The Maker community in Europe is far from close knit. I keep finding out about people doing great stuff on this side of the pond through American media outlets. My most recent case in point is Faraday Motion. Faraday Motion is a team with a contagious passion for personal electrical transportation. I recently found out that they live a short ride from my home. I contacted Sune Pedersen, the founder, and he kindly agreed to meet me for an informal chat.
I went to visit his place, a classic late century apartment on the third floor, expecting to sit on a comfy couch and sip coffee in a regular dining room. Boy, I was wrong! Sune has allocated half of his apartment to create a teeming makerspace full to the brim with 3D printers, electronics, and Makers.
For at tinkerer, this was Aladdin’s cave.
Constantin, a team member, was sparring with a customer on the design of part. Three Ultimakers where humming along in the background. A guy dropped by to get parts for his pet project, a motorized bicycle. Frederik, another member, was working on their workshop setup and website. They had an event the next day, so everybody was busy.
Still a bit disoriented, we started talking about the company. I was expecting to meet a classical hardware startup trying to compete in the crowded electric skateboard market, but as the evening went on I realize that these guys are in for a completely different ride.
There wasn’t much talk about the tribulations of offshore manufacturing or angel money, but about “making Makers”. Sune has a background in software. A couple of years ago, after an injury that compromised his ability to walk longer distance, he made his own electric board. He is no skater, so instead of using a traditional Longboard he bought a 3D printer and jumped in at the deep end, learning about modeling, printing, and electronics. Along the way he managed to attract a team that shares his passion and now part of his home as well.
With a working product, most companies would already have started a crowdfunding campaign to scale up production and attract potential investors. These guys see the Spine Electric Skateboard as a way to learn, together with the community, how to make the best components to power personal electrical transportation systems. They don’t see themselves as selling consumer products, but a technology stack that you can make your own by customizing, remixing, and hacking.
Their development is focused around the following components:
Structural elements are a mix of existing available hardware and 3D printed parts. The designs are governed by a Creative Common license, and if you have a printer, you can print your own part
Brushless electric motors
The motors are 1000W 63mm brushless motors made to spec.
The motor controller is a custom made board. It’s “road tested” open and hackable.
To control and communicate with the hardware, they support an RF system and a WiFi based system controlled by a SmartPhone
At this stage they want to attract prosumers, tinkerers, and Makers interested in these areas. They want to cooperate with people that can push the components in directions that they haven’t dreamed of.
If that’s you, check them out and you might end 3D printing your own ride.