Build Your Very Own DIY Float Wheel with This Handy Guide
If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.
Skateboarding is fun, but what it really lacks is a giant, powered wheel in the center to really spice things up. That's exactly where the concept of a float-wheel comes into its own.
If you fancy building one for yourself, follow this handy guide to get the float wheel of your dreams.
Like any project of this nature, you are going to need some stuff first.
Tools and equipment needed
- FLOAT Wheel kit - Costs around $600 all-in
- Pint bumpers
- Hub motor
- Heat shrink tubing
- xt60 battery harness
- Power tools
- Locktight glue
- Spray paints
- Various nuts and bolts
With all your stuff collected together, it is time to get on with building this amazing piece of kit. Hold on tight.
Step 1: Unpack your kit and begin assembly of the rails
The first step is to unpack your FLOC precision rails, and thread all the wires through the front and rear enclosures. To make things a little easier, you will want to keep the wiring together using some heat shrink wrap.
With the wires grouped and held together, you can now easily thread the wires through the rails. Take your time, and ensure you don't damage the wiring by being a little too aggressive at this early stage.
Be sure to focus on the thicker wires first before moving on to the thinner ones. This is because it is normally harder, well more tricky the other way around.
When you are finished, you will want the female black connector on the right-hand side of the rail (looking at it). On the left-hand side, you will want the make black connectors exposed.
With that complete, you'll next want to thread in the xt60 battery harness into the rail as well. You are aiming to expose the larger part of the xt60 on the right-hand side of the rail.
The next step is to thread the charge port into its matching receptacle on the same rail. Note that, due to the curvature of the rail, this port will not sit flush with the outward face of the rail.
This isn't a problem really but take note nonetheless.
Next, grab some elongated rubber gaskets, and fill in some of the holes to the CNC rail, as needed. You will need to cut them in order to feed the wires through them before inserting them into the rail.
Rinse and repeat for the other side of the rail, as needed. These gaskets will not only hold the wires nice and tight but will also help to keep moisture out of the inside of the rail.
With that complete, the next step is to install the anti-spin plates on the rail. Take the pieces, and bolt them onto their respective places on the rail. You may want to use something like lock tight to add to the bolt thread to stop them from coming loose over time. However, this is completely up to you.
Step 2: Mount the giant hub motor
Next, grab the hub motor for the kit. This thing is massive so don't put off by it. Grab your wired rail, and mount that to the hub wheel's axle, as needed.
The fit should be pretty snug, but ensure that the hub wheel is firmly attached.
Then secure the hub wheel into place on the rail using one of the kit's securing nuts. Tighten the nut as needed.
Rinse and repeat the same process for the other (non-wired) rail with the exception that you will need to thread the motor phase wired through another gasket, in, and out of the rail, as shown in the image below. Secure the rail into place onto the hub wheel, as before.
Apparently, the nut for this side of the FLOAT wheel is particularly prone to coming loose, so make doubly sure it is nice and secure. Also, take care not to splice any of the wirings within the rail when doing so.
Step 3: Insert the metal plating
With those stages complete, the next stage is to begin to add the other elements of the board. Let's start with the metal plates,
Take one of the metal plates, and gently, but firmly, insert it into its respective slits on one side of the rails. This is a very tight fit, but persevere and it will slip in eventually. If the rails aren't properly attached to the hub wheel this stage can also prove problematic, so you may need to adjust accordingly and try again.
With the plate fully inserted, fix it into place on the rails using its short hex bolts that come with the kit. You will need to use the star-head screwdriver that also comes with the kit.
Next, either use the special 3D-printed part that surrounds the wheel hub or 3D print your own and insert it as needed. Secure into place using two suitably sized bolts and nuts.
Next, take your pint bumpers. These are not provided in the kit so you will need to source these separately (or indeed 3D print your own). Also, take your strip LED lights and peel off the cover to the adhesive covering.
Attach the red LED light to the rear bumper, and the white LED light to the front bumper using their adhesive surfaces.
After the strip lights are in place, take the protective covers, expose the adhesive edges, and place them in front of the LED light strips on the bumpers as well.
With the bumpers prepared, you can now insert them into the board too. Take the front bumper and insert it into the front slot on the rails (much like the plate you added previously to the rear. The rails and the bumper should fit perfectly as they have been designed, and machined, to do so.
Be sure to keep the wiring well out of the way when you do so too. Secure the bumper to the rails using screws, as needed. Next insert the power switch into the front side of the rails, and add another 3D printed part to close off the front footpad enclosure around the wheel hub.
Secure into place using double-sided tape or hot glue as there are no mounting screw threads on the frames for this piece.
Again, watch the wiring when doing so. With that complete, insert and secure ESC mount into the front pad void. Secure into place using the three screws included with the kit.
Step 5: Begin to connect the wiring
With that complete, you can now start to connect up the wiring. Take the hall sensor adaptor from the rails to the hall sensor cable that comes out of the motor.
Next, connect the phase wires from the main hub to their matching wires from the motor controller (VESC), as needed. Also, connect the hall sensor adaptor to the hall sensor port of the controller.
Maneuver the VESC into its mounting plate, and secure it into place using the screws provided.
Next, take the battery, which in this case is a 222wh, 5Ah battery from FLOAT. Insert the battery into the rear enclose, as needed. You will need to secure it into place using either hot glue or double-sided tape.
With the battery installed, prepare the rear bumper, add the LED lights and protection strip, as with the front bumper. Then attach the bumper to the rear footpad, and secure it as needed.
This bumper is smaller than the front, as it needs to surround the battery pack you just installed. You can secure it into place using the woodscrews provided, or wait until the wiring is connected up and then attach.
With that, connect the 2-pin power cable to the LED light bar. Next, connect the xt60 pins together from the battery to the main wiring, and then you can connect the two black connectors (for input and control), as needed.
With that, the battery-side (rear) enclosure of the float board is now complete. Tuck in the wiring and secure into place with tape, if desired.
Now take the rear footpad, mount it to the board, and secure it into place on the rails using the four screws provided.
Turning out attention back to the front enclosure, we can now connect the two black controller wires from the power switch and battery.
You can then connect up the Bluetooth module with its wiring, and, in turn, connect it to the 2-pin from the front LED lights. Connect the other end of the 2-pin cable to the LED light bar, if not already done so.
Next, connect the four-pin from the power switch to the VESC, and then connect the three-pin cable to the VESC.
Next, connect the charge port to the discharge harness, and then connect the battery to the ESC using the xt60 connections and harness. After that is complete, you can then wire up the front footpad that will act as the input to control the board when in use. There is also a light bar on the footpad which will also need to be connected to the main wiring.
If that all sounds very complicated, be sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
With that complete, the main electrical and mechanical parts of the build are complete. Now comes the most frustrating and time-consuming part -- programming it.
Instructions to do this are not given, but there are plenty of guides on the internet (and YouTube) to help you out here.
Step 6: Finish off the float wheel
With that hopefully complete, it is now time to return to the board and complete it. Take the rear footpad, and secure it into place on the rails using its supplied screws (as with the rear pad).
If your kit comes with other accessories, like handles, you can also attach these to the float wheels rails too. Installation is relatively simple for this part.
With that, your DIY float wheel is now complete. All you need to do now is firing it up and take it, quite literally, for a spin!
Enjoy, that was a lot of hard work.
If you enjoyed this build, you may want to test your skills further by building a DIY mini- e-bike too? Just a thought.
Interesting Engineering delves into the missions of Astroscale, a space junk removal company. It is partnering with OneWeb to launch the ELSA-M mission in 2024.