If you haven’t seen the show All-American Makers on the Discovery Science Channel then maybe you haven’t been introduced to Printrbot and its founder Brook Drumm. Drumm is one a team of three that includes roboticist Brian Roe and entrepreneur Marc Portney. Together they serve as a team giving feedback and new opportunities to engineers and inventors. The show has also popularized American Maker culture (to some hardcore Makers’ chagrin, no doubt) introducing some really new cool gadgets and devices that you may not be able to live without. Recently, Printrbot released OpenSkate, which could be a must-have for long board enthusiasts.
Intended for long board enthusiasts who don’t mind using open source modifications to power their boards, OpenSkate is not for everyone. (For example, you may still want to get extra exercise using your feet). But if that’s not you, and you don’t mind changing your reliance on a skateboard for transportation into an additional reliance on electronics, then this could end up being your favorite transportation gadget of the year. Skateboards, like bicycles, prove to be excellent alternatives to automobiles in dense urban environments. They are cheaper and smaller than cars and bicycles, and let us not forget that they traditionally leave a small carbon footprint. So, just as some bicycle enthusiasts have taken to powering up their own rides with a (usually loud) motor, OpenSkate takes the best of skateboarding and propels it into the 21st century — using available technological means like 3D printing and Arduino — along the way. That’s quite a trajectory for the long board, which first appeared on the scene in the 1950s inspired by surfers who still wanted to practice their moves when they couldn’t be in the water.
Interested in seeing if this means of transportation is for you? Let’s look at OpenSkate’s basic information and description from the Printrbot website. With added electronics and a motor to drive the rear axle, the idea is to power you along without all that now needless pushing of the board. The board has 12VDC voltage, a 12V@115A DC (1.8 Hp) motor, and an Arduino Uno logic controller. It can also go up to 12 mph, depending on the size of its rider. Further information about the board: it weighs 15 lbs. and is 42 x 10 x 6 inches. It’s big.
Again, if you are an All-American Makers fan, the last episode on February 24, 2016 featured this amazing programmable long board so you can check the show out to see more information. If you are interested in ordering the ride, Printrbot needs two weeks lead time, and can ship it to you fully assembled for $599. However, if you would like to make a statement about your own integrity and 3D printing ingenuity, you can click here to access the code, photos of the electronic box’s insides, and a bill of materials.