What’s lightweight, fast, and 3-D printed in a variety of bubblegum colors? Your next skateboard. That is, provided the Kickstarter is a success.
“Electric Bubblegum” is the name of this electric skateboard that can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour (at least, the engine can keep up that pace for about 10 miles, but who skateboards farther than that?) It’s pretty small for a board — 27 inches long, and just over 12 pounds. Freelance inventor and skateboarding enthusiast Andrew James came up with the idea, especially after using an electric skateboard to get around his home base of Atlanta. His transportation system generated enough comments and interest among passersby that he decided to create his own model.
The boards run off a rechargeable Lifep04 battery pack, and comes with a meter than indicates how much juice is left in the battery. It takes just over two hours to recharge the battery. But the most impressive part is the design behind the user control mechanism, which incorporates a Wii Nunchuck controller that’s hooked up to an Arduino that facilitates its wireless connection to the board itself. The joystick allows the skateboarder to accelerate, brake, and use something akin to cruise control. So if you practice steering by playing Mario Kart, you can drive this board.
What’s even more impressive is that most of the parts can be 3D printed. Many are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a synthetic monomer is that is often used in manufacturing and is particularly tough — tough enough even to withstand the beating an electric skateboard would take. Best of all, if any parts do wear out, owners can just 3D print news ones.
James recently launched a Kickstarter for the Electric Bubblegum, and hopes to raise $55,000 in the next 28 days. Eventually, he hopes to sell the boards for $550 each. Backers who pledge $25 or more will receive a USB drive with all the STL files for the parts, and backers willing to plunk down $550 will receive a board next March. For a $1,300 pledge, backers can even get a customizable board.
It’s not a hoverboard, but it’s pretty darn cool, and anything beats driving these days. Although if any skateboarders take up residence in my bike lane, I reserve the right to use my anti-matter gun on them — even if they’re on an Electric Bubblegum board.