Print & go
Product design & prototyping
This project was the final result of one of my thesis projects for my Engineering degree.

The concept behind "Print & go" is that you can take any normal skateboard or longboard, 3D print a few gears, add an electric motor, and off you go zooming around.

On top of that, due to the 3D printed nature of the parts: the drivetrain can be customised for any type of board, and any sort of terrain.
My involvement in this project included concept development, product design, mechanical engineering, CAD, user testing, and prototyping.

Created using SolidWorks, ANSYS, and then printed on an Ultimaker.
Zooming past on Print & go V1
The problem
I did not like the freezing cold walk back and forth to lectures in the north of England.

On top of that, regular longboarding up the hills meant I was arriving in a slightly sweaty state, which was not pleasant in the cold.

I also wanted my engineering degree thesis to be something practical, for everyday use.
My cold commute to uni
Versions 0 to 1
3D printing allows the drivetrain to be easily customised to the users terrain, hilly or flat, by printing the best drivetrain to match.

I first tried a drivetrain with gears, but they often jammed. Metal chains also ripped through the plastic prints.

My final solution was belt-driven as belts allows for some slip under high loads.
Gears looking great before they jammed
Belt-driven assembly in CAD
User testing V1
I soldered together the various speed controllers and motors, and assembled the first test unit.

I took the Print & go V1 for numerous test rides on the commute, as well as letting some friends take it for a few spins as well.
Some glaring issues became apparent, including the drive brackets holding the motors in place snapping in half when put under heavy load.

Braking was also a bit of an issue, as the V1 was only two-wheel drive.
Print & go V1 working fine until it didn't
Design analysis & refinement
With some of the V1's parts failing rather spectacularly, I combined and reinforced them in CAD, and then did some analysis to make sure I would not faceplant again.
Thinnest areas on the end showing most deflection
Much better as one piece
Print & go V2
After more numerous test runs, and a lot of iteration on prototypes: the V2 was finally ready.
Exploded technical assemblies of the wheel hub, motor bracket, and full assembly
The Print & go V2 is much more reliable, and with the motor brackets placed on both ends of the board: the ride is much smoother.​

The 4-wheel drive also boosts the acceleration and braking power on steeper hills.​

With the lightweight setup I used daily, the V2 has a range of around 8km.​ On speed runs, I topped out above 30km/h.
Print & go V2 motor bracket
Side view with those marvellous green wheels
Final thoughts
Print & go was an awesome project to work on.

When the rest of my coursemates were doing theoretical engineering thesis projects, I was zooming around on my electric longboard. Hardware is way more fun.

Print & go was one of my first, proper hardware projects, and I picked up a lot of prototyping and electrical skills along the way.
I even got a few awards for it, which was pretty cool:
Institution of Mechanical Engineers Prize, 2014
Best Project of the Year
Please get in touch for more details, full res images, or if you have any questions.