motors have higher RPMs, but won't have the power to get you started.

Here are a couple of motors people are using: * has 6mm motor shaft Questionable, but only $35 I think the best deal.
Check the shaft size on your motor. Some are 10mm and they are hard to get pulleys for without having to bore it out.


Here's where it get difficult. You have many options, from cheap to expensive. Some are unproven and long term this may change. Airplane ESC's are the only ones you probably shouldn't look into. They don't have any braking and can be a problem getting the motor started from a stop. You will also need a way to power your receiver for some of these. This takes up extra space and is just more to worry about. Car ESC's are what most using currently. We will get into this with batteries, but the ESC needs to be able to handle 6s or about 22 volts. For Car ESC's this means at least a 150 amp version. (This is now up for debate, users have used 60a car ESC's on 4S without anything blowing up!) The three most common are: HK 150a ESC cheapest, but I had some issues with mine. $62 Cheapest I could find a link for was $85. Tons on Ebay also. I like this one, inexpensive, but better build quality. The throttle response is much better and it has lasted the longest. Castle Creations Mamba Monster - most expensive $130

Other options:
Alien ESC or Flier. This is your best option for a dual motor setup using one ESC. You can always just use two cheaper ones for dual power. These are also quite large.
Aliexpress for Flier ESC's: They have some interesting stuff listed. Skate specific ESC and higher voltage ESCs. Prices are anywhere from $100 (must buy two) to $235 for a 96volt system.

Alien brand ESC: $150 for a single, dual $283

I have been messing around with a 90a boat ESC. May or may not work in the long run. It does have brakes and they are quiet compared to other ESCs. Same thing here, go with one that handles at least 6s. They are the least expensive, but you may get what you pay for. I've put many miles on this ESC and now think its one of the better options. It has never gotten hot on me. It allows you to mount your electronics easier due to the wiring coming out straight rather than out the top like on a car ESC. The braking does take longer for you to come to a complete stop, but slows you down fast enough that it shouldn't be an issue. The brakes also don't squeal like a car ESC does, which makes it stealthier. You aren't going to wake up the neighbors when you are out riding late at night. Throttle curve seems to be exactly like the car ESC, more like the Hobbywing version than the Hobbyking one though. The 120a version is larger in size than the 90a version.
120a is only $40 and 90a is $30. If you are going cheap, try this. It will save you quite a bit of cash for similar performance. 90a version 120a version

Heli ESC's also might work. Nobody seems to have tried one. They have brakes unlike an airplane esc. It would be beneficial to run a higher voltage system as this will lower your amps and increase your rpm speed. 6s works fine, but your motor will be more efficient with more voltage. HV or high voltage ESC's are more expensive.


This is what you need to control that custom built board. The only one I would really recommend it the Flysky gt2b. It has a lithium rechargeable battery and is super light weight. Others require 8aa batteries and end up being bottom heavy. They are also cheaper, because you don't have to buy batteries. People have taken these apart and put them in smaller packages. If size matters... $24.

HobbyKing has a new option for a cheap controller. It is the Quanum, doesn't include batteries like the GT2B, but is the smallest option currently available. Pricing is similar $22.

Here's a comparison between the GT2B, Quanum, and remote from a chinese electric skateboard:

Arduino and a wii nunchuck controller is also an option. If you know what this you can figure the rest out. Search the forum there are a few posts. I won't say much more because this isn't plug and play yet.

Lastly there is the wifi receiver. I like this idea if you have an extra phone or ipod touch laying around. For thirty dollars you can use an app to control your motor speed. It is about as compact as it gets size wise. You can put it in your back pocket, and its rechargeable.
Here's a post with a video about it:
Of course Hobbyking link:

If you go with a dual motor using two ESCs, you need to split the power to the receiver. Buy a servo splitter and cut one sides red wire. The receiver can't handle the extra power.
Something like this:

Lipo Batteries:

Another part that has many options. Typically go with 6s, since this is the easiest/cheapest to find a charger for, and the highest voltage for the cheap ESCs. If you bought a higher voltage ESC you can go up to 10s on most motors or even 12s. Hobbyking of course has the best pricing. Expect to pay around $50 for a battery. The capacity should be around 4000mah to get you four or five miles of riding. You can go as high as you want on this. Keep the extras in a backpack if you don't have room under the board. The discharge or C rating should be over 20C. Don't think they make anything less now days though.
Here's one of the cheapest:

There also is the option of buying two 3s batteries. They will be smaller and take up less height under the board. You will need to buy an extra connector to do this so the batteries end up being 6s.


Last thing you need is a charger. Should cost you around $50. Hobbyking has what you need. Tough thing is finding a power source for the charger. Most don't come with one. Make sure you know this before buying.

Has an included power source, only $40.
If you opted for one high voltage battery, you end up with an expensive charger or having to charge two/three batteries.

Mounting it all on the board

A couple of options here.

Velcro, sticks to everything. These leaves batteries and ESC unprotected from road debris, but works amazingly well.

Wood. This archaic product also covers things up nicely. Hey, it is what your board is likely made of. Looks good.

Project boxes. You can find these at Radio Shack or another good place is Mouser. 7500 to choose from. Radio Shack limits your options.


Beetbocks - Aliendrive systems enclosure:


Board $50-
Trucks $50-
Wheels $35-
Pulley/Belts $50-
Mount $30-
Tx/RX $20-
Battery $40-
Motor $40-
ESC $30-
Charger $40-
Enclosure $10-

Grand Total Around $400 for a cheap, powerful, DIY board. Of course you can spend more if you want higher end parts.

Hopefully that covered most everything. I didn't go into too much detail on some subjects to keep it simpler and less confusing. If you didn't understand something, use the search feature- it has likely been covered before. I will try and update this, when things change. This will get you up and going. I did it so it can't be that hard. Have fun and ride safe, where a helmet.

Thanks to all who have shared your builds. It is great to have a crowdsourced design. I know there was a lot of money and effort put into these builds. Pave the trail to make it easier for the next ones.

Just saved you thirty bucks.
Thanks Dirk,

i will ask one of the mod to make this a sticky

i will add that for anyone trying to make an eboard,
first thing i would do is to see what others have done,
you will learn a lot from their build threads.

links to various DIY e-skateboards

links to various DIY e-mountainboards

some helpful links,

although for rc scooters,
this is very well written by someone who really knows his stuff (teamtestbot)

for rc ebike,
excellent writeup by Warren Beauchamp

battery basics by John Jenkins

more on batteries

good eboard thread here from the past,
"young and lost, but excited to learn"
Amazing work, this is what the community needs, free and open information! :D
HA!! Nice work!! This is exactly what most noobs need as soon as they hit the site!! Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed how-to!! :mrgreen:
I'd add this to the list so people know how to find their pulley size, distance between 2 pulleys, gearing ratios. Very helpful for the people who will be creating their own mounts or creating a welded mount.

How To Choose Your Belt & Gearing Ratio

Use this here if you already didn't know about it. Pick your Unit, Pitch.

Pulley A and Pulley B and you can define your teeth and the grooves on the belt and all this will tell you the center distance which is how far apart you can make your 2 pulleys.

If you do it this way it makes it easier. Example.


How To Choose Your Gearing Ratio With Your Estimated Speed + Wheel Size *Great formula. Thanks to Murfix, PracticalProjects and sn0wchyld.
Is there a particular reason Alien doesn't ship to the US? Is this a permanent situation?
Great thread, thanks!

Hayden9009 said:
where can one find the connectors for using two 3s batteries?

You can create your own connector. Two 3s in series, you would have to cut off the ends and/or create/solder your own connectors with 5.5mm golden bullet plugs. They are just male/female plugs. They just have to plug into one another.
torqueboards said:
Hayden9009 said:
where can one find the connectors for using two 3s batteries?

You can create your own connector. Two 3s in series, you would have to cut off the ends and/or create/solder your own connectors with 5.5mm golden bullet plugs. They are just male/female plugs. They just have to plug into one another.
would I be able to change out the batteries with doing this?
I used EC5 connectors from Hobbyking to solder this wiring together. The side with 3 leads is for my 3 bats in parallel. The other side is for the double power leads coming from the ESC:

You will probably want something like this though, you can make it yourself or buy it here:
Murfix said:
I used EC5 connectors from Hobbyking to solder this wiring together. The side with 3 leads is for my 3 bats in parallel. The other side is for the double power leads coming from the ESC:

You will probably want something like this though, you can make it yourself or buy it here:
Yes that is what I want but can you hook the batteries up in series with this instead of parallel?
Mine is specifically wired for parallel. The link I posted contains a setup for 2 bats in series.

Yes you ucould exchange batteries very easily, providing they have the same EC5 connector (or whichever you will use).
It's real simple to hook them up in series. You simply need to replace the ends on the battery wires pos/neg into 5.5mm gold bullet connectors.

Battery 1 - Positive will be a female 5.5mm connector, Negative will be a 5.5mm connector that connects to the ESC depending on what you need to plug into the ESC negative line.
Battery 2 - Negative will be a male 5.5mm connector, Positive will be a 5.5mm connector that connects to the ESC depending on what you need to plug into the ESC positive line.

I'll try and post some pictures when I get a chance.