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First Build Log | Did seemingly everything wrong, learned a lot

So I’m just gonna start off with saying I started this build before I ever found this forum (as evidenced by quite a few of the parts). I bought stuff after doing research on YouTube and Reddit for about a week… I have since learned that those may have been the two worst places I could have settled on for actually finding good information about ESK8. I know now that there are definitely some good creators but searching for them initially with no past knowledge it’s hard to sort out what’s good and what’s not. It has been quite eye opening regularly visiting here the past couple of months. This build started as something to go the last couple of miles from my partner’s job to mine, quickly became a bit unwieldy but I’m still happy with the direction I’m going with it now.

Let’s just get these things out of the way:

  • I bought most of my shit from Mboards initially
  • I also bought a TENKA
  • I want to punch my past self in the face for being scared of forums

I’ve finally settled on something that I feel decently proud of and would like to give some perspective from someone who didn’t visit any sort of forums whatsoever before ESK8.

But first, the build, as well as it’s initial iterations. Current is listed first, bullets are past attempts:

Battery: Mboards 10s3p Samsung 40t pack

Motors: Mboards 180kv 6374 (Basically old version Flipsky I think)

  • Switching to Flipsky BH 6368 soon

ESC: Stormcore 60D+,

  • Originally TENKA

Remote: Flipsky VX2

Trucks/Mounts: BN 270 with idler mounts and adjustable baseplates

  • Used Verreal DKP trucks
  • Mboards 220 Trucks
  • Waterborne Surfskate adapter

Wheels: Evolve 150mm AT

  • Cloudwheels

Deck: TB40 V1

  • Dusters Chill Flamingo Double Drop
    Side note: I love switchblade style decks and really wished I would have done more planning to make this one work.

Enclosure: TB40 V1

  • Mboards Enclosure XL

Accessories: Shredlights Night ops pack

Pictures:
Initial build layout with the Surfskate adapters

Wiring:


Shitty Shitty enclosure with no room for a socket:

First time everything was actually together and working:


Clearances on the Surfskate adapter, had to cut these bolts to make it work:

Switched to the Verreal DKP trucks and evolve wheels:



Wiring for the new deck:



Where we’re at now:


Need to solder MT60’s to the phase wires and shorten the motor wires a bit, overall things are going well.

Why I chose what I did:
I’m gonna try to semi-quickly go over why I initially chose the parts that I did and why I changed them to what they are now.

Everything Mboards:

  • Why I bought it:
    • I perceived it as cheap at the time, everything was in one place, they have good SEO so if you search for DIY ESK8 stuff they are generally in the top results as far as vendors go. They also have a youtube channel, which again, is where I did a lot of my research initially. Also forums were intimidating to me as someone who had never been on one and it was hard to find consolidated info so I defaulted to places where info was easy to digest.
  • Why I changed it to what I have now:
    • Shit kept fucking breaking. Motors are fine, work well, a bit overpriced. The enclosure is very bad. Some things that caused it to break are my fault and I know that, but that doesn’t change the fact that the only reason I did the thing that caused it to break (attempting to thermoform where the nylock nuts are to hold them in place) was because you can’t fit a wrench in where the nylocks are. This causes you to have to hold them in place with needle nose pliers while trying to screw them in from the other side of the deck with a screwdriver, which is a nightmare. According to an email with them it was previously shipped with threaded inserts that you were meant to install yourself, but they kept having people come back with issues installing them properly. They also said that there are mold changes in place to address the issues, but IMO they shouldn’t be shipping it out in the state that it is. Either ship it with the inserts the way it was designed or change to a new mold and scrap the old enclosures.
    • Pics of shitty enclosure that I hate after I ripped everything out when I got the new deck:

Surfskate Adapter:

  • Why I bought it: Mboards trucks didn’t have enough turning radius, thought this would help with that. Should have just bought different bushings.
  • Why I changed it to what I have now: Wanted pneumatics for a smoother ride. Was a bit too wobbly in the front on uneven ground for my taste. Board was also wayyy too high off the ground for my liking.

TENKA:

  • Why I bought it: Saw vids about it on youtube and it looked like a fine budget option, honestly I probably could still be using it but I had some issues with it where one motor would not spin up if I slowly pushed up the throttle from zero. Honestly I’m not sure if the issues I had were even due to the TENKA itself, I still think I may have just missed/misconfigured something in VESC tool.
  • Why I changed it to what I have now: Public perception about the safety of the product as well as the issues I stated above.

Used Verreal DKP:

  • Why I bought it: Came with Evolve AT tires/pulleys and I wanted to be able to turn but not as much as with the surfskate adapter. This seemed to be a good compromise.
  • Why I changed it to what I have now: Started to get wobbly around ~25mph, didn’t like that at all. This was also using fairly stiff bushings for my weight.

Cloudwheels:

  • Why I bought it: Thought that they would be a good compromise between regular urethane wheels and AT wheels.
  • Why I changed it to what I have now: They were honestly alright on most roads but specifically the stretch that I needed to ride the most was not OK. Wayyy too bumpy for my liking.

This build is currently still in progress as you can see. I am taking my sweet time making sure everything is all sorted out properly and things are secured this time to (attempt) to mitigate downtime on the board. Also, since I am putting more time in I spent some time designing a 3D printed loopkey holder that goes in the riser area, really happy with how that turned out:


Probably going to keep designing some more small 3D printed things to give things a bit more fit and finish. Thinking of possibly adding a front mounted power button that goes into the negative space in the front riser. I’m happy with the parts that I have at the moment, aside from maybe the range on the battery but I have room to expand in this enclosure if I want to in the future.

Couple of quick questions regarding the build:

  • How do you guys generally hold down wires in the enclosure? Adhesive cable management clips? Natural cure silicone?

  • Anything look wrong with the build at the moment? I know the battery isn’t ideal being stiff and all but I’m trying to work with what I have. Got a lot of padding around it so hopefully that should mitigate issues. Looking for constructive feedback and trying to find things that I may have missed.

  • What type of epoxy do you use to seal up gaps in the enclosure? There was a pre-cut hole for what I assume is supposed to be a capacity gauge but I’m not gonna use it so I 3D printed a cover for it. What type of epoxy would you use to seal this? I have some 1hr set from JBweld as well as some JBweld Steel.

  • Any ideas for a name? I am completely stumped on this one.

There is quite a bit more to this hobby than I initially realized. In hindsight this should have been more obvious as we are basically making tiny electric cars but you live and you learn. There is so much that goes into making a safe and reliable DIY board that you can easily miss if you don’t do enough research. This forum has such a wealth of information and the community has been great while I’ve been here. There are obviously a few passionate people every once in a while but generally it looks like everyone is here just trying to build the best boards possible.

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Thoughts and Feedback as someone new to forums:

Feel free to move this to a site feedback thread if that is a better fit for it. Coming from someone who isn’t used to the format of forums I was initially turned away by the difficulty of obtaining concise information about where to get started, or finding how to fix specific issues. Searching on the forum sometimes brings up what you need, sometimes you get threads that are just completely off topic or difficult to decipher/digest. Yes I could have just asked questions in the noob question thread, but being completely new to a community it’s pretty intimidating. You really don’t want to be the person who asks the same question that has already been answered a thousand times. This, combined with the convolutedness of finding good info, was what initially deterred me from actively participating here. I just went back to where I normally got my info (Youtube and Reddit) instead. IMO there should be more getting started/info dump things in the Citadel category that are pinned so that new people have a place to go to that has consolidated beginner resources and best practices. Either that or have a new category that only has beginner resources in it. Something akin to a subreddit wiki would be really nice. The 3D printing subreddit wiki, specifically the beginners guide is a really good example of how the format could be. Also I feel like things akin to the Trusted vendor list should be pinned in the Citadel as well. The vendor list should also probably be sorted by types of parts sold, and vendors that sell multiple things can just be under multiple categories. I was def having some trouble just even figuring out where I could source parts at all because there wasn’t a place where I could just see and compare all of the people who sold pulleys, hubs, drive trains, etc. If there are already consolidated resources for these things, please inform me and just disregard the whole last paragraph lol. I had trouble even figuring out how to see categories at the start so it is entirely possible that I’ve missed something.

Small side note: Why is the noob question thread still “2020_Summer”? It made me think that there were multiple threads that were floating around. Shouldn’t there just be a single “Noob question thread” and old ones are just archived or renamed “-Archive” or something?

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As another relative noob I feel a lot of that. Especially the need for a noob resources section//an actual esk8 wiki. But since it just occurred to me, despite the controversy it could cause, I think there should be a “questionable at best” vendor list. We all have one mentally, so why not write them all down for the noobs.

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Not sure if it still updated though.

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Yes, now we need the opposite. Vendors would be too extreme to be accurate imo. But a “products to not be trusted” list. We all have our own, but we could all contribute to one, and that would be a very useful resource for especially noobs, but honestly for all of us. To make it even more specific, maybe a “known issues with products” wiki. Honestly we all just need a real esk8 wiki.

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My list is mostly up to date, but it could definitely do with a look over. I can go over it soon but it takes some time

There is also the reputation list with the thumbs but it is a tad out of date too probably

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The current one is still 2020 because no one has changed it yet. We did archive them because with earlier versions of the discourse forum firmware it was extremely difficult to move posts to a topic if it has a lot of comments. Archiving and splitting helped with that but doesn’t seem to be needed anymore with later updates of discourse.


I’m glad you found the forum… there is endless information here. I am also glad you can learn from your mistakes and the wisdom of others. Not everyone can do that. I wish you luck on your next build as this forum is a cesspool for addicts.

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I’m already planning my next 2 builds in my head now…

Getting addicted to riding/building seems way too easy haha.

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Damn surfskate on pneumatics must have been squirrely!

I generally don’t bother holding wires down in the enclosure. It’s usually such a tight fit that they can’t go anywhere anyway :sweat_smile:

I always wrap the motor phase wires to ensure they never touch and street face me.

Epoxy wise, jb weld is top level attachment strength. If you’re just filling a hole, the 5 minute 2 part epoxies have all worked well for me. You could smear some black silicone you’d use for waterproofing a window or shower on that seam too for extra safety.

Your struggle with upgrades and replacements makes me want to name it something Phoenix related, but I feel like that is reserved for boards that have burnt down.

It’s Theseus’s ship-esque but that name has been claimed by Dr @mariocontino.

If you’re a Monty Python Fan, “I’m Not Dead Yet” is befitting in both context and matching of your username.

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As @Skunk once told me - welcome to the moneypit that is esk8

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I’m in the same boat. One single motor spins while at ~0.08amps. Also noticed one motor would be much warmer than the other after joy rides. Motor and wheel were on tighter than the other.

I’ve had my Tenka working fine but not flawlessly for ~800 miles but plan to change it due to public perception an to gain a bit of torque.

That 60D is much better tho

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That one I was actually on Cloudwheels! Switched to pneumatics at the point that I got the DKP trucks.

I actually did pick up some of that black gasket silicone a while back, I’ll probably epoxy it on the inside and fill the outside gaps with that.

Yeah naming it something based on fire seems like bad juju…

I was originally gonna name it something akin to the ship of Theseus but I saw that build thread posted not long ago haha. Another name for that sort of thing is the Old man’s Axe, so maybe something akin to that? Not fully settled on that theme but we’ll see.

Sadly I haven’t watched much Monty Python but that does give me some ideas around the ideas of something unkillable. Dark Souls or something of the sort maybe.

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Cram it in and tighten down the enclosure hoping to never have to open it again.

Welcome aboard. I still can’t find shit for information on the forum except a lot of old grudges I don’t care to understand and drawings of dicks, but its home now. Sort of like if everyday was Thanksgiving with far too many drunk uncles. And we all build/ride small vehicles designed to kill us. Home.

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I read a cool post-humanist take on it called “the soldier who replaced himself.” Kept losing more and more biology and replacing it with tech, down to his brain. At what point, if any, is he no longer the same entity?

That said, I do think you should name it Stein. It was dead before the lightning.

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Individual wires? Not necessary in my opinion. If you have enough room for things to rattle, stuff it with closed cell foam. See How rattle free is your board and how you achieved that?

It is important that any connectors are physically locked together, either with a zip tie, a very snug fit, an actual locking connector, or taped together.

I can’t tell everything from your photos, but a few common bits of advice / pitfalls:

  • Use max strength Velcro to secure Bluetooth modules / vesc / dongles / battery to the enclosure
  • Get a couple sizes of clear heat shrink to encase those dongles in against any water
  • Optional, but not a bad idea to brush exposed PCBs with conformal coating for additional water resistance
  • Make sure you have a fuse on one of your charge port wires - cheap and effective insurance
  • Not recommended to fuse your main battery leads
  • Add neutral cure silicone to jst connectors to ensure crimps stay put over time and against vibration
  • Heat shrink all soldered connections with adhesive lined shrink (and make good soldered connections in the first place. There’s a thread on technique and tools)
  • No live wires/connectors exposed - that means motor phase bullets get covered in something after connected
  • Seriously consider aggressive water resistance measures (there are multiple threads) - butyl tape as a seal between enclosure and deck, enclosure mounting holes OUTSIDE butyl tape seal, seal wire exits by using connectors/epoxy/glands/printed plates
  • Seal ALL holes in your enclosure with silicone (i.e. around the charge port connector)
  • Pad around your battery with foam until it can’t move
  • Use braided wire sleeves for your motor wires outside the enclosure so they don’t rub through on motor cans / trucks / wheels / etc (they make awesome rugged heat shrinkable braided sleeve)
  • Loctite all fasteners (there’s a thread locker guide)
  • Use alloy steel fasteners, ideally zinc plated. Don’t use stainless

Greyjoy or Ironborn? “What is dead may never die”

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