If you've suddenly had the brilliant idea to put a small motor on your skateboard, you're not alone. You can pay hundreds of dollars for pre-built electric skateboards or get creative and put one together yourself for much less money. While some people build up their boards with all-terrain wheels and expensive components, you don't have to go to that extreme if all you need is something to give your legs a rest while zooming around town.
The Easy Way
Should you decide to go the electric skateboard kit route, electrifying your board is a simple task. The engine is normally a low profile device that mounts beneath the board. Attach it to the deck by drilling holes and securing it with nuts and bolts. You should install new rear wheels. These are adapted to work with a pulley that runs from the engine to the wheels. Finally, attach the accelerator remote to the engine. This is a cable that ends in a grip that you hold in your hand. You speed up or slow down by triggering a switch on the remote.
The Harder Way
You don't have to install a pre-built kit in order to motorise a skateboard. Pick a small engine such as one designed for a chainsaw, lawnmower or weedeater. Your local hardware or electronics store should be able to supply you with the rest of the parts you would find in the kit, or you may even be able to scavenge parts from junk in your garage. You'll need some sort of drive system. As with the pre-built kit, a pulley or belt works well. The rest of the process works basically the same as with installing the pre-built kit, though you will likely have to spend more time adapting your odds and ends scavenged parts to work together as a cohesive unit. Fit the pulley to the engine and rear wheels. The engine you chose may or may not fit beneath the deck with the ground clearance available. If not, mount it in an out-of-the-way location on top of the deck. Build a handheld remote system to control the board while standing up. The remote is nothing more than a cable attached to the throttle that will allow you to increase and decrease your speed.
When you build your own electric skateboard, you obviously increase the speed with which you travel over the ground and the chance of injury. Wear protective headgear and don't put an oversized engine on your board that will zip you along at insane speeds. According to NYCE Wheels, a 1-horsepower motor should be able to move you over flat, smooth ground at about 22mph.