An open source e-skateboard made of recycled plastic

Portugal-based designer João Leão designed an open-source e-skateboard made of recycled plastic as a response to the plastic waste problem and hectic commuting in Porto, Portugal.

Called PET MINI, the skateboard was developed based on the growing importance of creating participatory approached to design. Thanks to the internet and digital fabrication tools made available by Fab Labs, the Maker and Do-It-Yourself (DYI) movements are booming.

Leão started his project by experimenting with the most common types of plastic waste available (ABS, PP, PET, HDPE). HDPE turned out to be the most suitable and sheets of the material were produced by the team of Precious Plastic, a project that makes tools, knowledge and techniques for plastic recycling available for free.

For the electronics enclosure, Leão took inspiration from the anatomy of an Armadillo, by designing a series of modular pieces along the bottom of the board. This allows both the protection of the electronic components but also maintains the flexibility of the deck, giving it the comfortable ride necessary for the city typology that other commercial solutions lose. Other components are off-the-shelf, locally designed and manufactured of based on open designs.

The skateboard was fabricated at local Fab Lab VIVALab. In all, the e-skateboard, including prototyping, cost less than €500, compared to commercial electronic skateboards with similar properties (top speed 35 km/h, 36 km range and 1.5 hour charging time), costing €1,600.

According to Leão, “PET MINI seeks to inspire future creatives to experiment the broad possibilities using recycled thermoplastics and bring on the development of a variety of different products, raising awareness on the importance of taking action to this global problem and how one key tool, such as digital fabrication and the open source philosophy, can boost innovative solutions both at a local and a global level.”

If you want to create your own board, learn from the project or improve it, you can get the open design files here. They will be released together with the Precious Plastic V4.

Photos: João Leão