🌠 Northern Light | Switchblade with Reverse-mounted Urethane Gear Drives

This will be an on-going build thread where I share the progress on my travel build for Carve PDX. The goal is to get at least 30 km of range (~20 miles) out of a dual drive board I can go fast with, and still carry on a plane. Think of it as the better version of my very first DIY, Blue Board. I got exactly 2 weeks time to finish this, so let’s go!

Let’s start with the part selection, and why I chose what I chose :slight_smile:

  • 12s3p Molicel P42A battery built with NESE modules. Each module is a 2s3p, which means it contains 6 cells. 6 x 3.7V nominal x 4.2Ah = 93.24Wh, which is right below the 100Wh limit imposed by most US airlines. (EU airlines allow slightly more).
  • Landyachtz Switchblade 40" deck & @eBoosted enclosure. This enclosure should have just enough room for my battery, dual ESCs, some accessories, and a flexi BMS. And of course, I just love the Switchblade deck, due to its looks and concave that makes it perfect for downhill or cruising. I got my deck skinned by @EreTroN with an artwork by Aenami! :heart_eyes: Message him if you’re in the EU and want a custom deck :slight_smile:
  • 3DServisas Fat Boy 260mm Surf Rodz hangers & Bowery Surf adjustable baseplate. Surf Rodz baseplates move the hanger further back than Caliber ones do, which helps against wheel-bite, which the Switchblade is notorious for. Luckily 3DServisas makes compatible hangers, so I can use their gear drives :slight_smile:
  • 3DServisas Mini Urethane Helical Gear Drive V5. 14:36 ratio. At the time these were the only urethane gear drives available, and I couldn’t resist getting them during the black friday sale. They should also be much quieter than steel gear drives, which is nice if I travel to somewhere where I don’t want to draw too much attention to myself.
  • Unikboards branded 6355 Maytech 190kv motors. I will be reverse mounting my motors to avoid debris ruining them, and I can’t fit any larger on these trucks. Besides, dual 6355 is plenty of power on a urethane build. 190kv for speed, and because at this size my ESC will be able to power them to their max anyway.
  • Boa 100mm Constrictor wheels in 83A, Jungle green. Shouldn’t really support this company, but I wanted a 100mm kegel wheel for torque and range, and there aren’t that many options available. I snagged them in green from Onsra California. They’re waiting for me in the US, so in the meantime I’ll be using my brother’s white Boas.
  • Trampa Vesc 6 mk3 ESCs. Got these refurbished from @seaborder for cheap, but I think I’ll be swapping them out for a Stormcore 60D+ because it has an integrated antispark switch, and smaller footprint.
  • FlexiBMS. Sold out unfortunately, so I might have to route my balance wires outside of the enclosure and use a dumb BMS in the meantime :cry:
  • Freesk8 remote. Hopefully @DerelictRobot has a Dong waiting for me by the time I arrive in Portland. Will be using my friend’s old Flipsky VX1 in the meantime.
  • Davega X. Got one in green just because I think it will match the build perfectly :sweat_smile:

Day 1

Deck arrived today. @EreTroN did an amazing job skinning and fritting this deck with Medium, and then fine frit, for maximum grip.

Here are some photos he took, and some of my own:

The wooden edges look so good!.. But I’ll be painting over them with some dark blue paint I bought from Amazon. I think when it’s all finished it’ll look better that way. I also bought some glow-in-the-dark luminescent paint, but unfortunately it’s not transparent as I had hoped, so I guess I’ll have to leave that for another project…

Enclosure Mounting

Let’s see if I can not screw this up for once. Step 1: align enclosure on the back of the deck

Step 2: trace an outline with a sharp object

Step 3: Place your gasket. It’s important to have a gasket on when you mark your bolt holes, otherwise they won’t line up! :scream: For this build I’m using this thick car gasket, because I will be routing my davega wire between the deck and enclosure, and motor wires as well. Since this is a urethane board, I don’t plan on riding much in the rain. I like that this gasket has a drop in the middle, which is perfect because the enclosure has sharp ends :confused:

The ends of the deck are curved, so I shouldn’t have gone as far out as I did, but I can squish it inwards with my fingers to get a perfect seal. A seal so good you can hear the air getting squeezed in and out :smiley:

Step 4: mark where your bolts will go against the enclosure. I used a tape measure and a lot of eye-balling. I’ve seen one person add bolts at the ends of the enclosure as well, but since that’s where the deck curves, I think I’ll skip that this time.

Step 5: Use a washer and a pointy object to mark the center points at which you will be drilling. This is helpful because fiberglass dust will cover up your marks otherwise.

I will be drilling tomorrow, because I need to collect my charge port from the post office first. And I also have work to do :sweat_smile: Maybe I’ll assemble the drive-train later tonight, who knows…


Can’t wait to see this beauty in wild :muscle::muscle::muscle:


Honestly mounting enclosures has got to be the worst part of building an esk8 after all of the ones I’ve built…

Hope it goes well! Looking like a fun build


Day 2

I disassembled my back-pack battery and laid it down in the enclosure. I also figured out I could use my 100D Stormcore until I get a 60D.

I was originally going to use a flexibms thinking there wouldn’t be room for anything else, but it looks like a small Daly BMS might fit between the ESC and the very end of the enclosure! Anyway (step 6), I marked where the end of the enclosure is and marked on the outside where I want the charge port & power button to go. I also outlined space for an on-off rocker switch, in case I manage to cram a buck inside for lights or something.

Step 7: Drill all the holes!

Step 8: Now you should align your enclosure onto the deck again, and while being careful not to press down on it too hard (it will change its shape to be wider if you do), use the same wooden drill bit to mark where the center of the hole should be on the deck, like so:

Step 9: Drill holes in the deck for the inserts. I like to put a piece of tape around the drill bit to mark where I should stop, so that I don’t go through the deck.

Step 10: Align the enclosure once more, and use a flash-light to shine light through and verify that all of the holes were drilled such that the bolts will go right into the inserts.

Mine were all perfectly centered, apart from the angles being a mismatched, which I corrected for by drilling the enclosure holes at various angles to give the bolts some freedom to move in one axis. So far so good! :smiley:

Step 11: Insert the inserts! I’m using these strong, M5 inserts I got from Amazon:

Apparently there are special drill bits you can use to screw these in, or you can use a flat-head screw-driver or thread them onto a bolt for installation, like I did:

I mixed up some epoxy, covered the holes in it before inserting the inserts aaaaand… These are a real pain in the ******* ass to put in! The insert on the bolt got stuck to the bolt, and then came out later when I tried using it to create a thread for another insert. And I think all the stuck inserts from the bolt method have their internal threads damaged, so bolts don’t really screw into them that well. And if you manage, then the insert will screw out when you try to take the bolt out :man_facepalming: And for some reason they really don’t want to go straight in, so it’s really hard to get them at the correct angle for the enclosure to align up properly with them.

Total disaster, I’ll remove all the ones that aren’t perfect tomorrow. I’m done for today, this really pissed me off…

P.S. When drilling the deck, put a blanket under it to protect the artwork. I put some scratches on the nose and tail before I realized. Whoops.


Shouldn’t this threaded inserts go the other way around? The part with the “hole for the screwdriver” should go into the wood.

That’s how I understood the manufacturer of the inserts I’ve ordered…

Or am I wrong?

After some more reading i figured that I am wrong indeed :joy:


Yeah, @Venom121212 did a great write-up of them here:


Day 3

Instead of the stainless steel inserts I struggled with yesterday, I put in these aluminum ones. These particular ones I found seem to not break as easy as they usually do, and because of their cone shape and hex opening, they’re really easy to align and screw in. With epoxy, of course.

I also soldered up wires for my switches and connectors. Forceps really helped with the on-off switch!

For the charge port I’m using a Weipu SF12, from aliexpress:


It’s rated for up to 13A. The hole you need to drill for it is 12mm (same as most antispark switches), and the square plate is 18x18mm, so it actually fits on a single-stack enclosure like mine :smiley:

And then I covered them in epoxy from the inside as I always do, to make them stay in place. Wish the Stormcore button was smaller (it’s 15mm!), because I couldn’t fit the ring around it on the other side.

Tomorrow I plan on painting the rails blue, and I’m still messaging people about quickly obtaining a 12s Daly BMS and fast charger, since I’ll need to charge fast between group rides at Carve :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


So with your insert conundrum, i heavily recommend doing it like this. This way you’ll tighten the nut on the nutsert, and once it’s in, it’ll just need a nip to get the nut off, and pull the bolt out to let the epoxy dry. worked an absolute charm for me :slight_smile:


Maybe I’ve misunderstood your situation, but stainless has an awful habit of microwelding to other stainless under stress. Stainless is also softer than black steel, so under stress the black is likely to deform the stainless.

It looks like your bolt was black steel, so did the inserts stick to each other, or did the bolt deform the threads and mangle together that way?

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Threads were deformed. Or maybe even a bit of both :woman_shrugging:

How do you “nip” the nut off? What protects the threads from deforming in your method?

Yeah I’d go with a direct driver into the slot (if possible) rather than using a material that’s harder than stainless to drive it in. Maybe an aluminium bolt could work? But I prefer flathead screwdrivers tbh

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I think it’s because more of the force is transferred through the screw into the equally strong nut and then through the flat area of the nut, rather than through the threads of the slightly softer stainless? And then you just grab a wrench or pliers on the nut to twist it out

Edit: not actually so sure about getting it off, also interest in what op says

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I sell 12s Daly’s and my workshop is here in Portland :metal:


That’s the backup plan I probably should have messaged you about already :sweat_smile: But I think Frederick from EboardSolutions has me covered, should arrive on Friday I think.

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Any airlines allow a long deck like this on a plane without the oversized fee? I’d fly them solely

Well I flew Ryanair with your deck once and it was fine :upside_down_face:

But in the US I think not. Although I know @poastoast flies with his board in the passenger compartment, lol

i take my board’s as carryon :yum:

check your airline if they allow it, but TSA doesn’t really care

i pretty much only fly Southwest and they’re pretty generous even for baggage (have a pelican iM3200 that would for sure be oversized but they never tell me it is and don’t charge me a fee (yay free oversized luggage))

sometimes you may have to check at the gare but so far i’ve only had that happen once and i didn’t have to pay anything (though this won’t always be the case)


I go on ski trips all the time with up to 4 pairs of skis, no issues just some extra $$