Do It Right: Attaching Lights to The Longboard

Written 2018-07-15
Edited 2018-07-16

Out of all of the bits and pieces of this electric longboard project, working with lights has been one of the most difficult and exciting parts. Disclaimer, yes my friend Shihao did the mechanical assembly for the motor, but still - a lot of longboards have nice motors, not a lot of longboard have wicked lights. So let’s dive in. I’ve included a list of parts at the end.

Light Fixture #0

For my first attempt at attaching lights to the longboard, I cut out small squares of wood using my highschool’s bandsaw. Then I hot glued the squares onto the longboard, and the lights onto the squares. At first it worked out… but the hot glue connections would suddenly come loose.

Longboard with weak light fixtures

Light Fixture #1

Hot glue wasn’t working, so I turned to using wood screws. I also replaced some of the wooden squares with longer wooden strips, so there was more surface area to attach the lights. To connect the wooden pieces to the board, I would drill a pilot hole all the way through the wood and then longboard, and then I would drive the wood screws in after.

Longboard with better light fixtures

Longer pieces of wood I could clamp down before drilling, but the smaller pieces would spin when I drilled them down, so I used a clamp to twist them to their correct orientation after they were drilled down.

Twisting a block of wood to orientation

Sometimes a wood screw would go all the way through the longboard, making for a dangerous point that came up through the grip tape, so I ground the points down with a dremel.

Grinding a dangerous screw point down

Applying Velcro

Cutting Velcro was the messiest part of attaching the lights. After just one cut, Velcro’s industrial strength adhesive catches in scissors. I used a pair of Cutco Super Shears to start each cut of the Velcro, but did the rest of the cut with an X-Acto knife. Before putting velcro on the wooden blocks, I cleaned the blocks with rubbing alcohol and let them dry.

There are two parts to velcro. The fuzzy part is called the “loop” side - it resembles a carpet, which is made up of loops. The stiffer side is called the “hook” side. Generally the loops pick up trash more easily, and need to be replaced more often - so they are put on the side where the Velcro is easier to replace. I thought it would be easier to replace the Velcro on the lights, so I put the loops on the lights, and the hooks on the board.

After that, I was done! Next it was time to perfect the programming for the lights.

Front Lights View
Bottom Lights View
Top Lights View
Side Lights View

Parts

Parts Total: ~$78

Tools

Tools Total: ~$73

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