DIY electric luge rolls gently down the beach
For the last few months, UK maker John Dingley has been bending tubing on a home-made hydraulic machine, welding metal together and installing parts salvaged from a go-kart, golf cart and an e-bike. Somewhere between a street luge and a kite buggy, the Electro-Luge 500S has been built to zip over long stretches of firm sand, with the rider laid flat and low.
After cutting his project teeth building an electric unicycle, Dingley set his sights on an electric beach cruiser that merged a "luge board, a kite surf buggy, a go kart and a Star Wars Land Speeder." He started by bending and welding the main frame, secured two tightly-packed go-kart wheels wrapped in slick tires to the rear and another to the front that could be steered using the rider's feet. He then set about installing the electronics.
In one alloy box at the back, Dingley placed an OSMC power controller, an Arduino Uno dev board brain, LiFePO4 e-bike batteries and a small cooling fan. This housing has been designed to shield the electronics from water and dirt, while also allowing the onboard fan to circulate air. Next door, another box became home to a 500 W golf cart motor that's chained to a sprocket driving the rear wheels, and the battery management system.
The electronics are covered by a backrest that meets a removable support strut which runs between the rear wheels to the main frame. To get the Electro-Luge 500S moving, a handheld potentiometer sends a signal to the Arduino that tells the motor how fast to go. A wheel cover was installed at the front to help keep sand and grit from being thrown in the rider's face.
When lying on his back, Dingley steers the luge with his feet in a similar fashion to kite buggy riders, but he has also undertaken belly down beach runs where he steered with his hands. He reckons the electric luge can manage a 15-ft turning circle, but this doesn't present too much of a problem given it was designed for long straight runs.
Where the modified street luge of Australian Daz Fellows was built to really move – really, really move – the Dingley electric beach luge seems to be a pretty slow mover, as you can see in the video below. But at least it's a good deal quieter.