Over the past two years I have been developing a way for people to order and help build their own fully customized electric skateboards. Basically what that means is that I build it for them, but they have a while lot of say in what happens.
First I developed a deck. The Scarlet concave profile was a huge success in terms of meeting and exceeding the needs of an eks8 deck. It provides stability at high speed and virtually eliminates flex. I have been pressing each and every deck by hand, and also cutting and shaping them out by hand.
Then came the box to hold all of the things that make the board go, and then I began building my own battery packs in order to cram all of the power possible into the box. Next came wheel pulleys of all tooth counts for three solid options in wheels, and then my own branded motors with sensors.
All of these developments have made it possible to bring completely customized boards to people that wanted something more personal and more powerful than anything available elsewhere on the market. This pleases me, and it pleases my customers.
Not good enough.
But something is still missing, and things in the ordering process could be a lot smoother and less scattered and complicated. Email has done an ok job of providing a history of interactions with the customer, but it doesn’t really give them something to interact with and see what they can get. It also doesn’t translate directly to a product that can be added to a cart and purchased, which would then be added to my order list internally. It also doesn’t provide a single object containing a clear outline of the customer’s desires.
So I have decided to build something that will solve all of these problems. Within the last few months, I have moved my shop over to Shopify, which has given me much more control over my store in almost every imaginable way while still providing an easy platform to create blog posts and pages and other things I was doing in Wordpress. Moving to Shopify has allowed me to develop a sort of electric skateboard configurator, sort of the kind of product config tool you might see on Dell’s website for configuring a new computer with various component options, or on Bustin’s website for putting together a nice push board with artwork and color choices. I’m calling it Esk8.Builder.
Esk8.Builder allows you to choose one of three cutout shapes that I have already, choose your pulley ratios, choose which ESC you want to use, choose your battery pack size and cell type, choose your bearings and wheels, and get a full summery of the build with line items for all of the components plus the fees so you can see what you are getting and exactly what you are paying.
The builder also allows you to see a rough estimate of what kind of performance you can expect from it. Top speed and range estimates are provided along with the total cost, and the tabbed interface allows you to make changes and see those changes reflected in real time. And once you’re done, you can just add it to the cart and check out. Once I get the order, I can contact you for any additional information I need to get started.
But wait, there’s more
The icing on the cake for this esk8 builder though would be having more choice in your deck design. Complete control over the cutout shape (not the concave, yet) would be the holy grail for this year as far as achievements go in my shop. What if the customer could simply download a template file, draw their own deck shape within the provided constraints of the template, upload their drawing, and have me use that shape to cut out their deck? Dreams for fools you say?
Well I hate to shatter your shade, but for the last couple of weeks I have been re-working my x-carve to do exactly that. I can now cut out complete decks on my x-carve, not just do the wire channels. And to top it off, I can use Adobe fucking Illustrator, an app I’ve been using for over 20 years, to create the shapes the x-carve will follow. What this means is I can literally give you a drawing with a safe area to outline your curves, have you submit that drawing back to me with your paths in it, and use your drawing to cut out your deck.
Mind fucking blown.
I know, I know, I’m a goddamned genius. I get that a lot. But it’s not quite ready yet. I’m still working on it and it will likely be a couple more months before its ready for customers to abuse. So far I have everything working except the part that lets you upload your own drawing, and because that’s going to take a bit to polish up, I’m probably going to release the first version without it so I can get better organized.
In the mean time, if you would like to play with it, it does actually work.