How to Build Your Own Longboard: DIY Guide
Building your own longboard can be a fun and rewarding project. It is also a great way to save money by not having to buy an expensive one. In this in-depth guide to build your own longboard, we will discuss everything you need to know about building your own longboard for the first time. We will go over different materials that are best suited for the job, how much it should cost, what tools you’ll need, and more!
How to Build Your Own Longboard
There are two ways in which you can build your own longboard – building a longboard from scratch by making most of the parts on your own or by assembling all the parts and save some bucks.
The first way can be a bit tricky as you will have to make sure that you are using the suitable materials and if it is even possible. If done wrong, it can be a disastrous experience for you. On the other hand, assembling the longboard with ready-to-use parts can be great fun while building a fully-fledged longboard.
In this guide, we’ll be building your own longboard by assembling all the parts so that it can give a pleasant ride. With that say, let’s dive straight to the guide!
Things You'll Need
Before we get started, it’s important to gather all the essential things we’ll need while making our own longboard. Let’s collect them.
- Grip Tape or Board Wax
- Allen Wrench
Once you’ve all the things ready, it’s time to get started with our longboard.
Choosing Your Deck
The deck is the backbone of your longboard. Basically, it supports all other parts and determines what kind of ride you get. You can choose the deck as per your longboarding style – drop-through, drop deck, top-mount, etc.
In addition to that, you also need to choose the deck material, either Bamboo or Maple. While Bamboo Deck is cheap and can be easily customized, Maple Deck has a little bit of flex under the feet. So, it all your choice to the one that fits your need.
Choosing Your Trucks
The next step is to choose the trucks. Basically, a truck attaches your deck and wheels together with axles to work in tandem, which makes it easier for you when turning corners or going downhill.
Basically, they come in two variants – old school or new school. Old school trucks have a bigger turning radius, while New School Trucks offer more precision when turning corners.
Finally, you need to pick the length of your truck that fits your deck size and preferred riding style. Longer trucks offer more stability for downhill runs, while shorter ones are better at making sharp turns on a flat surface or in areas with less space.
Choosing Your Wheels
Once you’ve got all other choices sorted out, it’s time to think about the wheels. Essentially, they’re what will make your board go faster and smoother, so you don’t have to push yourself as hard every time you want to take off.
Many people in this day and age are opting for a polyurethane wheel instead of one made out of plastic because they offer better traction, stability, and durability.
Of course, you also have to consider the size of your wheels as well because they will impact how fast or slow your board is going to be. The most common sizes are 70mm (for street riding), 75-80mm for cruising around town, and 82+mm for downhill racing.
Choosing Your Bearings
The next thing you need to consider is your bearings. Bearings will hold the wheels in place so that they spin smoothly and without any hindrance, which means if you want a smooth ride.
Then it only makes sense that you go for high-quality bearings as well, but unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to bearings, and what works well for one person might not work as good for someone else.
Some people prefer the low-riding, tight feel of ABEC 11 Flywheels, during others like Bones Reds because they provide a fast spin. Some even go with hybrid ceramic bearings faster than steel but slower than high-speed racing bearings, so it all depends on what you’re looking for.
Grip Tape or Board Wax
This is the texture applied to your longboard deck, which will give you a better grip while also preventing slippage. This can be done with either Grip Tape or Half Pipe Tape, both of which are available in different colors, so it all depends on what you want them to look like as well.
If using Grip Tape, you’ll need to remove any wax or oils from the deck.
Just use a cloth and some Goo Gone to clean it before you apply your grip tape, which will be easier than if you had applied the Grip Tape on top of anything already there. Just remember that when using Half Pipe Tape, ensure that all sides are smooth because this type of grip tape will be applied to the underside for extra stability.
If you’re not sure what color Half Pipe Tape is, then just check out Amazon because there are many colors and many more options than if you were to go in-store somewhere!
Assembling the Parts
Once you’ve finished choosing the parts for your longboard, it’s high time to assemble them in one piece.
1. Apply Grip Tape or Board Wax
If your deck doesn’t come with a pre-applied grip tape or board wax, it’s time to apply grip tape on your board. To prevent slipping, use a roll of grip tape to mask the main areas on your board.
To make this as neat and tidy as possible, try applying it like any other large sticker. If there’s any leftover tape you don’t need, have a sharp box cutter or razor blade handy and trim away the excess leaving you with a clean, professional finish.
In case if you want to ride your board barefoot, you can alternatively go for board wax. Apply the wax on a whole deck or specific areas as per preference.
2. Put Bearings inside the Wheel
To start, you will need to place a bearing in each wheel. You don’t need to push it far for the head of the bearing to fit into a pocket in the wheel – just enough for it to sit snugly.
3. Attach the Wheels to the Truck
Each truck will have two holes near the head to which you can attach a wheel. You’ll need to push each wheel into these so that they fit snugly and can rotate freely on their axles.
To do this, you’ll want to line up the holes on each truck with those of the wheel. Push and pull at different angles to determine which way will work best for you since it’s not always obvious what should go where.
Once they’re in, attach them by screwing a bolt into place using an Allen key or wrench (depending on your preference).
4. Attach the Trucks to the Deck
You need the spacers, which are placed between the truck and deck when installing. These are there mainly to ensure that the truck doesn’t push too far into the deck, so they’re not strictly necessary.
Place them between the trucks and then attach a bolt-on to each side using an Allen key or wrench (once again, depending on your preference).
Otherwise, just screw in one of two bolts on either side using an Allen key or wrench, and you should be good to go. When facing the longboard uphill, tighten both trucks with four bolts to each assembly.
5. Time to Test Your Board
The last thing to do is test your board. Make sure that you are on a flat surface, and give it a try! Make sure it holds your weight and is stable. Double-check everything to make sure it is the way you want.
In this way, you can build your own longboard, perfect for getting to and from work or down the street. By doing so, you’ll save some extra bucks while getting a board that rolls perfectly on the street.
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