Ceramic Surfer | Arbor: Highground | Modular flight ready 12s Lipo 220Wh | Dual 5065 140kv | Surf Rodz RKP | 97mm | GT2B | Commuter

This build lifts off from my previous build in that I am re using the trucks and motors but since I have a new deck batteries and enclosures it is pretty much a new build.

Previous build

The deck is the meat of this build, my previous one let me down on the durability front, I got 7 months hard use out of it but it started to crack and fall apart. I think due to several factors, firstly it was a drop through design with open ends, I am on the heavy side at 110kg, I ride like an animal and the roads around here are very rough in spots, its a cheap Chinese deck, on top of that I ride in heavy rain pretty often.

The new deck is a Arbor Highground, 2015 addition. Personally I think the shape is nicer than the 2017 model. Its designed for downhill racing and is made in California so I expect top quality. I looked for ages for something that was top mount, good quality, with a eye pleasing shape and decent wheel clearance. Also in the $100 range. Then I found this Arbor for $120 shipped and it seemed like a good deal.

I’m calling it the Ceramic Surfer because the thing is a stiff as fuck, or stiff as a deck made from ceramic!! My old deck has a bit of flex which was nice for absorbing bumps, so that is my only concern about this new one other than that I think its AMAZING. Its 9 ply rock maple 15mm thick! So plenty of meat for routing out some areas for wires and batteries. It has a W concave in the middle for added stiffness and regular concave in the foot areas for comfort. Large CNC wheel wells and pretty big concave in the foot areas for added leverage.

This video is for the 2014 Highground but I think its same deck with different art.

I am building a 12 lipo pack inspired by @Namasaki I looked at so many batteries on hobbyking but these ones where the best value 60c in hard case. The only nicer ones where graphene 4s, which are almost twice the price and these 2 cell packs are thinner.

But mine will have bullet connectors between the batteries as I want to be able to separate them for taking on a plane if I want to travel with the board. Secondly I will make a harness for two 6s balance leads for charging with a hobby charger.

Supplies for 12s conversion

The main reason to go for hard packs was for added durability. I also wanted water proof so I knew I would be putting hotglue or epoxy into the holes where the wires exit.

But after I received the batteries I was very disappointing with their construction. :cry: If you shake the batteries left to right across the short axis you can feel the cells inside move. Secondly if you squeeze along the split line of the plastic shell you will hear a “crack” sound as it deforms. They used a very minimal amount of glue to hold the two half’s together. With a few minutes of squeezing and prying with my finger nails I was able to open the packs with just my hands! Once open it was clear to see there was a 1-2mm gap all the way around the cells and the cells where not double taped to the plastic housing which I was very surprised by.

Thoes two tinny pieces of white foam are the only thing bolstering the cells inside the pack. This would just not do for the kind of abuse I will be giving them. :imp:

More atrosities where found when I dissasembled the cells, the cells where not double tapped to each other and only held together with two pieces of office tape! WTF. So I put double tape between the cells and added some glass fiber tape around the outside for added security.

So I decided I would fully pot the cells inside the case with epoxy! Yeah that should give me bombproof vibration and water proofing. :astonished::laughing::sunglasses: I used 6 boxes of 90 min Araldite.

That’s it so far, pack is still under construction.


Damn those batteries felt like some low quality shit. Good thing you made them more duarable. Looking forward to see the final result. What enclousure are you planning to use for the batteries and electronics?


Something of my own design. Not 100% sure yet but I’m thinking about bent aluminium sheet with 3D printed end caps. For the electronics probably a thin lunchbox as I need something I can open easily. I’m going to put the balance plugs inside it to protect them from water, so need to open every charge.

Interestingly it looks like the batteries are actually 5.5 ah, not the 5.0 ah that’s listed. These little labels are on all the batteries and they vary plus or minus 50.


Update: Battery wired up. Next up is battery enclosure.

Series bullet connectors done. This is the main thing that allows me to disassemble the pack for flights. They do take up some space though so it was a little tricky to get the wires to sit nice. 4mm bullets for series then the main power wires are 5.5mm with 10awg wire.

One other thing I needed to do was make my own watt hour label as Hobby King decided not to put one on there. :rage: 37Wh. Hopefully it will save me a bit of time at security. I scaned the original label so I could pull the colors in photoshop. Then printed it out and covered with some packing tape for protection.

For the balance connectors I covered them in a layer of hot glue then shrink wrapped them, kept the heat on until the hot glue was soft and could be squeezed out the ends. This makes them vibration and water proof. While it will be a pain to unplug them, I will hopefully not have to do it that often. Probably only fly with it 1 or 2 times a year.

I added an extra layer of hot-glue around where the wires exit as I was concerned the enclosure could rub on the wires here. It shouldn’t as I will have foam padding on top of the cells but just in case.

Of cause I gave each one a name. :wink:

Then a final shrink wrap to protect the labels and make the removal of any glue or double tap easier.

The completed pack!!

Notice the four 6s balance plugs? :confused: This is because I will have voltage alarms permanently attached to two of the plugs while the other two are for charging. While the vesc has a voltage cut off, it only monitors total pack voltage, while this will monitor each sell individually which is much safer for battery health. The additional monitoring plug is just paralleled at the end. The 18awg silicon wire I used to extend the balance leads turned out quite bulky. I probably should have gone with 22awg. The wires are extra long at the moment as I will shorten them once installed.


Forgive me Skatan as I’m about to commit a crime and destroy the nice veneer and art on this deck. :cry: As the board has a lot of curvature I want to flatten out this area so the batteries sit flat and a bit lower. At a later date I may route out a depression so they can sit even lower.


No I beg you not to ruin the deck. Maybe try 3D printing a curved piece of plastic that starts thicker on the sides and gets thinner towards the middle so that it is flat on top. It’s not very well explained but that is what I have done to my board and it works well. I just got a piece of cardboard and stuck foam to the out sides so that the cardboard is sitting higher on the sides where the deck it curved. If you need a picture I can get you one when I am home

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oops! :yum:


Small update, I planed it down to make the battery area flat.

[quote=“pat.speed, post:6, topic:30020”] I beg you not to ruin the deck. [/quote]While it is a pretty deck and at first I didn’t want to mess with it after thinking about it a while I realized it didn’t matter so long as I didn’t compromise the strength. I was going to paint it anyway for added water proofing, it will get a bunch of holes drilled in for the threaded inserts, most of the deck will be covered by the enclosures anyway. I plan to ride the thing until it is no good, hopefully that will be a few years.

The deck is 15mm thick 9 ply and I removed about 1.5 ply’s from the center. So I don’t think it will effect the strength much. Maybe has slightly more flex now, slight more than zero. :smirk:

It has a deep concave at the front then a W concave in the middle, that is what leads to the funny shapes.

When they say rock maple they mean it, the stuff is freakin hard and not that easy to plane, the hand planner was futile.

I softened the edges as it has pretty sharp corners that are not that nice for carrying.

Arbor uses environmentally friendly :seedling: sealers and paints, but I don’t like them. I went to wipe the board down with alcohol before painting it and then all the clear sealer became sticky. :rage: It cant be very durable if it dissolves that easily? So I had to sand off all the sealer. Secondly the blue and green paint areas bubbled after I painted them. So I’m going to have to sand it down again and repaint it.


Great looking build. I’ve got the same board. I am going to rewire and redo the enclosure after my Raptor2 arrives. (must have backup!).
Anyway following this build for ideas!

Been a long time since an update. It was on the back burner for a while due to other projects (DIY 3D printer) and my other board working good. But now my first board had one of the battery cells die and the deck itself is almost totally dead. Now I have good motivation as I need to have an esk8 :disappointed_relieved:, have been making some progress over the last month.

Aaaand I broke my hand ridding my sons plastic penny board. :flushed: :confounded: :rage: which makes working on this more challenging. Those things are deadly.

The other factor that slowed the progress is the paint turned out really shit. I couldn’t even stand to look at it for a while. :sob: Demotivated. The areas I left of original Arbor eco paint bubbled up BAD, and the white spots are from the matte clear getting too close. Rushed it. To fix the bubbling it really needs to be sanded all the way back to wood. :scream: But I never found the time or motivation to do that. So I just did a light sanding and respray to get rid of the white spots. The bubbled areas will just have to wait for a full repaint. :persevere:

This is after sanding and respray, the bubbling is pretty deep.

The battery enclosure is 2mm aluminum sheet metal bent, its going to have a 3D printed end cap on the front and be open on the back end. The battery is already 100% water proof so this will allow any water to drain out after a ride. If I was to seal both ends there is no way to know if any water got in without removing the enclosure.

Apologies for the photo quality, I only get to work on it after my sons asleep and the light level in my living room is pretty low.

So excited now its getting close to moving under power. :grin:


Some more crimes! I wanted to put the anti spark in the middle of the pack as I have it wired for charging as two 6 cell packs. I also wanted it to be mounted neatly. Since the deck is 15mm thick I decided to put the antispark into the deck. :astonished:


The loop key turned out really good, its easy to pull out from top or bottom side encase there is any emergency.

It is ride-able now and I have done 4 commutes. Originally I was concerned the stiffness of the deck would be harsh on the rough terrain that I have to deal with. But its not that bad, you feel more of the road texture but at the same time it dampens some of the high frequency vibrations more than my old deck. The stiffness makes the steering very direct, at first if felt a bit squirly, but I tightened the trucks a bit and got used to it, around high speed corners there feels like more traction.

Its ride-able but I still have some bits to finish or upgrades I want to do. I have a volt / amp meter to install. The 3D printed end cap for my battery housing. I’d like to get some CNC motor mounts. Some 107mm flywheels (dear santa) bigger motors and new paint job.



What charger did you use? Is this battery still holding up ?

Hi @Jebe I use a ISDT T8 at work. Its a very nice balance charger its quite powerful and small if I need to put it in my backpack. I did modify it though with an extra fan that is always on because the internal fan switches on when it hits 60deg C, and its pretty loud. Then it comes on off. It annoys my co workers.

At home I use a AOK BC168, which is cool because its actually 6 individual chargers that works via the ballance plug. It charges each cell seperatley and does not drain each high cell to balance the pack like most chargers do.

The battery is still working fine but there is more voltage sag then I was expecting and I would like some more capacity. The main advantage is I can disassembly and fly with it, and its quite thin. I think if I was to make another battery I would go for a 12s 4p, Lion with Samsung 30q cells. It would give me a lot more capacity for not much more money.


Woot! Finally an update to the board. I got some sexy new motor mounts custom made by @marcmt88 He has pretty much a mount for anyone’s needs or can even customize one if you need something ultra strange. Awesome service and reasonable price. I wanted mine customized with a 72mm center to center distance. Check his thread here https://www.electric-skateboard.builders/t/motor-mount-with-dual-idlers/35183?u=lrdesigns

I upgraded to these for two main reasons, my old mount had a 3D printed clamp that would crack after some time and was annoying to replace. And secondly these have a X motor bolt pattern so I can upgrade to larger motors later without needing new mounts! :money_mouth_face:

Old VS new.

Rear end close up :drooling_face:


There is an update. Board has been working fine except for one area.

I changed gear ratio and wheel pulley from 3D printed to aluminum. Since I changed to this idler setup I have sheared two wheel pulleys in half while braking. Very annoying to limp home on one motor. Also one was on a steep downhill and l lost most of my braking power. Somehow the idler system allows more power to be transmitted to the wheel. I guess it make sense as there is less noise under braking.

The new pulleys are these. I got the 36t 17mm wide. They can fit 608 bearings inside which allows them to run true.

My gear ratio changed from 20/39 = 1.95:1 to 18/36 = 2:1 It made a surprising difference to the performance. A bit more acceleration and significantly more braking power! Top speed feels similar but I did not measure it. Now Im curious to try some smaller motor pulleys as more braking power is always good in my opinion, I don’t mind to sacrifice a little top end.

One other benefit to these aluminum ones is they make a futuristic WrrrRRrr sound that I really like. :nerd_face: The printed ones didn’t make a good noise.


I dunno how I missed your build. This deck is sick… I haven’t seen this deck before, but it looks super close to the rogerbros DH37 except in wood…

As far as reduction, somewhere north of 2.25:1 braking feels almost perfect for most weighs. But I think your a light rider like me.

I might have to pick up this board now, if I can find it.


It really is an amazing deck. The only bit I didn’t really like is the W-concave in the middle, but now I got used to it and try to keep my feet at the ends where they are supposed to be.

Actually I’m kinda heavy at 100kg and it has ZERO flex.

Here is the deck while it is still around.


Go a High Ground DeckyBro, I have one and :heart_eyes: it. Add a footstop to the front & is bang on :ok_hand:

A little W in the back, the wheel flares make nice pockets & the rear tapers and has a nice flare which works as a toe hook for you rear foot. I have one for a build atm I have been kicking it DH and I couldn’t be happier with it…

It is a pretty old design that has been refined over the years and is often available at a good price, I got mine in Aus for $99 Aud ($72 US).

el Beasto’s board of choice

if it has aged at all it is that the min. wheel base is is 67cm (26.4 inches) and i’m ridding 25/24.5 on my other decks…