Project P.L.A.I.D. Update #2: Building PLAID

With the CAD out of the way, all the parts ordered in the mailbox, and haggling done with the metal shop it’s time to get to building. I tried to get as much of the build process on video to show how exactly I built everything and (hopefully) to make a youtube video on the whole project. So if you’re here from the YouTube channel: Welcome to my build blog! If I still haven’t gotten around to making that video: Hi ma!


As described in my last post I’m following Homeateadenomics tutorial to build the deck. After picking up some 1/8th inch ply from Pullman building supply (Katie or Tyler if you’re reading this I would love a sponsorship) I set to making the laminate mold and folding the plywood sheets over it.

Then I did my best to make it look like a pointy porcupine with clamps to hold it all together.

After letting the glue dry for a couple days I cut the board down to width with the bandsaw and then used a jigsaw to cut the ends into the shape I wanted. Not a lot of detail here because Homeateadenomics has a pretty great explanation.


I started with the front trucks because it was the simplest. All the parts came together really easy with a little weld goop here and there. The only major issue I ran into was how I attached the axle bolts. I started by cutting out a square with a hole in it from 1/8th” steel, the plan was to have the bolt go through the hole and then weld the bolt head to the square, then weld the square flush with the end of the tube. Turns out the welds where to big and wouldn’t allow the bolt to sit flush inside the tube. So I got the good ol angle grinder out and ground off a little of the weld so it could fit inside. Aha it fits! Welded the square to the end of the tube and wala an axle… that was until I put weight on it and snapped the bolt head weld (gonna have to figure out a fix for this latter). But besides this issue, the front truck looks pretty dang good.

The whole assembly looks even better when put on the board. I’m starting to get really excited at this point.

The sprang clutch sprocket assembly came out super nice and it feels so precise. I did this part out of aluminum to minimize rotating mass. To design the sprocket I pulled a #22 sprocket CAD model from McMaster-Carr and then changed everything else but tooth profile to get it how I wanted. (if anyone knows of an easy way to produce sprocket CAD models with any tooth count let me know because I’m still looking for a good method)

The motor mount came out looking really nice and allows the motor to slide up and down to tension the chain and adjust the hall effect sensor. I added more slots to aid in cooling and add a little style.

With both front and rear trucks mounted this board looks mean!

The Issue With PLAID

Alright here arises the issue, after getting everything put together and running including a battery tray, throttle, handbrake, and springs for the trucks I took it out for a test drive. It has plenty of power and easily spins the rear wheels but turning feels really off for some reason. Like when trying to turn if I shift my weight all the way over to one edge the board barely turns but then once it does it doesn’t want to return to center. I’m pretty sure four things could be causing the issue. The deck is too low and gives little leverage when trying to turn, the board end angle is too steep and again doesn’t give enough leverage when turning, the springs are too weak or not set up properly (honestly they’re on the weak side), and finally the lack of differential is resisting and change in direction. I’m going to experiment with these issues but let me know if you have any suggestions! I’ll also try to get some video of the isue asap.

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