Student builds a DIY skateboard-based train that achieves 22 miles per hour

Student builds a DIY skateboard-based train that achieves 22 miles per hour

If the United States can’t finish a simple high-speed rail or city subway, maybe it’s time we citizens start building trains ourselves. Tracks are damned. We’ll just ride them on the sidewalk or street. In fact, an undergraduate at Purdue University actually made a mini locomotive that he built from scratch using electric skateboard parts and old car batteries.

For a few years now, Ramon Pardo has been one of the most unique sights on Purdue University’s campus in Indiana, cruising around what looks like a deflated diesel locomotive. After spending some time studying, Pardo told me that he was inexplicably drawn to trains since childhood, and that his fascination was why he got to Purdue in the first place. Find out about her spell – Boilermaker Special – and the rest was history. However, upon joining the Purdue Railroad Club, Pardo realized that his fantasy of owning his own full-size locomotive was too expensive, perhaps just a distant dream. But one night while playing, Pardo accidentally hits a long board and watched it roll across the room. The lamp went off: He could have done it Builds Rideable train on its own human scale using long parts.

Pardo spent the next six months designing his first prototype, and then another four months building it. As it turned out, the Bardot project wasn’t a project you could buy parts for off the shelf. There are no proper electric skateboard components, and no belt or direct drive options. He had to work around so many problems himself, that he even built his own chain drive, before taking his first ride – which ended in a breakdown after only an eighth of a mile.

But Pardo didn’t bend himself, and has since redesigned his railboard several times (sometimes after further malfunctions) over the course of over a year to get to current specifications. style EMD SD70ACePardo’s current design rides on six Caliber II tall trucks, which he chose for the durability and predictable skateboard demeanor. They’ve sprung up to make it easier to ride, which is also helped by the weight of multiple lead-acid car batteries – which were chosen for being safe and cheap (although they aren’t as disposable in the ocean as Google thinks).

These batteries are not lightweight, and weigh between 60 and 100 pounds depending on the configuration. They’re low to act as heavyweights, but the whole thing still weighs more than 200 pounds at the heaviest and gets close to 400 with Bardot on it—enough to make reduced skateboard trucks “explode” when it hits a pit. Much of this block is relatively high as well, so while longboards usually ride a few inches off the ground, Bardot has to stand about two feet in the air to board his train. This gives it dynamics like those of the longboard, except to the extreme.

“There are a few degrees of ‘dead void’ on an ordinary longboard that wouldn’t normally be noticed,” Bardot told me. “When you ride a longboard or a regular skateboard, you’ll never notice it, because your body almost naturally adapts to this with your ankle. However, on a train, you can walk on a sloping surface or make up this dead zone is something I have to do with my whole body.”

He continued, “Despite this issue, it is interesting to note that for most intents and purposes, I do not fluctuate in speed. The train is simply too big, long and too heavy to develop in a way that could cause me to be disqualified.”

It is worth saying that the weight does not harm the performance of the board. If anything, it helps with the incline, which Pardo says hit 22 mph. That’s due to a quadruple of 750W brushless motors (four horsepower total) that can propel the board nearly 30 miles on a full charge. Pardo thinks 60 miles of range might be possible with some upgrades, which could also include filling the engine space for eight in total. This will give him about 8 horsepower, which doesn’t seem like much, but it will allow him to tow up to 1,000 pounds on flat ground. This will come in handy when Pardo starts adding railcars to the equation.

The legality of riding the mini locomotive on public roads will likely vary from state to state, but Bordeaux clearly hasn’t had a problem with it. Bardot has all kinds of ideas for vernacular gear he can pull behind him, each with unique functions. Box cars and flat surfaces can hide extra batteries and make room for cargo or passengers. a center beam The car, widely used to transport lumber, can carry reams of paper around the campus to help Pardo keep printers stowed. Hoppers could spread salt on bike lanes in the winter, and a tank car he would just fill with coffee, because he thought it would be funny. (Damn straight dude.)

All of that, though, will cost more time and money, and Bardot has already spent a lot more. He said he’s easily earned more than $5,000 so far, though he emphasized that most of that went toward development, and that the train as it exists today is much cheaper. With blueprints and tools on hand, Pardo estimates that someone could follow in his footsteps for an investment of about 40 hours and $1,000.

But as of now, Pardo is only trying to retrace his steps after more than one project derailed. In late August, Bardot’s insurance dropped him, leaving him to pay the exorbitant cost of treating a chronic condition out of pocket. On the same day, a huge short internal battery destroyed the entire train battery bank, worth hundreds of dollars.

Pardo’s classmates told him to start GoFundMe (linked in comments), but it will be some time before Pardo can rebuild and continue testing – don’t bother helping people build their own trains. Pardo said that if his project got enough attention, he could share instructions, instructional videos, or even sell building kits. It’s easy to see those going down well, especially with the growing demand for affordable electric personal transportation around the world. E-bikes and one-wheelers have caught on for good reason, but many are bound to want more exclusivity. And people like Bardot show that no matter how we move in the future, self-expression never has to get out of hand.

Do you have a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

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